Think of a city. "Steeped in tradition, seized by change, liberated by affluence, graced by daffodils and anemones, so green with parks and squares that, as the saying goes, you can walk across it on the grass".
Think of a city. "Steeped in tradition, seized by change, liberated by affluence, graced by daffodils and anemones, so green with parks and squares that, as the saying goes, you can walk across it on the grass". Now we're a programme that deals......with London -- so you can be expected to guess that the city was London. But it could have been a hard guess, without the clues, and it becomes harder with the next phrases: "...it has burst into bloom...it swings... it is the scene..... it is switched on".
Well, the words are not ours.. They're from America's "Time" magazine, whose biggest spread in their issue is on
"London, the swinging city". Their theme is of "a dazzling blur of op and pop," a theme of birds and beatles, of half a dozen separate veins of excitement, of a once sedate world of faded splendour which has been invaded by everything new, and kinky and uninhibited.
It's a new world of strict boundaries -- King's Road in Chelsea and Carnaby Street in Solo. And there are no places, really in between; just two enclaves, trodden by the boots of the "in-group"
"London", says Time, "is exporting its plays, its films, its fads, its styles, its people. It is also the place to go". Good Americans don't go to Paris to die; they come to London; come to that, tired Parisians come here too. London's new vitality amazes. "The planet which was England", said a Paris magazine recently, "has given birth to a new art of living -- accentric, bohemian, simple and gay".
More home thoughts from abroad: "...of haystack hair, the suspiciously brilliant clothes, the chatter about sex and the cheery vulgarity... credulity and immorality... together with a sophisticated taste for the primitive".
"A new group of people is emerging into society", begins another extract.
(But this isn't Time speaking; the magazine's now quoting Britain's own Richard Hoggart.) The new group -- creating a kind of classlessness and VERVE which has not been seen before". And who are they? Actors and playwrights, television people. More actors. Models and typists. Birds. Oh, who can typify them? They're just In.
Or "super", or "fab", or "groovy", or "gear", or "close", or "with it", or "going". All noted by Time. Who also note that there's not one London scene but dozens, each a dazzling gem, a medley of American, polished continental and robust Old English influence that has mixed and merged.
The result is "a sparkling, slapdash comedy" not unlike those directed by British film-makers. And they're in, too.
Guys go about with dollies. Dollies wear miniskirts. Polyvinyl chloride is the close gear; worsted has been out for centuries.
"You just dance, do the dance, whatever you feel like," said one bird. And they dance, instead of necking, because "they usually live fulfilled sex lives". (There is no room, in their language, for Euphemism.) It's all breathless. It's all going to the whole scene. Swinging. "Time" says so, anyway.