, a dialectic at work: the sacred, while transcending the profane, can only reveal itself within the profane; again, unless
there were a mode of experience deemed profane, the need to apprehend the sacred would make no sense. I would suggest that the Beat
writers and thesixties songwriters whom we will be discussing may be
seen as attempting to provide manifestations of the sacred. More
Beat sound, Beat vision
particularly, the Beat impulse is to transform profane time into sacred
time, and to transform profane space into
shown that religious
impetuses informed the early development of sexological theories at the
turn of the twentieth century; Laura Ramsay has demonstrated that actors
within the Church of England played a formative role in bringing about
the ‘permissive’ legislation of thesixties; and Sam Brewitt-Taylor has
emphasised the centrality of clergymen to the ‘myth of the sexual
revolution’ in the same decade
is significant that seventeen of thesixty are from occupational groups D and E, reflecting their proportion of the local population but also a marginalised group. Forty-eight per cent of thesixty participants are women. On national backgrounds, two Polish people agreed to take part and, where relevant, I refer to this when presenting their beliefs. Seven participants were from black and ethnic minority backgrounds. On age, particularly because of the involvement of eight eighteen-year-olds, the eventual spread was a reasonable one.
There is not such a balance
as a time of prosperity and social cohesion stand in marked contrast to the popular tales of social change and generational dissonance of the 1960s. Arthur Marwick’s influential tome TheSixties: Cultural Revolution in Britain, France, Italy, and the United States, c. 1958–c.1974 (1998) argues that:
[M]inor and rather insignificant movements in the fifties became major and highly significant ones in thesixties; that intangible ideas in the fifties became powerful practicalities in thesixties; that thesixties were characterised by the vast number of
Public , London : Penguin Books .
Marshall , Guy ( 1955 ), ‘ Which Do You Take – Guinness or Burton? ’ Picturegoer , 24 September, 9 .
Marwick , Arthur ( 1998 ), TheSixties: Cultural Revolution in Britain, France, Italy, and the United States, c.1958–c.1974 , Oxford : Oxford University Press .
Moran , Joe ( 2010 ), On Roads: A Hidden History , London : Profile Books .
Morgan , James ( 1955 ), ‘ Books and Magazines ’, Sight & Sound , January– March, 161 .
Murphy , Robert ( 2012 ), ‘ Dark Shadows
; writing in The Nation , John Leonard described Kingston’s ‘Novel of theSixties’ as ‘an encyclopedic postmodern narrative that references, embraces, and absorbs a dizzying variety of sources from all cultures and eras’; 6 and fellow writer Bharati Mukherjee praised the text’s ‘remarkable display of wit and rage’ (despite also finding the novel somewhat ‘bloated’). 7 In evaluating these responses, E.D. Huntley muses that the aspects of Kingston’s novel that flummoxed readers were
Wittman’s disorganized, unpunctuated, uneven, unstoppable free
The investigation and trial of the Angry Brigade, 1967–72
combative trade union militancy, new social movements
and community activism that would define the energies and victories of the
British left over the decade.
It is remarkable then that, over four decades on, historians of the left and
of the era more broadly refuse to take them seriously, if at all. Marwick
gives them one dismissive mention in his vast TheSixties, and they have no
mention in the major social histories of this time by Beckett, Black, Clarke,
Morgan, Porter, or White.2 Where discussion occurs, they become transformed
into either a romantic or oddball
explicit in either Ballard or Sinclair’s work, the ongoing legacy of the equation between ‘madness’ and ‘vision’ can be traced in both.
Sinclair uses the Laingian word ‘breakthrough’ to describe his trajectory from the ‘scepticism’ of the Kodak Mantra Diaries period, the late 1960s, to that of Lud Heat and the early 1970s: ‘That was the real breakthrough. It required this cataclysmic thing of thesixties, a sudden charge coming from every direction, a real battery […] I pulled back, got into my own territory, created my own space, and took
the 1950s some American men revolted against
the norms of the traditional breadwinner role, long-term commitment
represented by marriage, the responsibilities of family and the burdens
of conformity, in favour of a more hedonistic playboy ideal and a
form of masculinity built around, and even defined by, consumption.
She contends that ‘Playboy presented, by the beginning of thesixties,
something approaching a coherent program for male rebellion.’ This
included ‘a critique of marriage, a strategy for liberation (reclaiming the
indoors as a realm for masculine
‘thesixties’ emblematised the lapsarian moment from which a diagnosis
of contemporary malaise took its form and force. In right-wing rhetoric,
symptoms linked to the 1960s could include anything from the breakdown
of the family and the rise in violent crime, to the emergence of
multicultural separatism and the crisis of university education. The
liberal-left response, vociferously argued by the so