Thursday, September 22, 2016

Revolution; 1966-1970

At the Victoria and Albert Museum at the moment, running until 26th February 2017, is an excellent exhibition about the years 1966-1970.

It aims to answer this question:

'How have the finished and unfinished revolutions of the late 1960s changed the way we live today and think about the future?'

It is hard to decide when the sixties (as referenced by writers) actually started. They usually mean the period that started in earnest once the Beatles hit the charts and drifted on into the next decade. So about 1962-1971 is 'Sixties' culture.

I spent that period being 7-16 so it is the time I grew up. But my first festival experience wasn't until 1972.

But the years 66-70 saw one of the most important periods in history for cultural change. Our understanding of race, gender, travel (to space), fashion and many other things began a process of change which continues to this day.

Visitors to this exhibition, wearing headsets to replace the hotel lobby background music with rock and roll, wander through the late John Peel's collection of vinyl sleeves. Clever technology aligns what we hear to on-screen voices as we approach a TV and so we hear archive footage of social commentators from the period. We go to the Moon, experience student riots and sit in on the Woodstock experience (The Who, Sly and the Family Stone and Jimmy Hendrix).

We gaze on the costumes from the cover of Sergeant Pepper and get to read Paul McCartney's handwritten resignation letter from 1970.

It costs £16.50 full price with a number of discounts. Those who were aware of all the sixties are now pensioners. Although I do recall someone saying that if you could remember the sixties you weren't there. Man. You need a timed ticket and it will take a couple of hours to enjoy properly.

Illustrations are a couple of our vinyl sleeves - Traffic's Mr Fantasy from 1968 and Free's Fire and Water from 1969.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's not Fire and Water, Steve. That's the cover of their second album, also called 'Free' (first one was 'Tons of Sobs'). It's not as good as Fire and Water, but still excellent. Heartbreaker is probably my favourite. Fantastic band.

Jason Garrett