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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Forget Ab Fab. This is what the 60s really looked like

This picture of the HMV Shop in Oxford Street has been doing the rounds again today. Judging by the LP covers displayed at the back it appears to have been taken at Christmas 1965. The Beatles Rubber Soul has just come out and the shop is more than usually full.

The interesting thing is this is at the midway point of the Swinging 60s. This has been the year of the Rolling Stones' Satisfaction, Bob Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone and James Brown's Papa's Got A Brand New Bag. If you were to ask a film director to re-stage this scene he'd look at the date and suddenly it would be all paisley shirts, bell bottoms and op-art frocks which as you can see here was not the case.

This picture is a rare opportunity to examine the reality of the 60s rather than the version of it that's been propagated by Austin Powers films. The men have all got neatly-trimmed short hair and are wearing shirts and ties. There's a woman in a head scarf. The assistant behind the counter is in a nylon overall. The till has just run up 32 shillings, which was probably the price of one of those copies of the Beach Boys' Little Deuce Coupe stacked at the top above the listening booths.