Only months later flower power was overtaken by a different type of rebellion in the form of student riots, and social upheaval introduced a dark undercurrent to the sunniest of summer days. Meanwhile, the phenomenon of Swinging London was merely the tip of an extraordinary cultural iceberg.
The same year also saw David Steel’s Abortion Act passed by Parliament which – combined with the arrival of the contraceptive pill – gave women more sexual freedom. And the Sexual Offences Act finally made consensual sex between two men aged 21 or over (and in private) legal – well, if you happened to live in England or Wales. Change in Britain wasn’t always speedy. But this small collection of documentaries, artists’ films and features provides a window on to some of the moods, fashions and attitudes of the period.
Ten to try
Go Go Go Said the Bird (1966)
A trip through Swinging London with Marianne Faithfull, David Hockney, Twiggy and co.
Captain Busby (1967)
Quentin Crisp’s acting debut, based on a surreal poem by Philip O’Connor.
In Gear (1967)
The 60s swing into Carnaby Street and the King’s Road.
Les Bicyclettes de Belsize (1968)
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Hampstead-style.
Darling, Do You Love Me? (1968)
Germaine Greer gets amorous in this entertaining short by 60s graphic design mavens Martin Sharp and Bob Whittaker.
Beyond Image (1969)
Psychedelia without the illegal drugs.
Dance Festival (1969)
Join a ‘happening’ at Camden’s Roundhouse, a major site of hippy cool and the second home to the psychedelic underground club, UFO.
Size M (1970)
Tony Sinden’s short runs the gamut of pop art images from Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe to horror comics and porn.
Postal Delivery (1971)
The improbably-named Maark Faart stars in this high-octane, Pythonesque skit.
Solarflares Burn for You (1973)
Road movie or acid trip? Arthur Johns’ short throbs to a hypnotic soundtrack by Soft Machine’s Robert Wyatt.