Sixties Sex Wasn't That Radical

The Evening Standard (London, England), June 24, 2005 | Go to article overview

Sixties Sex Wasn't That Radical


NOWADAYS there is a tendency for people to over-egg the Sixties sexual revolution (The beginning of sex, 22 June).

Perhaps I'm not typical of my Sixties contemporaries - not only do I remember the decade clearly, but I thought there was quite a lot wrong with it, even then.

I was, however, the first hippy in Surbiton, with my poncho fashioned from an old army blanket.

Novelist Howard Jacobson's analysis of sexual mores is right, in a way: couples were terrified of the girl getting pregnant.

But romance wasn't a pre-requisite of some fabulous explorations under sweaters in cinemas. There were some more adventurous encounters in the bedroom, and not much regret that caution and mutual respect made them stop short of penetration.

By mid-decade, enough girls and women had liked me enough to make me almost experienced - and it was their own free choice.

Where's the surprise? We were the children of two generations of increasingly liberated parents.

My own grandmother was married three times before she or the 20th century were 40 years old.

So when a coterie of Sixties London women decided women needed liberation, like slaves or Latin American peasants, I was inclined to think it was they who needed freeing, from radical hogwash imported from the Left Bank and Los Angeles.

Richard D North, SW1.

*ROSIE Boycott argues that no one better embodies the Sixties spirit of togetherness and radical change than Bob Geldof and his Make Poverty History campaign, "beamed to the world via the global media".

If Geldof is a social revolutionary, what is he doing with Live8? It seems to me that starvation, lack of medical care, housing and drinkable water have become a pretext for celebrating these "generous" artistes. Instead of sitting in front of 100,000 people, explaining to them why there is so much suffering in the world and crying together, they'll just be singing and dancing on stage.

They will be admired by billions around the world who can afford a TV set, but what pleasure will they give the thousands dying of hunger during the concerts?

Now Geldof has the idea of inviting the Pope for a speech, so not only will he celebrate poverty, but also the millions of unwanted children born every year who die before their time.

Decades of aid-giving proves that the irrational demand that rich countries pour more money into the Third World doesn't work, because of the way our economic system is conceived, and the fact we live in a militarised world.

Half a million scientists in the US alone work on weapon research. Weapons must be used, to keep the trade going.

If Geldof, Madonna et al have any so-called Sixties spirit in them, they should ask the G8 Summit to abolish weapon research and trade, then rid the world of banks whose success depends on loans for weaponry, so our scientists can develop products that will prolong people's lives, not shorten them. …

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