Leaving home: The 60s and getting out
The roots of this Sunday's Something Understood for Radio 4 are in one song - The Beatles' She's Leaving Home and one time: the 1960s. Over the course of the decade young people found greater opportunity through a huge growth in jobs and state funded education than ever before to break away from the old ways, though the stigmas of class, homosexuality, unmarried pregnancy and strong racial prejudice were still strong. Lynn Reids Bank's The L Shaped Room and Philip Larkin's heartbreaking Jill written in the late 1940s reminds us how deep seated such divides still were and the loneliness of the adolescent thrown into a new world. I'm also reminded of George Melly's lovely parody of Northerners heading to Swinging London, Smashing Time. There's a scene when Northern girls Rita Tushingham and Lynn Redgrave scan the clearly genuine ads in a newsagents window for flat shares. You'll see the one that specifies 'no coloureds'; a reminder of the reality beneath our selective celluloid memories.
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