Harrap Books published Young London: Permissive Paradise in 1969 It is a collection of mostly black and white photographs of London in the Swinging Sixties era. The evocative photos by Frank Habicht capture the essence of Swinging London, taking 7 months and 250 rolls of film to shoot. - British Book Seller Catalogue 1969 - the organ of the book trade.
Today, the book can sell for as much as US $800. The book was promoted by the song Permissive Paradise, which was pressed on a flexidisc and came with the book. The song was written and performed by The Iveys / Badfinger under the pseudo name Pleasure Garden.
Introductionary essay from ‘Young London: Permissive Paradise’ by Heather Cremonesi.
Our young pop revolution started in the very quarry of British life, ethics, traditions, and energy: in the working classes, the petite bourgeoisie, and the industrial North. Remember skiffle? Remember teddy boys? Remember ton-up boys? Remember mods and rockers? Remember that northern little band of slim, running jumping Beatles? It started as a great fistful of vigour and sap thrust through the socialist gloom of the kitchen-sink boys of the ‘fifties’, the Angry Young Men and the Brechtomanes just off rations.
So “roll over Beethoven and don’t step on my blue suede shoes” (Beatles’ iconcoclastic reference to the Rock of Elvis Ages)… The yeah-yeah generation of the ‘sixties has both created and been created by the new economic boom, by post-war affluence. This paradox is easily unraveled: this generation is a giant consumer by sheer dint of numbers (the post-war baby boom grown into teenagers and young working twenties), which have therefore created a need. In fact, it was originally the brain-child of an older generation of ‘rebels without causes’ of Angry Young Man vintage, The Dick Lesters, the John Michaels, the John Stephens, the Mary Quants, the Time-lifers, the record company boys of greying eminence. An amorphous generation did not suddenly shape up and cry, “We are! … we are swinging London”; their immediate elders initially promoted their image, while they themselves gave it real life and form. But this new-blast generation was ultimately responsible for creating its own image. It was the first generation ever to wrest the communications and propaganda media into its own hands (though not exclusively); witness Radio Caroline and disc jockeys such as Emperor Rosco, Dave Symonds, Jimmy Young, ad-men and journalists and TV personalities such as David Frost, who holds a job usually held by a man twice his age. The remaining, older media boys have jumped on the bandwagon and never tire of talking about ‘dolly girls’ and ‘mini-skirts’.
The new blasts were brought up in a term of educational and social upheaval in the early, stumbling years of the Welfare State. They were taught to think and be aware of the world around them with socially keen eyes. Parents whose youth was curtailed by the last war, and who in turn had bad parents who had also aged prematurely through the first one, brought youngsters up to a better world. Like all parents, they did not want the same deprivations to be visited upon their children. And they weren’t. As Satchmo says, “ a man wants a chance to give his kids a better life.” And this they have got. All things being equal, and all ages equal, the younger generation could have enjoyed their better world undisturbed had their fame/infamy not been created by precisely those channels that gave rise to their image and affluence – communications media. They had to fight that un-articulated prejudice that young people are not supposed to enjoy themselves, which springs not from ‘generations gap’ and ‘old men forget’ attitudes but from the fact that, till fairly recently, if young people were not habitually at war through need and near-historical custom, they were hard at work from their tenderest years. It also seems that many would have students behave like middle-aged parents rich in the weight of experience; the object to students’ new activism and political awareness (‘interference’).
But young people have always broken out of the chrysalis into adulthood with many a long and loud shout. We do not have to look far back to remind our patriarchs of their own lusty youths in the politically and socially boisterous and animated ‘twenties and thirties’. It was, after all, as a result of those angry and hungry militants that the Welfare State was born, relieving many problems but also cunningly preserving systems which the revolutionaries wished to obliterate. The new activists of London School of Economics and the New Universities are not only a product of a system created and condoned by their elders but also a continuation of that very fine vital British tradition of ‘stand up and be counted’ from Jack Straw and company on down the ages. If one wishes to look for precedents one need only glance at the manners and riotously active student life led be Renaissance students. The young generation is fiercely aware of the world it lives in, and it also gives vent to all the hopes and fears young people and old alike always will have: will we have a long and prosperous and happy life… we’ll jolly well see that we do, thank you. Nor is it that students mature younger now. Age means little. It is the society we change and not our blood and vitality.
“I’ll give you all I’ve got to give… tell me you want the kind of things that money just can’t buy” (Beatles). In any case the young revolution did not, as it rarely does, start in the universities. It came from the outside-in and was taken up by every single walk of British society. It came from the young people who have “a hard day’s night”, who have been “working like dogs”, from young workers. This is why Young London, Young Britain, has caused such a stir – because it earned enough and could afford all the records, clothes, jewellery, beads, Indian silks, kaftans, Greek shepherds’ coats, cigarettes and beer, discotheque prices and accessories that change constantly in a near-monthly fashion cycle. It has made a good many sharp youngsters rich – and a good many more elders. During the day these boys and girls work hard in factories, mills, restaurants, shops, offices, banks, hairdressers. They rush home to transform themselves into the wondrously attired magical-mystery tourists of life in London town, dancing themselves into the open-eyed dawns of another salaried day.