Swinging Britain, 1967


My thanks to Jay for turning up this gem from the huge British Pathé archive which recently landed at YouTube. British Pathé provided short newsreel films for UK cinemas up until 1970. The flaws of these films have always been immediately apparent, chiefly an irritating editorial attitude manifested by patronising voiceovers and sequences staged for the camera. On the plus side, everything was being shot for cinema screens so 35mm film was used which means the footage always looks better than the TV news of the time.

Swinging Britain is an 8-minute jaunt from the Portobello Road and Carnaby Street, to the offices of Intro magazine (launched that year), Mary Quant’s boutique, a “happening” in a park, and various nightclubs (not the UFO, unfortunately). Most footage along these lines tends to concentrate exclusively on London but this one also includes scenes in Manchester and Newcastle. The voiceover is as sceptical as you’d expect, leavened with a few qualifying remarks: “It’s good business for Britain!” The event in the park was one of a number of happenings and art events staged by Keith Albarn (Damon’s dad). The Pathé archive has another film showing the interior of Albarn’s Fun City environment at Margate, Kent. Of more general interest is this film of one of the popular beat groups of the period, four young men who call themselves The Pink Floyd.

See also:
Woburn Love-In (1967)
Light Fantastic (1968)
Out Takes / Cuts From Cp 662 – Reel 1 Of 3 – Swinging Britain (1967)
Out Takes / Cuts From Cp 662 – Reel 2 Of 3 – Swinging Britain (1967)
Out Takes / Cuts From Cp 662 – Reel 3 Of 3 – Swinging Britain (1967)
Out Takes / Cuts From Cp 719 – Fun Palace, Air Cushion And Balloon Race (1968)

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Weekend links 208


The Blue Girl (2013) by Sungwon.

• “Meanwhile, in her parents’ room [Max] Ernst painted aardvarks eating ants and big human hands around the windows. ‘Sexual connotations, I think,’ she says shyly.” Agnès Poirier talks to Cécile Eluard about her childhood among the Surrealists.

• “Thrilling and prophetic”: why film-maker Chris Marker‘s radical images influenced so many artists. Sukhdev Sandhu, William Gibson, Mark Romanek and Joanna Hogg on the elusive director.

• At Dangerous Minds: Throbbing Gristle live in Manchester in 1980, and Brian Butler talks about the rediscovered early print of Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising. There’s a trailer!

• From 1981: The Art of Fiction No. 69 at The Paris Review, an interview with Gabriel García Márquez. Related: Thomas Pynchon reviewed Love in the Time of Cholera in 1988.

• “Seven years ago, a stolen first edition of Borges’s early poems was returned to Argentina’s National Library. But was it the right copy?” Graciela Mochkofsky investigates.

• “What was Walter Benjamin doing with his shirt off in Ibiza?” Peter E. Gordon reviews Walter Benjamin: A Critical Life by Howard Eiland & Michael W. Jennings.

• A video by Marcel Weber for Måtinden, a track from Eric Holm’s Andøya album. Another album on the Subtext label that I helped design.

• More Ian Miller: Boing Boing has pages from his new book, The Art of Ian Miller, and there’s an interview at Sci-Fi-O-Rama.

Outrun Europa, a free compilation of 80s-style electronic music. There’s a lot more along those lines here.

• Praise Be! Favourite religious and spiritual records chose by writers at The Quietus.

Ralph Steadman illustrated Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 1973.

British Pathé is uploading 85,000 of its newsreel films to YouTube.

• Drawings by Lebbeus Woods at The Drawing Center, New York.

• At Pinterest: Ian Miller and Kenneth Anger.

Lucifer Sam (1967) by Pink Floyd | The Surrealist Waltz (1967) by Pearls Before Swine | Which Dreamed It (1968) by Boeing Duveen And The Beautiful Soup