Book Reviews Reviews

Connecting with the Swinging 60s

Written by Omair Alavi

It might seem like another dimension, but this book makes you relive the 1960s, with a smile!

It might seem like another dimension, but this book makes you relive the 1960s, with a smile!

What comes to mind when you think of the 1960s? Except for those who were born between 1960 and 1969, for the rest, it seems like the era of Black and White TV sets, Mini Coopers, and England becoming Football champions. However, Charlie Ellis’s’ You Know you’re a Child of the 1960s when … will make you realize that you had more in common with your ancestors than you can imagine.

The 1960s abroad were closer to the 1980s in Pakistan because, like the rest of the world (of the 1960s), we had one TV channel, we could walk home from school without any fear, and people used to play outside than inside. What this book tells the readers is that while many might think that the 1960s was some kind of alien time, it was not that much different from the era we had lived in, or are familiar with.

You Know you’re a Child of the 1960s when … is like the time machine from the movie Back to the Future with you being Marty McFly who drives into the past in a DeLorean at 88 miles per hour. The culture shock he received in that film is exactly how you will receive this book because it talks about the past as if it was the present. It tells those who weren’t born in the 1960s about the decade they missed, and the 1960-born about the decade they were lucky to grow up in.

The many hints about the past, the mention of important dates, and music albums are just the tip of the iceberg because this book covers more ground than you could imagine. It tells those who were alive in the 1960s about stuff they didn’t believe in like the strength and toughness of the Milky Bar Kid. It was the time when parents threatened to throw their out if they ever became a hippy or when man landed on the moon, literally.

If you remember the last moment as well as going to a friend’s house to watch TV, Bobby Moore lifting the football World Cup, or being influenced by the Beatles or Elvis, then thank your stars for being born in the swinging sixties. Otherwise, the more you read this book, the more you will blame your parents for bringing you into this world so late. After all, every house in the decade seemed to have a lava lamp, where every kid knew the difference between Dr. and Mr. Spock, and Christine Keeler stole youngsters’ hearts, besides government secrets.

The best thing about this book is that it sort of educates the non-1960s folks about the decade through Quizzes about music, scientific achievements of the era as well as sports knowledge, besides making the 1960s folk relive their youth. The worst part is that it’s too Britain-centric and revolves around the TV commercials that aired in England, shops that did well in London, and magazines that had a huge circulation in – as you may have guessed – Great Britain. That sort of breaks the tempo of the really fun stuff that is available on these pages and it would be great if the author takes note of it and includes non-British stuff to increase readership.

If you didn’t know who played the lead role in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, when was the modern-day tape recorder invented, or that the predecessor of the digital camera came into being in the 1960s, then you need to brush up your skills as a history student. It’s easy to remember that Dame Diana Rigg was one of the two leads in The Avengers, that Elizabeth Taylor played Cleopatra and that the one and only Spartacus was Kirk Douglas, but how about knowing what made Wimpy Bar unique, how much did a pair of Levi’s cost in the 1960s, and which film got the ‘mature audience’ certificate for the first time. If you don’t know that, then this book is the answer, otherwise, be prepared for the long speech from your elders.

The next time your grandfather or any of the parents (depending on your age!) recall something from their era, don’t dismiss them outrightly. As this book will tell you, they lived a life better than yours and know a thing or two about what you might consider your domain. If you are one of those parents or grandparents who look down on their kids, then relive your days through this book and you will understand what the youngsters might be going through. All in all, it’s a perfect book to give you company and transport you back in time without moving out of your chair. Enjoy!

About the author

Omair Alavi

Omair Alavi is a highly regarded journalist, critic, and commentator, specializing in news, sports, showbiz, film, blogs, articles, drama, reviews, and PTV drama. With extensive experience and a keen eye for storytelling, he captivates audiences with his insightful analysis and compelling presentations. His expertise and contributions have made him a prominent figure in the media and entertainment industry.