The Setting of Book 1
‘Book 1 – Beginnings’ starts in the year, 1972
Politics: The Prime Minister was Ted Heath. The 70s is probably best remembered for the rising power of the trade unions and national strikes which led to frequent power cuts. It was also an era characterised by decimalization and by high inflation; worst of all, this was the year when the troubles in Northern Ireland began and the first IRA car bomb attack on an army barracks in Aldershot.
Fashion: The decade began with a continuation of the hippie look from the 1960s, where flared jeans and tie-dye shirts were still popular, as were cat suits, hot pants and peasant smocks. Young people wore their hair long and a little later on the afro was popular. By 1972 we were well into the glam rock craze, inspired by pop icons such as David Bowie which led to an explosion of lurex halter tops, flared satin trousers, platform shoes and mini skirts.
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Music: One of the most prominent icons of the pop scene was David Bowie. Popular bands around at this time included Queen, T-Rex, Slade and the Rolling Stones. By 1972 the Beatles had split up and for me, one of the most memorable songs was ‘Horse with No Name’ by America, which hit the top of the charts in March of that year. The music scene was not just confined to the charts – a few music festivals took place, but the one I chose to feature in this book was the Wheeley Festival which took place in the summer of 1971 in Essex, headlined by T-Rex along with Lindisfarne, the two musical influences which were likened to the sound of my fictitious band ‘Free Spirit’ as highlighted in an artlcle in NME magazine, the main music journal which has also been featured in this book.
Inspiration: I feel I owe much of my inspiration to the work of photographer Ian Berry whose exhibition ‘This is Whitechapel’ opened my eyes to life in the East End in the year 1972. East London has of course, changed a great deal since then – but in the context of my story, I was immersed in a completely different setting where the area was characterised by high brick walls, dark tunnels and alleyways – where people were destitute and it became the hub of the criminal underworld.
Pictures above Left – Right: One of the inspirational photos of Ian Berry of a homeless man; mounted police in London 1970s; and typical high rise blocks of flats, recently photographed in East London (click to enlarge).