In my late 40s, and born and bred in Islington, "The London Nobody Knows" has been one of the best purchases I have made for a long time. Naturally, the scenes shot in Chapel Market brought back many a memory, some wonderful and some not quite so good.
Being a child when this was made (1967), my views of the era are somewhat halcyon: playing outside, in the park, a simple life. What struck me more than anything about this superb documentary was the grinding poverty and squalor in which so many people still lived in the 1960s. Whilst this era went around the world as "the swinging 60s", fuelled by imagery of Carnaby Street and Kings Road, and Britain's dominance in the pop world, the reality for the overwhelming majority could not have been any different.
Scenes of meths drinkers brought memories flooding back of seeing these poor down and outs on the street, and made me wince when viewing them. Especially heartbreaking is the scene where James Mason interviews people in the Salvation Army hostel: 6 shillings for accomodation was a fortune in those days even for those at work.
Coupling this film with 'Les Bicyclettes de Belsize' is not at all incongruous, but a stroke of genius. In an instant, it contrasts the 'soft-focus' world view that many may have had about 'Swinging London' in the 1960s, with the reality that you have just witnessed in 'The London That Nobody Knows'.
This utter gem of a DVD should be in everyone's collection and, importantly, should be made mandatory viewing as part of the National Curriculum.
I would give this 10 stars if I could!!!