Ready, Steady, Go!: Swinging London and the Invention of Cool Hardcover – 2 Sep 2002
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Reviews for Rat Pack Confidential:
• ‘Scotch-on-the-rocks cool’ Loaded
• ‘A compulsive account of five men with America in their pockets – and the money, power and sense to bleed every last moment of fun out of it. An immense book.’ FHM
From the Back Cover
'David Bailey', The Snapper
'Terence Stamp', The Dreamer
'Brian Epstein', The Loner
'Mary Quant', The Draper
'Vidal Sassoon', The Crimper
'Mick Jagger', The Chameleon
'Robert Fraser', The Blue Blood
For a few years in the 1960's, London was the coolest city on earth: a spontaneous, dizzying stew of pop music, fashion, film, scandal, drugs & sex, crime, the avant-garde underground and the tabloid obsession with fame. The rest of the world watched in awe.
Snaking through the scene were the characters that made the city: gangsters, comedian, actors, journalists, pop bands, film makers, art dealers and models. For a few, brief years thanks to a combination of talent, luck, timing and geography, they dominated the world scene like nothing before. London was buzzing.
'Ready, Steady, Go!' recreates the whole show and contrasts a series of emblematic lives with the great events that shaped the time. Shawn Levy, author of 'Rat Pack Confidential', shows how the city re-invented cool and then seemed to lose its swing altogether.
Praise for 'Rat Pack Confidential':
"A compulsive account of five men with America in their pockets – and the money, power and sense to bleed every last moment of fun out of it. An immense book."
"A delight. A wonderful slice of popular cultural history."
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Top Customer Reviews
His taste is spot on, recognizing that certain faces from the 60s so famous now were almost irrelevant at the time (the blackballing of Twiggy by the most famous society photographers as she wouldnt sleep with them, for example, and rightly, no mention of the irritating Lulu at all). He correctly identifies the main movers and shakers and deftly dissects their worth or lack of worth. Most importantly, he gives a wonderful account of the zeitgeist's downfall into drug-addled navel gazing.
Levy actually understands what "cool" is- preening, vulgar, nrcissistic and beautiful. Don't read this as history or even as a cultural study; its more a series of potted intertwined biographies, a few people who ran British culture for a short period and breifly made us the coolest thing in the world.
As the opening chapter tells readers, 1950s London was the uncoolest city in the world -- the US was booming with rock'n'roll and teen rebellion, while Italy and France were sophistications zones. All that changed in a few years, with the introduction of new kinds of everything: shocking new fashions, sexual habits, hairstyles, music, and a subculture of excited sophistication and (allegedly) classless communication.
Among the new royalty: models, photographer David Bailey, stylist Vidal Sassoon, designer Mary Quant actors such as Terence Stamp and Michael Caine, the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, their managers, and a wide sprinkling of others -- Marianne Faithfull, Twiggy, and a bunch of "in" bluebloods. But like any era, it didn't last -- its own popularity drowned it, as drugs, death and the psychedelic fashions took over.
Charting an entire cultural era is pretty difficult, without making it boring or turgid. But Shawn Levy succeeds with "Ready Steady Go!", outlining how this colorful -- and still influential -- period began, how it flourished, and how it lost its relevance as time went on.
Levy writes in a crisp, easygoing style that makes it remarkably easy reading, especially since he's tracing a dozen different stories at once, while charting how the "Swinging London" scene metamorphosed over time.Read more ›
Few books that touch the subject give the reader the full picture and intriguing cast of characters whose impact on all aspects of popular culture we still feel today. This book sets out to change that, and if it wasn't for Barry Miles' excellent "In the Sixties" book, then this would be the one to read. In fact, the author relies on Miles for a lot of his anecdotes, quotes and key-players. Both the aforementioned Miles book and his book on Paul McCartney, "Many Years from Now", have obviously been read studiously by Levy.
However, what makes this book worth reading is the truly full scope of the London scene, from start to finish, that a memoir and biography couldn't fully achieve.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a Christmas present for my Grandson. I had it given to me as a present and it brought back memories of wonderful times of my youth so I wanted him to have a copy. Read morePublished on 9 Jan. 2013 by B double
Journalist-speak by someone paid to churn out factoids established by other hacks, borrowed from other hacks etc. Read morePublished on 12 Jan. 2009 by D. B. Tootill
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