Faber £9.99 (576pp) (free p&p) from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
When the Lights Went Out, By Andy Beckett
Friday 05 February 2010
Beckett was born ten days before the Seventies but his energetic account of that seedy decade will jump-start hazy memories for those who lived through it. Maplin may ring a distant bell, but what the hell was it? Beckett not only reminds us about the Heath government's failed plan for an estuarial airport for London but also visits a trial site built near Shoeburyness.
Ted Heath produced "a heavy mirthless laugh" when Beckett raised the topic. Sid Rawle pops up on page 250. Who? The self-styled "King of the Hippies" got government backing for a week-long pop festival (Hawkwind, Gong...) in Oxfordshire. Local MP Airey Neave led the opposition, but during the event "a stout, 59-year-old man with a Brylcreemed gentleman's club haircut" paid a visit. "Very orderly," said Neave.
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