Historical accounts, biographies and documentaries about the ’60s are always of interest to me for their high CP-reference potential.
My post entitled Corner time for Bunnygirls described one example from this decade of permissiveness and traditional discipline existing side by side. This culture clash was evident not just in work places, where women were now more likely to be found than ever before, but also in schools, where girls were staying in education for longer than ever before.
In the book The Corporal Punishment of Schoolgirls, Margaret Stone analysed a Midlands girls school punishment book and found that:
Between 1961 and 1966 there is a definite revival of caning, particularly in the last four years of the period. Not only do canings increase dramatically in frequency, but the severity also increases to a surprising degree. Altogether there are 39 canings – more than in the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s put together.
She then goes on to consider the kinds of offences for which girls are caned and concludes:
A picture emerges of a generation in which the worst elements are louder, rougher, and more unpleasant than ever before and those in authority have not yet abdicated the responsibility of doing something about it. Is it too fanciful to see in the punishment record of this one school in the 1960s the image of a world balanced on a knife-edge? The forces of degeneracy were still being met by a strong counter-reaction. In the Punishment Book we see a reflection of one small theatre of that war.
In countless homes too, up and down the country the same battle was being fought, with similar consequences for the bottoms of young ladies.
The new autobiography of Keith Allen, the comedian and father of pop star Lily Allen, may seem an unlikely source for a female CP reference, but writing about his sister Susan, he describes how one night in 1964, she came home an hour late much to her father’s displeasure. He asks where she has been, and she replies that she was at a friend’s house doing her homework. Allen writes:
For most teenagers, being alive in what became known as the swinging sixties, was an unforgettable collage of musical and cultural influences that would shape both the individual and the latter part of the 20th Century. For Susan, the notion of homework had long since gone out of the window.
In other words, her father knew that this was a ridiculous excuse because she never did homework. We are then told that the next morning the father was subdued because the rest of the family felt he had been too hard on Susan in trying to extract the truth about her whereabouts. And that Susan herself was also quiet because ‘She had a sore arse, and wouldn’t be hanging out with biker boys and smoking for at least a fortnight.’
That’s the sixties for you. It’s forty years since the release of the Sergeant Pepper album, and the world has moved on. But when you see old footage of girls screaming at Beatles concerts, or mini-skirted dollies dancing in discos, spare a thought for the ones that, inevitably, were nursing a ‘sore arse’ the following morning.
The picture shows a spanking scene with a very retro-sixties feel to it from the art house film Plotnick. I think this couple probably preferred The Kinks to The Beatles (Ho ho).