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- ♪ And when he does his little rounds ♪ ♪'Round the boutiques of London Town ♪ ♪ Eagerly pursuing all the latest fads and trends ♪ ♪ 'Cause he's a dedicated follower of fashion ♪ ♪ Oh yes, he is, oh yes, he is ♪ ♪ Oh yes, he is, oh yes, he is ♪ ♪ Thinks he is a flower to be looked at.

♪ Hi everyone.

Welcome back to our lessons on the Sixties with me, Mr. Wallace.

Now over the last five lessons, we've gone through quite a lot of detail on the Sixties.

We've explored the stereotype of the swinging Sixties.

We've looked through the reality of life for people in different parts of the country, including those who lived in poverty.

We've looked at the experiences of migrant groups that came to this country as well.

And over that time, we've built an image of the Sixties, which is more complicated than the stereotype of the swinging Sixties would suggest.

Now, the song you just heard, I chose for a very specific reason.

And one of the stereotypes of the Sixties is this idea of fashion changes.

And when people think of the Sixties, they will often think of pictures like this.

I've shown you this one before.

Let me just minimise myself.

Now he was just singing, the lead singer of The Kinks, a brilliant band from the Sixties, was just singing about a dedicated follower of fashion.

And every chance is he was talking about someone like the person I've just put an arrow towards, but he's not talking about that sort of person in a positive, supportive way.

It's mocking.

It's sending them up a little bit because The Kinks were a band that didn't necessarily conform to the usual stereotypes.

A lot of bands at the time didn't, and their view clearly is different from someone like his, the stereotype of the Swinging Sixties may have been about new types of fashion, and new types of art, and new types of culture and so on.

But quite clearly, if we were to just go back a little bit, this band, were not in support of it.

So we even from the very start, even going right back to the 1960s, there were people who didn't truly buy into the stereotype.

There were people who thought that it was a little bit simplistic.

They're mocking these followers of fashion, the ones who need to have the latest trends, who need to be seen, who need to kind of wear all the latest clothes, just because they want to look cool.

This song takes the mick out of that.

So clearly, it's more complicated than the Swinging Sixties suggests.

Not everyone wanted to be a clotheshorse, not everyone wanted to wear the latest clothes or listen to the latest music, or buy the coolest art and so on.

And yet there is this stereotype that many of us would have today.

Now, I don't think it's a stereotype that you would have because if you've got to Lesson Six, you're smart enough to realise there is no such thing as a single story of the Sixties.

And yet the Swinging Sixties myth is still there.

So the question today then is, did the Sixties swing? And we're going to look at two arguments, and you're going to use all of your knowledge to pick them apart and see which one you agree with the most.

Before we do so, make sure you've got yourself a pen, make sure you've got yourself something to write on, and you've got a hassle-free distraction-free environment so we can get started.

When you're ready, we'll start.

Let's go.

Alright, let's start straight with this question then.

Did the Sixties swing? Yes or no.

So we don't really need to know anything more at this point.

I mean, we could, ideally, if we had 10, 20 lessons, we would go into a lot more detail, but we can already answer this question based on the knowledge you have already.

And down the right hand side here, you can see a series of prompts to make you think.

Let me just get my pointer.

Here we go.

You can see a series of prompts to help you think.

And I would like you to put a table, to draw a table on your paper or in your book.

And I would like you to try and come up with as many points to argue that yes, the Sixties did swing, the stereotype, the traditional view of the Sixties, what was swinging about it? And no, the Sixties didn't swing.

I want you to build up this knowledge first.

Let's retrieve it from the backs of your minds to the front, because we're going to be using it today.


If you've gone through the last few lessons, which I can only presume you have, if you're here on Lesson Six, then you have a little bit of knowledge of the Sixties already.

So let's start this lesson with that.

Fill out this table, pause the video, and then we'll see if you've got the same sort of points that I've got, okay.

? Pause the video here already, fill out your table.


If you're coming back, then you should have at least a bullet point or two on each side.

So let's see what I've got, and if there are any points that I have that you don't, make sure you write them down, so you've got a complete version of this by the time we finish.

Don't worry if yours is worded differently, they don't have to be word for word the same, but do include any ones that you missed.

So evidence that the Sixties did swing.

Yes: new fashion broke traditions and was liberating, such as the mini skirt.

That was the whole point of what Mary Quant was trying to do, to give young people their own identity, to break away from the traditions of the past.

Bands like The Beatles and the Rolling Stones changed music forever and still influence musicians today.

Music, fashion, and art still influence our culture today.

And wages rose and living standards improved across the country.

There were new cars, new holidays, new technology, and so on.

So all of this would suggest that the Swinging Sixties did happen, okay? This would be the supporting evidence.

What about no? Well, millions still lived in poverty going back into the 1970s, and there was a lack of plumbing.

There was still millions of people who didn't even have indoor toilets or hot water.

Fewer than in 1960, sure, but there were still some.

Race Relations Acts were needed to protect migrants and black British people in the face of racism, because they were often denied service in shops or housing or jobs.

So you could argue that Sixties clearly were not swinging for them, if they needed laws to make sure that they were treated equally.

Many benefits of the Sixties only enjoyed by middle classes, such as better cars and foreign holidays.

So it's all well and good saying, okay, we're going to have holidays to Spain, or we now have new cars, but only a small percentage of the population could really afford those holidays to Spain.

And cultural changes didn't help real lives.

Again, it's one thing to have new music and fashion.

But if you're worried about getting some hot water and keeping the electricity running, then does that really matter? So this evidence which suggests that actually no, the Sixties did not swing.

Now, there are clearly persuasive points on both sides.

Now we're going to use this knowledge to pick apart two different points of views on the Sixties.

And we call these points of views "interpretations." And it's really important to understand what an interpretation is in history.

The chances are, you may have done this with your teacher already.

You may have looked at different interpretations, for example, I know in my school I teach interpretations of King John in year seven.

We teach interpretations of the British empire in year nine.

So you may well have already encountered this, but if you haven't, don't worry.

So what is an interpretation? Well, people are curious about the past, not just historians, all of us tend to think about the past in some way, whether we realise it or not.

We encounter it in pop culture.

We talk to our family members about it.

We might watch a film here and there.

We tend to have a curiosity.

Different historians, writers, artists, et cetera, might have a different focus.

They might use different evidence.

They might write at a different time.

And this leads them to coming up with different interpretations of the past.

So a historian writing about World War One in the 1920s, just after it happened and a historian writing about World War One in the 1990s, 80 years after it happened, they use different evidence.

They might have different values.

So whilst they're studying the same thing, they might interpret World War One in different ways.

Now interpretations are always made after the event, not at the time.

We interpret the past after it happened.

And they're always based on evidence, it's not just an opinion you have.

This isn't one of those "all opinions are valid" things.

That's a bit of a mistake, anyway.

Opinions in history have to be supported by evidence.

Otherwise it doesn't really matter.

If you can't base your interpretation on evidence, then it's not really an interpretation.

So let's have a couple of quick checks to make sure we understand this.

Are interpretations only made by historians? So I'm going to give you a few seconds and count you down.

True or false? Interpretations are only made by historians.

Five, four, three, two, one.


Historians are often a very good source of interpretations.

They may have studied more, but all sorts of people interpret the past.

Someone who makes a film about the past, someone who writes a book about the past that's fictional, somebody paints a painting of the Middle Ages.

They're all interpreting the past in slightly different ways.

You don't have to be a historian to do that, Which of the following would be an interpretation of the Sixties? So photographs that were taken by someone in 1966, a diary that someone wrote every day during the Sixties, or a book written by a historian who has looked through lots of evidence from the Sixties, which one of these three things would be an interpretation? Five, four, three, two, one.

The book written by the historian because it's afterwards.

This is someone who's looking through evidence.

These two things took place at the time.

Photographs, that's not an interpretation, that's real evidence, A diary that someone wrote up, you know, someone's thoughts and feelings at the time, again, that's brilliant evidence.

The historian may have used those two things, but is doing that after the events.

And lastly, can a film that is set in the Sixties be an interpretation? Five, four, three, two, one.


It doesn't always mean it's a good interpretation.

And there may well be cases where a film can give us a misleading impression of the Sixties, that it could be simplified.

We've talked in our previous lessons about films, such as Austin Powers.

That is an interpretation of the Sixties, but I wouldn't use it to learn about the Sixties.

It is one view, but other things might be better, that doesn't mean it's not useful.

Now, Christopher Fowler and Dee Gordon, you can see their two pictures here, are both writers who grew up in the Sixties.

They both have personal experience, but they have a different point of view about what the Sixties really were.

So we're going to go through the following.

How are they different? What evidence has led them to these different views? And then one big question at the end, which we'll get to at the end of this lesson.

Now this is Christopher Fowler's view of the Sixties.

He wrote an article called, "Why the 60s didn't really swing." I'm going to read through this.

And then we're going to see what his argument is.

What is his interpretation? So listen and read along as I read through this.

"London's swingers were a privileged group of bright, young things who had cash to splash in the early sixties.

Most of them knew each other and the times had little impact on the rest of the country.

While the swingers included stars of screen design and fashion, it didn't apply to ordinary working people.

It did however, have a beneficial economic effect by selling 'Britishness' as a product and creating the tourist market.

But was it really cool? Yes, if you were among the handful of people within its golden circle." So what is Christopher Fowler arguing here? There's three options on the screen.

I'm going to read through them and I want you to see which one is the best summary of Fowler's interpretation.


A- Fowler is arguing that the Sixties did not swing for everyone.

Fowler states that the people who inspired it had little impact on the rest of the country, and so really reflect just a small privileged group.

Is that what you say? B- Fowler argues that the Sixties swung, but it took time to reach the rest of the country, and so the stereotype is not really true.

Or is it C- Fowler is arguing that the sixties didn't swing, and the whole thing is a myth created by the media.

Pause the video here, and note down A, B, or C, which one you think is the best summary of his argument.

Now, if you obviously want to go back and read through, you can do so, as well.

Okay, so A, B, or C? A- Fowler was arguing that the Sixties did not swing for everyone.

Fowler states that the people who inspired it had little impact on the rest of the country, and so really reflect just a small privileged group.

And I've added a little bit more here.

Fowler goes further and states that the idea of the Swinging Sixties is more about money, and that is like a brand where 'Britishness' could be sold.

This suggests that the stereotype is largely manufactured and wasn't really experienced by most people.

So this is the idea of the Sixties, more as kind of a pop culture element, that the media made Britishness and all of this core Britannia, 1960s stuff, that the media helped create it, it made Britain interesting, it made Britain cool, and it didn't actually affect that many people, just a few people in London who already had a lot of money.

So that's his point of view.

What about Dee Fowler? Sorry, Dee Gordon.

She wrote a book called "The Little Book of the 60s" and wrote this article about the Sixties.

"If you were not a teenager in the 60s, then the chances are that they did not swing too much for you.

However, the working class started to have a voice on screen and in literature; and teenagers like me found there were plenty of jobs available.

We had our own clothes for the first time, no longer hankering to dress like our parents.

We had our own music around dances and dance halls, our own language and our own voice.

Living in East London at the time, it was only 20 minutes on the tube to Carnaby Street, rather longer to Kensington, but worth the trip even if you didn't buy anything just to people watch.

Young men had discovered colourful clothes for the first time and the girls' micro skirts and haircuts were a source of fascination.

So what's her argument? A- Gordon is arguing that the 60s did swing across society because of the impact of new music, fashion, and lifestyles.

B- Gordon is arguing that the 60s did swing, but mainly for teenagers, who felt like they had their own lives and culture that were different to their parents.

Or C- Gordon is arguing that the 60s didn't swing, because despite the new music, fashion, and art, there were still problems in society.

Again, I'm just going to pause the video, and if you want to rewind and quickly reread through, that's great, but write down A, B or C.

What is Dee Gordon's argument? Okay.

So what's she saying? B.

Gordon is arguing that the 60s did swing, but mainly for teenagers who felt like they had their own lives and culture that was different to their parents.

And again, I've added a little bit.

Gordon also argues that these changes were reflected across society, including the working classes who now 'had a voice on screen and in literature'.

So these two individuals who both experienced the Sixties have come to different points of view about it.

At the top you've got here, "It didn't really swing." And I've summarised this.

This is my summary here, okay? Fowler says it didn't really swing.

It was just a small group of rich kids who had little impact.

It's mainly a 'brand' of what Britain was like.

And Gordon says it did swing for teenagers.

The changes were important and showed they were different from their parents with new art and culture that was their own.

So they've come to different interpretations of the past.

Okay? The question is then, why? Now what reasons can you think of why these two writers might come to different interpretations of the Sixties? Have a think, pause the video and try and bullet-point any reasons that you can think why these two people who grew up at the same time have come to two different views about what the Sixties were like.

Pause the video here and bullet-point any ideas you can think of.

So what have you got? Now I'm going to go through a couple of examples here, and I want you to write them down as I do.

And if there's any you've already got, that's fantastic.

But if there's any that I put down that you haven't, then make sure you copy them.

Okay? So there are several reasons, and I'm going to give you four.

You could say that they're writing at different times.

We're talking about historians in general, but we'll try and apply these to Fowler and Gordon.

People come to different interpretations.

They might be writing at different times.

One of them might have written theirs before the other.

One of them might be written, have written theirs at a time when the Sixties were very much in fashion.

So the time that they're writing might influence them.

They might be asking different questions.

So if they're asking different questions about the Sixties, they might come to different answers.

So they might not be focusing on exactly the same things.

They might be using different evidence.

So they might be studying different documents, talking to different people.

They might have experienced different things themselves.

So the evidence that they're basing their interpretations on is different.

Or they might have different values or attitudes.

So their own mindset, the way that they think might be different, their attitude, and what they think is acceptable or what they think is good for say, working class people, that might be different.

Now we, without talking to these two people, without knowing about them much more deeply, we don't know 100% which one of these would best apply.

And we're going to focus on this one, because this is the one that we do have knowledge to apply.

We might be able to look at their two arguments and think about the types of evidence that they've used to base their arguments on.

Now, other historians, it might be, that other reasons would explain their differences, but we're going to focus on this one.

And when it comes to using interpretations in history, if you know your topic, if you know your stuff, this is a very, very good way to highlight their differences because they're using different evidence.

Now, this is where I want you to really try and think and use the knowledge all the way back at the start here.

You get a table, go all the way back here.

You get a table with yes, the Sixties did swing and no, the Sixties didn't.

You brought all of this knowledge from the last few lessons to the front of your mind.

You retrieved it, that's there to be used.

It's at your fingertips.

Now I want you to use it.

So, with that in mind, I want you to use that knowledge to try and explain why Fowler might have said what he said, and why Gordon might have said what she said.

So what type of evidence would make him think that it didn't really swing? What type of evidence might have made him say, "It's more of a brand, that it's a small group of rich kids." And what type of evidence might have said, made her think it did swing for teenagers? So they had their own identity that was different from their parents'.

And if you pause here, and if you move forward to the worksheet, all of this is included on that, so you can read through their interpretations and the summaries, and you've got these sentence starters to help you.

But I want you to write this out.

"Fowler may have used sources such as.

." and what type of sources, what type of evidence from the Sixties would support his point of view and how does it support it? This makes him think of the Sixties in this way because: This helps him come to his interpretation because: And then do the same for Gordon.

When you're done, pop back and we'll check through and compare.

We can kind of see whether the sort of evidence that you've chosen is the same as the sort of evidence that I've chosen.

All right.

Are we good? Well, let's do them one at a time.

So Fowler, this is what I said.

"Fowler may have used sources such as accounts from people who experienced difficulties in the Sixties.

This might include women or migrants who continue to be discriminated against, or those who lived outside of London or in poverty, and so did not really experience new art and culture." So his whole point is that it was only a privileged few people in London who got this, the ordinary people didn't really experience the myth, the 'brand' of the Sixties.

And if you're talking to people who were discriminated against, such as people who had racial discrimination or sexism or people who lived in poverty, well, they're not going to necessarily think quite so fondly about all this new music and art, because they've got bigger problems to deal with.

So he may, we don't know, but he may have used sources such as those, the accounts from these people.

But what about Gordon? "Gordon may have used sources, such as the experiences of teenagers and middle-class people who had access to new fashion and culture.

She may also have used more sources from popular culture, relying on changes in things like music and art to form her interpretation and not the experiences of people in other parts of society." So whilst he is talking, may have talked to people who experienced hardships and prejudice, she might have spoken to more people who were young, who are the focuses of this pop culture, who are the people who the music and the art and the fashion was targeted at, the young people.

This was supposed to be a new generation who were breaking away from their parents.

It may well have been that she's consulted their memories, their diaries, et cetera.

And so her changes, her interpretation is more about the changes in their lives than anybody else.

Now it's not necessarily saying that either of them are wrong, they focus on slightly different things.

They focused on the experiences of different groups and they come to different points of view about what the Sixties were really about.

And as I said earlier, an interpretation is always based on evidence.

These aren't just opinions.

They're based on something.

Now this is our big question: Which interpretation do you think is more accurate in its view of the Sixties? And at this point, this is where you can put together all of your knowledge, all of the preparation, the summaries, your evaluations of them, and put together your own point of view.

In your point of view, in your assessment, which interpretation is more persuasive? Which is more accurate, based on all of the evidence? And I've given you a writing frame here to help you, but you don't have to use this, but this will help you do it in a balanced way.

On the one hand, Fowler's interpretation is persuasive.

He argues this.

What's the evidence? What else does he claim? What else is the evidence? So you're picking parts that the historian say and evaluating them.

Where are they accurate? Where are they not accurate? Where Fowler has said something, you could pick it apart and say, "Well, actually I disagree." And then, "On the other hand, Gordon also puts forward an interesting view.

Her argument is this.

." and where's the evidence? And you might do the same for her as well.

You might look at something she said and say, "Well, actually, that's not true.

I disagree.

Where she says this, the evidence disagrees because X, Y, and Z." And in conclusion, which interpretation do you think is best supported by the evidence? Which do you think is more accurate? Now, I don't have an answer for you here.

Okay, this is a long question.

This is a big question, but I would love to see what you have to write.

And we'll talk about getting that over to us at the end, but this is the sort of thing that you could really use to show off your knowledge, to show that you understand how historians put their questions together, that you really understand the Sixties, 'cause you can use your knowledge to pick apart what they said.

Here's where they're right.

Here's where they're wrong.

Here's where they maybe overemphasised the impact on teenagers and underemphasized the impact on poor people, et cetera.

This is where you could use your knowledge to really show what you've learned in this unit.

Now, if you want to get on with that now, put a pause screen here, so you can start working on that and come back.

But I don't have an answer to show you, so there's nothing to compare.

What would be good would be to then, to send this to your teacher and to send it to us here at Oak National, and I'll show you how to do that at the end.

So to get on with the essay, pause the video here and come back when you're ready to finish our unit.

Are you ready to finish everything off? So what kind of stories can be told about the Sixties? This has been our question throughout, and I think one of the things that we've realised is there are multiple stories.

There is no one story.

You could tell a simple story, but it wouldn't be a hundred percent accurate.

You could tell diverse stories.

That's the sort of things that you'll get from historians, or from people from different backgrounds.

Are you going to tell a story that's based on evidence or are you going to base it on stereotype? There is always more than one story to be told and it's worth realising this, not just for a decade like the Sixties, but for people, for periods of history, for nations, there is more than one story about the past.

And it depends on your evidence, depends on, you know, whether you're listening to different groups of people.

Are you listening to the voices of people who would maybe usually be ignored? Are you reaching out beyond the stereotype, beyond the traditional story? History is complicated and that's a good thing.

Simple stories don't really tell the truth.

This is one story.

It's a valid story, but it's not the only story.

This is another one, the Windrush generation and these thousands and hundreds of thousands of people who made such an enormous contribution to this country and experienced difficulties.

And this is another story of someone who moved to this country and built success.

And this is maybe a hidden story of poverty that is throughout the country, that exists throughout the country, even when there is prosperity and success and culture.

There is more than one story of the past.

Now at this point, I want to see your work because this type of topic and the type of question that you've answered today is complex, it's hard.

And if you've worked your way through that, that's amazingly impressive.

This is something that I spend a lot of time with my students trying to do, and I know that it's difficult and I know it takes practise.

So if you're finding it challenging, speak to your teacher, email them, send them a message, talk to them if you can.

They will be able to give you some guidance on how to use those interpretations, how to use evidence.

And I really, really want to see what you've got to show for it.

We've gone through six lessons here and you've built up a complex, nuanced, really well-developed understanding of the Sixties.

So if you'd like to, ask your parent or carer to share your work on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, tagging Oak National and the hashtag LearnwithOak.

I've had a really great time going through the Sixties with you.

I hope you've enjoyed learning more about it and I hope you're a little bit more aware of the complexity of history.

And I hope I'll see you again in another unit.


Thank you for your time and thank you for your hard work.