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There’s a youthquake coming The icy lockdown of 1963 caused a cultural revolution

The intense winter of 1963 froze life for young people. Credit: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The intense winter of 1963 froze life for young people. Credit: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images


March 11, 2021   6 mins

When the snow began to fall on England’s leaden landscape on Boxing Day 1962, the thrill of the Christmas holidays felt complete. Fierce winds sweeping across Europe from Siberia brought the icy weather, whiting over the countryside fields and the city streets, leaving them glittering. Children and adults of all ages were entranced. But not for long.

Over the following ten weeks barely a day elapsed without snow falling and freezing and falling, bringing with it an unexpected, extended and for some unwelcome suspension of ordinary lives. Vast drifts, sometimes wind-whipped to the height of four grown men, wreaked havoc with transport: roads became impassable, train tracks iced over, airports proved unusable with up to a foot of snow burying the Gatwick runways. Farmers tried desperately to save their starving animals as well as their livelihoods. Dartmoor sheep became unreachable, lost in snowy hillocks and turning cannibalistic. Supermarkets ran out of supplies, villages were cut off, pubs remained silent and whole communities found themselves locked in.

The relentlessness of the weather — and not knowing when its restrictions would end — had a debilitating effect on national morale. The young, in particular, grew restless as the winter dragged on; as any parent who waved a teenager off to school on Monday can tell you, they’re not made to sit indoors for weeks on end. In 1962, young people’s nascent dissatisfaction with the old way of doing things began to accelerate towards what, two years later, the American writer and style-setter Diana Vreeland termed a “youthquake”.

By this point, a Conservative government had been in place for 12 years, led since 1957 by Harold Macmillan — a distinguished veteran of both world wars. His Edwardian-moustachioed, tweedy image contrasted powerfully and not inspirationally with the youth and glamour of President Kennedy on the other side of the Atlantic. Meanwhile the UK was creaking with centuries-old prejudices concerning class, race, religion and sexual choice. With nothing else to do that frozen winter — with time to envision an escape route from convention — the new generation decided things had to change.

Just as the current pandemic has fermented movements led by young people — from the “ditch the algorithm” protests to the BLM marches — so the silence of the winter of 1962-3 lit a fire under causes for social justice. And just as current technology has enabled an ingenious explosion of creativity — from web-based campaigning to socially-distanced theatrical productions, not to mention pioneering methods of screen-based education — so the youthful, innovative, enquiring media of the early 1960s inspired its cooped-up audiences.

Satire, for instance, boomed. In the student-blotting-paper pages of Private Eye — which had been founded the year before by Peter Cook and a bunch of his young, clever friends — a new generation of bright young things took aim at the establishment. And while Private Eye provided an alternative to the conventional, buttoned-up, libel-fearing press, television also reached out to a newly captive audience reluctant or unable to brave the snowy conditions outside. Presented by 23-year-old Cambridge graduate David Frost, That Was the Week That Was launched in December 1962 on the BBC. The live satirical programme, a quasi-forerunner of Have I Got News For You, regularly attracted 12 million viewers, targeting the sacred trinity of Church, Monarchy and Government.

The satire boom fed off the rumours that had been drifting through the previous months, but gathered momentum that winter, surrounding one of Harold Macmillan’s ministers. John Profumo MP, the Minister for War, was said to have slept with Christine Keeler, a 19-year-old model, who in turn was suspected of sleeping with a Russian naval attachĂ©, who had passed on cabinet secrets to his own government. Tangled up with these allegations were stories about Keeler’s friends, whose suspected drug-dealing, gun-toting criminality only enhanced the drama, and whose portrayal by the media often buttressed racist stereotypes. As the scrutiny of the alternative media — buoyed by its surge in popularity among a captive audience — crept ever closer, Profumo’s denials of the rumours became ever more implausible, until the truth finally exploded in the House of Commons in the summer of 1963.

Less titillating was the death of Sylvia Plath, in February 1963, when it felt as if the ice would never melt. The challenges of the miserable weather exacerbated the despair of the 30-year-old poet, whose marriage to Ted Hughes had collapsed the year before. As Plath struggled alone to deal with burst pipes and oppressive cold, while taking care of their two tiny children, existence became impossible to sustain. And hers was not the only famous and shocking death to occur that winter. In January, the health of Hugh Gaitskell, the 57-year-old leader of the Labour party who suffered from a precarious heart condition, was devastated by a voracious virus. He died shortly afterwards.

Gaitskell was replaced by a different sort of politician. Harold Wilson was a Yorkshireman. He had not been to public school and, unlike the Prime Minister, did not speak or think in a language that would have been familiar to Victorians. His “ordinariness” was symbolised by his pipe, mackintosh and preference for tinned rather than smoked salmon. While the Financial Times remarked on his “political acumen and cool toughness”, the Daily Telegraph admired his “plain living and high thinking” and his “youthful bubbly quality”. Wilson had an agenda of reforms that aimed, for instance, to tackle racial discrimination and decriminalise homosexuality. If elected Prime Minister, he promised, he would address the social iniquities of his country. He spoke for the underdog. He spoke for a youth given a new lease of life as temperatures crept up.

But above all it was the rhythm of music that sustained the young’s spirits that freezing winter. In the gloomy Liverpool greyness — icebergs had been seen floating in the River Mersey — awareness of the glitz and energy across the sea was acute. Cool young men known as the Cunard Yanks worked as waiters and dishwashers and porters on the freight and passenger ships that criss-crossed the Atlantic. They brought back from New York evidence of a bigger, better, faster, shinier, sexier world packed with blue jeans and huge cars and, above all, the exhilarating release of music, personified in the uninhibited hip-thrusting Elvis Presley.

Bootleg jeans and bootleg records sold on the streets by the Cunard Yanks were snapped up by young Liverpudlians who thought and moved and sang and danced and lived to the musical beat that thumped out of Liverpool’s hundreds of clubs. Above ground, elderly residents found themselves gingerly negotiating the icy slabs of the city’s sloping pavements; the relative underground warmth of the cellar-based clubs guaranteed packed-in crowds, especially in the Cavern, where a band of four tousle-haired friends were sending their audiences crazy.

And down in the capital, the future talent and fame of another band was incubating in a scruffy flat at the unfashionable end of London’s Kings Road. Mick Jagger, a student at the London School of Economics with ambitions to become a Financial Times correspondent; Brian Jones and Keith Richards shared rooms, girls, spliffs, money, a rifle for taking pot shots at visiting rats, food parcels that Keith’s mum sent from Dartford and an ambition to make it as musicians. As less plucky bands cancelled gigs in London pubs and clubs due to the restrictive weather, the Rolling Stones seized every offer to be stand-ins. And as word spread that they were sizzling, their young audiences braved the extreme cold to hear this sexy, uninhibited sound. Fan numbers began to surge.

The radio became a honeypot for those trapped by the snow and desperate for a visceral connection to the music of their generation. Radio Luxemburg became the principal audio-stage for the new pop bands. And even if you could not get through the ice to hear these bands perform live, television delivered the upcoming pop groups to the growing number of screens in sitting rooms. Twice during the winter, the four convention-oblivious lads from Liverpool, with irreverent charisma, sublime love songs and fringes long enough to rival a Grenadier’s busby, seduced viewers of ITV’s Thank Your Lucky Stars. And on 6th March 1963, when the Meteorological Office announced that the frost had disappeared from every part of the country, the Beatles’ second single “Please Please Me” hit the top of the pop charts. After three months on ice, the youthquake of the 1960s began.

As the restrictions imposed by the Covid pandemic begin to melt away, another generation will burst back into action. Months of isolation have left young people frustrated; the effects of that frustration, now that they are reunited, could be destructive or creative, or a bit of both. Will pupils accept the return of exams, which the pandemic did away with? And will they continue to campaign against the inequality exposed by the algorithm that replaced them? Will university students continue to turn over stones in search of historic racism? Or, after remote learning has stripped universities back to their most basic form will they reject them altogether? After all they’ve been through, how can we expect the young to respect the status quo? As this convulsive, world-wide hiatus ends, they will be set free, clamouring to be heard.


Juliet Nicolson is a writer and journalist. She is the author of five books, including Frostquake: The frozen winter of 1962 and how Britain emerged a different country, published by Chatto & Windus.
julietnicolson

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Allons Enfants
Allons Enfants
3 years ago

how can we expect the young to respect the status quo?

Good question; especially that today’s status quo is the ‘youthful’ tyranny of woke orthodoxy. So yes, university students will “continue to turn over stones in search of historic racism“, unless there will come an actual “youthquake” to counter wokery. Not that i hold my breath for it.
In my birth country (Hungary), it was we, the thenadays’ “youth”, with a fiery hatred of socialism (marxism, communism, bolshevism – the same rotting carcass by any name) back in 1989. It’s still a burning passion – and nowadays’ youth is just as passionate in their disgust of communism as we were / still are.
That’s to say i can imagine things will have to keep turning worse in the “west” before any positive change may occur. (If not too late at that point.) Not very uplifting thought, i know.

Last edited 3 years ago by Allons Enfants
Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  Allons Enfants

“In my birth country (Hungary) … youth is just as passionate in their disgust of communism as we were / still are.”
If only this were true of the UK!

daniel Earley
daniel Earley
3 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

As much as I admire it, as the youth of the UK have never experienced communism either directly as Allons Enfants has or recent generations who experienced the Cold War, they prefer to idolise people such as Jeremy Corbyn, who supported it, believing it to be the end of all ills.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
3 years ago
Reply to  Allons Enfants

Wonderful words. As for the author, she’s an ageing hippy in search of her youth – totally divorced from the realities she seeks to describe by unassailable nostalgia. This deceives her in two directions. First, it prompts her to view the light, opportunistic Conservatism of today as equivalent to the forthright and convinced Conservatism of the sixties. It is no such thing. That lot offered genuine resistance to the “liberal” agenda; this lot cave before the battle’s begun. Second, she seems to imagine that the agenda of “woke” is liberation, as it says on the tin; and that therefore it will lead to “creativity” and “fun”. If she could pull her head out of the sand bucket for a moment, she would realise that “woke” is censorious, oppressive, conformist and shrill; that it represents pathologies, not energies and that any hippy unhappy enough to find herself in their company will soon be upbraided and put right for this or that imaginary “offense”. A moment’s attention to what they say – denying “reality”, abusing the Enlightenment, defending the burqa, ascribing logic itself exclusively to European culture and condemning both – should give her pause; but like many a stooge from older portion of our crummy establishment, she won’t listen. These are their children, the Peter Verkhovenskys to their foolish old Stepans. And like an authentic “useful idiot”, the good lady refers blithely to “cultural revolution”, in wilful ignorance of its murderous connotations.

Last edited 3 years ago by Simon Denis
Jonathan Weil
Jonathan Weil
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Ah, the hippies weren’t so different from this lot. Bunch of individualists all doing the same thing, as Elmore Leonard unimprovably put it.

Allons Enfants
Allons Enfants
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Thanks ! 🙂

she’s an ageing hippy in search of her youth – totally divorced from the realities she seeks to describe by unassailable nostalgia.

– and as it turns out, she has a new book to peddle, titled: Frostquake: The frozen winter of 1962 and how Britain emerged a different country.
Seems she’s one of those toff ingĂ©nues (granddaughter of Vita Sackville-West) still clinging onto the capers of a happy misspent hippy youth, for dear life. I know a few of those – the cognitive dissonance is like a brick wall, unassailable.

Last edited 3 years ago by Allons Enfants
Anna Borsey
Anna Borsey
3 years ago
Reply to  Allons Enfants

VITA Sackville-West – Vita being a pet form of Victoria, her real given name.

Allons Enfants
Allons Enfants
3 years ago
Reply to  Anna Borsey

Thanks – damn autocorrect.

Martin Adams
Martin Adams
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Well said, Mr Denis. Your point about the author being “an ageing hippy in search of her youth” hits the nail on the head.
I was born in 1950 and lived in a remote part of West Wales. So we were well and truly cut off during that winter of 1963. Although my family was regarded as dangerously liberal — after all, my mother was entirely open about being a divorced woman who had a child out of wedlock — we did not think that

the UK was creaking with centuries-old prejudices concerning class, race, religion and sexual choice. 

We just got on with our day-to-day lives.
For people of Juliet Nicolson’s ilk, every move towards the acceptance of less restraint in individual and group behaviour is progress. As a counterbalance to that dangerous Utopianism, your characterisation of the contrasts between the present Conservative Party and the Conservative Party of the 1960s is as effective as it is accurate. Thank you!
The progress that Juliet Nicolson constantly infers is illusory.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Quite well said. While many youth will fell empowered by wokeness, such ideology has a habit of eating itself. As this happens, perhaps the rejection of woke for excess will begin. Or so we might hope.

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago
Reply to  Allons Enfants

I’m not sure than a functioning healthcare system with universal coverage, and a working social care safety net that’s not cut to the bone, and under constant threat, is “the same rotting carcass by any name” as authoritarian communism / bolshevism / whatever, with secret police, political prisoners, and a one party state. But you lived there, so you must know?

Last edited 3 years ago by Paul N
Allons Enfants
Allons Enfants
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

 a functioning healthcare system with universal coverage

The NHS is an essentially capitalist institution, funded by taxes. Taxes is capitalism. In socialism, there’s no taxation. Nobody paid taxes under socialism – the communist state took your work’s worth, and paid you whatever meagre cash amount it deemed fit, unrelated to the value of your work.
So yes, if you’re against taxation, vote for socialism.

Last edited 3 years ago by Allons Enfants
Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Allons Enfants

Exactly. Nor was there a welfare state in, say, the Soviet Union. You worked or you starved. Or, if sent to the gulag, you did both.

Allons Enfants
Allons Enfants
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Precisely.
In my country, not being in employment was a criminal offence, you could get arrested (and jailed, if re-offending) for it. The fuzz was busy walking the streets and checking the ID booklets of the ‘yoof’ for employment (or study, if applicable) status. You had to have the ID booklets on your person at all times – not being able to provide it to the fuzz was another criminal offence.
That was in the “softcore” 1980s when i was a teen, been considerably worse prior to that time.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

The NHS is not merely a ‘health service’ though. It’s a proving ground for the mass upward social reclassification of the role of nurses (and thus, in maintaining pay and role differentials, also doctors), assisted by their ‘Union’. And that’s the problem with ‘public’ (i.e. ‘taxpayers’) money. It becomes a lucrrative gravy train for discrete ‘interests’.

Last edited 3 years ago by Arnold Grutt
Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Allons Enfants

 It’s still a burning passion – and nowadays’ youth is just as passionate in their disgust of communism as we were / still are.
In the US, meanwhile, the burning passion among the yoots is to embrace communism.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

This article may be relevant in the UK but in the US, it’s late. US restrictions are not “beginning” to melt away, they are effectively gone. Exceptions are California and New York. Elsewhere, all you have to do is look around, restaurants are full, spas and exercise facilities are full, airplanes are packed. I have flown three times since December and every plane was packed. College campuses are busy and young people are doing pretty much whatever they want to. I saw Fauci trying to pontificate about what he thinks vaccinated people can now do and I thought he is either badly misinformed or he doesn’t get out much.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago

That’s really encouraging to hear, hopefully we’ll be experiencing the same thing soon.

Jane Steele
Jane Steele
3 years ago

Good luck when the next wave hits is all I can say!

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane Steele

thanks, I’m not in a blue state so should be fine! Best of luck to you under the bed as well.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
J Bryant
J Bryant
3 years ago

Interesting article and perspective. I didn’t even know there had been an extremely bad winter in the UK in 1962-3.
My prediction is much more boring. The youth revolution of the 1960s was based on national wealth, an expanding economy, and tremendous opportunity throughout most of the developed world. The 60s were the last full decade of the remarkable post-WWII economic boom (things went badly wrong by the mid-70s). Young people were optimistic and didn’t have to worry about their future too much. They could “drop out” safe in the knowledge (at least subconsciously) that they could drop back into a gainful career whenever they wanted.
When young people emerge from covid restrictions over the next few months, I’m sure there will be boozing, partying and sex (and good luck to them). But then they’ll be faced with the reality of a shattered economy. Their job prospects certainly weren’t good before the pandemic, but now they’re awful unless massive government stimulus successfully restarts economic activity.
I hope things work out well for young people and that my gloomy prognostications are wrong. But I suspect the ‘youthquake’ is more likely to be a slow, soulful rumble.

Jos Haynes
Jos Haynes
3 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Yeah, the 60s social revolution had nothing whatsoever to do with a long, cold winter. I was there and remember it well.
Of course, the youth of that era had a much better education than todays yoofs, and those that hadn’t had a better understanding of the nexus between work and reward. I have no expectations from modern youth who are even less well-equipped to progress society than their parents’ generation who currently “govern” the country.

Penny Gallagher
Penny Gallagher
3 years ago
Reply to  Jos Haynes

Yes I was 14 then and living in Devon. I do remember it was quite a bad winter and the farmers on Dartmoor struggled to get to the sheep. There were snowdrifts at the sides of roads for quite a while. But that was it. Apart from some frozen pipes life went on as normal. I have my dad’s diaries to refer to so I don’t think it’s just my memory. A lot of things just came together then, the end of rationing, increasing wealth and mobility, cars, TV sets, Grammar School education. I had not heard the idea about the the Cunard yanks before bringing American music and that certainly makes sense. After the grimness of the War years and slow recovery change was to be expected, but I don’t think one year of covid really compares.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago

I was in first year of college, living in a Victorian house without central heating. I don’t remember is as being much worse than other winters in the north. I do remember surveying a snowy landscape from the train and another passenger commenting “Southerners are complaining but we get this every year”.

Nick Faulks
Nick Faulks
3 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

1962/3 was my first year at secondary school and I remember it clearly – at least I thought I did. Yes, there was masses of snow and the car didn’t leave the garage for three months, but I don’t remember missing any days of school. My commute was an hour, a bus and two trains, but I believe they always got through.

Tony Nunn
Tony Nunn
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick Faulks

I remember that winter; it was my first year at secondary school too – and my last winter in short trousers! But, as I recall, life went on pretty much as normal. The idea that a few weeks of snow was a catalyst for social revolution does seem a bit far fetched.

Andrew Best
Andrew Best
3 years ago

There is no left wing counter culture on the way, they are the establishment now.
The counter culture will not be one you like as your culture is the dominant one and whatever is coming, if it does, will be anti woke.
Any dissent is stamped on by slurs and insults, racist, racist, nazi, homophobic etc
That is the counter culture not your corporate sanitised hippie rubbish.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

To quote 1984 “if there is hope, it lies in the plebs”. Unfortunately, the people that run things realise this and keep the plebs distracted with Love Island and Bake Off

andrew harman
andrew harman
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

Panem et circenses – Juvenal will be smiling.

Mark H
Mark H
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

“It was only a passing fancy”
prolefeed from 1984

Last edited 3 years ago by Mark H
Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

There is no left wing counter culture on the way, they are the establishment now.
Indeed. The cohort that whined about “the man” now IS the man and a totalitarian-minded man at that.

Micheal Lucken
Micheal Lucken
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

Yes they are now the establishment but still fighting the same same battles To borrow from Douglas Murray searching every nook and cranny for ever smaller dragons that might still survive and slaying anything that looks remotely like one. Currently the youth are acquiescent and dutifully assisting in their crusade thanks to the indoctrinations of the establishments occupied by the old guard. If there is to be a youthful uprising any time soon it will against the Woke tyranny, the conservative establishment of the 50s is long gone.

Frederick B
Frederick B
3 years ago

One big difference between now and the early sixties- nearly sixty years ago- is that there were then far more young people around. It was the height of the baby boom and a great deal of youthful energy. Now, not so much, in fact what is left of our youth is deeply conformist. So, youthquake? No, just more of the same enforcement of fashionable prejudices.

Steve Hall
Steve Hall
3 years ago

Completely misguided analysis. The ‘youth revolution’ was corporate led from about 1960, when we saw a sea-change in the advertising message, from ‘Family Man’ to ‘Marlboro Man’ (or more precisely ‘Marlboro Youth’). Sanitised, obscurantist faux-rebellious cultural figures such as Lennon and Dylan were promoted to replace the dangerous Guthries and Seegers of the world. Post-war youth out on the town in the era of reconstruction and full employment had wads of disposable income and business wanted it. Make loadsamoney, absorb youth into media/consumer culture and create a harmless, controlled opposition at the same time. Perfect. If the critical race theorists continue to bang on about ‘whiteness’ and ‘countergenocide’, the only political action we’ll see from the majority white youth in Europe is a drift to the far right. The US might go the same way if there is a white reaction and the Hispanic population shift their allegiance.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
3 years ago
Reply to  Steve Hall

Sanitised, obscurantist faux-rebellious cultural figures such as Lennon and Dylan were promoted to replace the dangerous Guthries and Seegers of the world.

Upper-class Seeger & middle-class Guthrie supported Hitler until he turned on their darlin’ Stalin. Only then did the anti-fascist slogans appear on their instruments. Dylan and Lennon were more authentic despite their pretensions.

Last edited 3 years ago by Brendan O'Leary
George Stone
George Stone
3 years ago

Bob Dylan said that he didn’t follow movements and John Lennon said ‘She loves you!’ and ‘I want to hold your hand’; that was the extent of the rebellion. I saw the beatles ‘live’ when I was 13 and no one was above 15, apart from parents. It was very juvenile and teenybop. The pretence occurred later when they became successful and thought they were important.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago

I think the author is underestimating just how much people (including da yoot) miss normal life. If / when this nightmare ends, imo everyone will be desparate to do exactly what they were doing before it started.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

in line with your comment, hotels in Florida are experiencing mass bookings ahead of spring break. The Karenwaffe, of course, is in freakout mode in anticipation of yet another covid “super spreader” that generates a great deal of angst but does little in terms of actual infection.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

‘The Karenwaffe’- love it, brilliant.

William Murphy
William Murphy
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Is Mark Drakeford a member of the Karenwaffe? He is prophesying no return to normality in 2021 and that a third wave of the plague is inevitable. So the vaccines won’t work?? Thank God I don’t live in Wales.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago

I think the writer has thought to herself, “Bad winter, some culture changes. I can write about that.”
1963 was a very bad winter – I don’t remember it but I do remember people talking about it. There were a series of bad winters in Europe from 1946/47 to 1977/78 when the newspapers were preparing us for a mini ice-age (front page of The Daily Mail and NYT Jan 5th 1978).
These were years when WW2 had just finished, countries were getting back to normal(ish) in 1963 and you would expect new things to come along – a little creativity perhaps. But a lockdown for a year doesn’t quite seem quite as drastic.
I expect a lot of parties.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Actually it was 78/79 that was particularly bad, not 77/78.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

No 1981/82 was bad. Our hot water tank froze solid

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Yes, 81/82 was also quite bad. I remember having to fetch water from the stream on Christmas Day because our (non mains) supply had frozen. But 78/79 was worse, I think. I tend to measure these things by the number of football matches that were postponed.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I cannot remember anything unusual about 78/79. I will have to look it up.
On 11 January 1982 the temperature just across the boarder in Newport Shropshire fell to -26.1 and there was was lot of snow in December and January. I remember South Wales being cut off for several days.

Jos Haynes
Jos Haynes
3 years ago

That is correct. I was living in Newport at the time. We had ice an inch thick on the INSIDES of our windows and the bath drainage was frozen solid so unusable. But it was also a winter wonderland. The countryside was transformed.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago
Reply to  Jos Haynes

We may have met

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

It was the 5th January 1978 when newspapers started talking about a new ice age.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

As I remember it started before 1978. I remember a report on John Craven’s news round featuring a report form a steadily advancing glacier.
In fact if you listen to the physicist we may indeed be heading towards a new ice age due to a decrease in solar activity Is Earth slowly heading for a new ice age?
From Phys.org Looking at the decreasing number of sunspots, it may seem that we are entering a nearly spotless solar cycle which could result in lower temperatures for decades…..But does it really mean a colder climate for our planet in the near future? In 1645, the so-called Maunder Minimum period started, when there were almost no sunspots. It lasted for 70 years and coincided with the well-known “Little Ice Age”, when Europe and North America experienced lower-than-average temperatures. 
Don’t tell the climate change ‘scientists’

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Oh the climate change ‘scientists’ know. But they will continue to take the climate change cash.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Yes. The M6 was blocked by snow in March ’79 for instance. I remember particularly because 40 years ago this coming Sunday I had had to trudge back home from the hospital where my father had died as buses were unable to run.

Last edited 3 years ago by Arnold Grutt
Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

Satire, for instance, boomed.
That was then. Today, satire is nearly dead as it has become increasingly difficult to separate reality from parody. In the US, we’re atwitter about Pepe LePew with much the outrage manufactured by a generation who grew up watching South Park. The same people who clutched their pearls over “Baby, it’s cold outside” made Wet A$$ Pu$$y into a song of the year.

zmqam6whau
zmqam6whau
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

 ‘The same people who clutched their pearls over “Baby, it’s cold outside” made Wet A$$ Pu$$y into a song of the year.’ This sums up the inane taste in music that prevails today. There will be no music revolution.

William Gladstone
William Gladstone
3 years ago

Except that there is no cunard yanks now, there is no better shinier life, Biden’s America looks hate filled anti democratic and corrupt only just not quite as bad as China or India who do even more authoritarianism and corruption. We have already had the best part of 10 years of humourless wokeness, if that is what you are suggesting will lead to rebellion its pretty plain to see that that is as far from rebellion as it gets being led by the likes of Claus Schwab of the world economic forum.

Samuel Gee
Samuel Gee
3 years ago

This “weather-based” view of history and social development is surely bunk. It does not explain why such socially critical youth movements happened all over the developed world at about the same time. They can’t all be based on the visceral reaction to a bad winter and blizzards in the UK.

Last edited 3 years ago by Samuel Gee
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b55w8pqwzb
3 years ago

If it produces some decent popular music finally, it would be at least one small positive to take away for the last 12 months of awfulness

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago

I feel the need to make some generalizations on this issue.
My parents were born in the early 1940s so I got to watch their generation and my grandparents generation close up as well as at a more societal level.
It always seemed to me that the the generation that came of age in early 60s managed to snatch power from the hands of their parents and grandparents much earlier than had happened in previous generations. They have also manged to cling onto it pretty tenaciously as well but that is a different story.
I put this down to the fact that their parents and grandparents had had their vigour, certainty and confidence drained from them by 2 world wars.
Whereas with my grandparents life was all about responsibility, selflessness, self-discipline, duty and moral rectitude, my parents generation were all about self-indulgence, gratification and selfishness, all dressed as virtue and enlightenment.
Growing up it was always my parents generation who seemed to be more attractive, to have the best tunes. I suppose that self-centredness and self- indulgence are always more attractive to the young than stolid virtue and restraint. However, at the same time I was also vaguely aware of the almost incomprehension of my grandparents generation that the fruit had fallen so far from the tree, that the values and virtues that the believed to be the cornerstone of society hand been roundly renounced by their children and thrown out with the bath water. It was as though someone had put something in the water.
Over the intervening years I watched ringside what the self-seeking and selfish lifestyles of my parents generation delivered and it was not pretty. In general their lives seem to be far less happy and content than the lives of their grandparent, while they still stubbornly clung to the values and life choices of the 60s, in much the same way as they they still cling to the soundtrack of the time.
All of which brings us to where we are now. Large numbers of subsequent generations have been left damaged and rudderless as a result the neglect and lack of moral substance that 60s made fashionable. At the same time the 60s generation, who hold themselves in such high regard, have, by any measure and also true to form, been no slouches when it comes feathering their own nests at the expense of future generations.
If I had to put one question to my grandparents generation it would be why did you not resist, why did you hand over control a bunch of dishonest, self- indulgent, corrupt narcissists who have bought us to where we are now. Almost every malady that now affect our society can be traced back to the early 60s or, as the author has it, to the winter of 62/63.
A culture shift this time round would necessarily have to involve a rejection of the values of the establishment, MSM, celebrity influences and twitterarti, and a reversion to old the fashioned values of honesty, selflessness, individual responsibility, modesty and integrity. That would be something well worth waiting up for.

George Bruce
George Bruce
3 years ago

Will university students continue to turn over stones in search of historic racism?
Do university students do that? Or are they manipulated into making a fuss about it by others who`ve done the spade work (no pun intended)?

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  George Bruce

today’s youth are far more interested in manufacturing cases of perceived racism than in recognizing that the world has progressed mightily since the 1960s.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

How can they make that comparison when they weren’t around then? Facts are not important here. Impressions, beliefs, feeling that the last couple of generations has done a bad job – all par for the course. A new generation. It is there. Nothing can be done.
All of this begins to sound like my mother and father in the 70s – telling me that I would come to a bad end, that I should show some respect for the old ways.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
3 years ago

So, I understand from the article, the whole Sixties thing was a scam. The “youth” were in fact the bribed apologists of the century-old progressive movement.
And, as far as I can tell, today’s angry youth is exactly the same: held in thrall to the ruling-class’s ideology.
When will the new generation of Peter Cooks be satirizing transgenders?
When with the new generation of David Frosts be reporting on the race scam, as in Megan Markle?
When with the youthquake demand reform of the NHS?
When will the BBC be laughed off the stage?
When will “diversity” — i.e. race discrimination — be made illegal?
Yeah. You see the problem.

William Murphy
William Murphy
3 years ago

The trans and race scams satirise themselves. Could the most talented satirist outdo that very brutish guy who got into a British women’s prison by claiming he was transitioning – and then went on to molest the inmates? Or Prince William claiming that the Royal Family is non-racist – er, apart from Prince Harry dressing up as a Nazi, no doubt as a tribute to his great-uncles in the SS.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

No, I think they’ll go back to doing whatever it was they were doing before.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Sorry fraser, just read this after I posted exactly the same thought. Not copying, honest!

Paul Goodman
Paul Goodman
3 years ago

“Will pupils accept the return of exams”? I just loved that. Given that all studies show that teachers are biased and do not deliver fair grades to the disadvantaged, I cannot fathom why the left seem so enamoured with delivering less fairness.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Goodman

I should be interested to know which studies show teachers are biased and downgrade disadvantahpged students.
All students have a TMG ( target minimum grade) which is based on their SATS scores. It is possible for them to achieve more in an exam or through class work but if a student was marked below that questions would be asked.

Terence Fitch
Terence Fitch
3 years ago

Writers like this always reference iconic cultural moments as if the whole population is thinking that way. They don’t. Only in the circles the writer inhabits. Folk busy with their daily lives paying this month’s bills don’t go around considering the zeitgeist.

Well Noted
Well Noted
3 years ago

The Children’s Revolution of the 1960’s is revered by left fielders as the birth of a nation, with juvenile snots filling in for Jesus Christ as spiritual saviors from the transgenerational curse of traditional family values. It was purely a drug thing, the usual oozing of youthful hormones plus the incendiary pleasures of synthetic drugs that far surpass the pleasures normally associated with survival, e.g., eating, sexing, safety, shelter, and family bonds. With the invention of “adolescence,” and its playful cousin, “teenager,” the rites of passage from childhood into adulthood were replaced by one’s sacramental, first, perfect buzz, creating an ever-expanding Not-OK-Corral of adult children (as some actually called themselves), all of whom came to see themselves as specimens of various diseases formerly referred to as immorality or ordinary stupidity. Mind altering drugs radically altered the status of the mommy-daddy-me, nuclear family, theretofore the impenetrable fortress of Western civilization, the singular balancing force against the animal side of human nature, even to this day. There are only two forces in the world folks, us and them, and all are welcome in the human family because all it takes is to frankly admit that you were entier born into or deeply envy those who actually were born into the bed of Judeo-Christian family values and the fabric of admonishment morality,

bsema
bsema
3 years ago
Reply to  Well Noted

Are you seriously saying that Western civilization alone holds the key to decent human interaction?

Paul Goodman
Paul Goodman
3 years ago
Reply to  bsema

Are you seriously suggesting that any another has performed the task as well let alone better? Or just optimistic that something will turn up?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

“John Profumo MP, the Minister for War, was said to have slept with Christine Keeler, a 19-year-old model”

Mild off course compared to the ‘hanky panky’ Ernest Marples, Minister of Transport was up to, but skilfully hidden by the sainted Lord Denning.

Then the notorious ‘headless man’ and more ‘hanky panky’ with the Margaret, Duchess of Argyle’s steamy divorce case to keep us all amused.

What happy days!

Last edited 3 years ago by Charles Stanhope
Su Mac
Su Mac
3 years ago

The only interesting and meaningful rebellion underway I have seen is the #silversqueeze and WallstreetBets movements.

They have taken the Occupy Wall Street agenda, political and economic disenfranchisement, 2020 election fraud anger and anti-corporate globalism and rolled it into one big ball of left/right hatred of the financial insiders who continue to get richer by manupulating markets and hoovering up the printed money tsunami.

Realising that the US banking and financial system is the most corrupt, self-enriching, pernicious and powerful influence in all of American life and with its tentacles into the financial systems of whole world is their red pill moment and they will cheer as it collapses under its own weight soon, maybe believing they did some thing to help topple it by spending their stimulus cheques on silver bullion or GameStop shares.

What comes after that will not be so thrilling…

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

In his wonderful poem ‘Annus Mirabilis’ Philip Larkin describes 1963 as the year the British discovered sex.
Was he correct? Discuss.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

A morsel:
So life was never better than
In nineteen sixty-three
(Though just too late for me) –
Between the end of the “Chatterley” ban
And the Beatles’ first LP.

Last edited 3 years ago by Charles Stanhope
Jos Haynes
Jos Haynes
3 years ago

Well, it was certainly the year for me!

Edwin C
Edwin C
3 years ago

Broad sweeps, highly evocative. Thoroughly enjoyed this, thank you.

Geoff H
Geoff H
3 years ago

What could be better than a comforting bowl of new YoofQuake! on these cold and blustery post-covid mornings. YoofQuake! will give you a warm fuzzy feeling inside and make your face out-glow your phone on max brightness. YoofQuake! – it’s what we’ve all been waiting for.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
3 years ago

The demographic bulge is between 35 and 55.
There is no Youthquake waiting to happen.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago

“Meanwhile the UK was creaking with centuries-old prejudices concerning class, race, religion and sexual choice.”
Why do people seemingly automatically have to insert tendentious generalisations (o/w ‘guff’) into articles? The formation of an opinion has nothing necessarily to do with ‘prejudice’.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

Yes, it’s sub-Guardian-style nonsense isn’t it? You simply can’t get away from it, wherever you look.

Mud Hopper
Mud Hopper
3 years ago

‘There’s a youthquake coming/ ? Really? The author assumes the little dears can get their noses out of their bloody phones long enough to notice what’s going on around them! Different times dear.

Mud Hopper
Mud Hopper
3 years ago

‘There’s a youthquake coming/ ? Really? The author assumes the little dears can get their noses out of their b****y phones long enough to notice what’s going on around them! Different times dear.

Derek M
Derek M
3 years ago

Rather laboured article which appears to be aimed at publicising the author’s rather niche book

Derek M
Derek M
3 years ago

Wilson had an agenda of reforms that aimed, for instance, to tackle racial discrimination and decriminalise homosexuality.” No he didn’t

William MacDougall
William MacDougall
3 years ago

Very interesting article, but I think it ignores the international context. In California youth rebellion started or was at least marked by the 1964 free speech movement at Berkeley, and that was certainly not related to any cold spell.

LCarey Rowland
LCarey Rowland
3 years ago

Pipe dreams, Juliet. There will never be another time period like the1960’s.
Our rampant 2021 cynicism, inoculated with covidic skittishness, can never allow any conditions reminiscent of “Well my heart went boom when I crossed that room and I held her hand in mi-ine.”
As William Blake might have observed, the songs of innocence have been drowned out by songs of experience; as Yeats lamented, everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned. . . . in an ocean of electronic overload.

Allons Enfants
Allons Enfants
3 years ago
Reply to  LCarey Rowland

Lamenting the passing of innocence is as old as humanity. So is cynicism, and i will never understand why it has such a negative value attached nowadays – cynicism is a very fine quality of the human condition.
The passing of innocence is just the ageing process. Over 50 i certainly wouldn’t want to have the mind of a 16-year-old. Body, maybe. But not the mind.

Zorro Tomorrow
Zorro Tomorrow
3 years ago

The saying “If you can remember the 60s you weren’t there?” I remember the snow forming cresting frozen waves and the roads singletracked. I remember first hearing of trade unions whose only goal seemed to be to bring down the economy. Yes there was a social revolution but it wasn’t quite like the author paints. People either took on the new ways or did not. I think the young / old line was maybe more flexible. It’s a lovely romantic view of changing times and I enjoyed it in a Sunday supplement Wednesday play sort of way but I’m sure if the author was there she had to google / wiki it because they are not 60 year old memories because there is no perspective of what went on before from such youth and definitely what was to come. This lot now? No joy there.

Last edited 3 years ago by Zorro Tomorrow
Andrew Hall
Andrew Hall
3 years ago

Perhaps the US has now reached the point of putrescent perfection so beautifully described in Plato’s Republic. Let it be a stern warning to the rest.
From Plato’s Republic.(authored c. 375BC) extract taken from Vol. V111, 562b – 563e
[Socrates] The proposed good, said I, through which oligarchy was established, was indeed excess of wealth, wasn’t it ?
[Adeimantus]Yes.
And now, didn’t this same insatiate desire for wealth and the indifference toward everything else resulting from money-making, ruin it ?
True, said he.
Well then ! What democracy defines as good, isn’t it an insatiate desire for it (money) that dissolves it ?
But tell me what it so defines.
Freedom, I replied. Don’t you indeed hear it said that, in a democratic city, it has the fairest share and that, for this reason, only in such a place is it fit that dwell whosoever is by nature free
“To these, said I, such trifles do add up: the teacher, in such a case, fears his pupils and fawns upon them, while pupils have in low esteem their teachers as well as their overseers; and, overall, the young copy the elders and contend hotly with them in words and in deeds, while the elders, lowering themselves to the level of the young, sate themselves with pleasantries and wit, mimicking the young in order not to look unpleasant and despotic.
Most certainly, he said.
And indeed, the sum total, said I, of all these added up, as you may conceive, is that they make the soul of the citizens so soft that, in the presence of the slightest suggestion of servitude, they feel irritated and can’t stand it. And in the end, you know that they no longer care for laws, written or unwritten, so as no longer to have anywhere any master.
How well, he said, I know that!
Well, then, this, said I, my dear, is the principle so beautiful and vigorous from which tyranny grows, in my opinion.”

Jeff Davie
Jeff Davie
3 years ago

I was 9 during this winter. We never missed a day of school and had a fantastic time, developing icy slides all the way to school. Couldn’t wait to get home and enjoy the conditions out playing with all other children in our street.
A memorable time in our life.

Sidney Eschenbach
Sidney Eschenbach
3 years ago

I read below many references to ‘woke’ people and ‘wokism’. Here’s a definition so that people can understand, which they clearly don’t, what ‘woke’ means:
“Being “woke” refers to being aware of and typically feeling outraged by the suffering of the marginalised in society for the benefit of the privileged . Having knowledge of the effects of the patriarchy, racism, classism, misogyny and homophobia are examples of “woke” behaviour.”

So what’s so bad about that?

The corollary, of course, would be that people who are not woke are NOT aware of those social realities, and to the degree that they are aware of them, are not outraged by them.

What’s so good about that?

LCarey Rowland
LCarey Rowland
3 years ago

It’s been a hard day’s night. . . a covidic plight.

Richard Brown
Richard Brown
3 years ago

I don’t recall being locked down during early 1963, when the snow started on Boxing Day and didn’t finally disappear until April. But the trains kept on running, as did the buses, on one of which I got to school every morning, not always on time, but there. And this, despite the road surfaces being like ice-rinks, and then wrecked by months of thaw-freeze which had rendered them little more than a sea of potholes. Sure, if you lived in Upper Teesdale or some other remote outpost, you saw nobody apart from the odd intrepid BBC reporter for four months, but for most of us life carried on without complaint.
We were all in the same boat – ‘don’t you know there’s a war on?’ – had been the standard response 20 years earlier when there actually was a crisis, but nobody sought to make political capital out of a situation which was nobody’s fault.

Richard Bell
Richard Bell
3 years ago

Walked on the Frozen River Thames in 1963 with my parents and siblings at Walton-on-Thames …. only very young but remember a partly sunken boat sticking up out of the ice …….