Monday, 5 May 2008

History according to the internet

The joy of working on a new book is that research will often take you back into territory long forgotten.

If I want to look at social mores today, a swift canter through earlier periods seems a fair way to start. The '60's, for instance, which threw up such amazingly odd movements as the Situationist International. According to Guy Lebord, one of their leading lights, they were an “artistic avant-garde, {…} an experimental investigation of possible ways for freely constructing everyday life, and as a contribution to the theoretical and practical development of a new revolutionary contestation” .

Make sense of that, if you can.

Sadly, they suffered a truly "Life of Brian-esque" tendency to split. Eventually, the movement wound up in the 1970's after the last 2 members decided to call it a day. Or split.

Meanwhile, I was desperately trying to remember who tipped a load of ink over Prime Minister Ted Heath in the '70's. I know it happened. I can still see the pictures.

I have a suspicion that it might have been Peter Hain's sister.

Perhaps my googling skills aren't up to the task. Or maybe it is like other things that I remember - and the internet has never heard of. Search for Al Stewart on youtube - and you'll find next to nothing before Year of the Cat!

And maybe there is a serious point here. Which is that the internet is really history with holes in it. Although you may have difficulty explaining that to a generation that now seems to think that all knowledge resides on the web.

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