White Boots & Miniskirts
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The place is London, and the year is 1966. It's a time when anything seems possible, especially if you are a young, free-spirited, mini-skirted girl in search of adventure and independence. An incredible explosion of pop music, fashion and youth culture has turned London into the most swinging city on earth. Youthful energy and boundless optimism are everywhere. Whatever you want—sexual freedom, jobs, fashionable clothes, social change—it's all up for grabs. It's a world of souped-up Minis, ad men, conmen, typewriters, bed-hopping, tragic love affairs, flat sharing, spies from behind the Iron Curtain, and Fleet Street's smoky, scruffy pub life. At the center of this vibrant world is Jacky Hyams, a headstrong, pleasure-seeking party girl with a tough East End background, who is determined to throw off her past and make the most of everything on offer. In the follow up to her memoir Bombsites and Lollipops, Jacky takes a nostalgia-tinged look back to the years when Britain changed forever, a decade moving swiftly from the revolutionary fervor and excitement of the freewheeling Swinging Sixties, to the bleaker times of the strike bound, cash-strapped Seventies.White Boots and Miniskirts is a down to earth, honest perspective of a fast changing world, told with wry humor by a woman in search of love and success in the most exciting city on the planet.
spring of 1968. The smell of fried eggs lingers in the air. A girl in a smart, black Wallis double-breasted wool coat with a fake fur collar is seated at a Formica table, furiously scanning the small ads in the Evening Standard. I am desperate to move. With the collapse of the New York plans and Angela’s dramatic move back north, I want to make a getaway. Now. The atmosphere in the flat has changed a lot. Angela’s replacement, Shoshana, an Israeli student, moved in six months ago. She has hordes
too immature to understand was that Ginger’s confidence, seriously dented by the collapse of his business, must have received a huge boost by the offer of a steady job – let alone having his new colleagues laughing themselves silly at his wisecracks. I mulled over all this as I scanned the Standard, my eyes peeled for any ad that showed potential, musing over my dad’s somewhat lucky break which had been engineered by Molly – she spotted the BMA job ad in the same newspaper. It’s good news, of
ceiling, a greedy gas meter you had to constantly feed with coins if you wanted to stay warm. Mostly, we’d go to the nearest pub for drinks (glasses of Mateus Rosé for me, Skol lager or brown ale for Michael) and sustenance (more cheese rolls). If I went into town to meet him from the office we would eat pasta in Soho dives like the Amalfi on Old Compton Street. It didn’t trouble me that I didn’t work, though it did seem to bother others. ‘But what will happen if you run out of money?’ one
stores – and coming back late. At first, no one said anything, though the somewhat frosty atmosphere in the office should have told me to stop my long lunch hours right then. After a couple more weeks, they sacked me: I’d been there just over a month. This was a huge shock. I’d never been sacked before. Years later, I heard on the grapevine that my dismissal was down to my sneery, clever-dick demeanour. It might have been tolerated elsewhere, but ’50s-style employers – and despite the pop music
torn, crumpled edges. There weren’t big rows and screaming matches with my dad as there had been in my younger years. Just a solid block of resentment in my heart for the misery, the dank perspective of those claustrophobic surroundings. And from Molly and Ginger a sort of sad, unspoken disappointment that their offspring so bright, so promising in childhood, had effectively morphed into a runaway typist without much of a future. Not even a hubby in sight. Yet I remained disinterested in