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.
curtains, probably pre-war, in the living rooms, permanently drawn to cover up the grimy, soot-stained windows that were never ever cleaned. Threadbare flooring (calling it carpet would be going too far), wobbly G-plan table and chairs (G-plan was the 1950s simple wood furniture which proliferated across the country for decades) and a heavily stained, dark green sofa made up this ‘fully furnished’ place. There was a 1950s TV, though it was rarely switched on and, somewhat surprisingly, a red
and disastrous fall from grace). I decide it’s a place that merits just one visit. Despite all the newspaper hype, once seated at our table with drinks and indifferently prepared meals served by a series of smiling, pert Bunnies (how can they breathe in those corsets?), it seems pretty charmless, a shallow, bland way of – well, selling the idea of a love-in with a good-looking woman already packaged for a man’s delight. There are strict and well publicised rules about the Bunny girls not being
are laughing, joking, well-oiled or stoned revellers and a kitchen strewn with empty bottles of Pale Ale and Babycham, the usual mad crush you find at any packed New Year’s bash. The front door to the house is wide open. I step outside and there he is. My love is sitting there on the cold, cold grass, crying, his tie askew, his new corduroy jacket crumpled, pink shirt unbuttoned and half hanging out of his trousers. He is sobbing his heart out, his head in his hands. What’s going on? I run over,
later, in 1978, the name Georgi Markov made headlines all over the world. Standing at a London bus stop en route to his job at Bush House, Georgi felt a sharp pain, like a sting, at the back of his thigh. He looked round to see a man bending down to pick up a dropped umbrella. Then the man jumped into a taxi and sped away. A few days later, Georgi died in a London hospital, leaving a widow and a small daughter. He had been poisoned. Traces of ricin, a deadly poison with no known antidote, had
several calls from Sydney during which we’d finalised all my plans. I’d go as a Brit tourist on a three-month visa and stay. ‘No problem,’ Ron assured me. ‘They never check anything.’ He was half-right. My somewhat casual approach to paperwork, even in the pre- computer era, did go on to cause me problems down the line. But I wasn’t about to let the details of immigration rules hold me up. I just wanted to get there. ‘Well, Miss Hyams, you can show the Australians what England is made of,’ said