Monday, July 13, 2009

Modesty Blaise

Modesty Blaise is the epitome of what “swinging London” was like during the later half of the 1960s. The bright fashion clothing to the bold use of color to the witty and outrageous personalities in the film added to the social phenomenon taking place at that time. Like Modesty Blaise’s hair color, everything and everyone was changing continuously in the film hinting at the fact that this was a period where people altered the way they dressed, thought, and spoke on a constant basis. There was experimentation in color, style, and way of thinking that would influence times to come. Mod subculture is prominent in the film through the imagery of all-night clubs and Modesty Blaise’s short skirts and bright clothing choices. There is even a reference to the gay community through flamboyant characters such as Gabriel and his male servants. The viewer is filled with a sense of liberation through the characters’ fearlessness and carefree attitudes in the film. Modesty Blaise was ahead of its time in more ways than one, poking fun politically even at Britain's relationship with the Middle East and the need for oil.

In comparison to today’s London social scene, there are clearly some remaining influences from the “swinging London” period. Experimentation is still a huge part of London’s social scene with fashion, music, and art constantly taking on new forms. Mod subculture has definitely left its mark on London with the miniskirt bigger than ever and all-night clubs becoming far more popular. Instead of one prominent social group, like the mods in the 1960s, many different groups have emerged over the years such as punks and scenesters. In reference to the gay community, it is bigger and more accepted than ever in London. However, from personal experience, there no longer seems to be that carefree attitude that was so highly regarded during the “swinging London” period. Londoners have become far more serious which is what an economic recession can do versus the economic boom during the 1960s.

But there is one thing that can be agreed on: London is a social mecca that is constantly changing and molding to its current time yet still knows how to mix old with modern.




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