Local author Darryl W. Bristol-based author Darryl W. Bullock has come a long way since penning his first piece for the Bath Chronicle more than 25 years ago. His latest, The Velvet Mafia, follows the stories of the gay men who ran the recording industry in Britain in the s and s. Here he shares a little of the story. The British pop music industry really began in , and was very much centred on London.
The network of gay men at the heart of Britain’s pop culture revolution
The Velvet Mafia : the gay men who ran the Swinging Sixties in SearchWorks catalog
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The Velvet Mafia: the gay men who helped shape music in the 60s
The Swinging Sixties was a youth-driven cultural revolution that took place in the United Kingdom during the mid-to-late s, emphasising modernity and fun-loving hedonism , with Swinging London as its centre. Among its key elements were the Beatles , as leaders of the British Invasion of musical acts; Mary Quant 's miniskirt ; popular fashion models such as Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton ; the mod subculture ; the iconic status of popular shopping areas such as London's King's Road , Kensington and Carnaby Street ; the political activism of the anti-nuclear movement ; and sexual liberation. During the s, London underwent a "metamorphosis from a gloomy, grimy post-war capital into a bright, shining epicentre of style". The swinging scene also served as a consumerist counterpart to the countercultural British underground of the same period.
In a revealing new book, the often overlooked input of queer men who helped advise, manage and steer artists in the swinging 60s is examined. In the UK at the time, that most often meant straight white men, as it did in the US. But the people who shaped and advised those artists — the ones who managed the stars of the classic rock age — were, by an outsized margin, gay men.