A Fortnightly Double Review of
State of Emergency: The Way We Were: Britain, 1970-1974
by Dominic Sandbrook
£30 768 pages Allen Lane.
By Anthony Howell
and Michelene Wandor.
DOMINIC SANDBROOK’S LATEST SURVEY covers only the first four years of the 1970s – four dozen months in which Britain lost the Beatles, but gained Edward Heath. It certainly seemed to be an out-of-balance moment. But creatively, it may have been, as one of our reviewers writes, a ‘golden age’. We asked two poet-performers whose work began to take shape during that four-year period to look back at culture afloat in a new decade.
‘I shake my head at our attempts to conjure up the dream that is the past, especially the more or less immediate past. One friend of mine started a dream notebook, but stopped when the dream of the night before took more than 24 hours to jot down.’
‘For those of us growing to a kind of adulthood in the early 1970s, Sandbrook’s stories trigger memories. I was a few years older than most of the people I got to know and worked with then. Married, with two small children, there was no way I was going to lie around with flowers in my hair, squat in broken down houses, or go on tour with energetic, committed theatre companies.’