The Prisoner – A Sign Of The Times
"Youth with its enthusiasm - which rebels against any accepted norm - because it must, and we sympathise. It may wear flowers in its hair and bells on its toes"
Un-coordinated youth - rebelling against nothing it can define.
There is no escaping the fact that the Prisoner is a product of its time, more specifically the late 1960's. With "flower power", the everyday use of drugs, demonstrations against the American involvement in
war, not to mention "the bomb." They were turbulent times as the British Labour Party Government struggled to keep the country financially afloat, but successfully out of the Vietnam war. Revolution was in the air and more than that, revolution seemed possible, and the status quo appeared to be doomed, or was it? Because that is how some would have it look, with the rebellious youth of the time. Rock bands with their music played their own influence on the youth culture at the time, and who were not afraid to take on the establishment, or the police during violent demonstrations. And yes it was like that, mostly in Vietnam , and in London . There had been the paranoia of the 1950's communist with hunts. J. Edgar Hoover was keeping secret files and Richard Nixon was creating enemy lists, especially over electronic surveillance. And there was the mistrust of the "Cold War", the Iron Curtain which had descended over America Europe and the threat of complete annihilation at any moment! Paranoia and fear, fear and paranoia which was generated by the governments of the time. Its no wonder that there was the threat of revolution by the youth of the day, well not from me there wasn't. I was still going to school at the time, but I did revolt against my parents not wanting to go in the direction in which they were trying to push me. Another example of revolt, and I was something of a "lone wolf."
But it wasn't all like that was it, because for the majority of the population life went on much in the same way as it had always done. I was twelve at the time when the Prisoner was first screened here in
and was captivated by the first clap of thunder. I had seen the anti-war demonstrations, "ban the bomb" and all the rest. Flower power, rock bands influencing the youth culture of the day as they took on the establishment, all tuning in and dropping out! The beautiful people, hippies hanging out down Great Britain in
. Free love, sex and drugs, rock concerts of Gladsonbury and London . All "happening" but not where I lived it wasn't. I didn't see any of that, and what I did see was on the television. It was like watching something on another world, as ordinary people didn't become involved as they had their everyday lives to get on with. No, the rebellious nature demonstrated on television was purely for those in the minority. Because when you watch anti war demonstrations, or the police being beaten up by gangs on the street for whatever reason, you are given the impression that it was happening all over the country, which simply was not true. Woodstock
So if the Prisoner was a sign of the times, it was not happening in my village of Crowland, nor in the nearby market town Spalding. Life in such places simply went on as normal, farmers more concerned with the price of wheat per ton, or fat stock prices! For the rebelliousness of the 1960's, the drugs, flower power, free love, for many it simply did not happen. Unless of course you happened to live in a certain square mile in
, then you were in the heart of it. London
Make love not war.
Tune in and drop out!
Be seeing you