There comes a time early on in most of our lives when we try to piece together what events transpired before we were born.
I was born in the early 1970s, so as I've grown up, I've developed a heavily media-influenced perception of the 1960s. Most of this I could boil down into one phrase:
Everything back then had been really hip, but I'd been born too late and missed it.
In the closing credits of their oft-repeated TV show, The Monkees would regularly sing:
In this generation,
in this lovin' time,
in this generation,
we will make the world shine.
As a kid in the 1970s, I knew those words didn't apply to me. I wasn't a part of their generation. So they were going to change the world and I wasn't.
When it comes to the 1960s life and times of the singer Cliff Richard, there confusingly appear to be two contradictory accounts.
The first states that in those early days of his career, he affected the image of a rebel. Here's the 1963 cinema poster for his then-new movie Summer Holiday:
The second states that he was a sickeningly nice goody two-shoes. Here's the same film's free DVD cover from the Daily Mail recently:
I mean fer goodness' sake - here he's even square enough to be wearing a string vest!
So which one is true? Will the real Cliff Richard please stand up? (and as appropriate put on a dressing gown)
I think the casting vote has to go to the film itself, which I watched tonight. In it the young Sir Cliff, in good faith, saves a lost kid off the streets, sets up his own business, expertly clears his and his friends' innocent names from being framed, and ultimately becomes engaged to his sweetheart.
I don't know, but he really comes across as the sort of capable good catch that most parents would surely want their daughter to marry. Even some of his songs here are about just how nice it is to go on holiday. Yeah, take that, society.
Granted, the embarrassing number We Wanna Take You For A Ride could come across as a bit inconsiderate, as arguably might Sir Cliff's Benny Hill sketch below:
But on the whole, perhaps the sixties were so full of sex, drugs and rock'n'roll that all the niceness in this musical was a rebellion.
(available here, Charlie)