A Vision Of Loveliness, pre-Swinging London glamour and tales of West End popsies
It begins like a humourous, if at times grim and snobbery bound, snapshot of a previous era in Britain’s history (the late 1950s/early 1960s to be precise) that is all kitchen sink-esque non-glamour and pre consumer choice/disposable incomes; condemned gas geysers, every meal tipped out of a can, twitching curtains and conformity, dead-end jobs and maybe one good suit or outfit to wear if you’re lucky.
It is a tale that is played out in a time before the true explosion of teenage tastes, styles and money to throw at fashion and fripperies; a time when glamour and style even of the young was nearer to hidebound tailoring, evening gowns and set hairdos.
The story is framed through the lens of a young gal (not yet twenty) who is desparate to improve herself, the circles she moves in and indeed her wardrobe.
Be careful what you wish for though.
Beauty and the body are a commodity to be traded for a nice pair of shoes or a plushly carpeted flat in Mayfair; the West End popsies who are these particular visions of loveliness look to the “favours” of moneyed older generations in order to acquire the fashions they desire…
…as time passes – and suprisingly little time or indeed few action/decisions, the steps from A to there can be but one or two – and the pages turn, the book takes a considerably darker, more cynical turn and comes to remind me of the scandal, sleaze and exchanges that may well have taken place around/around the edges of the Profumo Affair in the heart of London back then and when.
Read the (slightly misleading/possibly more morally hopeful than the tale itself) background information/blurb from the book here.
Peruse the book here.