We're now a member-driven learning collective. Learn more about the benefits of becoming a founding member.

Britain Before the Beatles: Disinterring the UK’s Lost Decade


“England Swings Like a Pendulum Do!” And so it was in the 1960s, The Fab Four’s arrival on U.S soil pulling down a transatlantic drawbridge to a nation that would dominate every aspect of popular culture for the rest of the decade. From Mods to Minis (both the car and the skirt), from The Rolling Stones to Herman’s Hermits, from Carnaby Street and Twiggy to the films of Richard Lester, nothing could possibly have been cooler, hipper, and more in-tune with the burgeoning Boomers than Britain in the Sixties.  

And yet cultural history has seemingly decided that Postwar British culture began in 1964, and that England in the ‘50s was a dismal, postwar backwater of ration books and council houses. True, America had Elvis and Eames, but in this Olio, Professor Amanda Hallay will attempt to disinter the pop culture landscape of ‘50s England, arguing that many of the most iconic American Mid-Century signifiers actually originated in Britain. Before there was Googie, there was The Festival of Britain.  Before there was Warhol, there was Richard Hamilton. Before there was Tiki, there was Tretchikoff. And while British rockers such as Cliff Richard and Billy Fury were arguably little more than Elvis imitators, Britain had producer Joe Meek, the first person ever to use sampling and reverse tracking (techniques that would later be employed by everyone from The Beatles to Jay-Z!)

Yes, there was a Britain before The Beatles, and in her talk, Prof. Hallay will tell you just how incredibly cool it really was!




Location: Franklin Electric

650 Franklin Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

In the evenings, Franklin Electric hosts community events, like their monthly Franklin Electric Reading Series. We're always looking for interesting events that benefit the neighborhood.


Other upcoming Olios


Jul 22

Immoral Art?

Taught by Jeanne Proust
3 p.m. at Mathew Gallery

Sign Up - $15

Jul 26

A Dog Named Ego

Taught by Michael Prettyman
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Jul 28

NYC Poetry Festival | Revolutionary Letters, Confronting the Times

Taught by Jessica Rogers
1 p.m. at Governors Island

Sign Up - $10

Jul 28

NYC Poetry Festival | Sekou Sundiata & Radical Citizenship

Taught by Brian Lewis
3:30 p.m. at Governors Island

Sign Up - $10

Jul 29

NYC Poetry Festival | The Dangerous Pleasure of Art

Taught by Geoff Klock
3:30 p.m. at Governors Island

Sign Up - $10

Jul 29

NYC Poetry Festival | Poetry of Loneliness and Collaboration

Taught by Heather O'Neill
1 p.m. at Governors Island

Sign Up - $10

Jul 31

Immersive Listening - Bowie's "Low"

Taught by Whitney George
7:30 p.m. at Nowadays

Sign Up - $15

Aug 21

The Poetry in Piledrivers: Pro-wrestling as Art

Taught by Ben Abelson
7:30 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $15


Find out when we launch new classes!