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.




Interdisciplinary Learning with the Best Professors


Think Olio is not about learning a new skill or adding credentials to your resume. It is about getting together with other people and expanding our worldview. It exists as a conduit for fruitful discussions, a dissent from the regurgitation of facts, and an embrace of new perspectives.


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Other upcoming Olios


Jan 24

Living Room Salon | Tough Poetry in Dark Times

Taught by Geoff Klock
7:30 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $15

Jan 31

The Dangerous Pleasure of Art

Taught by Geoff Klock
7:30 p.m. at Blender Workspace

Sign Up - $20

Feb 1

Feb 2

OlioHouse | Our Stories, Our Bodies: Rape Culture in American History

Taught by Jamie Warren
noon at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $150

Feb 6

Olio Seminar | Space, Time, & Work: Understanding Labor

Taught by Lauren Hudson
7:30 p.m. at Berg'n

Sign Up - $75

Feb 9

OlioHouse | The Love Symposium

Taught by Skye Cleary
noon at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $150

Feb 15

A Good Friend is Hard to Find: Philosophy and Friendship

Taught by Jeanne Proust
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Feb 21

Living Room Salon | Music and Environmentalism

Taught by Kristy Barbacane
7 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $15

Feb 22

The Circular Road: Art and the Religious Imagination

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

Sign Up - $20

Feb 25

What Would Buffy Do? Radical Feminism and the Slayer

Taught by Jamie Warren
7:30 p.m. at Neuehouse Madison Sq.

Sign Up - $20

Feb 28

Into the Mystic: Music & the Moving Image

Taught by Whitney George
7:30 p.m. at Blender Workspace

Sign Up - $20

May 17

Rethinking Refugee Trauma and Mental Health

Taught by Kim Nguyen
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

May 29

Composing Beauty: Mapplethorpe’s Quest for Perfection

Taught by Jeanne Proust
7 p.m. at BAM Fisher

Sign Up - $20


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