Wednesday, 15 April 2009

UK Only, time limited. "West End Jungle"

There is an absolute gem on BBC's iPlayer right now called "West End Jungle". Banned when it came out in 1961, it catalogues one viewpoint on the changing shape of vice in the West End of London though a series of vignettes, just before and then after the new legislation in 1959, which introduced larger penalties and imprisonment to prostitutes.

See empty streets (almost no parked cars), everyone wearing hats and suits except the very young men and the ubiquitousness of tobacco, from its advertisement, through sale to consumption. The soundtrack shifts from Big Band (I was almost expecting Edmundo Ross to appear) to hints of Beat/Jazz.

It is an amazing record of male-centric cultural mores of the time, especially the reality of "entertainment".

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