Friday, 23 May 2014

Charleston Festival: Part Two

Yesterday, (amid thunder, lightning and a lot of rain) I made the trek back to the festival to hear another talk. This time it was all about the 1950s. Rachel Cooke, the author of Her Brilliant Career spoke about what life was like for a woman in the midcentury. It was interesting to hear about the women she chose to investigate in her book, from architects to film directors, these women had fascinating lives. Writer Ben Watt also talked about his book 'Romany and Tom' which explores the lives of his parents, a musician and an actress, who struggled to live the lives they wanted in post-war London.

A lot of what I imagine of the fifties comes from the literature and plays I studied at university. I took a course called 'Angry Young Men and Women' which focused on the famous kitchen sink dramas such as 'Look Back in Anger' by John Osbourne and 'Saturday Night and Sunday Morning' by Alan Sillitoe. Reading these conjured up images of life in the 1950s as one of poverty, drudgery and a lot of laundry - not a fun time to be a woman. At the time these books and plays trod new ground as they shone a light on the working classes and the realities of everyday life post-war. 

However, this talk showed that for some women, the fifties offered up a life removed from the mundanity of household chores and one of independence and a rebellion from the norm. 

I enjoyed hearing about these differing experiences of the 1950s. Although I'm a bit too young to ever know what it was really like, my grandmother held down a full time job during the 1950s and it's great that these experiences are also being recognised and discussed.

I loved visiting Charleston this May. It's such a beautiful place wander around, soak up some culture and eat a lot of chocolate and almond cake (which was amazing!). Hopefully it will become a bit a of tradition.


1 comment :

  1. Really enjoyed finding this post. My friend and I also went to this talk at the festival (I wrote about it here: Excellent to hear your cake report too - I had the gooseberry and elderflower one which was also delicious!