Switched on over Dolly Birds and discos, but not the best ever World Cup …

The swinging Sixties

What's all this about London being the Swinging City? Really, the things that people who write for a living will write for a living! I've just had some cutting from Canada. London, we are told, is "a city steeped in tradition, seized by change, liberated by affluence, graced by daffodils and anemones … London has burst into bloom. It swings. It is the scene. Ancient elegance and new opulence are all tangled up in a sizzling blur. The city alive with birds (girls) and Beatles, buzzing with minicars and telly stars, pulsing with half a dozen separate veins of excitement."

There are pages of it, packed with all the names you see in newspapers and with plugs for all the places for eating, gambling discothèque-ing (you couldn't call it dancing), boutiquing (you couldn't call it shopping) that the Sunday papers and gossip columns thrive on. The friend who sent me the cuttings hasn't been in London for more than two years and writes "I think if I came home I would be a complete foreigner." We must get it over to her, and others like her, that there are quite a lot of us Non-Dolly-Birds around and there are quite a lot of Dolly Birds who aren't Switched On. And we all get on quite cosily, complaining about the traffic, the housing problem and the difficulty of getting tickets for the National Theatre.

There is still a great mass of virtuous London citizenry living hardworking lives untroubled by ancient elegance or new opulence. They just hope they can keep up with the rent.