The Spiv and the Architect
Unruly Life in Postwar London
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: University of Minnesota Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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Introduction: Social Modernism and Male Homosexuality in Postwar London
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In the summer of 1954, Sir David Maxwell Fyfe, the Conservative Home Secretary, asked John Wolfenden to form a Departmental Committee to make recommendations on the twin problems of male homosexuality and female prostitution. During the previous half-decade, both of these phenomena...
1. Reconstructing Everyday Life in the Atomic Age
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After the blitz had devastated great swaths of London, but long before final victory had been secured, planners, designers, and policy makers were already presenting its inhabitants with ambitious projections of what life would be like in the postwar metropolis. The reformist potential of modern...
2. The Perversity of the Zigzag: The Criminality of Queer Urban Desire
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Warth’s presumption of an outraged readership for whose sake the “conspiracy of silence” surrounding urban vice must now be broken was a journalistic trope with a distinguished heritage. In the 1880s and 1890s, the “new journalism” associated with radical titles like the Pall Mall Gazette...
3. Trial by Photobooth: The Public Face of the Homosexual Citizen
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In 1952, Gordon Westwood (a pseudonym of the sociologist Michael Schofield) published his book Society and the Homosexual, an “attempt to evaluate the social implications of homosexuality” for a general nontechnical readership. Deploying a similar rhetoric to Douglas Warth’s contemporaneous...
4. Of Public Libraries and Paperbacks: The Sexual Geographies of Reading
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As the 1950s progressed, the reformist blueprint for the respectable homosexual gained an increased cultural currency within Britain. Promulgated across a range of forums, from therapeutic communities to the more “enlightened” popular media, it brought with it a significant shift in prescriptive...
5. Life in the Cybernetic Bedsit: Interior Design and the Homosexual Self
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During the early postwar era, the private home emerged as one of the most contested sites in the concerted drive for social reconstruction and renewal. Planners, policy makers, and other public experts paid particular attention to domestic space, now presented as a formative space of national citizenship...
Conclusion: City of Any Dream
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If the collages pasted on Orton and Halliwell’s bedsit walls were largely enabled by the cultural prominence of Do-It-Yourself in the later 1950s, then it is equally interesting that for Jane Gaskell writing for the Daily Sketch in 1966, its component images should be naturally presented as having been...
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As with many first books, this one has taken a while, so perhaps it’s best if I proceed chronologically. First, then, a big thank you to Adrian Rifkin for screening The Lavender Hill Mob as part of his M.A. module “Cities and Film” in 1995. From a small epiphany half an hour later (over a plate...
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About the Author
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Page Count: 328
Publication Year: 2010