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Being influenced by John Berger


Youth culture I wanted to be part of
Claudia Roden Writer
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And I had a lot of friends, new friends that I met, apart from the people at art school. And some of them are still my friend. And just yesterday one of them phoned me from Paris. She is a sculptress. She was Israeli. And she had been gone from Germany just before the war. And she went to live in Paris, married a doctor there, and they were in London just last weekend. And then she phoned me because I couldn't go and see them, I was somewhere else.

And so, it was also one of the happiest times for me. You can see I had many in the early days. And afterwards as well. Because I keep wanting to have them again. So, it was also a period of great... apart from the food being horrible, there was theatres and going to the Royal Court, and cinema where they had film... what is it called? The film institute. That we wanted to see everything, hear everything. We would go and dance. When I was first in England, before I went to Paris, I asked my brother, 'Where can you go to dance?' And he said, 'There's no dancing'. There wasn't. The only dancing was maypole dancing. And that kind of dancing. And there isn't anything else. There was nothing for young people. But when I was at art school, it was beginning. And I remember going to a skiffle there, it was before The Beatles. And I remember going there. But also going to hear Ewan McCall and Peggy Seager, folk singers. And there was wonderful youth culture that I felt really very happy to be part of.

Claudia Roden (b. 1936) is an Egyptian-born British cookbook writer and cultural anthropologist of Sephardi/Mizrahi descent. She is best known as the author of Middle Eastern cookbooks including A Book of Middle Eastern Food, The New Book of Middle Eastern Food and The Book of Jewish Food.

Listeners: Nelly Wolman

Claudia Roden talking to her granddaughter Nelly Wolman about her life in food.

Tags: youth culture, dancing, friend, art school, skiffle

Duration: 2 minutes, 31 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2022

Date story went live: 04 December 2023