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What was that sexual revolution about, anyway?
Diana Athill Writer
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The 60s to me, although everyone goes on, or went on about it at the time, but to me they were just… just some more years going by. And they didn't really seem to me all that different.

And Jean used to say, 'What is all this nonsense about?' She said, 'People have been taking drugs and sleeping with each other forever'. And she, of course, had come to England before the First World War, but she had joined a very, very bohemian group of people. So in her group, they had been sleeping together and taking drugs. It wasn't really quite so common as she thought it was. But even so, I mean, the sexual revolution seemed to me to be a lot of nonsense, because people really had been sleeping with each other quite merrily for quite a long time, whatever anyone says. But fashions changed. And you know, you did notice that places like Biba and such were different. But of course, I was… it's an awful thought, but I was actually too old for the 60s. I never shopped at Biba's. That could be a very sad title for a book.

Born in 1917, Diana Athill is a British literary editor whose publishing career began when she helped André Deutsch establish his company. She has worked with many notable writers, namely Philip Roth, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean Rhys and VS Naipaul. Following the publication of her memoirs, she is now hailed as an author in her own right.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is a London-based television producer and director who has made a number of documentary films for BBC TV, Channel 4 and PBS.

Tags: Biba

Duration: 1 minute, 17 seconds

Date story recorded: January 2008

Date story went live: 23 December 2008