Young France: the Gallic teens of 1965

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On the eve of the 1965 French statesmanlike election, the Observer Magazine (28 November 1965) headed crossed the Channel for a peculiar variation connected the taste and societal improvement of Young France: what had changed present ‘one Frenchman successful 3 is nether 20’?

Adolescent revolt successful France was judged ‘surprisingly docile’ and French teens were ‘on the full harmless. They bash not fuss with beardown drink. Their fads are acold little outlandish than the exotic hairstyles and far-out apparel of their British counterparts.’ Yet the student-led revolt of May 68 would deed France similar a Molotov cocktail chucked implicit a barricade lone 3 years later.

Then arsenic now, Gallic manner skewed classic, not subversive. Glossy-haired girls were photographed successful ‘English tweed and Shetland’ and neatly buttoned wool coats. The boys ‘hanker… aft Anglo-Italian elegance’ and, sweetly, a caller craze for umbrellas had ‘boosted accumulation of achromatic brollies’.

A study connected the antics and exceptionalism of the gilded younker of the Ecole Polytechnique, the Oxford PPE of French life, has shades of the Bullingdon. Thankfully, le rock’n’roll was injecting a soupçon of enactment and information into Gallic life. French teens (‘Les Yé-yé arsenic the adults telephone them, fractional contemptuously, fractional enviously’) were grooving to the Beatles, Stones and Dylan similar their UK counterparts but, of course, Johnny Halliday got a mention. ‘President de Gaulle has listened to Johnny Halliday astatine slightest once. He is reported to person remarked with approval: “It’s noisy, similar an service band.”’

A dictionary of French teen slang besides helpfully provided cardinal phrases to beryllium with it (dans le coup): ‘Ca chauffe: the bushed is hot’, ‘Ca a fait tilt: we deed it off’ and ‘Smart: smart.’

Three weeks later, de Gaulle, past aged 75, won the election. The French youthquake wasn’t a done woody rather yet.