The Beat Generation

Jack Kerouac’s classic novel “On the Road” is a book filled with exuberance and poignancy. It defines an era. Set in the 1950s underground America with the main characters Sal Paradise and his hero Dean Moriarty, the living epitome of the Beat Generation. I was very surprised to find out that Jack Kerouac and his good friend Neal Cassidy were actually the inspiration behind the novel. I started this book with the naivety that it was a complete work of fiction and only discovered after having finised the book that it’s based on the travels of Kerouac and his friends across America.

The Beat Generation had a pervasive influence on Rock and Roll. Popular artists including The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Jim Morrison – who all took inspiration from the Beats. A prime example of this is The Beatles spelling their name with an ‘a’ partly as a Beat Generation reference. The influence the band has on popular culture was, and remains, colossal. Throughout their career their ‘mop-top haircut’ was imitated worldwide. I have never really considered the effect ‘trends’ had on the male generation until now, and was shocked at how male fashion flows throughout history.  The Beatles fashion transformed from grey, Edwardian collarless suits – a style adopted from the Mod youth cult – to psychedelic, brightly coloured suits in the late sixties. In such a short space of time, fashion changed dramatically and yet everybody followed. I never really put it into perspective until now; menswear is very similar to female fashion in the way it adapts and changes over time.

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