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Saturday 1 October 2016

Rock 'n' roll and fashion: an exhibition that's a lot of fun

Museums are not supposed to be fun. They are supposed to be dusty places with ancient animal bones and traditional military uniforms. If you are lucky. 

Fortunately, someone forgot to send this memo to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, which is currently hosting You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-70, a celebration of the music and counter-culture movements of the late 60s.

If you are fascinated by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, missed out on getting to Woodstock but love the fashion era of Twiggy and Mary Quant then this will be right up your alley. 

This was an era of subversion (Australia's Richard Neville gets the recognition here the Sydney Morning Herald online denied him when he died last month) of an engagement with the environment, civil rights demonstrations and the beginning of consumerism after the years following World War II. 
I might be a bit biased because I believe the best music ever was made between 1964 and 1971 but you'd have to be a curmudgeon not to enjoy the soundtrack that plays on your headset as you visit the various displays. 
This was the era computers made their first appearances and a time of immense change is reflected through photography, posters, music, film, fashion, literature and objects. 
The highlights include a moon rock, an Apple 1 computer, notes from the 1968 Paris student riots, imagery from the Montreal and Osaka World Fairs, and the remains of one of Jimmy Hendrix's smashed guitars. 
Best of all, perhaps, the actual uniforms the Beatles wore on the cover of Sergeant Pepper. 
I particularly enjoyed the Woodstock room (sit on a beanbag on fake grass) with notes pinned to trees at the music festival to peruse while watching the movie playing on three huge screens. 
Admission to the V&A is free but it costs £16 to enter the special exhibition, which runs until February 26,  2017. 
For details and booking visit; or by calling 0800 912 6961. The V&A is open daily from 10am-5.45pm and until 10pm every Friday.

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