Do you know Malcolm X from Michael X? Have you heard all about Woodstock and the Isle of Wight Festival? Do you have the inside track on the history of the Haight-Ashbury or the Cavern Club?
One of the two co-founders of GWS Media, Richard Graves, was better-known in his previous professional life as an author. Alongside five introductory guides to home computers, a guide to navigating the publishing industry as a first-time author, and a short history of Shrewsbury, he wrote seven well-received biographies published between 1976 and 1995.
While he continues to work to this day for GWS on a part-time basis as our financial director, Richard has lately been revisiting his love for sketching characters in a new context. He has recently launched a new website called The Swinging 60s, which aims to document in concise and clear form the leading people, places and movements that defined the spirit of the 1960s, especially in the English-speaking world.
Today (June 15th, 2022), the 50th biographical character sketch hosted on Richard’s new site went live. It concerns the Kray Twins, the most notorious London gangsters of the decade.
A complete A-Z index of all the potted biographies of stars of the 1960s on the site is also accessible. From Muhammad Ali to Michael X, it already showcases a significant proportion of the decade’s most famous names.
To date, there are now 65 articles live on the website.
However, a shortlist even longer than this of future articles to work on is being held in reserve, promising that the site will continue to expand until there are 100 or more biographies hosted on it, a target Richard hopes to reach by the end of 2023.
For those wondering as to the need for such a site when the likes of Wikipedia seemingly reveal all about everyone who has ever been anyone, the answer is simple: editorial quality control. As useful as Wikipedia can be, Richard feels that some articles on it have become bloated with minutiae of mostly uninteresting detail to the point that it’s difficult for anyone with an average amount of time on their hands to see the wood for the trees and take in what is essential about the lives and careers of each personality. There are also cases in which Wikipedia articles fall short on important detail regarding the works of artists, authors and musicians.
The Swinging Sixties offers a carefully curated and researched, custom-written view of every famous person, place and movement it covers. As such, it makes for an excellent one-stop introduction to the subject matter, and should be of interest not only to those with long enough memories to have lived through the 1960s, but also to those of younger generations who were not even born before January 1st, 1970 and know of the Sixties only what they’ve read and heard from others.
We are grateful to Richard for contracting GWS Media to produce the design for the website for his Sixties project. All credit must go to our designer Victor for the many hours he has put into this.
Why not take a look through for yourself, and see what you can learn about some of the stars of the decade who were previously just names with a few sketchy details attached to them in your consciousness? The three-dimensional depth of portrait of some of the characters, from their participation in protest movements to their philanthropy, has the potential to surprise.
Richard would love to know which stars of the 1960s that have not yet been included in the site you would like him to write about next – or at least, alongside the next fifty names he plans to work on over the coming 18 months. Feel free to email him on [email protected] with your feedback and requests.