Rock 'n' Roll: It's Better Than Beating Up Old Ladies with Bicycle Chains

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Life in Liverpool still requires a sense of humor, but instead of the old, leather-jacketed menace of the gangs, there are now 350 "beat groups." The beat throbs loudly, anonymously, cheerfully, from 25 beat clubs and at least 75 other "venues." The groups sport such virile names as "The Profiles" and "The Cruisers," and the music has lost its early and highly anomalous English sound; the Liverpudlian accent lends itself nicely to lyrics of the "You got everthing' bay-bee" school, and Merseyside rock groups such as Ian and the Zodiacs sound just like they come from

Bob City, Georgia. Former boppers have even taken up beat poetry. The revolution is complete.

Empty Face. Fletcher's article and the whole beat phenomenon have kindled one of the liveliest debates England has enjoyed in recent years. The Prime Minister, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Prince Philip and Poet Stephen Spender-are all on the side of the beats, though others have gasped at the chasm of vacuity they see revealed in Ringo's face.

No one argues that beat therapy has not been good for the kids; juvenile crime in Liverpool has dropped below the national average. At the very least, as one beat club employee says, making such music is better than beating up old ladies with bicycle chains. And a London reporter, feeling the beat, said the best of it: "It's a reminder to jumped-up man, grown snobbish, that the part of him which belongs forever to his old sweet home—the jungle—is good and valuable."

* Spender considers the Beatles' haircuts antidotes to violence and adolescent sexuality because they are "compromise haircuts"—as sexually indefinite as Prince Valiant's.

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