By Kenneth Hudson
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Extra info for A Dictionary of the Teenage Revolution and its Aftermath
The Beautiful People were rich, fashionable, trendy hippies. This is the reference in ' ... all the Beautiful People at a London discotheque, where super-powered sounds happen' (toothpaste advert in Jackie, 2 Sept 1967), and ' ... those god-like giants who stride amongst us in an aura of dazzling light -the Beautiful People' ( Oz, 8 Jan 1968). It was not unknown for the Beautiful People to use the phrase about themselves, but more often it was an adulatory description from outside. 'beautiful people' was ironic and mildly derogatory.
A phrase which ranks as coarse even in the pop music and entertainment worlds, which are not celebrated for refinement of taste and expression. Common in these fields since the early 1970s, it is little used outside them. 'He must have prompted more brown tongues than just about any other rock and roll artist ever' (Sounds, 3 March 1979) indicates the usage. Brown-tongued. Sycophantic, grovelling. ' (Sounds, 28 April1979). Brown wings. A decoration awarded to Hell's Angels on the occasion of their first homosexual intercourse.
A man. The word has an interesting social pedigree. A colloquialism in the 1820s, it became a society term in the 1880s and from then until the 1950s it continued in almost exclusively well-bred use, as a badge of the superior status of the speaker. Since then, however, it has moved some distance down the social scale, although, once away from its traditional owners, it is usually spoken and written in inverted commas, as one sees in 'I just could not seem to get through to these chappies' (Private Eye, 29 Jan 1971).
A Dictionary of the Teenage Revolution and its Aftermath by Kenneth Hudson