Cathy Mc Gowan - Impact On The "swinging" Sixties

Impact On The "swinging" Sixties

McGowan was an early patron of Biba, whose first store opened in September 1964, and had her own fashion range at British Home Stores. She endorsed a portable make-up set known as "Cathy's Survival Kit". Barbara Hulanicki, who founded Biba, observed that "the girls aped Cathy's long hair and eye-covering fringe and soon their little faces were growing heavy with stage make-up". Julia Dykins, half-sister of John Lennon of the Beatles, recalled how, despite wearing black eye make-up, black polo necks and dyed black jeans "à la Cathy McGowan", she was unable to convince doormen at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, where the Beatles came to prominence, that she was over 18, the age for admission. It has been claimed that the formation in 1966 of a British Society for the Preservation of the Miniskirt was prompted by McGowan's indicating that she would wear a long skirt on RSG.

After Fordyce’s departure in March 1965, McGowan continued to present RSG until it ended on 23 December 1966. In 1965 a decision that artists should perform live gave it immediacy that its longer-running BBC rival, Top of the Pops (1964–2006), never acquired; indeed, the latter retained a Mancunian model Samantha Juste — in television, McGowan's rival — as its "disc girl" until 1967. Although RSG's momentum had begun to flag, it had become a "cult programme" whose impact on music and, through McGowan, on the "swinging" sixties more generally was widely acknowledged. As Sandbrook put it, "Thanks to the enthusiastic salesmanship of McGowan and her fellow presenters, the emerging youth culture that had once been confined to the capital or to the great cities could now be seen and copied almost immediately from Cornwall to the Highlands". The musician and jazz critic George Melly thought RSG "made pop music work on a truly national scale ... It was almost possible to feel a tremor of pubescent excitement from Land's End to John O'Groats".

McGowan, who was a 5 feet 4.5 inches (1.64 m) brunette, modelled and also presented a show on Radio Luxembourg.

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