Friday 31 May and as usual this diary starts after work, today with a haircut at Randall & Thomas in Albert St – don’t remember this salon, I know they had one at the top of Queen St and one at Indooroopilly. After the cut is was off to the Cubana Cafe, also in Albert St as I recall, for a snack and then a quick visit to Sportsgirl and to one of my favourite shops, Just Men, a tiny shop in the Pavilion Arcade on the corner of Albert & Queen Sts.
I really did like that shop – I report in my diary that I even bought Pip a pair of shoes for her birthday from there. Brown suede and she loved ’em. After all this city flitting, we headed out to Milton and to La Boite for La Bamba, which featured Order by Numbers, an off-shoot or natural progression or evolution from the Popular Theatre Troupe, formed by Gavan Fenelon, Penny Glass, Dee Martin and some other folks – didn’t record what they did. There were also two short 16mm films, Cafe Love and Roma for which I also have no details. There was an audience of some 100 and Pip and I worked on the bar dispensing the famous La Bamba $1 a cup port. I used to get 10l casks of Brown Bros Tawny Port through my cellar and we would go through a startling amount each Friday night.
Of course, we also sold beers and Minchinbury Champagne (as we called it back then), although we may have moved to Seaview Brut for a perceived shift up-market. We had vile drip-through Kona coffee and those funky little glass bottles of Coke which I would buy from the Coke Factory in James St.
Thursday meant late night shopping in 1985 – in the suburbs at least. Shops all closed at 5pm every other night, but managed to linger until 9pm on Thursdays. The 30th May and a meeting at Triple Zed straight after work.
I first met with Danielle Bond at Triple Zed, then we met with Dave Aberdeen, a quiet, passionate, practical man who was one of the ‘Builders‘ – an elite amongst Zed Heads who had participated in the building of the studios some 10 years earlier and new how to keep the techish things humming along. The others at this mysterious meeting, the reason for which is not documented and is now lost in time, were Mark Bracken, a colourful radio identity never far from his 2lt juice bottle and Steve Sharpe, who I recall was a journo at the station (I think). Mydiary says we seemed to sort everything out – whatever everything was. So I guess that was good?
Anne Jones collected me from St Lucia and we did our weekly share-housey shopping thing at Toowong Woolworths, successfully apparently. That house in New Farm was one of the easiest share-houses I ever lived in. Anne, Ron and I got on well – we liked each others partners and friends. We liked cooking and eating. We never argued (that I recall) and our house was comfortable, relatively clean and well- appointed. Share-house nirvana I guess.
Anyway, Pip came over when we got home and this we celebrated by watching TV and cooking steaks.
I note that my diary contains an upper case reminder to “PREPARE FREEBIE PROGRAMME FOR KAREN” and that there is no reference to this in the main entry – I smell failure here.
I posed the question yesterday, “When did rugby league die for me?”. I think it answered it today while pondering the question – it could have been that it was never really alive and I was just doing it to please my Pop, but I recall a couple of heartfelt moments in the outer at a BRL grand final, so that may not entirely be the truth. If it wasn’t quite alive in me, any glimmer of rugby league interest was snuffed out in year 12 at Brisbane State High School. That was where Wally Lewis punched me out for drinking at his tap. Wally’s older than I am – he was repeating senior for the third time, I suspect (something to do with football) and I was unfortunate enough to blunder into his line of sight and stop to use a nearby bubbler. I’ve been fortunate in my life and can count the number of fighty incidents I’ve been involved in on one hand without resorting to the thumb, so ol’ Wal’s thump lives large in my memory.
Enough of the good old days – back to 1985 and May 29 where I was facing yet another quiet bloody evening at home.
A slight moment of interest concerning keys and cabs and keys in cabs and the report of a visit by Ian Gray who was delivering party invitations (Yes, by hand there was no email or texts). Ian was the responsible, sensible rebel. Lovingly referred to as Barbara for his motherly temperament (I assume). Already a lawyer, he had published a tiny music magazine for a while and he had a great knowledge and love of music. Ian left by 10 leaving me alone with a video that would change my life.
I cannot begin to describe the One Arm Boxer phenomenon. Or perhaps it’s the Jimmy Wang phenomonon – he is the master of single arm martial arts. There are many movies with this, or a similar title and all equally fanstatic. My favourite one armer is the One Armed Swordsman who is trackingdown the b’stard who killed his father (or his teacher, or someone or other requiring revenge) and the search has taken years and there are legions of bad guys attacking and being driven off and destroyed and finally, when the OAS is there facing the final boss – he gets his arm cut off early on the battle. What’s a one arm swordsman to do? Whip out the other arm that’s just been sitting there under your smock for decades waiting for just an opportunity to pop out and take retribution. Gold!
Now I’ll tell what I’m pleased about – I’m pleased to be able to inform you that 28 May 1985 was game one of the State of Origin series. I’m even pleaseder to say that my diary is totally oblivious to that fact. Not a mention do I make. No hint of maroon or blue tints those mouldy old pages. I was a rugby league hater then as I am now. Perhaps hate is a little strong. Maybe I’m a rugby league disdainer – if that’s less than a hater (I’m not sure). Well done me.
Maybe it’s confession time, or at least time for a little insight to the naissance of this urban gent. I grew up with Rugby League. My Pop loved the game and we headed off to Lang Park most Sundays, after I’d finished polishing the outdoor taps, the Holden ute’s hub caps, the water heater in the bathroom; the Hecla toaster and the cutlery if needed. My Nanna would do a roast lunch, which we would eat on trays in the lounge room while we watched the replay of Four Corners. Then, apple pie barely devoured, we’d jump in the ute and drive from Hill End to Milton where we’d park in the driveway of APM’s salvage depot in Castlemaine St and walk around to the Frank Bourke Stand – we stopped to buy doubles on the way in and would then watch the elite of the BRL competition go at it. After the football, Pop would drop me near the Victoria Bridge and I’d catch the bus home to Mt Gravatt. So when did Rugby League die for me? About the same time as the Brisbane Competition got superceded by the NRL I’d say – too serious.
All that ignoring of the “mate v mate – state v state” shite does not, however, make my evening any more interesting. Quiet night in with a couple of videos seems to be the football avoidance technique I plumped for on this occasion. Pip came over and we watched The Apprencticeship of Duddy Kravitz – the film which accrding to all reports, put Richard Dreyfuss on the map (!). I had another film to watch which missed out on a screening due to Rock Arena sidetracking us. I actually remember that other film quite vividly – I’m sure all who have ever seen it will remember it always, but I didn’t watch it till tomorrow (I checked ahead…) so I shouldn’t waste it here on this night of footy nights so entirely ignored.
Monday the 27th May, 1985 featured a La Bamba meeting that went a little long.
I’m starting to worry about my life back then! How did I cope with such excitement. Not only did this meeting “drag on”, but it was poorly attended. Poor attendance at meetings these days is certainly not a recipe for dragging them on – something obviously went awry. The meeting was followed by a quick trip to the Valley with Ron Layne, Buffy Lavery, Anne Jones and Pip for a dinner at the Cathay. Which I think I recall was on the corner where the Chinatown Mall meets Wickham St – I may be wrong.
Dinner was over and we were home by 11pm, which I record was just in time to see one of the worst films ever. A film that I believed was wonderfully bad and I which I do not recall ever seeing, but reading the reviews now I wish I did. Starflight One with an all-star cast – Lee Majors, Hal Linden, Lauren Hutton to name but a stellar few.
So I’m sitting at home with my house buddies watching crap movies on TV, while in the City, not 10 minutes away, there are two of the eras finest films, Eating Raoul and Diva playing. Boat missed.
A Sunday morning shift on 4ZZZ. I really enjoyed the Sunday morning shifts – it was quiet at the station and I’d usually ploughed through the Saturday papers looking for little articles that would go well with songs that I wanted to play. When you arrived at ZZZ for a shift, your first challenge was to get in – there was an intercom by the door that a. rarely worked or b. flashed a small light in the studio. You could hear the announcer on air through the monitors in the foyer – you’d tap on the glass or shake the doors and press the intercom button and often a bleary-eyed announcer would appear on a quick trip to the toilet or a pablo instant coffee run to the urn in the kitchen and let you in. Often they would come out looking for their relief announcer and find you, face up against the glass, glowering.
Triple Zed at UQ, St Lucia
This Sunday I ran late. This was problematic because you couldn’t get enough records into the record bin before you started to last you the whole 3 hour shift. You had to keep selecting long tracks and running back into the library to find more records, which was a difficult exercise because more often than not the last 25 announcers had not filed their records away and the ones you were after were in any number of piles around the room. Correct practice was to take a record from the shelf and pull out the one next to it so you could easily replace it after use. Running late was also problematic because of the $7.30 cab fare from New Farm to St Lucia.
I finished my shift at 1pm and walked back to the West End ferry – caught the ferry over to Hill End (Hill End being one of those localities that residents like to claim for their own sense of exclusiveness – Hill End is not West End – Merthyr is not New Farm) where my Nanna lived in Ryan St. From there Sunday devolved into afternoon tea with my brother and father till a cab took me home.
Nanna’s House – Ryan St, Hill End
Very lack lustre if I say so myself.
The 25th May has always been my brother’s birthday – and so it was in 1985. My brother, Adrian is 4 years younger than me and a disabled pensioner. He always lived with my Dad. This day being a Saturday meant I had to work till 12:30pm. After work there were birthday pancakes to be had at The Pancake Manor, in Charlotte St where I joined my mum, her husband, Don and his son Martin as well as my brother, Adrian for triple stacks and swiss shakes. Could the Pancake Place be described as an enigma? It must have been going for 30 years, mostly empty, completely unchanged, very grimy and I shudder to think of the number of litres of maple syrup that have poured through the venue.
Pancake Manor in Charlotte St
Got a lift home after pancake gutsing and began preparing dinner – must have been a family night with Buffy Lavery, Ron Layne, Damien Ledwich, Anne Jones and Pip Cleary all there. I boastfully wrote in my diary that I made the hors d’oeuvres (which is possibly a little flasher than I was used to), the roast and veges and the dessert – I actually wrote ‘desert’, but thought I could slip it by – unless I did actually make a desert – Heston could have. Dinner broke up at 1am.
I note from the ‘What’s On’ clip above that Ups and Downs were playing at a venue called the Op Shop. Now I don’t remember a venue being called this, but I do remember Ups and Downs. Yet another band to emerge from Corinda High School and based around the brothers Atkinson, who were childhood friends.