Starting From Scratch: Thursday, 17th November, 1977

I met a Cypriot at work today. He asked me if I knew anything of Cyprus. “Nicosia, Famagusta…” I replied. He told me that he was from Famagusta. With the thought that I’d done rather well, I pushed my luck by volunteering to draw a map of the island on a sheet of paper. He, however, was unimpressed with my effort and drew a detailed one that showed the Greek and Turkish parts.

He is from the northern territory where he had owned twenty-three flats — in two blocks, each six storeys high — before he lost the lot in the Turkish invasion. He is starting all over again, here in Australia!

We gave a workmate of Tiki’s a lift home to Ramsgate as clouds threatened to storm. En route I told him of how, in 1970, it had cost me but two dollars to see The Beach Boys play for ninety minutes as the audience sat on the extremely hard wooden floor of the disused bowling alley in Corrimal. Even he stated that that had been “unreal” value.

It began to rain as I opened the doors to our garage, but it was destined to only continue for half an hour. I watched some of the Colgate ladies’ tennis on Channel Seven. Jeanne Evert, Chris’s plump sister, won her match. On “Willesee”, at seven o’clock, presenter, Paul Makin, interviewed John Denver, who is in Brisbane.

During our walk we stopped at the Gymea Hotel and purchased a bottle of Kahlua coffee liqueur at a cost of ten dollars. The hotel is owned by the former boxing champion, Vic Patrick. We tried to dodge the puddles on the way home, as stars shone above.

The Top 40 Fantasies: No. 14

  1. The Real Thing (Parts1 and 2) (1969) Russell Morris
  2. If I Can’t Have You (1978) Yvonne Elliman
  3. Baby Love (1964) The Supremes
  4. Bye Bye Blackbird (1926) Gene Austin
  5. When I Dream (1979) Crystal Gayle
  6. Itchycoo Park (1967) The Small Faces
  7. I Understand (1964) Freddie and The Dreamers
  8. Somebody That I Used To Know (2011) Gotye, featuring Kimbra
  9. Knock On Wood (1966) Eddie Floyd
  10. Imagination (1940) Glenn Miller and his Orchestra, vocalist: Ray Eberle
  11. You’re No Good (1963) The Swinging Blue Jeans
  12. I’m Your Hoochie Cooche Man (1954) Muddy Waters
  13. Going Up The Country (1968) Canned Heat
  14. Jeanny (1985) Falco
  15. I Like It (1963) Gerry and The Pacemakers
  16. Each Minute Seems A Million Years (1945) Eddy Arnold
  17. Why Don’t We Do This More Often? (1941) Kay Kyser and his Orchestra, vocalists: Ginny Simms and Harry Babbitt
  18. After The Lights Go Down Low (1956) Al Hibbler
  19. You Better Run (1966) The Rascals
  20. On Second Thought (1989) Eddie Rabbitt
  21. Walkin’ In The Sunshine (1967) Roger Miller
  22. Saxophobia (1920) Rudy Wiedoeft
  23. Girls Just Want To Have Fun (1984) Cyndi Lauper
  24. There Is A Tavern In The Town (1953) The Four Aces
  25. Poor Boy (1958) The Royaltones
  26. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right (1963) Peter, Paul and Mary
  27. Five Minutes More (1946) Frank Sinatra
  28. The Street Of Memories (1957) Johnnie Ray
  29. Starry Eyed (1960) Michael Holliday
  30. Too Much Of A Little Bit (1951) The Royales
  31. The Little Blue Man (1958) Betty Johnson
  32. Get Out Those Old Records (1951) Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians, vocalists: Kenny Gardner and Carmen Lombardo
  33. Why Don’t They Understand (1957) George Hamilton IV
  34. Hit And Run (1979) Jo Jo Zep and The Falcons
  35. Just Before Dawn (1963) Ned Miller
  36. My Chickashay Girl (1947) Roy Rogers
  37. When I Dream (1978) Jack Clement
  38. The Men In My Little Girl’s Life (1965) Mike Douglas
  39. MMMBop (1997) Hanson
  40. Fancy Pants (1975) Kenny

Your Side Is My Side!: Friday, 9th December, 1977

Having awoken and ventured outside to the toilet, I asked Tiki if I might revert to sleeping on what I consider to be my side of the bed. The radio’s alarm woke me at twenty-four past six to the sound of the American pianist, Floyd Cramer, playing Badfinger’s hit of 1972, “Day After Day”, on 2CH. We continued to listen to Bob Moore’s breakfast programme, both at home and in the car on the way to work.

As we travelled in light traffic, on what was a bright and sunny morning, I learned that Abba’s latest release is entitled “The Name Of The Game”. After work, Tiki deposited a further one hundred dollars in her account at the bank. This has raised its balance, which we intend to spend on a holiday in Fiji next year, to eight hundred dollars.

We dined at her parents’ after which Tiki washed the dishes while I dried. Once we had watched an edition of “Police Story”, which screens from half past eight on Channel Nine and stars Desi Arnaz Jr., “Dad” presented me with a large sprinkler to use on our lawns. He estimated that it was twenty years old and assured me that it had lost none of its effectiveness in that time.

Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels

William S. Levise Jr was born in February of 1945, in Michigan. His father was a musician and, by his teenage years, William was following this same path.

Bob Crewe, a prevalent songwriter and producer of records, bestowed the name of Mitch Ryder upon William and also renamed his band The Detroit Wheels. This newly named outfit recorded the single, “Jenny Take A Ride!”, in 1965 and saw it enter the American Top Ten. The medley was a combination of two hits from the past: “C.C. Rider” and “Jenny, Jenny”.

A cover version of The Righteous Brothers’ “Little Latin Lupe Lu” peaked in the Top 20 and “Break Out” perhaps deserved better than to cease to rise beyond No.62. Still, with Mitch’s voice bearing the influence of that possessed by the early rocker, Little Richard, the medley of “Devil With A Blue Dress On and Good Golly Miss Molly” just had to be a hit and, towards the end of 1966, the single duly ascended to No.4.

“Sock It To Me-Baby!” marked the group’s last visit to the Top Ten, as well as being its penultimate entry to the charts.

Mitch Ryder embarked upon a career as a solo recording artist, however, his success in this endeavour proved to be moderate. Nonetheless, video clips bear testimony to the fact that Mitch continued to perform live for years to come.

Landslide!: Saturday, 10th December, 1977

I didn’t go to bed until eleven minutes to one because I had wastefully studied the form that pertained to this afternoon’s trifecta, as well as sit through the first half an hour of the movie, “The Uninhibited”, which was being screened on Channel Ten. Melina Mercouri, James Mason and Hardy Kruger are three of the stars in this offering from 1967.

We awoke to the radio’s alarm at twenty-four past six, as if it were a day on which we had to work. Five past eight saw our departure for Miranda Public School. Upon our arrival we were sent from one room to another. Eventually, we learned that our names were still on the electoral roll for those who reside in Caringbah. A pleasant enough bloke, who reeked of bodily odour, informed us that we should, therefore, vote in that suburb’s electorate.

Instead, I drove Tiki to the hairdressing salon at Cronulla where she had an appointment for half past the hour. Returning home in the ‘Galant’, I washed it in our drive before employing the use of a grey extension cord and our red Pye vacuum cleaner to ensure that it was spick-and-span on the inside, as well. The temperature was already twenty-seven degrees Celsius by nine o’clock.

Tiki was collected by me at a quarter past eleven and after we had shopped in Caringbah we observed that the small thermometer inside the car showed that its interior registered one hundred and ten degrees Fahrenheit!

Our votes were cast at Laguna Street Public School on the way home. The film, “Wonders Of Aladdin”, screened on Channel Seven from a quarter past twelve and at ten to three we headed for Waverton and Tiki’s Aunt Ruth’s, in spite of the fact that our vehicle possesses no air conditioning.

Gusty winds and gathering storm-clouds accompanied today’s maximum of thirty-five degrees and my self-inflicted weariness just added to my discomfort. I felt as though I could do little more than just sit in front of Ruth’s eighteen-inch Sony colour telly and watch what traditionalists of the game of cricket are referring to as ‘Kerry Packer’s Circus’.

The Australian Eleven batted second, at the obscure Westlakes Stadium in Adelaide, and in its quest to chase the World Eleven’s nine for two hundred and four proceeded to collapse to be all out for one hundred and fifty-five. Today’s one-day encounter and any subsequent matches, come under the banner of World Series Cricket.

We did experience some rain, but it didn’t last for long. After dinner we watched Channel Nine’s report on the Federal Election, which was presented by Michael Schulberg. It soon became apparent that the Coalition, led by the incumbent Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser, was going to emerge victorious in an unanticipated landslide.

Having left Ruth’s for home at ten o’clock, we were in time to watch a sarcastic Mike Willesee tell those who were viewing Channel Seven that he hadn’t voted anyway, in protest at the major parties. We remained up until ten minutes to midnight to witness Mr Fraser’s victory speech. It followed Mr Whitlam’s acknowledgement of defeat, at a quarter past eleven, and his announcement that he is to relinquish his leadership of the Australian Labor Party.

‘Secret’ Pit: Sunday, 11th December, 1977

After lunch and a sunny, warm summer’s morning, Tiki informed me that she is going to leave her full-time job and look for casual employment.

Having arrived at her parents’ she clipped her pet poodle, “Fifi”, who resides there, whilst her father carried out a mechanical check on the ‘Galant’ for we shall soon be on holiday. He fitted it with new points and cleaned the battery’s arm of acid prior to coating it with Vaseline. He then positioned the car above his “secret” pit that can be accessed from the recess where the lawn-mowers are kept and is situated below the level of the concrete area of yard before the garages. Despite having lived there for nigh on six months, I had no idea that such a pit existed!

Anyway, he declared the transmission oil to be “all right” and gave each nipple on the vehicle’s underside seven squirts with a grease gun. As “Dad” was doing this, I watched two boys, one fat and the other slim, hit a golf ball on the sandy beach below. When the thin one lost the ball in the bay the pair resorted to hitting tins and stones. We departed at half past five after I had assisted “Dad” in the removal of a front wheel. This permitted him to examine the brake pads.

This evening’s edition of “Hawaii Five-O” centres principally upon Danny Williams, portrayed by James McArthur, who, to escape from crooks, jumps off a cliff and on to a load of sand that is being hauled by a truck. He strikes his head in the process and, as a result, develops amnesia. At half past eight we turned the dial from Channel Nine to Channel Seven to watch the far-fetched spy movie, “Kiss The Girls And Make Them Die”. Produced in 1966, it features Michael “Tightrope”/”Mannix” Connors, Dorothy “The Roaring Twenties” Provine and the English actor, Terry-Thomas, who doesn’t have to do or say much to make one smile.

Chris Andrews

Born in London, in October of 1942, Christopher Frederick Andrews formed his own group, Chris Ravel and The Ravers, in the mid-to-late nineteen fifties. He coupled his ability to sing with that of being able to write songs.

It was in the ‘Swinging Sixties’ that, as Chris Andrews, he came to the fore in both of these fields. “The First Time” and “We Are In Love” were hits for fellow Englishman, Adam Faith, and “Girl Don’t Come”, “I’ll Stop At Nothing”, “Message Understood” and “Long Live Love” all did wonders for the career of the barefooted singer, Sandie Shaw.

As a recording artist Chris’s heyday came in 1965, with his release of “Yesterday Man”. The single reached No.3 in Britain, No. 13 in Australia and No.1 in Germany and Ireland.

“Yesterday Man” was soon followed by “To Whom It Concerns”. Although it peaked at No.13 in Britain, subsequent releases pointed to the fact that the popularity of his own recordings, in his homeland, was definitely on wane. Fortunately for Chris, this decline was not detected in mainland Europe and this success extended to South Africa, in 1969 and 1970.

Despite the calibre of his work, neither Chris’s songs nor his recordings created scarcely more than a ripple on the American pop scene. This, in spite of the apex of his career having matched that of the so-called ‘British Invasion’.

‘Isn’t’ Isn’t ‘Ain’t’, Nor Is ‘Aren’t’

There used to be an advertisement in Australia that contained the statement, “Oils ain’t oils!”.

Now, I know little about oils, but I do know that ‘ain’t’ should not be a member of a child’s vocabulary — or an adult’s for that matter!

It is such a pity that so many supposedly learned individuals employ its usage, virtually without exception.

‘Isn’t’ is used when the subject is singular (one).

Example: Ralph (singular) isn’t coming.

‘Aren’t’ is used when the subject is plural (more than one).

Example: They (plural) aren’t coming.

Betty and James aren’t related.

Take Two!: Monday, 12th December, 1977

Tiki suddenly remembered that it is the second anniversary of our marriage and immediately accused me of having forgotten this fact as well — which I had!

The early overcast cleared to a warm sunny day. The now open blister, that was caused when my finger stuck fast to a coil in our fridge, is now oozing a watery pus.

After work, Tiki drove to Manly. She parked the car in Wentworth Street and we walked down one side of the relatively new Corso Plaza before doing likewise on the other. Turning to the left, we headed northwards, past the large area of flat land on the corner where the old, white Pacific Hotel once stood. At North Steyne’s dressing sheds our course was altered by one hundred and eighty degrees — give or take a couple — and we set our bearings for K’s Snapper Inn, which we reached by half past five.

Because the restaurant was several minutes late in opening, an old grey-headed bloke, who was dependent upon a walking-stick and wore a gaily coloured shirt, began to knock impatiently on the door. Once inside, we were seated in the lower section and one table back from the front windows.

Tiki ordered calamari as an entree while I selected scallops kebab and a half-litre carafe of rose. I swapped my bacon for some of her chewy calamari. Tiki had a whole, grilled lemon sole and I, a whole flounder. My dessert consisted of pavlova served with ice-cream while Tiki had opted for the banana fritters. A cappuccino each rounded off our meal.

An obese lady, who had been to Canada and the United States, sat opposite us and talked to a young woman about her travels. At one point I heard her state that Australia has the best beaches in the world.

My chair backed on to that of the criminologist, Dr Gordon Hawkins, whom I recognised from “Casebook”, the television series that is compered by Geoff Stone. Dr Hawkins twice left his seat and in the fairly cramped conditions apologised on both occasions for the fact that his chair had made contact with mine. He appears to be about sixty years of age and was wearing a green safari suit over a pink shirt.

Having paid the bill of twenty-two dollars and twenty cents, we departed to walk to Queenscliff Beach and the green seat on the foreshore at which I’d proposed to Tiki on the fourth of November in 1975. She, not altogether unexpectedly, had me re-enact my original proposal.

It was half past nine before we arrived home. Tiki turned on Channel Two to watch the old movie, “Sherlock Holmes”, which features Basil Rathbone, only to fall asleep about half of the way through it.

Annoying Habit: Tuesday, 13th December, 1977

I was compelled to arise on four occasions this morning between twenty-two past three and half past five, stricken by diarrhoea and pains in the stomach. It was only twenty-two past six when I awoke for the final time. The morning was bright and clear, with a maximum temperature of twenty-five degrees Celsius forecast. Tiki, too, feels unwell.

This afternoon we received a letter from my sister, Susan and brother-in-law, Roger, who live in Melbourne. She states that our father, who is known to me as “Brutus”, recently turned up, unannounced, on the doorstep of their unit in South Yarra and proceeded to stay for five days.

This evening, in the Australian series of the decade past, “Skippy”, Tony Bonner’s character is involved in a crash when he wrongfully uses the park’s helicopter to rendezvous with a girl.

“Mum” drew my attention to the fact that I possess the annoying habit of humming at the dining table. She stated that Tiki’s elder sister used to do the same.

Despite my torrid early morning, I remained up until twenty to one as I caught up on my diary and wrote Christmas cards in front of the movie, “The Ski Bum”, on Channel Seven. The English actress, Charlotte Rampling, is a member of its cast.

The Top 40 Fantasies: No. 13

  1. Gimme Some Loving (1966) The Spencer Davis Group
  2. Not One Minute More (1959) Della Reese
  3. Boogie Woogie On A Saturday Night (1951) Steve Gibson and The Red Caps
  4. Saginaw, Michigan (1964) Lefty Frizzell
  5. Did You Ever See A Dream Walking? (1933) Eddy Duchin and his Orchestra, vocalist Lew Sherwood
  6. Mr. Lonely (1964) Bobby Vinton
  7. 9To 5/Morning Train (1980) Sheena Easton
  8. Goody-Goody (1936) Benny Goodman and his Orchestra, vocalist: Helen Ward
  9. More Than I Can Say (1961) Bobby Vee
  10. Don’t Knock My Love – Pt. 1 (1971) Wilson Pickett
  11. My Whole World Is Falling Down (1963) Brenda Lee
  12. Nobody’s Child (1969) Karen Young
  13. Three Steps To Heaven (1960) Eddie Cochran
  14. The Caravan Of Love (1985) Isley-Jasper-Isley
  15. Hello Darlin’ (1970) Conway Twitty
  16. You’ll Always Be A Friend (1972) Hot Chocolate
  17. Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1965) Patti Page
  18. Concerto For Clarinet (1941) Artie Shaw and his Orchestra
  19. Soul Kind Of Feeling (1984) The Dynamic Hepnotics
  20. I Wouldn’t Live In New York City (If They Gave Me The Whole Dang Town) (1970) Buck Owens and The Buckaroos
  21. Together (1928) Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra, vocalist: Jack Fulton
  22. Starman (1972) David Bowie
  23. I’m Not A Juvenile Delinquent (1957) Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers
  24. Smoke Stack Lightnin’ (1956) Howlin’ Wolf
  25. Together (1961) Connie Francis
  26. Nobody’s Child (1967) Hank Williams Jr.
  27. 1984 (1970) Spirit
  28. The Fire Brigade (1968) The Move
  29. Bonfire Heart (2013) James Blunt
  30. Abergavenny (1968) Marty Wilde (Kim Wilde’s father)
  31. On The Beach (In The Summertime) (1970) The 5th Dimension
  32. I’ve Had It (1959) The Bell Notes
  33. No Charge (1974) Melba Montgomery
  34. Let’s Stomp (1963) Bobby Comstock
  35. Dick-A-Dum-Dum (King’s Road) (1969) Des O’Connor
  36. Rock Lobster (1980) The B-52’s
  37. The Only Way Is Up (1988) Yazz
  38. Vicious Games (1985) Yello
  39. Hot N Cold (2008) Katy Perry
  40. The Shag (Is Totally Cool) (1959) Billy Graves