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 Restless Years’ Premieres: Tuesday, 6th December, 1977

The early overcast cleared on what has been a humid day. After work, I watched the closing stages of the First Test, which was played in Brisbane. The opening batsman, Sunil Gavaskar, who is of a short stature, was dismissed for one hundred and thirteen and India fell just seventeen runs short of the total that it was required to score for victory. Australia, therefore, won by sixteen runs.

Having watched the American series, “Doc”, at six, we walked via the usual route through Gymea and Miranda. Our return allowed us the time to watch the first episode of another new Australian serial, “The Restless Years”, which screened on Channel Ten from half past seven.

Mickey and Sylvia

Mickey Baker and Sylvia Vanderpool was an American duo, which recorded under the title of Mickey and Sylvia. In late 1956, the pair released the song, “Love Is Strange”. The recording rose to No.1 on the rhythm and blues chart and No.11 on the pop chart. In doing so the single sold in excess of a million copies.

“Love Is Strange” was introduced to a new audience when, in 1987, it was included on the soundtrack to the motion picture, ‘Dirty Dancing’. In 1993, it appeared in the British television series, ‘Lipstick On Your Collar’, and, two years later, the movie, ‘Casino’. Pitbull’s hit of 2012, “Back In Time”, from the film, ‘Men In Black III’, is based upon “Love Is Strange”.

Mickey and Sylvia’s only other entry to the Top Ten also came in 1957 in the form of “There Oughta Be A Law”. While the duo continued to record it could not replicate the success generated by these first two singles and, by the end of 1961, the entries to the charts were no more.

Regardless, Sylvia, who by then bore the surname of Robinson, unexpectedly reappeared on the scene, in 1973, when her recording, “Pillow Talk”, just like “Love Is Strange”, sold more than a million records.

Sylvia died in September of 2011, at the age of seventy-five.

Icy Finger!: Wednesday, 7th December, 1977

The alarm of our digital clock radio awakened us as per usual at twenty-four minutes past six. An overcast, sultry morning greeted us. Although the temperature was only nineteen degrees Celsius, the relative humidity registered at ninety-five per cent and this made conditions uncomfortable. Once I’d washed my hair, Tiki dried it. She looked well, but wasn’t keen to go to work.

Light sporadic rain at midday didn’t develop into anything more. Therefore, at six o’clock, I decided to follow a variation from the usual route and extend my walk beyond Gymea, to Kirrawee. There, I returned from the Prince’s Highway via the Kingsway. This has brought my tally of miles walked to seven hundred and nineteen.

At a quarter past seven I viewed the former Prime Minister and current Leader of the Federal Opposition, Gough Whitlam, as he stated that he’ll win next Saturday’s election for the Labor Party.

Channel Ten played the second episode of the new Australian series, “The Restless Years”, at half past the hour. Actress, Tina Grenville, is a member of its cast. The hour passed and then we sat through the dark comedy, “A New Leaf”, which was released to cinemas about six years ago. It stars Walter Matthau whose character marries a plain Jane played by Elaine May. Not only did Elaine May write the movie’s screenplay she directed the film, as well.

The index finger on my right hand became stuck fast to one of the icy bars that are affixed to the “ceiling” of our fridge, as I reached for the five-litre container of orange juice at a quarter to eleven. Tiki just laughed at my pleas for help, believing that I had my finger stuck up a tap in the bathroom.

The Honeycombs

I remember when The Honeycombs visited Australia, in the middle of the 1960s and how the press was intrigued because the group possessed a female drummer, ‘Honey’ Lantree. Honey had worked as a hairdresser alongside the group’s founder, Martin Murray. Its leading singer was Denis D’Ell and its guitarists were Alan Ward and Honey’s brother, John.

Originally known as The Sheratons, The Honeycombs released the driving, earthy sound of “Have I The Right?”, which entered the British charts in late July of 1964 and a month later occupied the position most prized.

“Have I The Right?” deservedly became a success internationally during which time it reached No.5 in the United States and No.1 in Australia. Nevertheless, the quintet was unable to produce another single to maintain this widespread appeal although, in 1965, it did rise to No.12, in its native Britain, with “That’s The Way”.

The Honeycombs disbanded in 1967, four years after the band had been formed.

Banished!: Thursday, 8th December, 1977

My index finger was still marked and sore. Later, a blister formed on the wound.

We left at six o’clock this evening to walk to Miranda Fair where Tiki paid twenty-two dollars and fifty cents for a reddish pink Whitmont “Hob Nob” shirt at Kenrays, a purveyor of menswear. It has long sleeves, buttoned pockets and a buttoned epaulette on each shoulder. Whilst I was in the cubical trying it on for size, I thought that the young bloke who was serving me was going to invite Tiki to join him on the coach tour he’ll be taking to the Barossa Valley and the Flinders Ranges, in a few weeks.

Tiki felt refreshed after she’d consumed a double “Snow” cone, so we walked on to Gymea along the dusty Kingsway, which is in the process of being widened, and home down President Avenue. However, she was feeling somewhat exhausted by the walk’s end.

At half past seven the husband-and-wife pairing of Barbara Bain and Martin Landau appeared in another edition of “Space 1999”. An hour later we sat through another episode of “Cop Shop”. It featured the likes of George “Homicide”/”The Box” Mallaby, Tony “Skippy” Bonner, Joanna Lockwood and Rowena “The Rovers”/”Division 4″/”Number 96″/”Glenview High” Wallace.

Tiki has thrown my pillow and pyjamas out of the bedroom for not only am I still to finish writing in my diary, I am yet to wash the dishes! She closed the door and instructed me not to advance beyond it tonight.

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.