Fifty Five Years Ago Today, The Beatles Came Here to Play

by Kerry Cue

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purple quote 1Those who do not move,

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………………do not notice their chains.

     ………………………..Rosa Luxemburg, Polish Jewish Philosopher, 1871 – 1919.

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Fifty-Five Years Ago and Far, Far Away!

On 12 JUNE 1964, the Beatles landed in Adelaide to begin their month-long Australian tour.

Beatles Melbourne

The Australia of the time was rigidly conservative. In his book, The Lucky Country, published in 1964 author Donald Horne wrote ‘Australia is a lucky country, run by second-rate people who share its luck.’  

Although The Beatles were mobbed on their Aussie tour, more Australians turned out a few years earlier, in 1959, to hear American evangelist, Billy Graham preach the word of the Lord. In fact, 3 million Australians (Aus Pop: 12 million) attended Graham’s sermons.

Billy Graham MCG 1959

Billy Graham Rally MCG 1959

The Beatles music, including the 1964 tour, was simply the pop music fanfare announcing the massive social and political change sweeping through Australia in the 1960s. Australians were, at last, in Rosa Luxemberg’s view (quote above) beginning to move. The changes included the Sexual Revolution (The pill hit the market here in 1961, ironically, that was the year Marriage rates peaked at 62% of Aussie adults.), Civil Rights (All Indigenous Australian adults got the vote in 1962), anti-war protests (Starting around 1962), feminism (Starting with The Female Mystique, Betty Freidman, 1963), environmental protection (Silent Spring, Rachel Carson, 1962), Gay Rights (Groups formed at the end of the 1960s but laws took much longer to change.) and more.

Some changes were slow. In 1963 pubs still closed at 6pm perpetuating the 6 o’clock swill in Qld, Vic, and SA. City centres were dead on Sundays. The shops closed at 12pm Saturday. Then again, there were no credit cards. No credit. You paid cash.(That’s in £sd. $ arrived in 1966) But you could smoke anywhere!

student protest Sydney Uni 1962

Look at these uni students of ’62. They are conservatively dressed. Some are even wearing ties! In the early ‘60s young people dressed like their parents. Boys wore ties. Girls wore suits. The fans that mobbed The Beatles in 1964 dressed like their parents. Even The Beatles wore ties! The Youth Culture, however, was about to begin. ( See 1964 – 1970: When fashion was a social revolution, not just a brand! )

In 1964, conservative Australia was crumbling, but it took time. In June 1964, I watched The Beatles arrive in Melbourne on a Black and White TV set with my friend Lynette screaming ‘Ringo’ and sobbing into a handkerchief. I was in year 8 at the Sacred Heart Convent Kyneton. The nuns didn’t teach maths to girls just arithmetic and needlework! (See Bimbos 4Eva)

My parents let me leave the convent to attend the local high school where they DID teach maths to girls and I went on to study maths at University. But I was fortunate. Girls’ choices were still limited in the 1960s. We were guided into ‘family friendly’ occupations such as hairdressing, nursing, teaching, and secretarial work. These were perfectly fine occupations, but often poorly paid. Meanwhile, married women could not work in the Public Service (until 1966). Equal pay was not ratified until 1974. (Many female occupations were exempt until that date.)

Perhaps, we should have listened more closely when in 1968 The Beatles sang Lady Madonna:

The Beatles Lady Madonna
Who finds the money when you pay the rent

Did you think that money was heaven sent

Despite being taught arithmetic and needlework, finding the money is something we’ve had to deal with ever since the ‘60s.

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Kerry Cue is a humorist, journalist, mathematician, and author. You can find more of her writing on her blog. Her latest book is a crime novel, Target 91, Penmore Press, Tucson, AZ (2019)

Photo source: 1. Britishbeatlemania blog, 2. Wheaton College Archive, 3. Wheaaton College Archive, 4. Sydney Uni Archive. 5. Unsourved

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1964 – 1970: When Fashion was a social revolution, not just a brand!

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dark green quote 1Clothes make the man but often imprison the woman.
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………………………….Kerry Cue, Sibylesque (Written for this post).


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This is the story of a Fashion Revolution

1. How our mothers dressed in 1960.

1 Melbourne Cup 1960 island continent blog

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2. How we dressed in 1964.

1a Beatles Concert Brisbane 1964 qsl archive

 

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3. We wore the same clothes as our mothers and the same UNDERWEAR too!

2 panty girdle barbarafalconernewhall

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4. Ads were patronising. This was pre-feminism! Women, apparently, didn’t have brains back then.

3 Berlei Sarong Girdle pinterest

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5. Mothers bought girdles for their girls, but they were a fashion statement!

4 1960s Girdle eBay

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6. Bloomers could be worn over the ‘tarty’ suspender belts!

5 witches britches eBay

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7. 1964: The revolution begins ….

6 Anita 1964 Flikr Paul Galesko photostream

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8. 1965: Now hemlines go up, Up, UP!

8a JeanShrimpton Derby Day 1965 The Vine Blog

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9. 1966: Mother cannot wear this new mini-skirt fashion!

7 Mini skirt is born vintageeveryday blog

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10. 1967: The mini-skirt becomes the hottest fashion.

9 Melbourne Cup 1967 pinterest

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11. 1968: The mini-skirt goes mainstream

9a mini 63highlanders blog

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12. 1969: The mini-skirt defines Pop Culture

10 Go Go Dancer Sandy Goretro blog

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13. Don’t forget the boots …

11 Go Go Dancer Boot

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14. 1970: Mama don’t rule no more!

12 Hot Pants dellamoda blog

Kerry Cue is a humorist, journalist, mathematician, and author. You can find more of her writing on her blog. Her latest book is a crime novel, Target 91, Penmore Press, Tucson, AZ (2019).

Photo Source: 1. Islandcontinent blog, 2. Queensland State Library Archive, 3. barbarafalconernewhall blog, 4. pinterest, 5.eBay, 6. eBay, 7. Flikr Paul Galesko photostream, 8. The Vine, 9. vintageeveryday blog, 10. pinterest, 11. 63highlanders blog, 12. goretro blog, 13 eBay, 14. dellamoda blog

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The Sibyls Salute: Jennette Williams

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Navy quote 1I think the lushness of the platinum printing and the timelessness of the platinum prints, .

the exotic setting and the nude women with their classical poses work together to fool us into believing

that women of this size and age and shape were always a subject in the arts and not just crones in the background.

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ff………….Jennette Williams, The Bathers, Duke university Press, 2009.

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Sibylesque Jennette WilliamsMany women do not live comfortably in their own skin. They are highly critical of their shape, wobbly bits, orange peel, fullness, skinniness, generous hips, flat chests and so on and on. Self-criticism, sometimes loathing, becomes over the years an ingrained habit. The thought of being photographed naked would, for many women, send them running screaming out the door. In this context, aging simply ramps up the self-disgust.

Then New York based photographer Jennette Williams began to take photograph nude women and her work made us all rethink our relationship with our own bodies. In her 2009 book, The Bathers, Williams uses the texture and grey tones of platinum prints to illuminate the beauty in all women’s naked bodies regardless of shape, age or imperfections. Each photograph is based on poses found in iconic paintings of nude women by Paul Cézanne, Auguste Renoir, Sibylesque Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres and more.

Photograph from The Bathers by Jennette Williams

Photograph from The Bathers by Jennette Williams

Sibylesque Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres

 

Over an 8 year period, Williams photographed women bathers in Budapest and Istanbul to create these sublime images without ‘sentimentality or objectification’.

Here is Williams in her own words:

Williams was the fourth winner of the biennial CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography. More significantly, Williams has shown us how much our vision of beauty is seen through a window defined by the beauty product industry. We should view her images often to remind ourselves that there is a fragile beauty in honesty, which is diminished daily by grotesque images of advertising fakery.

 

The Sibyls Salute Jennette Williams

 

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Photo source: Duke University Press Website

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The Ascent of Man or, you took your time!

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An American monkey, after getting drunk on brandy, would never touch it again, and thus is much wiser than most men.purple quote 2

…………………….Charles Darwin, Brainyquote

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Sibylesque Wipe Your Feet

Photo Source: Collage from IFLS Facebook Page.

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Help! My Bubble Wrap Kid Just turned 40

by Kerry Cue

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‘My eldest daughter is 32 this year. So this is the one raised in the early 80s when Penelope Leach was the guru. Anyway, excuse me!

Bloody Penelope Leach where you had to be breast-feeding continually and everything was baby centered and child focused and you always had to stimulate the baby and raise their self-esteem.’

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     ………………………..Virginia, NSW, RN, Life Matters, ABC Talkback,28 MAR 2014

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Does Helicopter Parenting Harm Kids?

your-baby-and-child Penelope LeachOnce parents felt their role was to feed and clothe their children and wash behind their ears (for some reason). In the 1970s, however, a Parenting Revolution emerged. Suddenly, every stage of a child’s development (when they goo, poo, smile, sit, etc) demanded parental supervision and emotional support. The new era of Helicopter Parenting had begun. UK psychologist, Penelope Leach, was a flag bearer of this revolution.

Her book, Your Baby and Child: From Birth to Age Five (1977), became the child-rearing bible for many parents, myself included. She provided useful information about snivels and rashes, but constantly boosting a child’s self-esteem demands extreme vigilance. Children will fall over. They will come second in a race. They will get B in a test. So a parent had to stay vigilant and always cheer their child’s efforts (even the lamest pasta art effort).

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Now it is time to ask: Does Helicopter Parenting Harm Kids? It can. In his book, How Not to Talk to Your Kids (2007), American journalist Po Bronson warned that constantly praising kids means ‘they never learn strategies to deal with failure’. Bubble Warp kids can become ‘risk adverse’ simply because they can’t deal with the emotional impact of failing.

We, Sibyls, were the first, if fairly moderate, Helicopter Parents. Our children are now adults so we can comment on some of the long-term outcomes as we observe the first ‘Bubble Wrap kids’ as they turn 40.

Bubble Wrap kids never have to share, never have to wait and never hear the word ‘No’. What would that look like when those kids are 40 years old. Ugly! Very ugly. Who would want to live with a Me-centric 40 year old who won’t share, wait, doesn’t take ‘No’ for an answer yet also needs constant emotional support? This isn’t just narcissism, it is needy, clingy narcissism. They will suck the emotional life out of any partner or mother (See Why are Feminist Daughters Angry with their Mothers.)

And one more thing. Will Bubble Wrap kids want to have children of their own? Maybe not. Firstly, children raised Helicopter-style have seen their parents hovering first hand. It looks like hard work.

And, secondly, having children involves risk. For ‘Bubble Wrap Kids’ the idea is terrifying. What if something goes wrong? What if the child is hideous? What if I can’t handle being a parent? Why do it? Having children is way, way too risky!

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Kerry Cue is a humorist, journalist, mathematician, and author. You can find more of her writing on her blog. Her latest book is a crime novel, Target 91, Penmore Press, Tucson, AZ (2019).

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On a Happy Hormone High or, Oops! Where did I put the baby?

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Navy quote 1It ain’t over until The Fat Lady SCREAMSNavy quote 2

ff………….t-shirt

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Sibylesque Having Baby

Photo source: Social History Archives, 1953

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The Sibyls Salute: Mary Beard

By Kerry Cue

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maroon quote-1I want to start very near the beginning of the tradition of Western literature, and its first recorded example of a man telling a woman to ‘shut up’; telling her that her voice was not to be heard in public.

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         Mary Beard, The Public Voice of Women, LRB, 20 MAR 2014, p11.

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Mary BeardMary Beard is the Professor of Classics at Newnham College, Cambridge, the Classics Editor of the Times Literary Supplement and contributor to the London Review of Books. Beard recently spoke out about the silencing of women’s voices in public in lectures at the British Museum and in the LRB article (above).

Beard quotes the ‘wet-behind the ears’ Telemachus in Homer’s Odyssey silencing his mother, the savvy middle-aged Penelope: ‘Mother,’ he says, ‘go back up into your quarters, and take up your own work, the loom and the distaff … speech will be the business of men, all men, and of me most of all; for mine is the power in this household.’

confronting-the-classics 2014We talk of online trolls viciously attacking any women with an opinion today on Twitter, say, but Beard points out that ‘silencing women’ has been ingrained in Western Culture since it’s conception. Following an appearance on television, Beard became the target of such trolls, who compared her genitalia to rotting vegetables. When she Tweeted that she found these comments ‘gob-smacking’, one commentator in a leading British magazine reported Beard’s Tweet with the following words: ‘The misogyny is truly “gob-smacking”, she whined.’

‘It’s not what you say that prompts it’ explains Beard, ‘it’s the fact you’re saying it.’ Women, apparently, whine, bleat, whinnie and yap. This is the language used to described women’s voices over two millennia.

The viciousness of the online attacks cannot be overstated. ‘Shut up you bitch’ is a fairly common refrain’ said Beard. ‘I’m going to cut off your head and rape it’ was one tweet I got.’

Beard wants us to look at our culture and the tradition of silencing women in public. If women are not allowed a voice of authority in public, we have no voice at all..

And ‘We need to work that out before we figure out how we modern Penelopes might answer back to our own Telemachuses …’

We the Sibyls salute Mary Beard.

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Kerry Cue is a humorist, journalist, mathematician, and author. You can find more of her writing on her blog. Her latest book is a crime novel, Target 91, Penmore Press, Tucson, AZ (2019).

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Why you should avoid geriatric talk

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I’m not senile… If I burn the house down it will be on purpose.dark red quote 2

…………………………………..Margaret Attwood, The Blind Assassin

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Age makes weary, but words condemn.

senior hippies wrinkleOld age creeps up on us all, but we can stay lively all our lives. Old Age, however, has had a long history of bad press. As a consequence, it is very easy to develop a ‘geriatric’ mindset and start using geriatric language. This is how it works. One day, without realising it, you say ‘I had a fall’ rather than ‘I fell over’, ‘I had a funny turn’ instead of ‘I felt dizzy’ and ‘My mind is going’ or ‘I can’t remember a thing’ in stead of ‘I forgot’.

This is important. Research shows that immersing yourself in ‘debilitating’ language slows you  down. Scientists have actually measured the walking pace of subjects. Young and old. The reverse is also true. Using ‘energetic’ language will speed you up.

What more can I say? Go wild. It’ll do you some good.

Reference: How to Age, Anne Karpf,  The School of Life (2014), p48

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The Twelfth Raven: A memoir of stroke, love and recovery

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maroon quote-1All sorrows can be borne if you put them into stories.

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……………………………Isak Dinesen, Author, Out of Africa quoted in The Twelfth Raven

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Sibylesque Sibyls Books
REVIEW by Kerry Cue

 

thetwelfthravenThe Twelfth Raven:

A memoir of stroke, love and recovery

Doris Brett

UWA Publishing (2014)

The Twelfth Raven, according to an old English rhyme, brings joy for tomorrow. Sometimes, I wish poets wrote news headlines then, instead of the ‘Syrian Bloodbath’ headline, you might read something like ‘Trickster God’s Toy with Us Again’. The Trickster God’s certainly overthrew all that defines normality in Doris Brett’s life. Firstly, Brett’s husband Martin suffered, at 59, a stroke followed by a superbug, heart valve failure and open-heart surgery. Then Brett needed a radical mastectomy.

Doris_Brett_2014_smallRead this book if you want to learn how to defend yourself against the Healthcare system. But Brett is a poet. The language is lyrical. Dreams untangle knots in reality to reveal some profound truths. Read this book, if you want to gain some insight into the inner journey of an insightful writer in a family crisis. Brett is ruthlessly honest and very generous in this regard.

A recommended read.

We, THE SIBYLS, declare Doris Brett an Honorary Sibyl for her ruthless honesty, her unflinching endurance and her ability to provide insights into life’s hardships by weaving her brand of lyrical magic.

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