‘Rocky’ Mattioli: Friday, 23rd September, 1977

It has been a bitterly cold afternoon. The pig’s head that has been on display in the window of a butcher’s shop, in Miranda Fair, was seen this morning to be wearing sunglasses.

This evening, on “Willesee”, there was a segment on the ‘forgotten’ Australian boxer, Rocky Mattioli, who has been living in the country of his birth, Italy, for the past two and a half years. Last month he won the WBC’s World Light-Middleweight Title, in Germany, when he knocked out Eckhard Dagge in the fifth round. Rocky emigrated to Australia when he was six years of age.

“The Muppet Show”, at half past seven, is followed, at eight, by the British series, “And Mother Makes Five”, which has Wendy “Not In Front Of The Children”/”And Mother Makes Three” Craig cast as the daffy wife and mother. I took this time to wash the dishes.

“Abnormal?”: Saturday, 24th September, 1977

We left by half past nine bound for Fletcher Jones where a gentleman of about my age, and in possession of the most nauseous bodily odour, took my name and telephone number because the store did not have the ninety-nine dollar sports coat, which was displayed in the window, in my size. We, in turn, visited Kenrays where a young gent talked me into buying a chocolate brown coat at a cost of eighty-five dollars. The coat had been manufactured in Hong Kong.

Tiki entered Belle Star to collect her new dress for next Saturday night, only to be informed that it would not be ready until Friday. She called me in from the seat outside the store to write out a cheque for the outstanding amount of sixty-two dollars and ninety cents. She had previously left a deposit of ten dollars.

We looked around the shops until a quarter past eleven, after which we walked home in drizzle. The sky to the south appeared to be extremely threatening and this made us uncertain as to whether we should undertake a long walk. Tiki washed the dishes while I dried them. Due to the fact that the sun was shining, we departed at half past twelve.

It began to rain almost immediately, forcing us to shelter beneath shops’ awnings, situated on the obtuse corner at the intersection of President Avenue and Wyralla Road. Fortunately, the rain eased after five minutes and we continued our walk, through Gymea and down to Miranda. We could clearly see that it was raining at Cronulla.

Having arrived home at a quarter past one, we watched the rather humorous “Sail A Crooked Ship”. The film, from 1962, stars Robert Wagner, Dolores Hart and Carolyn “The Addams Family” Jones. At half past two, and having forgotten that the replaying of the grand final was to commence earlier than per usual, I concentrated upon the film, “Branded”. Produced in 1950, it stars one of my favourite actors, the late Alan Ladd, in addition to the late Charles Bickford.

At three o’clock, I turned on the radio and learned that St. George was leading by two points to nil. This lead was to be extended to 7-0 by half-time, due to the conversion of a try. St. George undeniably stamped its superiority on the game in the second half and won the match by twenty-two points to nil. It was a disappointing conclusion to such a historic match.

We departed at four o’clock bound for Manly, with Tiki at the wheel. We listened to Frank Hyde’s description of the ceremony, which surrounded the presentation, on 2SM. St. George’s coach, Harry Bath, was understandably jubilant whereas his counterpart, Terry Fearnley, representing Parramatta, in his role, had little to say.

Tiki drove through a part of the crowd of forty-seven thousand, that had attended the Sydney Cricket Ground for the match, on South Dowling Street. As we used the Cahill Expressway we listened to “Sailing”, Rod Stewart’s hit from 1975. During our journey we twice heard Boney M’s “Ma Baker”, a recording that is presently high on the charts for the German vocal group.

We dined at K’s Snapper Inn and walked along The Corso, which is gradually being converted into a plaza. I drove back to the city and en route noticed that the building that housed Pinocchio’s Restaurant — formerly known as the Costa Smeralda — on the corner of Spofforth Street and Military Road, Cremorne, is now a branch of the NSW Building Society.

We paid two dollars to leave the car in a parking station near Her Majesty’s Theatre, which is just a short distance from Railway Square. We entered the theatre by eight o’clock and observed, from above, the arrival of others, prior to occupying our seats in the stalls to witness the performance of the stage musical, “A Chorus Line”. Our seats, which felt hard to the point of being downright uncomfortable, were situated quite close to the stage.

The acting, from the likes of Peta Toppano, Ross Coleman and the extremely tall Pamela Gibbon, could not be faulted, however, as the show had universally received such extraordinarily favourable reviews we expected far more from it than we regrettably obtained. In fact, we felt so deflated by it that we began to harbour the inkling that we might be — how shall I say? — slightly abnormal, for our departure from the theatre was consumed by bewilderment over just what all of the effusive adulation for the show had been based.

Thurston Harris

Thurston Theodore Harris was born in July of 1931, in Indianapolis, Indiana. However, it was in Los Angeles that he was to achieve success as a recording artist, most notably with “Little Bitty Pretty One”, in 1957.

“Little Bitty Pretty One” sold more than a million copies and reached No.6 on Billboard’s pop chart. It had been written by Bobby Day, who was, himself, to take “Rockin’ Robin” to No.2 in the following year. Thurston achieved lesser success with his self-penned “Do What You Did”, in 1958, which reached No.14 on the rhythm and blues chart.

Frankie Lymon, Clyde McPhatter, The Jackson 5 and Huey Lewis and The News are among those artists who have recorded “Little Bitty Pretty One”. Thurston Harris drove public buses, in Los Angeles, for twenty years from 1965 and died, an alcoholic, in April of 1990, at the age of fifty-eight.

Age Difference: Sunday, 25th September, 1977

This is the last Sunday on which one will be able to buy a copy of “The Sun-Herald” for fifteen cents. From half past eight this morning I watched “Seven’s Big League”: a replay of yesterday’s grand final, with commentary by Rex ‘The Moose’ Mossop.

At ten o’clock, I began to vacuum in the second bedroom, however, the machine started to exhibit a distinct lack of suction. Tiki and I cleared its blocked hose by passing a curtain rod through it. Upon finishing that chore, I went outside and into the garage to start our new lawn-mower for just the second time. About ten pulls of the cord elapsed before it even dawned on me to check its tank, only to find it empty. A few more pulls ensued and then it came to my totally unperceptive mind that I had neglected to turn on the fuel.

I connected the new clip-on fittings to our new length of hose and watered the dry back lawn. At one o’clock we embarked on our walk. As we neared home, I drew clear of Tiki and made her laugh when I quipped: “The age difference is starting to tell!” She is more than eight years the younger.

“The Girls Of Paradise Island”, a motion picture from 1953, screened from two o’clock. It is about three American soldiers during the Second World War. Each falls in love with one of three sisters whilst stationed in the tropics. Tiki loved it! British actor, Leo Genn, is cast as the girls’ father.

From five, we watched the latter half of “Follow That Dream”. The film was produced in 1962 and features — the now recently deceased — Elvis Presley portraying a naive sheriff in America’s Deep South. We watched the second episode of ‘The Ugliest Dachshund’, from half past six, followed by “The Bionic Woman”, with Lindsay Wagner, at 7.30. We turned in by ten to nine, but not before I had washed the dishes.

Parramatta won its first premiership at rugby union since it joined Sydney’s competition, in 1934. The grand final was played, this afternoon, at the Sydney Cricket Ground against Parramatta’s more highly performed opposition, Randwick. The side, from western Sydney, won by seventeen points to nine.

Bra Measurements And Umbilical Disfigurement: Monday, 26th September, 1977

I consumed some of the new Kellogg’s ‘Ready-Wheats’ for breakfast. Tiki’s younger sister, Wendy, finishes her schooling today. She, thereby, becomes the only sibling in her family to be uncompelled to sit for the School Certificate.

As I was writing out a cheque to pay for our contribution to the Medical Benefits’ Fund, the women behind the counter were busily filling out their Pools’ entry form. They were heard to include their respective bra measurements amongst their chosen numbers. And whilst on the subject of measurements! The one-piece bathing costume, it is predicted, will return to the beach this season.

This evening, “Willesee” has included a segment on a Melburnian model who, at forty-six years of age, is to receive monetary compensation from two doctors because it has been deemed that they caused disfigurement to her umbilicus during an operation.

Chris Evert’s U.S. Open: Tuesday, 27th September, 1977

Shortly after midnight, via Channel Nine, I watched the closing minutes of a replay of Chris Evert’s defeat of Australian Wendy Turnbull, in the ladies’ final at the U.S. Open. Her victory was achieved in straight sets: 7-6 6-2.

“I Love My Wife”, a motion picture from 1970, followed from half past twelve. It stars Elliott Gould, Brenda Vaccaro and Angel Tompkins.

Light rain this morning led to it becoming torrential by lunchtime. This was accompanied by lightning and thunder by three o’clock.

“Country Road” followed “Flashez” at six o’clock. It featured Glen Campbell singing Larry Weiss’s “Rhinestone Cowboy” whilst seated upon a white horse. Linda Ronstadt was then seen to perform “The Tracks Of My Tears”, which was a hit for The Miracles — led by Smokey Robinson — in 1965. “Rhinestone Cowboy” reminds me somewhat of The Drifters’ hit, from 1963, “On Broadway”, as they are set in the same locale and appear to possess a similar theme.

“Willesee”, this evening, is presented by Paul Makin. It is followed, at half past seven, by “The Naked Vicar Show”.

Seat-Belt Law Invalid: Wednesday, 28th September, 1977

I arose at 6.20 a.m. and bumped my forehead on the jamb of the toilet door as I attempted to avoid contact with the wet branch of a plant that was growing across from the fernery nearby.

Evidently the law which enforces the compulsory wearing of seat belts in motor vehicles is invalid. I remember having to have them fitted to my first car, an old VW ‘Beetle’, in 1971.

The film, “Lawrence Of Arabia”, from 1962, screens on Channel Seven at 7.30 p.m. My siblings took me to see it at the Barclay Theatre, in George Street, when it was first released in Sydney. I distinctly remember developing an almost unbearable thirst from viewing all of that sand and desolate scenery.

Inarticulate English: When ‘Ain’t’ Isn’t ‘Isn’t’ (or ‘Aren’t’), But Should Be

Time was when the usage of the word ain’t was confined to those who were less well educated.

Now, it has become seemingly chic for those who purport to be learned to use it ad infinitum.

Such people include Tim Wonnacott of the British series, ‘Bargain Hunt’ and here, at home, broadcaster, Alan Jones, and David Koch of the programme, ‘Sunrise’.

Hypocritically, the two Australians are always among those who are the first to decry the fact that the written skills of local children, in English, continue to decline or, at least languish where they are.

 

Encourage your children from an early age not to use the word ain’t, but rather contractions that that should replace its usage in formal English.

The train ain’t coming. The train isn’t coming.

They ain’t got a dog. They haven’t a dog.

Five people ain’t hungry. Five people aren’t hungry.

The family ain’t got much money. The family hasn’t much money.

‘John Cadman’ Revisited: Thursday, 29th September, 1977

After work on this warm-to-hot day, Tiki drove me to her parents’. “Mum” looked ghastly, due to a painful neck. She showed us her new Simpson ‘Karumba’ electric stove. One of its knobs was found to be missing when they released it from its packaging. Tiki and I believe the stove looks old-fashioned but, of course, we did not make her parents aware of our belief!

Tiki and I left at ten past five to return home and dress for dinner, aboard the “John Cadman”. It was still twenty-three degrees Celsius at half past six as I drove along the Prince’s Highway and across the Harbour Bridge to arrive at the Jeffrey Street Wharf at Milson’s Point by seven o’clock.

We boarded the floating restaurant by a quarter past and I had a Nagrita and coke, and Tiki a gin and orange at the bar upstairs. Just before the boat stopped at Rose Bay to collect more diners, we asked to be shown to our table on the lower deck. It was next to the table, besides the stairs, at which we had sat on the eighth of March.

We both ordered the barbecued scallops as an entree, as well as the mignonette chasseur of fillet steak, which was served with delicious vegetables, for the main course. A bottle of McWilliams Cabernet Shiraz cost five dollars and fifty cents. Tiki selected the lemon pancakes for dessert, while I chose the disappointing strawberries and cream. We ordered a Galliano liqueur with our Romano coffee. Each liqueur cost us one dollar and fifty cents.

An affable septuagenarian took two photographs of us. He told us of how he fought in the Second World War and, yet, it was to be in Australia that he lost a leg. While he jogged at Ryde he was struck by a car, and the limb turned gangrenous.

Tiki and I danced on the small, crowded floor to songs that included “A Mean Pair Of Jeans” and “After The Lovin'”. I drove home by five minutes to midnight, as we listened to ‘Sam Galea Gold’ on 2UW.

A F-111 crashed today, near the coastal town of Iluka, in north-eastern New South Wales. Its crew of two did not eject. The force of the impact left a crater to a depth of three metres.

 

‘Glenview High’ Premieres: Friday, 30th September, 1977

A rainy morning transformed into a sunny afternoon. Tiki collected her new dress from the shop, Belle Star.

“Wild, Wild World Of Animals”, at 6.00 p.m. on Channel Two, focuses on octopuses. Following “Willesee”, and also on Channel Seven, the first episode of the new serial, “Glenview High”, is screened. At times I felt the urge to squirm in my seat with embarrassment. It features Grigor Taylor and Elaine “Number 96” Lee.

 

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