Now this book is a cracker, printed
in 1951 to commemorate the 50th year of Federated Australia.
Fantastic Design, awesome graphics,
amazing history of progress and development.
Bit light on in beer drinking stories, but otherwise pretty
Available worldwide through www.abe.com
are also later versions available: Australia (1957) and
The Nation of the Southern Cross (1958)
are all valuable, so get them while They're cheap.
Amazing read if you are into the
mind of 50s Australia.
They broke the mould after old
Pig-iron Bob, his humour and wit was as dry and innocent as
He was in love with the queen.
A bit hard going, but what a guy. He was defeated in 1949
by Bob Menzies, but started the Snowy Mountain scheme, announced
the end of the war, launched the first Holden Car and was doing
the wild-thing with his secretary whilst doing all of the above.
I am yet to read Curtin, by David
Day as well, but I understand is a corker. It's kind of nice
to read books about prime
ministers who were train drivers and not Lawyers.
great book is of course Let's
Stalk Strine, (Let's talk Australian)
the 1960s classic by Affabeck Lauder (Alphabetical Order),
and contains the ultimate Australian Vernacular.
If you only read two books this
year -- read this one twice.
Holy Moly. This book is an absolute
scorcher. Written by raconteur, Leon Isackson, legendary
drummer of the R'Jays
(If you've done our quiz, you ought to know who they were
(back-up band to the late Dig Richards,
Johnny O'Keefe to name but a few)) and his fellow band-mate
Jon Hayton (Who
I only discovered recentlyhad also passed-on, back in 1995).
This book is a bible to the goings-on
during in the Golden Age of Australian Rock'n'roll Culture,
from its birth, adolescence, maturity, middle age, and death
(When the Beatles burst on the scene and wrote fricken' advertising
jingles), and it's resurrection (Thanks Brian
Setzer) and Leon should
know, as he was there every step of the way, laying down
Much like Billy Thorpes' much-heralded
memoirs, they offer hysterical anecdotes of life
on the road (in an EK Holden) before Rock stars were treated
like... well Rock Stars. The sex (with minors!) , the drinking,
the wild parties and the orgies, that were in those days
pretty much the
of rock'n'rollers and brothel-owners.
The cast-members of this tome
include: J'OK; Dig Richards;
Col Joye and the Joye Boys; Lonnie Lee (Leon's brother-in-law);
Crash Craddock; Digger Revell; Max Merrit and the Meteors;
Dinah Lee and half of
the Allied Servicemen in Vietnam... nearly all of which make
Keith Richards look like a fricken' boy
In fact, not being in-the-know
about these things, I'm pretty sure I know how Jon Hayton
died, the poor bastard was just worn out from 35 years of
perpetual shagging (To that rationale however , Leon ought
to have passed away in 1967).
Leon Isackson was one of those
interviewed in the ABCs Long
Way to the Top (worth seeing),
and gave us a pretty good indication of his wit and charm.
The book is bloody excellent, but hard to find. There are
two versions, the first pretty poorly edited and another
with ammendments . It is also published online here.
The Good news, is it contains another 'Part" 1966 and
If it ever gets published in
book form I'll let you know.
a few years back a Great Book by Clinton Walker hit the
shelves, called Buried Country, it records the
history of Aboriginal Australian Country Music, and is
a great read,
especially when you consider what these poor folks were
going through. There is a CD, video and DVD available too
to Skinny Tim, what are these things?)
Nothing gives you a taste of Australia
in the fifties more than the Barry Humphries Masterpiece Flashbacks,
which is out in book form, as well as DVD and Video. Pretty
We love Barry Humphries, even though
he, Clive James, Robert Hughes and Germaine Grier all feel
they can comment on Australia
from a flat in London or New York. In future ask us, we know
all about it, and we can also tell you how much a pie and
chips will cost you at the Bulahdelah Bowlo, unlike the
This book by James Cockington
is an absolute must.
Here is the synopsis from the
back of the book.
The story of a man, a woman, a time and a place.
Kinds Cross summer 1965. As temperatures
rise, the 'glittering mile' blinks on and off. Nightclubs
strip clubs and brothels
pay host to hot, sweaty nights of drugs, dancing and wild
Fame, glamour, and crime rule
Everyone wants to be someone,
go somewhere... and in the midst of it all, under their own
personal spotlights, are
Mandy 'Topless' Taylor, Sydney’s most infamous stripper,
and Johnny 'Super' Stewart, speedway champion and booze
Call it fate, call it coincidence
-- but Mandy and Johnny were destined to meet and their stories
destined to be
told. In a town that seems to go crazy all at once, this
is a real
story of passion and fame that burns brightly... and fast."
And it's all true!
We cannot recommend this book
highly enough, as it is a real window into the culture existed
at the time. It's
touching and very very Hep, with references to the
music, films and shenanigans of the time. There's a great
about a Normie Erskine / Maria Venutti concert, at
a pub in Darlinghurst which puts you right in the crowd,
the Resches and Marlboros really convincingly.
This book's about ten years old
now and has become a real cult classic, so good luck finding
Also Available is The
History of the Australian Slanguage, a serious look at Australian English.
Not too bad at all.
You might also want to get your wanking spanners
on Remember when, by Bruce Elder. It is a comparison of 1950s
Some good stuff, as we also reckon Post-modern Australia is a
pile of steaming trough-lollies.
The Cover Deign is crap.
But never, ever, forget the film and novel they're
a weird mob, it is the greatest Australian film known
to man (Skinny
myself) ever known. Check it out. It is excellent. There
is also a DVD available too.
I picked up another good book the other day
Bastards I have met, by Sam Weller. It's a bit of a strange one
of yarns and retorts, that he had recalled from throughout
second world war, and of course the fifties. It's not great,
but it really puts you back in the time and place, and
hard, and fascinating, life actually was in post-war Australia.