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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

An Arvo In The State Library

A 1962 newspaper - what was on!

This afternoon, I went into the city to do some research at the State Library. It's amazing how many people were there, considering the time of year and that it's just after Boxing Day. I would have thought most students, even uni students, would be having a short break, but all the computers were occupied. I'd meant to spend some time on the National Library's Trove, which has a lot of digitised newspapers, but I ended up simply sitting down with my iPad and using the free wifi to do my looking up, and decided I might be best to do it at home, on my laptop.

Meanwhile, I used the resource for which I'd gone to the library: the microfilm newspapers. The year I wanted was 1962, the month February. I do love looking at old newspapers, though these were very dark and hard to read. I saved several pages to my USB stick anyway, at the cost of 10c a page. The newspaper I used was the Sun, whose descendant, the Murdoch paper the Herald-Sun, I don't much like. But the thing is, as I discovered when researching the Beatles visit to Melbourne in 1964, it did human interest stories, while the  broadsheet Age simply reported what had happened. I needed the excitement of that event, the pictures of girls swooning over the mop-top lads from Liverpool, girls kissing a disgusted-looking Ringo,  the letters to the paper declaring that the  Beatles would be forgotten in about two years. That made for good fiction.

But 1962 was also fascinating. I made sure that as well as my topic, I also saved pages with advertising of the time, pages with what was on at the movies and the theatre, pages with what was on TV.

At that time, the teachers' union was negotiating for a new agreement on pay and conditions. Those were the days, mind you, when most teachers were in the union and pay and conditions were better than they are now. But those teachers hadn't had a chance to see what was in the distant future, so they were protesting outside Parliament about their low pay.

Kids were being invited to enter a competition in which they had to do a Vegemite superhero comic strip, with the prize a Malvern Star bicycle.

On TV were such shows as the Loretta Young Show and Sir Lancelot, a children's TV series with William Russell of Dr Who fame. You know - Ian, one of the first Doctor's first three companions, an utterly gorgeous man with a lovely speaking voice. I remember Sir Lancelot, which he must have done a bit before Dr Who.  And you know how I feel about men with lovely speaking voices! I've acquired some of the William Hartnell episodes and decided that yes, I had good taste back then.

There was some footage of John Glenn's flight on TV too.

A jar of Vegemite was advertised for 1 shilling, 11 pence ha'penny. That would have been about eighteen cents in today's currency, though it bought more than eighteen cents buys today, of course.

At the movies, you could see The Sundowners, with Deborah Kerr and Robert Mitchum. Robert Mitchum did a very good Aussie accent, because he had lived here in his teens. Gidget Goes Hawaiian was on too, for the teen crowds. You could also see a documentary called Seven Wonders Of The World in a spectacular new thing called Cinerama, which was basically the Imax of its time. The very young Hayley Mills was in the touching Whistle Down The Wind with Alan Bates. If you wanted to go to the theatre instead of the movies, the National Theatre was performing Romberg's The Desert Song at the Palais theatre in St Kilda(still there, but now mostly only used for rock concerts) or you could see The Sentimental Bloke. And Victor Borge was in Melbourne!

If I hadn't been going cross-eyed with the darkness on the screen I would have looked up the letters column. Maybe next time.

This took up a large chunk of my day. I did go to find a pouch for my "new" iPhone(given to me by a friend, because I needed to replace my old  2G phone with a smart one), but the Apple shop didn't have any(it's a very old model) or even something else that might fit it. After I'd basically been told to piss off and stop bugging the man, who had told me they had nothing, for goodness' sake, I went browsing in souvenir shops, bought a pencil case, too big, but light and brightly-coloured enough not to get lost in my bag. And then I found some make-up cases at Woollies, one of them just the right size to protect my phone, and bright orange in colour. I have no idea what I'll do with the other two cases, but I have something I can use now!

Anyway, I feel as if I've had a productive day, writing-wise, even if it was just research. Well done, me!

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