Monday, April 30, 2012

Gritty Men with Integrity

Ok I am still perplexed and pretty fixated at all things that were de rigueur when I was a young child - like that saying.

At the moment I cant get past the 1970's! The decade just gives weirdness and authenticity in spades.

What about those tough guys? I mean dusty dirty gritty tooth pick chewing, tobbacco munching tough guys. 3 or 4 channels on the entire network in Melbourne meant your whole world knew and sat and experienced the same limited amount of TV you did.

I have two male idols burnt into my consciousness  by today's comparison these characters are positively cliche.' Ahh but then, back in the simple simple simple days Clint and Charles ruled the day. Before committing to writing this blog dedicated to these two male idols I did consider revisiting their classic films, I gave it some serious consideration before chosing not to. I like those raw first edition thoughts, the childhood images and impressions.

As an eight year old girl I knew there was no cooler man than Charles Bronson; stout, mean, stern and unbeatable. His face had a darkened patina a leathery quality - the man was rock. Often the man wore tight t shirts, a mustachio, munched on cigar and threw a great punch. Swarthy greatness.

Charles Bronson was married to Jill Ireland and its as if I always knew that fact. I remember hearing of her passing and that their marriage withstood the Hollywood pressures and lifestyle - that's no mean feat. Looking at this image of her taken around the time they became a couple I am impressed on many levels. Don't we all adore the idea of a true love. God bless them.

Then there's Clint...
Clint Eastwood his name is synonymous with the soundtrack of 'The Good the Bad and the Ugly' by Ennio Morricone thank god for his talent too, for him our world is much richer musically, he has turned many a film into a cinematic master piece with his astonishing scores but back to the men at hand.

 Now I am sure I don't need to quote either men or state their most remarkable performances what i want to make clear here was their legendary status. No one could do cool like these guys could. Eastwood was the lean, mean, contemplative, justice delivering machine that rocked a mighty fine poncho. Sure these men diversified and played other roles but the definitive ones are branded on my cerebellum like the proverbial. Am I right in recalling the heated iron brand been used as a tool / torture device, I am sure wounds were quarterised using liquor or gunpowder set alight. I mean these guys were super tough they survived it all and I remember them very fondly - every child wanted to be them, pretended to be them, idolized or at least marveled at them. I know I did.

 As a young girl I never quite thought of either of them as handsome I think it was the rugged machismo that got at me on some undeveloped instinctual level.

This domestic image of Clint is remarkable in so many ways not just his obvious beauty and I do mean beauty - a beautiful man or woman he could make. The god given stature, the beauty spot, the budgerigar, the kitchen, the woman in the image was his wife at the time she is clearly besotted by him. Its a head shakingly amazing wow this snapshot!

This image was taken for his portfolio at the very beggining of Clint Eastwoods career and again is truly remarkable I love it and had never seen it till I stumbled across it last week.

Now a greatly respected and successful director it proves that Eastwood was and is much more than just a pretty face.

Just dig those flamboyant shorts - I couldn't resist, its the clothing designer in me. Nice seam.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


There are many things that are springing to mind lately that do not make sense. Things that were ok when I was young - they were apart of the everyday like bad teeth and hair. Of course I am referring to the 1970's yet again my grey matter can barely contemplate what went on back then and just this morning I thought of strongman competitions. Men using their mouths and bodies to create super human efforts.
This guy is clearly thin with but sports neck muscles and gums that are incredibly ripped.

I recall men pulling aeroplanes and trucks with this sort of apparatus...
and that was a good idea!

Sitting in front of the TV with my own bad teeth (before I wore braces) my gympie grin in front of my thugs of brothers belied my true confusion.

Whats going on here? My tiny brain would scream as I backed out of the room as the testosterone threatened to seep into my thin girly skin.

I knew there were men that did look like this but did I want to know one?

Was lifting a train axle that much of a good idea?

Who took the axle to that venue?

Train axle + strongman = event .... In whose brain?

I was so confused.

Many hours were spent trying to purge these images from my mind. I kept my small hands busy and hoped the memories would fade.

Today it all came back to me.

This guy Vasily Alekseyev a famous athlete the sport of weightlifting. From 1970 through 1977 he was undefeated in every major international competition and claimed 22 titles, including eight consecutive world championships and two Olympic gold medals. 

Umm okay. I still don't get it.

Now I can see how this kick might warrant some true talent and strength and am not sure If I myself copped a few in my time - little sisters don't always get off easily.

Now as far as strongman activities go I am not sure what it takes but surely the mind is saying "Look this is really not such a great idea - just stop it" Surely the brain is saying a lot of stuff like that or was it just mine?
This cant be fun...surely.
Like I understand how lifting this enormous dumbbell might theoretically look alright in a Popeye Comic sense but in real life?

And I don't want either of these guys knocking at my door (or on my TV these days).

Ok I actually am at a loss at what to say about the rock but you certainly would not want to drop it.

Its not very sophisticated is it? 

I know I may have totally missed the point and am sure it is a skill and a talent to manage these feats and not just achieve them but commit to them mentally and physically without doing any permanent damage to the body. I don't know how they do it.

You can't tell me this guys having a good time.

Well good luck to him. Meanwhile I just hope my sons never find footage of these events and if they do I will surely dissuade them from being amateur Strongmen, my only hope for them is that they become goodmen.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Once upon a time when I was young, foolhardy and far too young to drive I fancied one of these. A giant boisterous cruiser.

Classic and Vintage cars have always been something I have appreciated my entire life but lately they keep me up at night. They call and tempt me I am flushed with compelling desire and its all about chrome, head or tail lights, streamlining and paintwork. Dashboards and instrumentation feature heavily. I imagine the luxurious interior, the possibility of pinhole vinyl, leather quilting, mahogany inlays or a faux timber veneer its all good as long as its not rigid formed plastic like the cars of today.  I really should avoid car shows and put blinkers on while I drive.

Sexy tail lights, like fluttering lashes to me.

Check out this loveliness!
Faux timber 70's dash inlay....ahhh and check the tail.

Now while my expectation may have not been met I did love my first car...

Ahh she handled like a giant majestic tank, slow and heavy on the ground, ahh the 3 on the tree gear lever, ahh the huge square red leather seats, the stunning mahogany dash - she was a gentle wide beaut! After much time and money though the 1965 Humber Vogue had to make room for a very practical substitute and so its been ever since.

Now call it madness but I have a thoroughly divided and intense band of focus it involves the following.

The small fugly car. The kind of car I never really understood - they made me snigger Escorts, Cortinas, Datsuns etc. I didnt get the guys that loved them in the 80's dropped an oversized or rotary engine in them spent a fortune on wheels and pimped them, I thought they were small comical cars - a tall woman unfolding from an acorn of a car...not me.

I have actually seen cars like this with roll cages and racing harnesses namely in the northern suburbs but really as a concept what's with that? Where are you going? Whats going on? I simply did not get it at all. Please don't mention Calder please or use the word 'Drag' as in racing - cringe shudder.

But now my cynicism has waned and I see an altogether design before me. This genre of car to me is a unique and fascinating anomaly - they are actually quite cool. Now I must state however my preference is for cars on their original state...strictly production line. I like the Venetians, original interiors and colours.


Note the 'Fastback'!

Look at this dignified 1963 Cortina  the grill and lines are quite beautiful for a compact car, they are seriously starting to fascinate me.

Moving right along...

Recently I met and made visual and tactile love to Mr Chrysler Imperial

All it took was one look...

'Hi I'm Chrysler Imperial, pleased to meet you'...swoon. Sounds like a really sexy guys name. Where do I start? Long, lean, streamlined, flamboyant yet elegant and tasteful, like a really classic suit design. I love the badges, I love the chrome, I love the lines of theses vehicles. The little boy in this image with me was a delight to chat to. His grandfather owns the car I was so happy to experience this machine it was truly magnificent. I better go lay down.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


In the 70's being a child was an all together different experience than it is today.

Most families remained in the one family home their entire lives and we knew all the people in our street. Shops streets and neighborhoods quietly remained the same. It was a great comfort and to this day I am still assured by the few remaining details in my old neighbor hood that have been left unchanged.

Parents were different too...

Men's pants were unashamedly tight and high at was all at brow height as a small child and just too much to take in. It was unavoidable teachers rocked these pants too!

An innocent visit to the local super market or worse still your friends house was met with the unbridled breasts of your best friends Mum. Thin t shirts and areola were swirling about our innocent heads like looming balloons. It was all wrong.

Even Sesame Street wasn't safe.

Barbecues involved children playing with fire eating carcinogenic blackened meat, parents inhaling Viscount Cigarettes and swilling copious amounts of alcohol.

All this followed by bundling the gang into the family vehicle safety restraint free and if you were really lucky Dad was drunk and made the drive like a visit to Luna Park - flying over railway lines and ditches the car becoming semi airborne was a thrilling treat, Mums near naked boobs slamming you in the temple. You would go home to no air conditioning in summer sleep in the back yard on a divan and smother yourselves in a spray on insect repellent - who knows what that had in it?

No one had food allergies or their child diagnosed with mental issues or challenges, no one had dyslexia, hair straighteners, braces or things like moles removed from their faces - you had what you had and dealt with it. This made for some pretty fascinating school photos its like a shop of horrors or an ugly meet. There were obese children - they got called fat. There were 'slow' kids and smart kids and that was it. Teachers did not implement 'Rock and Water' self esteem building policies if they didn't like what you did they got to hit you with their hand or a wooden rod.

So there was danger sex and violence back then too - it was just all at school.

How did our parents survive with out mobile devices? They made plans and stuck to them. Anticipated and planned didn't matter if we dreaded them we had to go there was no getting out of it besides Dad might drive drunk over the railway tracks so it was always worth it.

Parents and children experienced real ANTICIPATION! Such sweet delight. As a child you would wait all year to perhaps receive your most wanted toy and the parent had the power to either deliver or restrain from giving the object of joy. The parents had the power. Half the joy as a child in the 70's was the agony of the wait, watching the TV commercials all year. Your little heart would race each time you got to drink the visuals in. And meanwhile you went out into the street to play and dodged all the drunk drivers in tight pants and ladies with their boobs out.

You behaved at home and at school or got hit and parents were more than happy to thank the teachers for the great work they were doing.

 I have very fond memories of my childhood and wouldn't change it even if I could.

1970s Food Trends

Thats me on the right.