Tracing our steps from the beginning
The subheading comes from Jackson Browne’s Before the Deluge and there’s going to be some risk to myself, this part three is going to cost me, so here goes. What I’m aiming to do is go decade by decade but that in itself raises certain problems.
Let’s say I zero in on an age range, say 16 to 18, then I can only write of my own situation within my own decade and as I need to compare like-for-like over the decades to show how things have changed, then obviously I need to tell you what others told me on good authority in later decades – not from research but from firsthand accounts and that, as mentioned in part two, raises the question of why anyone would tell me those things.
Plus there are geographical differences – some of these are from Britain, some from Australia, some from Russia.
Let’s start though at the beginning.
There was nothing new in the drug scene, Leary had been at it, Ken Kesey had been at it, Hunter S Thompson … John Phillips of The Mamas and the Papas [a misnomer if ever there was one] came out of Laurel Canyon and pushed drugs at Woodstock onto many underaged newbies. Big Pharma was invested in Woodstock and beyond [posts passim].
America was the catalyst but it got out to the boondocks some years later:
I’ve already run posts on when the dancing changed from male and female having contact, dancing with each other rather than a metre apart, gyrating at each other and pinpointed it, methought, to The Twist in 1960.
Either way, by the time our school dances took place in the late 60s, no one was really still doing joined-up rock ‘n roll, now it was all about standing apart except for the slow dances when you were still allowed your clinches.
The actual ‘dancing’ therefore has not altered greatly since those days, except to become more openly lambada today, Minaj and Swift writhing too. What has altered and I go into this further down, is the surrounding, the accompanying, behaviour – this has changed big time and reflects the human carnage which has taken place.
It all comes down, in the end, to percentages. Just as with the Muslim invasion, it’s not a question of it being present or not, it’s a question of what percentage of society has already gone under – some towns are now near 100% gone, some still redeemable.
Thus, at our dances in the second half of the 60s, sure there’d be alcohol and ciggies, sure the in-crowd of maybe a dozen from a hundred would slip out of the door when no one was watching and go to the gym; condoms and panties would be found next day by the cleaners, the girls’ pregnancies would be hushed up but the word would have spread like wildfire amongst us and I’d be thinking – why was I not invited?
One tale of the time was when, for some crazy reason,our [boys] school was invited to some snooty girls school, maybe for a debate, can’t recall and this time I was included. A group of us at lunch break slipped out of a side gate and we found ourselves taken to a house in a nearby street where the real thing was going down.
When I went into the living room, not a lot was going on – music was on at the music centre, some girls were hanging about on the chairs and sofas, there were some boys, the real action was in the adjoining rooms – I somehow missed out again and that’s all I can recall of that day.
That pattern of nooky certainly happening with the in-crowd but always in side rooms or in the shed in the backyard – that continued on into the 70s, when it began to change.
For this I must go to mid-decade and now this is not me but those associated with me, namely in this case a young man of 18 who’d left school, employed as a builder’s apprentice and with a social circle – I’d just put a deposit down [with the parents] on a house out in the sticks and I needed help to pay the mortgage. He was the help.
Our arrangement was that if he had people over, I’d go out and vice-versa and so one night was The Party for his cronies and others, there was no gatecrashing but there were still many there, I was out until 3 a.m., when I got sick of whatever it was I was doing and came home.
The scent was what hit first, the grass fumes [weed] second, the coke was being passed around and snorted through the rolled-up 20s and the other smell was that sickly nooky smell in all rooms.
The main room was being used for dancing – drunken couples, some of those girls seemingly underaged to me, the guys around his age or older but the real action was going on, of course, in the siderooms – he came out and saw me, told me about little ‘Ruthie’. She apparently was in his room taking on all comers, literally; then she came running out of the room and maybe it was that she was physically small but I was appalled, he assured me she was his age. I went to bed and closed my door – not a good move as the stripper from earlier in the night had used my bed and it stank – I found a non-wet bit.
In the aftermath, from the neighbour’s ‘word’ to me next day and from my lodger’s own account, as far as I could gather – everyone was into it but that didn’t necessarily mean the whole of his year level was – this was just the in-crowd again. I asked him how many of his year level would have been ‘partying’ – most, he said but that could have meant anything.
I was still not that much older at that stage and we had our own weekends away – one was a trip to the forest where most slept in cars, some in tents, another was a literature conference at the beach when I woke up next morning with a girl beside me, both out of our heads so I can’t imagine too much dalliance had taken place and looking at her inelegant form on the sand, I was glad but that’s cruel – after she woke,she turned out to be nice enough.
I think that’s a fair summary of how things were in those days – pairing off, finding a room or other place, nothing really orgiastic in any way, a certain number the type you always find in the kitchen at parties, mainly the males:
I tried not to be that one. As most of our age group know, there were also the raves:
… and the discos, the music provided by the DJs. I never went to raves or discos so can’t speak of them with any authority. I do recall driving past a meeting up point on the M25 one night, the radio giving the meeting point.
Still in the 70s – one last tale. One of our lecturers took us to her country place and I remember a long, rectangular room. NC were her initials, a real feminazi if ever there was one, potty-mouthed and going on about her 15 year old son’s pubes, going on to everyone, thinking that doing the cougar was really neat and hip – I didn’t like her, nor she me.
Moreover, I’d asked her some very pointed questions in the lecture and the A/V teacher told me later she’d stormed into the staffroom, demanding that that bloody Higham be expelled or some such. Just what had I said to her? I explained that women like that are easily wound up.
Anyway, we were all in a circle, or rather an oval, at her holiday home, she was at one end, with me as far away as poss at the other, she introduced some game involving dancing, sensual dancing where someone challenged someone else and yes, you guessed it, she now challenged me.
Anyone who knows me knows I’m no dancer, except in a wild, beserk way or else slow dancing, so I was thinking whether to storm out or else do it.
I did it and it was like a grotesque lambada for student and cougar, prescient given today’s exploitation by the new cougar teachers, there wasn’t a lot left to the imagination, which surprised her greatly, penetration certainly crossed the mind. Then I went to bed. By myself.
The next time I tried anything like that was in Russia at a nightclub with a 22 year old friend – both crazy dancers covering much territory and rejoining in the centre..
By now well into a life of full employment, part of which was teaching, I was starting to build up numbers of ex-students I’d meet from time to time out in the city and this is the tale of K, where I first wondered why on earth she would have told me about this, plus I have no more reliable source than this, so take it as you will.
K was around 15 when I met her at the bus stop near my old home – I tried to work out last night why I was actually there on that day but gave it away – we were both headed in the same direction. After the ‘hail gal, well met’ intros, we got down to tin tacks and I asked after her mum whom I’d known, plus about little sis and all that.
She launched into the most amazing tale. A feisty redhead, garrulous is the way to describe her, she told me about their school camp she’d just come back from, the boys and girls in separate buildings, the boys had got into the girls’ building late night, staff probably asleep.
And this was maybe the first time I’d been utterly shocked by someone young but tried not to show it as she’d then clam up and obviously I wanted to know more. No plans to tell anyone, just curiosity and I was no way going to stop her in mid-flow.
This K I’d never taught, broken home, wild, got into trouble, so I expected what she said from her – I did not expect it about J though whom I had taught and she was from a good home. Apparently J had been used as a human pincushion that night according to K and because I could ask no questions, I could only surmise that every male in there had had a dip, also into all the other girls, one presumes K too.
This is the sort of thing the porn industry [covered further down] pushes as the norm today and it certainly represents a falling away from what had been the case when we were that age – in our case, there’d always been a lot of kissy-kissy and petty-petty for sure but this with K was the whole hog, plus, with it being everyone with everyone indiscriminately – I was not used to this and didn’t like it.
If that had been a one off, then maybe it would have been all right, an aberration, but the next one in the 90s, in another country 10,000 miles away, did show it was no one-off, it was the new world culture and I can’t say I like it.
By this time, I was in Russia and visiting my parents who had retired to Australia, my father had died long before and my step sister now had a son who was 17 at the time of this tale.
The first thing which shocked me was the mother, another NC, who wanted to be so hip with the kids, so she was right into her son having lost his virginity at 14 and seemed to find it necessary to tell me.
The son himself adopted me into their gang and I was told another K like tale, this time a festivity for ‘young people’ at the local church, itself trying to be hip and with it. They’d apparently told the vicar they’d behave and as they were from ‘good families’ … well … it was OK, wasn’t it?
Wrong. As far as I could gather, they’d either stayed on or had come back to the church grounds later, until the police had broken it up and yet again, we’re talking in-crowd, not so much the whole year level – I don’t know what the percentages were, don’t to this day.
What the police found were people 16 and 17 having it away, on designer drugs, alcohol, other substances, draped over tombstones, against the church itself, maybe two dozen of them, the girls were the main instigators although the boys were obviously not reticent, nor would I have been, had I been that age.
But now I was appalled and again, I hid it, said nothing, let him rattle on with his tales.
The third and last one I’ll relate is from Britain, London in fact, not anyone I know and it wasn’t actually nooky but there was a pub by the green, it was summer and on the green were couples everywhere – not just sitting and drinking but heavily into it, writhing around on the grass until the police arrived – they still arrived in those days, this was early 90s.
We walked past them, my companion L and I and neither of us liked what we saw. There was a complete lack of control and respect in it, there was a real atmosphere of societal breakdown – no one was actually ‘bothering to get a room’.
No doubt many readers will be highly amused by all this but in part four, I’ll go into why I was not amused.