Sunday 8 February 2015

"I Was Drunk Out Of My Brain, I Honestly Was"

I was a 14 year old teenager when Aussie drinking habits hit an all-time historical high, when we were drinking more alcohol per capita than any other generation since the first day Captain Arthur Phillip stepped foot on Aboriginal soil. 1976 was the worst drinking year on record in Australia. The seventies was also when West Australia, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania caught up with NSW and Victoria, and reversed the legal drinking age from 21 to 18, that's how much into drinking 1970's adults were. Parents didn’t lock the alcohol 'out of reach of children'. On the contrary, they built a shrine to it - the home bar. It was a time when the prevailing view was that drip feeding alcohol to teens was an effective way to ensure they wouldn't  abuse alcohol as adults. We now know it makes them three times more likely to.

It was also a time when women were not allowed in public bars or pubs which could be why the home bar was a household 'must have'. Our bar, which used to be my bedroom before renovations, was custom built by my Uncle Willie. Seating six people comfortably it was long and high so you could slouch on the basalt coloured leather padded trim. Bark from the Fijian mulberry tree stenciled black and rust-brown, and dye stamped with oceanic sea life and plant motifs clad the exterior of the bar, harmonising Zen-like with our shimmering metallic bronzed wallpaper. Balls of colourful thick glass hung in rope netting from the suspended ceiling made of rustic stained pine wood. Between them hung aluminium foil lined and hand painted old cat food tins housing colored light bulbs of red, orange, blue, green and yellow. The wall behind the bar had built in mirror lined shelves where every mixing alcohol we owned was proudly on display like demigods, bottom lit so the light beamed through the flaming yellow Galliano, swam through the lagoon green of crème de menthe, sunset through the coffee russet of crème de cacao, and flowed through the Pacific blue of the curacao, fanning into a rainbow around us. Shaggy carpet the height of the African savannah swept the floor from where bean bags jutted out like the big red boulders of the Australian outback, ready to catch anyone gravitationally challenged after a few. The whole room looked like Saturday Night Fever meets Tarzan.

Under the bar were the alcoholic bases – rum, whisky, gin, and brandy - as was the grenadine, the angostura bitters, the stainless steel cocktail shaker and accessories like umbrellas and straws. Next to them were packets of Jatz, oily salted peanuts, cans of smoked oysters, sticks of cabanossi, jars of olives, sweet gerkins and white pickled onions which would be crucified on toothpicks with cubes of mature cheddar cheese. Mum always had sour cream in the mini bar fridge into which she’d mix a dry packet of French onion soup to make a dip for special guests. Extra special invitees would be treated to smoked Dutch eel. The fridge was stocked with the mixers – lemonade, ginger ale, soda water -  along with the garnishes: lemon and orange peels, revolting  sticky glazed cherries which no-one ever ate, olives and pineapple wedges ( when they were canned, no-one ate them either, especially me after drinking tinny flavored pineapple juice every morning while seasick on a  cruise ship around the world when I was 7).

One’s bar had to be ready at all times, and the ice cubes ever frozen, because in the '70’s visitors didn’t make appointments, they just dropped in. The cocktails of the 1970’s were colorful, sweet, fruity and creamy –just as psychedelic as the long nylon dress Mum ceremoniously wore at the bar. “Put a lining in your tummy” with milk or cream, to stop you from getting drunk too fast or throwing up, was more than the pearl of wisdom of the time, it was what '70’s adults did to their cocktails: our tummies were so coated with thick cream and the alcohol so disguised with sugar, you could hardly tell you were drinking, until the headache sunk in. The popular creamy cocktails of the 70’s were the Grasshopper, Pink Ladies, Pina Colada, and my favourite back then, the Brandy Alexander, topped with nutmeg. Non creamy 70’s cocktails Dad enjoyed shaking away behind the bar, were the Tequila Sunrises, Sloe Gin Fizzes, Singapore Slings, Tom Collins, and Daiquiris, Harvey Wallbangers, Screwdrivers, Gin and Tonics, Tom Collins, Slow Comfortable Screw, Bloody Mary, Martini, Tequila Sunrise, Stinger, Sidecar, Rusty Nail and the Whisky Sour. Many were red and orange: grenadine being the cocktail colour of the decade.

Saturday and Sunday drinks before dinner were among the few times we could sit with our parents without being in trouble for something, or being badgered into household chores, or being lectured to. It was a time when my normally disciplinary Mum and Dad relaxed over a drink in a cool hippy tribal zone and became nicer and nicer very fast as the alcohol began to shut their brains down and fill them up with happy dopamine hormones.

The wine cask was invented in 1965 by South
Australian winemaker Thomas Angove
I don’t recall ever seeing my parents heavily intoxicated even though drinking wasn’t confined to the bar in our household: during the week Mum enjoyed a glass of sherry from about 3pm onwards, usually with a neighbour, then a glass of wine with dinner from the Aussie invented wine cask. Dad would throw back his double strength homebrewed beer which had that sweaty sock smell that only homemade beers have. Every few months it was my task to wash 60 bottles for the beer that was brewing in a 50-liter orange plastic garbage bin in the laundry. It would take up a good part of the day because if Dad didn’t rinse the beer bottles after he finished drinking from them, the yeast would stick to the bottom, requiring soaking, shaking, and bottle brushing to get the hardened yeast out. Each bottle had to be washed with detergent in the kitchen. Then outside on the lawn under our maple trees I would rinse them one by one with the garden hose on full bore for however long it took to rinse the detergent out of them. Dad would inspect each bottle. The slightest hint of yeast stuck anywhere and I had to wash it all over again. It was the longest of all my household chores because the detergent bubbles took forever to flush out and there was always smatterings of yeast stuck somewhere.

My parents started me on Brandy and Dry ( ginger ale), Advocat and Lemonade, and Spumante not long after turning 14. But the year before I was sneaking drinks at a neighbors adult party. My sister got drunk at the same party and she was only ten. At our own teen parties we mostly drank Southern Comfort and Coke and beer. If a boy wanted to impress you, he would buy you a bottle of  ‘champgne’ (sickly sweet Spumante).

Even though the 70’s flew by our parents in more of a blur of alcohol than other generation, Australia has always been a heavy drinking nation – except at times of economic downturn, like the Great Depression and the two World Wars, and over periods of conservative backlash when middle class christians  feared the drinking lower classes would become unmanageable. But most of the time we were right up there among the highest drinking nations of the world. This is partly because our colony was founded from day one on alcohol; alcohol is in our cultural genes, and it’s a fascinating tale.

When Captain Arthur Phillip, Governor of the new settlement, arrived in Sydney Cove in 1788 with eleven ships and 1,487 convicts and settlers - and with only two years of provisions, including alcohol - he didn’t bring any money with him to underwrite basic commerce and trade. While English officers were being paid back in England, they thought new settlers would not need money because they were going to grow, shoot and fish everything they needed. Imagine - that would be like an Aussie business expanding overseas with no cash flow and no strategic plan.

The First Fleet entering Port Jackson 
on 26 January 1788 by E. Le Bihan
England didn’t envision the new colony would starve to near death in the first five years because the First Fleeters were not farmers: they didn’t even have draft animals or proper farming equipment like ploughs. England also had no idea Australia is drought prone, and no-one had looked into the soil fertility to see what can be grown in it. Luckily it finally rained one day – four years later. 

Officially, prices in the colony were in Pounds, Shillings and Pence (Sterling) but the only notes with Sterling value were Government Bills of Exchange on the British Treasury and Commissariat Store Receipts. IOU’s and Promissory Notes were used too but caused more trouble than they were worth because people were always arguing over value. Basically the colony bartered with whatever they had brought with them from England, or produced in the colony. That this couldn’t last became obvious when the first trading ship stocked with badly needed provisions like boots, butter, tea and rum arrived at about the same time as the rains that saved the colony from starvation did. Some colonists had bought a bit of lose change with them but for everyone else who wanted things, but didn’t have money, Promissory Notes ( I promise to pay you later, next time your ship makes it back to England, if you haven’t sunk, been pirated, died of disease, or been killed in a duel etc ) weren’t accepted by the ship’s captain. How would the needy colony pay? England, suffering a severe shortage of coins itself, wouldn’t send any money to the colony either, because they knew whatever they sent would sail right back out again on the next trade ship and the local economy would still be without a circulating currency.

A solution manifested itself with the arrival of the second fleet in 1791 which bought with it the New South Wales Corps, a bunch of military scoundrels and opportunists sent to replace  the British Marines who came with the First Fleet. Their salaries were paid in England. Their Paymaster Notes soon became the preferred form of currency and the New South Wales Corp were quick to exploit their fortuitous advantage.

English officers were sent to ‘pillage’ Australia on very long SISO’s (Sail In Sail Out). A year after the arrival of the Second Fleet, Captain Phillip 'Sailed back Out' to England. While waiting for his replacement, Governor John Hunter, to ‘Sail In’, the New South Wales Corps took over the running of the young colony. They instated military rule in the meantime and proceeded to monopolise commerce because they could raise capital by borrowing against their regimental pay accumulating in England. Their control was entrenched by 1793 when an American trading ship called ‘Hope’ arrived in Port Jackson with a fresh load of goodies and 7,500 gallons of rum. The Hope’s Captain however refused to sell the colony anything unless the she bought the totality of the 7,500 gallons of rum first. In pole position as the New South Wales Corps was, two leading lieutenants and the regimental paymaster, John Macarthur, bought the rum on the Corp’s Paymaster Notes and sold it on to the colony at a massive profit. With so much Rum flooding the local economy under extremely tough living conditions, Rum instantly became the medium of exchange. The New South Wales Corps were nicknamed the 'Rum Corps', and the local economy became known as the 'Rum Economy'.  

Buy orchestrating subsequent deliveries of rum from the Indian subcontinent and then buying all the stock, the Rum Corp became Australia’s ‘Central Bank’ for the next 17 years. Rum paid for anything and everything from Sydney’s first church and hospital and a road from Sydney to Liverpool. Rum captured bushrangers. Farms and stock were sold for it. A man even bartered his wife for some rum it is said. Because drunkards were building Australia, its economy was rotting to the core. Food production began to fail because farmers were forced to accept rum in return for wheat and other crops and that’s all they could pay their permanently hangover unproductive labour with.

A propaganda cartoon created within hours of William Bligh's arrest, portraying him as a coward
Both Governors Hunter and King unsuccessfully attempted to break the stronghold the Rum Corps had on the economy, as did Governor William Bligh of Mutiny on the Bounty fame in 1806, who fixed the price of rum and made all Promissory Notes payable in cash instead of rum. When the ringleader, John McArthur, refused to comply, Bligh jailed him for illegally owning a still. His arrest triggered the only military coup d’état in Australian history.  On January 26, 1808, the Rum Corps took back control of the Colony from Bligh resulting in his into exile to Tasmania. Two years later, the new Governor Lachlan Macquarie finally put an end to the trade having been sent to Australia with orders to return the NSW Wales Corps to England and arrest the leaders of the Coup (although they had already fled back to the mother country to argue their case to maintain their Rum Economy). Macquarie reduced the number of licensed rum 'dealerships' in Sydney from 75 to 20 and closed pubs on Sunday. By allowing the free importation of spirits, the price when down and rum was devalued as a currency. 

To stop internationally tradable coins leaving the colony, Governor Macquarie created money no-one outside Australia would want by putting holes in 40,000 Spanish silver reale coins ('pieces of eight'), making two new coins out of them. Marking each with 'Australia' sealed their international undesirability. The large coin was called the Colonial or Holey Dollar and it was worth 5 Shillings Sterling. The small piece was worth 15 pence. It was called a Dump, just like the rum economy – dumped forever.

So while it was an unscrupulous American who, at his own peril, blackmailed a starving mob of expats on that fateful voyage to colonial Australia, leading to the economy being flooded with rum, it was the British that established the addiction. The British, renown for their own alcoholism, bought with them two heavy drinking practices which became ingrained in our culture. One is ‘Work and Bust’, a practice where labourers would HIHO ( Horse In Horse Out) and later TITO (Train In Train Out) for long periods in the bush and binge drink for days on end in reward once back in town. The other is taking turns to “shout” your mates a drink. In the meantime we’ve been most imaginative in finding ways to ensure alcohol remains a part of our culture by incorporating it into all kinds of practices and beliefs – we toast with it, use it in sacrament, protect and fortify our health with it, sedate ourselves when we’ve got a cold - or when we just need sedating - to quench our thirst on hot days, and even to get the breast milk flowing. Victorians went the extra leg for our place on the global drinking charts: they granted two new liquor licenses every day for 20 years from 1986. 

While ‘civilised’ drinking European style – drinking wine with food and in moderation - became the norm by the 1960s, binge drinking has made a huge comeback, igniting calls to raise the drinking age back up to 21. This would have would have mortified us New South Welsh  teens in the 1970’s because it’s hard to argue that you’re old enough to work, be jailed as an adult, leave home or go to Uni, but not drink. However, those families who’s lives have been ruined by alcohol, or who have seen their teens graduate to stronger drugs, or become alcoholics, might disagree, as might the families of the 367 Australians who die, and the 13,660 Australians hospitalised, every year because of someone else’s drinking. As might the case workers of the 19,443 substantiated child protection cases involving a carer’s drinking. The police and social services dealing with 24,581 drink related assaults on family members, and 44,852 assaults on the street and elsewhere every year, definitely do concur.

At least we’re not the worst drinkers in the world. We’re only in 18th place out of around 194 countries according to a World Health Organisation 2014 Report. Preceding us are Belarus, Moldova, Russia, and Romania ranking first, second, third and fourth consecutively, with a whole bunch of Eastern European, former Soviet and other cold, cold places following them, except for the not so cold Portugal, Grenada and South Korea. France just pips us at 17th but they don’t binge like we do so its hardly noticeable over there. Down the bottom of the list are all the Islamic  countries – Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Mauritania, Libya, Kuwait, Bangladesh, Comoros, Yemen, Niger, Egypt, Somalia Iraq, Indonesia, Afghanistan. We're not likely to edge closer to these disciplined countries any day soon either with 41% of Australians drinking on a weekly basis.

The World in February 1976 - The USA Tests 4 Nuclear Bombs

In February 1976 the USA exploded four nuclear bombs in the Nevada Desert. While the rest of the world is quivering in fear at the prospect of total nuclear annihilation, to the US, it’s just a routine radiation blitz.

Trinity Test, 16 ms after detonation 
Ever since the first nuclear device under the Manhattan Project was let off in New Mexico in 1945  - code name “Trinity” - over 2000 nuclear weapons carrying a substance posing the gravest threat to human health and the environment known to mankind, have been exploded by nine belligerent countries in and above our communal atmosphere, in our collective oceans, and under a ground that belongs to future generations. Just to see what happens. More than half of this global toxic contamination by radiation has been caused by the USA: then Russia, followed by France, Britain, Israel, China, India, Pakistan, and North Korea.

When the US dropped the first Fat Man and Little Boy bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima the world was taught that nuclear worked: up to 140,000 civilians and military personnel died instantly as did World War II. Those who weren't incinerated to ashes, died an excruciating death by radiation sickness, or cancer. The rest of a traumatised  planet came rudely face to face with the realisation that humans now possesed the power to destroy all life on earth, including themselves, at the push of a button.
Atomic Bomb mushroom clouds over Nagasaki and Hiroshima

Instead of stuffing the genie back in the bottle fast, the world’s warring men clamoured to make more and more and more of these armageddon weapons. There are now 17,300 of them pointing all directions  ready to toast everything alive, many times over. Any excuse justified a nuclear test: to see how well the weapons worked, how the bombs behaved under various conditions, how personnel, structures, and equipment responded when subjected to nuclear explosions,for training purposes, to flex the national muscle, to send a message to the 'enemy', and to test whether a weapon was – oxymoronically - 'safe’. In an era of Cold War ideological conflict, tests were conducted openly for the most part because it was the competing hegemon's way of broadcasting to the world how much more successful their economic and political systems were, and how they could erase you from the map if you messed with them.

Not even the moon was safe from the nuclear mania sweeping our beautiful blue planet. An Outer SpaceTreaty banning  the use and emplacement of nuclear weapons on the moon and other celestial bodies, had to be signed to stop ourselves from blowing the moon to bits, and maybe even off its orbit and into earth – who knew then what was possible the way Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) was heading.

NASA image of Moruroa Atoll
Nuclear powers didn’t blow up their  own countries either for the most part. They set their weapons off in some weaker country they had previously colonised or on their neighbours border. France conducted 210 tests in Algeria and in Fangataufa and Moruroa Atolls in French Polynesia. The UK conducted 45 tests in Australia in the Montebello Islands, Maralinga, and Emu Field, as well as in Christmas Island in the Pacific Ocean, plus a further 24 in the United States at the Nevada Test Site as part of joint test series. Russia officially blew up 715 nuclear bombs at Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan near the Chinese border, and in the indigenous Nenets Arctic territory of Novaya Zemlya, as well as on other indigenous lands in Siberia. They also tested in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine. The USA, like Russia, were really keen to share the radiation around and ran 1,054 tests (involving at least 1,149 devices) at the Nevada Test Site, the Pacific Proving Grounds in the Marshall Islands and in other locations in the Pacific, as well as 3 tests in the South Atlantic Ocean, and 17 other tests in Amchitka Alaska, Colorado, Mississippi and New Mexico. China poisoned Lop Nur in Xinjiang with 45 nuks, right on the border of poor old Kazakhstan which got shafted at both ends (little wonder there is barely a Kazakh who doesn’t have multiple family members dying of cancer, or who’s children have birth defects and other horrific childbirth nightmares to tell). India ran six underground explosions at Pokhran in Rajasthan near the border of Pakistan. Pakistan did the same with six underground explosions at Ras Koh Hills near the border of Afghanistan and at the Chagai District on the border of Iran. North Korea  conducted three underground tests at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site, not that far from the Chinese border, although closer to the Sea of Japan, as recently as February 2013. Everyone has stopped testing now except rogue state North Korea which plans to conduct further tests. 

The most powerful bomb of all was Tsar Bomba, an AN602 hydrogen bomb set off in 1961 in the Arctic, with the power of 1,350 to 1,570 times  that of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The fireball nearly reached the same height as the plane that let it drop but the mushroom cloud flew to 64 kilometres into the mesosphere, over 7 times the height of Mount Everest: both were visible at almost 1,000 km's away. The cap of the mushroom cloud was 95 km's wide. The base of the cloud was 40 km's wide. All buildings in the village of Severny, 55 km's from ground zero, were destroyed, as were many more in districts hundreds of km's away. Anyone within 100 km of ground zero, would have suffered third degree burns from the heat. People could see the shockwave 700 km's away, and windowpanes broke more than 900 km's away in Finland and Norway. It measured 8.1 on the Richter scale - were it seismic. It was the definitive bomb. But it didn't stop the testing.

Video: Tsar Bomba

From the first nuclear test in 1945 until the tests by Pakistan in 1998, there was never a period of more than 22 months with no nuclear testing! Not one of these tests was not without dire environmental consequence as they have made large parts of the planet a no go zone indefinitely in a future too far away to even imagine. Some tests were much worse than others because of unpredictably large yields, changing weather patterns, unexpected fallout, contamination of populations and the food supply. In 1954 the Castle Bravo fallout plume from a hydrogen bomb spread dangerous levels of radiation over an area over 100 miles long over inhabited Marshall Islands, when the weather changed unpredictably. Many Marshallese suffered from radiation burns and later increased cancer rate and birth defects. There are too many of these horrific stories to tell.

At last the light bulb went on as scientists - surprise, surprise - began to notice high levels of radiation in populated areas. Health concerns led to calls for a Partial Test Ban Treaty in 1963 signed by UK, US, and the USSR, which limited signatories to underground testing. France didn’t sign and kept dropping their bombs until 1974, as did China until 1980.  Underground tests in the United States continued until 1992 (its last nuclear test), the Soviet Union until 1990, the United Kingdom until 1991, and both China and France until 1996 when the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty came into being. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty has not yet entered into force because some countries refuse to sign and /or ratify. They include predictable nations like Cuba, India, Mauritius, North Korea, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Sudan, and Syria, but also some dumbfounding ones like Tonga and Tuvalu, Mauritius, Dominica and Bhutan – home of the Bhuddhist inspired Gross National Happiness Index. 

Even more sinister than the wide scale unleashing of carcinogenic and mutagenic radiation into the air we breath, the water we drink, the food we grow, and the genes we use to make our children with, is that all countries carried out human experiments by deliberately exposing populations to radiation, again, just to see what would happen.

In 1994, President Bill Clinton established the Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments (ACHRE), resulting in the release of over 1.6 million pages of classified records of horror recounting tests conducted on the human body by the US Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). Nuclear scientists  and  military men – knowing radiation was a really, really bad thing -  never volunteered themselves as guinea pigs. In the name of defense/attack planning, they conducted experiments on the innocent, the trusting, the vulnerable and the obedient. All the nuclear powers deliberately exposed soldiers and civilians to fallout from atmospheric nuclear tests. In laboratories, the US AEC also irradiated the heads of children, injected them with radioactive substances and fed irradiated milk to orphans. They pumped radioactive material into mentally disabled people, injected outpatients with plutonium and other radioactive materials without their knowledge. They zapped the testicles of prisoners and exposed their bodies to high levels of radiation (which caused severe birth defects because the radioactive elements rearranged the DNA of their sperm cells). They exhumed bodies from graveyards to test them for radiation (without the consent of the families of the deceased). The US AEC even went all the way to the Amazon with Venezuelan geneticist Marcel Roche, to inject radioactive iodine into indigenous Yanomami and Ye'Kwana peoples in the Orinoco Basin of Venezuela, also without their consent (as if they would agree if asked). Part of these experiments were conducted under Project Sunshine (co-sponsored by the Atomic Energy Commission and the notorious RAND Corporation), set up to determine the impact of radioactive fallout from American nuclear testing on the world's population  and the global biosphereespecially of Strontium 90. 

                             Video: President Bill Clinton Apologises for Human Radiation Experiments 

Radiation can't be cleaned up except by being recycled through reprocessing. It just sits there irradiating indefinitely in human life terms, no matter what you put on it to try and contain it.

Few have been compensated for this folly of environmental insanity.  The US has approved $1.38 billion in compensation to those involved in tests at the Nevada Test Site. The French offered to compensate victims under narrowly designed eligibility criteria for the first time in 2009, although most victims are already dead so the compensation is being offered to the offspring of mostly 1960's Algerian tests. The British haven’t compensated anyone although 1,000 veterans of the 1950's Christmas Island nuclear tests are engaged in legal action against the Ministry of Defense for negligence. Russia is looking at compensation for the 45,000 soldiers it made march through the  epicenter of the Totskoye nuclear tets when an RDS- 4 – a nuk as powerful as the two bombs that flattened Nagasaki and Hiroshima together - was detonated above them. China is behaving as if they haven’t even had tests, much less compensate victims.

The most terrifying aspect of nuclear madness is how radiation exposure can cause genetic damage across generations by rearranging continually inherited DNA. It is my experience as a journalist having lived in nuclear states, and having covered nuclear related stories, radiation agencies and regulators, government bodies, nuclear scientists, employees and anyone with anything to gain from nuclear energy, will claim there is no solid evidence that radiation exposure can cause transgenerational genetic damage (or even cause cancer in local communities). I have been frequently told that recurring defects through family lines is 'probably' more to do with smoking, drinking, other industrial contamination, and usual genetic factors - anything but radiation. A mantra similar to the tobacco industry before it finally confessed to the impacts of smoking on human health. Even if one can't deny there are other industrial pollutants that cause mutations and cancer, like dioxins, regulators lean on the 'not proven' to avoid protecting public health from the powerful and secretive nuclear industry. But I have seen it myself at ground zero in Semipalatinsk, in a museum, where rows and rows of shocking congenital defects were bottled up over the period of nuclear testing there. Fetuses completely rearranged with body parts not even anywhere near where they should have been, or near, but at the wrong end like eyes where a mouth should have been.

Because of recalcitrance in nuclear weapons dismantling, and the hundreds of billions of dollars being spent modernising nuclear weaponry by the major nuclear powers, the prospect of an accidental or deliberate atomic bomb explosion continues to be an ongoing and more urgent threat then ever.

And I haven't even touched on the health and environmental impacts around civil and military nuclear power stations, or the use of, especially by the American military, depleted uranium shells in combat, and what radiation has done where these weapons were deployed. 

Australia in February 1976 

Nothing much is happening except Australia is still reeling from the sacking of Gough Whitlam. Ted Mulrey’s 'Jump In My Car' is number one on the singles charts. Notice the fans who go leaping into Sydney Harbour to swim to Ted Mulry's pontoon and the security guard who throws a girl back into the harbour after she got on stage! Could that happen today? Ah the '70's - the heady days of risk taking, when personal injury lawyers were still a decade away, and public liability insurance on our every move was another 20 years to come.

                                               Video: Ted Mulry. Jump In My Car

Diary February 1976

Well this month there’s a summer party on. It's one of those parties you could only go to if you came with a partner of the opposite sex. I ask why we can’t just go freely to a party and see what happens? Why did we girls have to be locked up by a boy we didn't really like all night? This same party sees my dishonourable fall from grace as I get publically drunk the first time at just 14 years and 5 months. The schoolyard is unforgiving and rumours fly as to what I got up to or what was done to me in my inebriated state.  But they were only rumours because I’m a good girl concerned about my reputation. It’s February and Saint Valentines Day. It’s also a Leap Year, so on the 29th girls are allowed to ask boys to go with them. I thought about it but decided I didn’t want to go with anyone. Some girls do pluck up the courage to ask their latest heartthrob though.

Sunday  February 1Played netball today

Played netball today. We were guinea pigs for umpires. We lost every game. It was dumb.

Monday February 2 - Jason reckons I’m a snob

Guess who's back. The school creep. He was staring at me all day and once I nearly bumped into him. Colin Boyd put his arm around me and raved on. I got Steve Podmore a snowpop. He was being real nice. I like him. I was getting everyone stuff. Sat next to Craig on the bus. Jason's been ignoring me all day. You know why? (this is what Craig told me). Jason reckons I’m a snob cause he tried to pash me off at the River Caves and I wouldn’t let him. The swine. That’s all he wants people for. He was swearing his head off about this s--t, and then he said, "I think I'll go with her for a root". We talked a lot about Luna Park, and how this girl was a lesbian cause Jason told them all that I told him this girl was queer.

Tuesday February 3 - The school creep kept staring at me

The school creep kept staring at me and following me in the canteen and when I told Colin he goes, "show me who it is", but I wouldn’t. But when we were in the canteen he kept tickling me, and he goes, "hold my hand and make it look like we're going with each other" and we held hands for about 30 seconds. Then he went up to the school creep, but I stopped him and tried to put my arm around him and he put his arm around me. He goes, "who would you rather, him or me?" I said, "well I wouldn’t want him" and he asked me this about 8 times. The he went and said something to the school creep and went up to the oval. Colin reckons he was nearly crying. Colin said he told him to lay off me. Then in the corridor I nearly ran into him. UGH. These two fifth from girls kept giving me dirty looks. Fleas little brother (year 7)  asked me if they could rape me ( in the middle of the playground I might add). I said to him, "Did you want something?" And he gives me this dirty great grin and was looking me up and down. He just reached my boobs, and this funny look came over his eyes and he smiled.  I told flea about it. I like four guys, Steve, Steve, Jason ( sort of, although he keeps ignoring me) and Colin. I don’t know why but I like Colin a real lot. I can’t make up my mind which one I like. At assembly I turned around and saw Jason. He smiled at me. Miracles. Oh well. I wonder about the tragedies that will happen tomorrow.

Wednesday  February 4 - The school creep doesn’t like me anymore (thank God)

Guess what I found out today? That Colin was going to ask me to go with him. Colin goes, "I’m gonna ask Petra" and Chris goes "You’re not getting a root out of her" and he goes "I don’t care"! Miracles! Though nothing happened. I bet you anything he doesn’t ask me. He came to me at lunchtime and told me the school creep doesn’t like me anymore (thank God). Then he asked me if I was doing lifesaving and I said, "Yes". He said, "Good. I’ll see you there".  At the pool he kept coming up to me. I told him I was doing my Bronze. He patted me on the back.  After I had done 12 laps, Steve goes, "How many laps did you do?" I said, "Twelve". He goes, "F you". Jason came over and he completely ignored me. Debbie’s beginning to love herself again. Steve Lay asked me if I was going to Chris's party. I said, "When is it?" and he said, "In a couple of weeks”. I said, "I don’t know, I haven’t been invited". He said, "Dixon said to bring a chick”  but then he stopped as I went into the library to see Debbie so she could see my uniform. She said, “I asked Chris if Colin was serious and he said Yes”, and he said he likes me a lot ( I doubt it). I bet you anything he doesn’t ask me. I wonder if I’ll be going to Chris's party and if so, who with. Stay tuned this time next week. I’m supposed to be seeing Tommy with Colin, Chris and Deb on Saturday night. I bet I end up going by myself.

Later.... Debbie and she said I'd better go with Steve cause I might not get anyone else.

Talk about the devil, guess who just rang - Steven Lay! He asked to me to go Chris's party with him. S--t. That’s all I said. God I didn’t know what to say. I said I’d tell him tomorrow. He goes, "O’Donnel and Boyd are going to ask you so I thought I'd get in first”. O'Donnel. Hell. He's ignored me all year so far. As if he's going to invite me to the party. CHRIST!! I wouldn’t go anyway. But Colin, I like Colin, and if he did ask me I’m in trouble. I like Steve but Gee Wizz. I rang Debbie and she said I'd better go with Steve cause I might not get anyone else, then I’m stuck with no-one. I have to tell him something tomorrow. I guess I'll say Yes. Debbie also said that Colin said that he still has to know me better before he asks me. The story of my life. Also he said he might be taking me out to see Tommy but he wouldn’t be going with me by Saturday. So if nothing crops up about Tommy by tomorrow arvo, I’ll make my reservation tomorrow arvo. Just this morning I was complaining about not having any problems and now look at me. Then again, I may not be able to go. S--t. Wish me luck for tomorrow. seeya

Later still...... Why can’t they just invite everybody and see what happens at the party?

Guess who just called? Jason. He asked me if I was going to the party with Steve Lay and I said, “I don’t know”. He said, "if you don’t want to, don’t. He's got 8 other chicks waiting for him". Then Steve got on and said, "If you don’t want to, don't. I said, "Yes I do". He said, "You're not B'Shitting me?". I said, "I don’t B'Shit people". He said, "Not like O'Donnel does". I said, "Yes" . Then O'Donnel says, "There's two other kids waiting". I said "Who?" and he said, "Me and Boyd". Then he asked me if I was going to the party with Lay and I said, "Yes, why not". He goes, "You F'ing B---h” and hung up. The B'tard. Who does he think he bloody well is? King Shit who gets everything he wants? Not from me he won't. He can get stuffed. Just cause he can’t get anybody else. Gee I wish Colin had have asked first. I want to go to the party with Colin. Pairing up with Steve is going to cause a lot of trouble with Jenny, Colin and O'Donell. S--t! I wish I was going with Colin. Why can’t they just invite everybody and see what happens at the party? God Jason’s a B'tard. If I had half the guts I'd blow him up right in front of everyone. Colin, why didn’t you ask me FIRST? With a bit of luck I won’t be able to go.

Thursday February 5 - "There's been a change. You're going to the party with me”

Dear Diary

Well today Colin and Steve came up and sat next to me. Steve said, “Sorry for Jason”. Colin kept asking me if I was going to the party with Steve. When I got my junk at the canteen I was talking to Steve and Colin goes, "Don’t talk to him, he's a chick snatcher". Anyway, Colin knew that I wanted to go to the party with him and at lunch he came up to me and said, "There's been a change. You're going to the party with me”. He was going on about Steve knowing all about it. Then later they both came up to me. Steve said it was his idea and that he didn’t mind. But later I walked passed Steve twice and he never said hello or nothing. Chris kept calling me a lover girl. When I asked Debbie why, she said cause of all the guys queuing up to take me to the party - a whole 3, Jason, Steve and Colin. Jason kept giving me dirty looks and walked straight past me. He asked Amanda and she said he's not going to get what he wants. I told Jenny about it and she told me about Amanda and Jason. Then she said that Colin was trying to crack onto Amanda. Seeya.

Friday February 6 - I really like the senior ties they wear

I walked passed Colin and didn’t see him. He called me back and we started talking. Then I stuck my fingers in his back and he goes, "You don’t do it as well as me". Then Flea and Billy's brother came up and asked me to go with them. Colin called me over and said, "Don't flirt. I’m going to go home". I said, "All the way to Mt Riverview?" But on the way to the bus I saw him. He said, “Hello Petra”. I said, “Where were you?” He said, "I was at school all day". I said, "You were not", and ran off. I sat next to Craig on the bus and we babbled on about parties and that. Talked to Steve Podmore quite a few times. He's nice. I really like the senior ties they wear. Found out that Sue Smith wants to go with Steve Lay. Had a massive fight with this girl about being queer. Then I had a massive fight with the neighbours cause they want their money back and they barged in our house. Debbie said that Colin said he is serious and that he’s going to see how the party goes, and then he might ask me.

Saturday February 7 Saw Tommy at the theatre today

Well saw Tommy today. It was good, but queer. That real nice kid who's always at netball was there. I was standing right behind him at interval. He was sitting behind Deb and Chris when I went to visit them. I think his name is Dave. Jees he's nice. That Michael and his friend was there and he kept following me around. When we were outside they asked me to sit with them and I did for a while. Then Michael came over and asked me to sit next to him but I said I was comfortable here, and about ten minutes later he left.  The other kid came and asked me to move next to him so I did. He kept putting his arm around me. He said, "Gees Michael will kill me cause he likes you". I said, "Does he?" He goes, "Didn’t you know that?" I said, "Sort of". He goes, "Women's intuition" He kept trying to pash me off then Michael came back in and he got real cut, so I moved a little forward. Michael was pissed out of his brains. They’d both been drinking and smoking. Craig Campbell kept calling me spunk and all this. Mum didn’t come and pick me up until ten to twelve and this kid ( who I’ve forgotten what his name is) and Michael were left alone. This kid kept saying, "You turn me on and it’s because of you I didn’t get pissed". I said, "It’s not my fault". He patted me on the head and said, "I know" He said, "I have to sleep at Michael's and he’s gonna kill me". He goes, "Do you reckon we'd get a lift home?". I said, "I’d offer you a lift except me old man's taken the back seat out”. And bloody Mum turns up in the Valiant! They said, "We'll have to sleep in the park. If I was pissed I wouldn’t feel the cold". I said, "I’m sorry". He goes, "Its ok". I bet Mum got funny ideas. They both said see-ya and I went. I wondered how they got home. Tommy was really good and so was the movie before.

                                                   Video: Tommy. The Who

Sunday February 8 - I've had three glasses of Brandy and Dry and one glass of wine. God I've got a headache

Did nothing today. Feel pretty sick and tired, though I've had three glasses of Brandy and Dry and one glass of wine. God I've got a headache. Seeya.

Monday February 9 - "We're big tough 5th formers. Teachers don’t tell us to do work, they ask us".

Dear Diary

Flea and Cannon's little brother came up and started talking to me. I just turned around and O'Donnel was staring at me. He gave me a dirty look, so I gave him one back. He goes, "You must be pretty desperate" I said, "Oh yeah". Later he sort of half dirty looked at me and half smiled. Colin asked me if I had asked my parents yet if I could go and he asked me to ask this week. At first I couldn’t work out why, then it occurred to me that if I can’t go he still has time to ask someone else. Huh! At history Steve came and talked to me about this, that and the other. He goes, "We're big tough 5th formers. Teachers don’t tell us to do work, they ask us". He's nice, I really like him. I was talking to Jenny and he came up to me and said, "Gaday Petra" and all this. Debbie Wheatley got a letter from Steve Dumbral from camp and he asked her to go with him. Mitchel Pashe came up to me started strangling me. He said, "I wouldn’t strangle you Petra" . They started stirring me about Saturday night. Colin asked me to see Rollerball with him. Seeya.

Tuesday February 10 - I found out that 'Frenchies' are contraceptive things.

Colin kept telling me that I flirt too much.  I told Steve Lay that Sue Smith likes him, then I found out that she likes Steve Podmmore better. Dam. They both laughed their heads off when I told them. Most of lunch Steve P was talking to me in the canteen. He's nice. I’m allowed to go to the party. I had a fight with Mum and she said, "Ok go then!" Talked to Mitchell Pashe and he strangled me again. He went on about O'Donnel being heart broken ( stirring of course). Then I found out that Frenchies are contraceptive things. I thought they were roots! I said, “Why doesn’t he ask this girl - he gets enough Frenchies out of her!”  O'Donnel goes, "There's the chick who wouldn’t go to the party with me". I said, "You wouldn’t want to go with me". He goes, "I bloody asked you first". I said, "That’s why you called me a F'ing B---h." He goes, "Dead shit" God I hate him. Colin said he'd ring tonight but I know he won’t. They never do. They’re all talk and no action.
Its now 9 o’clock. That bloody Michael kid and the other one told Trevor lots about something on Saturday night and they all yelled out at me. Cabel goes, “piece of cake” or something. So I blew Michael up and he reckons he had nothing to do with it. He kept grabbing me and making me face him. The B-----d. On Saturday night one of them said to Michael, “You may get your hand up her skirt”

Wed February 11 - I’m really keen to get a job, but Mum won’t let me

I asked Colin if he could get something from the canteen and he accidentally stuck his elbows on my boobs (he did tat yesterday). He goes, “Guess what? It's St Valentines Day on Saturday”. I said, “I know, and on the 29th, the girls can ask boys to go with them”. He said, “Thats OK Petra”. Then later he said, “Petra’s going to ask me to go with her”. He came up and started tickling me. This bully girl kept pushing me and said, “If she’s going to the party, I’m not going”. You know what O’Donnel said? “Petra’s frigid. God is she frigid”. And Chris goes, “You only say that cause you don’t get what you want. It’s a wonder the way you treat her” and Debbie said, “Look. She’d rather have the dog next door than you”. And he shut up! God he’s a B-----d. Sandra said “How’s all your boyfriends?”. Colin kept telling me that I was a flirt, and he flirts more than me! Anyway, I’m not going with him. Grant Carson held my hand today. I sent Adrian’s letter. I wonder if he’ll write back. I’m really keen to get a job, but Mum won’t let me . She said I don’t have to wash up anymore so I’m not getting any more pocket money. Just had a fight with the parents. Hate them.

Thursday February 12 - I found a couple of jobs that are convenient and easy but bloody Mum wont let me

Colin reckoned he was going to ring me last night. We had nothing to say! All he kept saying is that I flirt too much. Once I asked him for a bite of his vanilla slice and he said, “No, you flirt too much”. I said, “Bugger you” and walked away. He grabbed my arm and offered me a bite and I said, “No, I don’t want any”. He said “I’ll stuff it in your face”. I pushed it away and said, “I’m not hungry” and walked away. I asked JB for a bite of her buttered bun. Glen C came up and started tickling me. Colin walked past and goes, “Flirt. I’m not talking to you anymore”. I hit him and went away. At dancing he laughed at me when I was dancing with Peter Lecompt. Someone chucked an apple at me. Jason kept clapping and laughing his head off. At assembly he waved and smiled. I gave him a sarcastic smile. Gerard O’Liery is telling everyone about Tommy. God. Everyone kept asking everyone for money. Bloody Mum cut off my pocket money completely. I found a couple of jobs that are convenient and easy but bloody Mum wont let me unless I do housework properly, but she’s not even giving me a chance. She’s doing it all her bloody self. God she’s a bitch. I HATE HER!!!!!!

Friday February 13 - I’ve been grounded for a week because I didn’t do the housework properly

I was talking to Jo and Colin was standing right behind me but I didn’t know it. At lunch JB wanted to give a Valentines card to Ken and I was looking for him when Colin Boyd came up and asked me who the card was for. He thought I was giving it to Ken from me. He got real cut. It took me ten minutes to convince him it wasn’t from me. I went into the library. Steve and all them were in there and I talked to them. This real good looking kid in second form kept smiling at me and saying hello so I smiled and said hello back. Then I found out what his name is. Are you ready? Chris X. S--T! God it had to be a bloody X. They kept following me today and trying to pick fights. God they’re moles. I hate them. This morning Colin said he was going to ring me but he couldn’t think of anything to say. Then I went to catch the bus and Colin said he’ll call me tonight if he can think of something to say. I know he won’t so I wont bother about it. Ran past Jason. He gave me a dirty look and said something but I didn’t hear. I’ve been grounded for a week because I didn’t do the housework properly, and I can’t play netball Sunday, and now I’ll be out of the Rep Team. Mum said she didn’t think Dad was going to let me go to the party either. S__T! GOD THEY MAKE ME SICK. I HATE them!!! I also have my rags. I’m not allowed to use tampons and I want to wear jeans, especially if I have my rags. SHIT. Parents S--T me. I hope I can go to the party.

Saturday February 14 - Well it's Valentines Day.

Well its Valentines Day today. I got my periods so that means I’m allowed to go to the party. Hopefully enough I won’t have them then. I’ve been grounded indefinitely. S--t! I’ve got a cold too, so if I can go, I’ll give Colin my cold.

Sunday Feb 15Mum gave me $1 for the week. 

My cold is still bad. I don’t know if I can go to the party. Mum gave me $1 for the week. WOW.

Monday February 16 - “I’m allowed to go on the pill any time I feel like it” 

Swimming carnival today. I didn’t go in anything today though. I’ve still got my periods . S---t. I found out why all them moles hate me. I was talking to Colin and Ian Stanton came over. I said, “I’ve done nothing to them” and he said, “When you were walking over there, they said, “Shit she's pretty. We’re jealous. That’s why we’re fighting her”. Colin goes, “Great”. Oh yeah sure. I don’t reckon I’m pretty. I don’t even think I’m attractive! Colin goes, “I’m on the pill”. I said, “I’m allowed to go on the pill any time I feel like it” He said, “When are you going to go on it?” and I said, “When I feel like it”. He said “Go on it before Saturday” . Then he said, “I’m only joking” (I hope so). I told him that I may not be able to go to the party. He said, “If you don’t go, I don’t go”.  I told him to line someone up. He said, “What if you go?” I said, “Wait until you find out if I can go or not first”. Colin and all them went into a race real slow together and got disqualified! This kid, I forget what his name is said, “She doesn’t want to go to the party with you” and all this I said, “I’m sorry if I’m not a mole” and he said, “Aren’t you?”, and I got up and said, “Thanks!” and walked off. That second former kept looking at me and saying hello. He’s nice. I wish he wasn’t that bully’s brother. I hope I can go to the party. I don’t think Colin likes me very much. He keeps telling me not to flirt and he’s worse than me. Oh well. I doubt if the party will turn out. Seeya

Tuesday February 17 - Jees he’s got a good build and real nice.

Well today was the rest of the carnival. I went in backstroke and came 2nd. Then I went in the final and came fourth. Everyone was watching me and when I got out everyone goes, “Good on you” and all this. I went in the 100 meters freestyle and came fifth I think; I got a white stick anyway. In the backstroke Mark and all them ran up beside me all the way. In the morning Trevor came up to me and started talking to me. He goes, “You are pretty you know, why didn’t I go with you?”, but the Gubs were there so I couldn’t persist on it. Colin goes, “Petra’s talking to everyone at the pool except me”, but when I did he never said much. Trevor called me a snob and when I asked him why he said, “Because you are one”. I said, “Thanks a lot you pig” and walked off. Then  he came up and apologised. Grant and Jim said they made Trevor apologise. Later I was talking to them about this bloke chucken a stiffie and they kept grabbing me. Grant didn’t hear and asked me to tell him but I wouldn’t.  Then they were going on about 'ten seconds and 6 free goe's: they gave Jim 10 seconds to kiss me and he did! Then they tried it with Grant but I went over to Trevor and they followed me over and gave Trevor ten seconds to kiss me but I went away.  Jees it was funny. Talked to Chris again today. He kept smiling and saying hello. He saw Jim kiss me and he got cut. Michelle Goetze was being real nice to me on the bus. She was talking to me and everything. She used to be going with Steve Lay but they dropped each other. He wouldn’t hold her hand or kiss her and it was three weeks before he did! She’s going to the party with him. Amanda was being nice to me at the pool. She asked me if I liked Chis, and I said I don’t really know him. Then Michelle said, “Has anyone ever told you you’re sexy?” but I turned around and said to myself, “They never will”. Steve Podmore was there and I talked to him. He had an itchy back from the grass so I rubbed his back down with a towel. Jees he’s got a good build and real nice. One of Colin’s friends kept calling me “surfie chick and all these first and second form kids kept saying hello. One of these kids said, “there’s that chick we talked to yesterday!” and I have never seen them before in my life! Kids kept asking me for kisses. Jees it was funny.

Wednesday February 18 - These guys kept calling me a surfie chick again.

This morning Colin came up and asked me if I was allowed to go. I said, “I told you last night remember” and he said, “I never rang you” These guys kept calling me a surfie chick again.  I had a fight with Colin at the pool. He apologised and I said, "Oh, Ok then". When I finished my laps, I did ten, he asked me how many more I had to do. I said tow. When I finished he tried to lift me out of the pool but teacher Powel wouldn't let him. I forgot about training and was in my PJ's and had to go and get changed quickly and run up to the corner. My sister said that Colin rang when I was away and he said just to say that Colin rang. Seeya.

Thursday February 19 - I don't want the reputation of going round with a user

Talked to Steve Podmore most of lunch today. Anyone would think I'm going with him (drats). Jason asked me to go to the party with him. He called me over and said, "Who are you going to the party with?" I said, "I don't know. I don't know if Colin’s allowed to go”. He said, “Well if he's not, I’ll take you, OK?" I said, "I don’t know". He said, “Well I'll ring you tonight, OK?" I doubt if he'll ring. Then I went to Colin and asked him if he's allowed to go and he said he didn't know and walked off. So I talked to Steve and all the girls were giving me dirty looks. The Jenny came over and asked me if I was still going to the party with Colin and said that Amanda wants to know. Then she walked past and I said, "Amanda, I don't know if I’m  still going with Colin cause he doesn't know if he's allowed to go”. You should have seen her face! She went bright red! I embarrassed her. Then at lunch Colin was talking to Amanda so I talked to Steve and all them. Then he came over and said, "Aren't you talking to me anymore" and I said "Yes, aren’t you talking to me anymore?" He goes, "Why have you got the shits?" I said, "I haven't" and then he went and talked to that bitch again. 

Then!!! At 8th period Jenny told me that Colin said to Amanda that he would rather go to the party with her than me anyway! That B-----d, and that he asked her to go the party after he asked me and I had said yes!!! So I went to Steve L and told him when he sees Colin, I have something to say to him. So me, Jenny, Brett, Maurice, Wain someone or rather went up to get Boyd, but he was at a meeting. Then I was talking to Steve and he said Colin has to say something to me. When I asked him if it was bad, he said, "Yes. I'm not going to tell you”. He started running and went for sixes up the quadrangle. Then he said, "If I tell you, you'll ball all night"! Christ. I wonder what it is. He's probably going to tell me he doesn't want to take me anymore anyway. The pig. I hate him. Colin Langard asked me to go with him and also to Penrith Show but I said no. Flea said, "If you don't want to go to the party with Jason, I'll take you". Peter Jones tried to crack onto me. seeya

I just rang Colin. I said, "Steve told me you had something terrible to tell me so you might as well tell me now cause I won't want to know tomorrow”. He said, "Steve told me what you told him to tell me. You said, Go to buggerry". " I said, "Thats right" then I told him about Amanda and he started going on about  me talking to Steve P. and then he goes, "It was half obvious, so I thought I'd ask Amanda". Then he said, "I've liked Amanda for a long time". I said, "Well why the hell didn't you ask her instead of me?" He said, "I didn't know she was going"! Then he said, "I don't even know if I’m allowed to go". Then he said, "I found out something about you". I said, "What?" he said "Im not telling you". I said, "Why not?". He said, "I'll tell you tomorrow". I said, "What’s the difference between today and tomorrow?". He said, "Nothing". I said, "Well why don't you tell me then?" He said, "I don't feel like it". I said, "Oh King doodle" he said, "That’s a good one". He reckons its not bad. I said, "Im going to hang up". Then I rang Debbie and she said I should go with Craig. So did Dianne. Jason only needs someone to get in and so do I but I don't want the reputation of going round with a user. But Craig probably won't pair up with me all night. S--T! I have these problems. I bet Dad won't let Dianne's parents take me home. What am I going to do? Seeya.

Friday February 20 - Dad ready my Dairy. How dare he!

Guess what! Dad ready my Dairy. How dare he! He told me not to write about it but I couldn't let a thing like that pass. He had absolutely no right to and I told him that too. But he was being real understanding and he's letting me go to the party. Christ! He raved on about boys and junk and he told me not to tell mother or she will just die! I couldn't believe he could do a thing like that. How dare he!!!!!! Saw Boyd once today and he laughed at me. Then Jason asked me to go to the party with him and I said I'll go to the party with him on one condition: that I don't have to stick with him all night. So that’s what’s happened. Flea asked me if I was still going to the party with Jason. I don't want to. Lord. He said he was going to bring me some champagne but I doubt it. He is supposed to be picking me up at the station (to walk-in). Jees it was funny when he asked me cause it took all before school to tell me so he hardly had time to talk to his friends. Got some jeans. They're nice and tight but they're like Debbies. S--t. I don't want to go. seeya.

February 21 - "I was pissed out of my brain. I honestly was"

Well today was the party. It was great. Had a massive fight with Mum about the time of the party but I got home at 20 past 12. Guess what? I was pissed out of my brain. I honestly was. You wouldn't believe it. I didn't put it on either. Chris was always rescuing me. We went to Wain Patricks place and he has a pool. Jason kept saying, “Let’s get in the flow”. I wanted to go for a swim and Chris came and pulled me off the ladder just as I was about to jump in, clothes and all!. Then O'Donnell bloody pretended he was dead and everyone was packen death and everybody went into the pool in their dry clothes to save him when he was facken it. Then my toes started bleeding from my shoes. I had forgotten the way home, so I had to follow these kids home. I kicked my toe and it was bleeding and I was swearing I think. The next thing I know I was being carried by Chris and I was ballen my eyes out. Dianne was a bit tipsy and so was comforting me and so was Debbie. Everybody kept calling me pisspot (I wonder why). Then Steve kept calling me away and asking me to convince Michelle that he wanted to go with her but she wouldn't believe me. He told me to tell her that he could get some things from Colin so she won't get pregnant and when I asked him what he liked better - Michelle or  funny business - he said "Both". But she ended up going with him. That's what she told me on the way home. When I was pissed ( I sobered up a bit later), I think I kept saying to Jason, "You're taking advantage of me" cause he kept trying to undo my buttons and pulling my skirt up and later on he goes, "How do you undo bras"? I said, "You should know, you've done at least 1000 of them” He said, "I haven't" and all this. But I know he didn't touch me. I wouldn't let him, not even when Jason was pissed. Colin Boyd turned up and stayed with Amanda. That reminds me, Jason kept saying, "I want to r--t you” and all this. But altogether it was a good party.

Sunday February 22 -"I’d be the happiest boy in the world".

Would you believe I forgot to tell you. Jason asked me to go with him about 3 times. I said, "You're pissed out of your brain. What would happen if tomorrow you realised you were going with me". He said, "I’d be the happiest boy in the world". Ha!  I said no, and he got real cut, but he was pissed, what do you expect. When we were at Wain Patrick's place and Jason was playing dead, Wain kept saying, "Pull his pants down", and he kept pushing me towards him. He cornered me. I was in hysterics screaming for help and all this. I thought he was going to rape me. Ferrit kept saying, "Give me a kiss", Im next, give me a kiss'. I said no, and he kept saying, "Please”. Then he goes, "I like you a real lot. I've liked you ever since the Rocky Horror Picture Show"! The truth comes out. But he ended up asleep. When Schwears left Colin came up to me and was about to kiss me and goes, "No, I'll kiss you later". I said, "That’s what you think" and walked away. Then I was looking for records and someone came in and turned the lights out and came up to me. Then I discovered it was Colin. He came up and kissed me and I broke it off and said, "You're a pig do you know that?' And he said, "Thanks a lot and walked out.

Monday February 23 - "We heard about you at the party".

You know what everyone's calling me today? "Piss Pot Petra" or "Wino"! What do I expect I suppose. O'Donnell reckons I was going, "Jason Darling" and all that when he was being dead. Bloody B—ls--t. When Debbie told Jason that he asked me to go with him he goes "Did I? Shit" (I told you so). Debbie said Colin wouldn't take me cause I’m immature. God I hate him. I honestly don't know what I do to be so immature. Chris said, "I heard about you" and all this at the party. Amanda told him something, the B---h.  Everyone kept saying to me, "We heard about you at the party". Talked to Steve P at lunch about everything including the party. Michelle isn’t going with Steve Lay. Steve said he wasn’t going with her in the first place.

When I went past Colin as the bell rang, he said, "There goes piss pot”. I hate him. He's got a new Sloppy Joe. Bret Mouncer might be having  a party. Geoff Higgins is having one at the end of the term. Geoff is so nice but he was nasty to me at lunch.  He said, "I don't want no winos sitting next to me”, and all this. So was Brett.  He said, "Who are you going with, O'Donnels not going". Jees I hate Boyd.

Tuesday February 24 - "Everyone kept calling me piss pot again - and I don't think it's funny anymore"

Well everyone kept calling me piss pot again and I don't think it's funny anymore. At recess Steve came up and talked to me ALL recess. We just talked about this and that and the other. At lunch I was reading a book and Steve came up and talked to me again and then he went away and came back with Brett Mouncer and Wain Patrick and they were stirring me about the party, calling me piss pot and wino. They said they'd take it in turns to bring me some booze every day and all this. Then Geooff came up and said that I was smoking at the party. Wain kept saying that I went sneaking up the road, which is a load of bull. Bloody Boyd keeps calling me a piss pot but he does it nastily and so does Geoff sometimes. Neil Waddell called me a piss pot! Everybody knows about the blooming party. Oh yeah, Sally Hogwood reckons someone told her I got s------d and when I asked who she said, "I'm not telling you". I don't think anyone told her that. She probably just said it to stir me ( I hope). I’ll tell you who I like - Geoff, Steve, Brett, maybe Colin, I don't know, he's a pig, I hate him.

Wednesday February 25 - Everyone was calling me a pisspot again, only now I get cut

Dear Dairy

Everyone was calling me a pisspot again, only now I get cut. At recess Steve talked to me again. He got 35% for his maths. Then at the pool I was doing my laps and Steve followed me up and was trying to grab my legs. I didn't talk to him much though. I was doing all my skills which I was hopeless at. Colin keeps calling me 'piss pot' and 'wino' but he's nasty about it, so is Geoff. I walked across the oval and Chris walked past with his head down. I said, “Hi Chris”, he goes "Oh Hi". I said, "You can’t say you didn't see me". He said, “I didn't see you as much as you didn't do anything at the party” (cause before I told him not to believe anything that he's been told). I talked to him for a while and he asked me if I was going to the show with Colin. I said, "No". Then all them lot came, and the bell went and Doug Chalenor was chucking rocks at me. I started chasing him, then someone tripped me and I went FLYING all over the place. I got mud all up my uniform and all in my hair and everyone was looking at me and laughing. Jees it was funny but embarrassing. God X is a bitch. She thinks she's real tough. She put chips through my hair this morning on the bus, I knew she would. The bitch. I hate her, and the other girl too. seeya

Thursday February 26 - "Got called a piss pot again"

Talked to Steve again today. He put my hand in a melted 'Mad Bomber', the pig.  Got stirred about the party and got called a piss pot again, as usual. At lunch these kids were giving me 20 cents to get a ball from Fleas gang and O'Donnel goes, "Why don't you give him a f--k just like you gave everybody else!” The bloody poofta. God I HATE this girl. She's a stuck up troll. I can't stand her. We had a fight again and I told her I'd get her back. She said, "I can get you back from what Dianna told me today". Ill have to find out. Her sister is just as bloody bad. She's real tough (or she thinks she is) when her big sister is around, and when she's not, she's all pally wally. I can't stand them both. Went to Penrith today with Mother and Father. God I’ll never do that again. Went and talked to Milton twice and he wouldn't believe I lived in Blaxland. He said I hadn't been around much. All these guys kept calling me spunk and whistling at me and all this. Some even followed me.  Anyway, couldn't find my parents, and when I did they blew the shit out of me. “Do this, do that, cross the road here, don't walk slow”, and they wouldn't give me any Chinese. They made me sit and watch them! God. Can’t they understand that I like to be on my own. Like Dad does. Just in case you're reading this Father Dear, why don't you let me go my own way instead of trying to mould me into something I'm not.

Friday February 27 - Geoff told me he wouldn't call me piss pot anymore

Well nothing much happened today. Steve came up and talked to me and then Boyd came up. I said to Steve, "I've got cancer in my leg" ( cause it’s been really aching lately and I haven't pulled it or anything, it’s just there) Boyd goes, "It looks like it" ( the b------d. I hate him and he hates me). Then Geoff told me he wouldn't call me piss pot anymore. He reckons I had two smokes which I didn't. I only had a drag. O'Donnel is telling everyone he's done me over. The lying B-----d. Got sprung by Edwards coming back from Jo's place. He reckoned he was going to ring our parents. Then Geoff Boyd and all them got sprung for smoking. They were there too, but they didn't get the cuts ( the cane). Jo was packen death, then JB made me laugh and I was laughing my head off. I had to try and hold it back when Edwards came. Guess who asked me to go with him? Chris Schwears. He asked me in science and then in a period after. He said I had plenty of time to think about it but I told him I'd be back in a sec. Before I said I don't know. Oh boy. Debbie's going away for two weeks. God she's lucky. She's writing to me and she  she's sending me two post cards - one a week.

Saturday Feb 28 - "Father told me to get off the phone"

The school creep just rang but all he said to me was that I shit him, and the rest of it I talked to Steve (his friend).He told me his last name but I forgot it. We talked for about half an hour. I don't even know him. He doesn't know me either except by phone. At the beginning there was the usual, “How old are you” and all this. The school creep told him I was going with him and that I'd been up to his place! The lying hound. Steve goes, "You know all me mates" ( Peter Sheen, Neil Dorson, Ballard (Colin Boyd?) I said, "Well I probably know you by sight? and he said, "Yes probably". Then father told me to get off the phone and so I did, and before he went he told me he was going to ask Peter Sheens if he knows me. Then he rang back and told me Peter told him to tell me I’m spunky. He asked me to tell him something so I said "Hi". He said, "No say something more" and I said "Like what?" and he goes, "What do you reckon he looks like?" I said, "He's good looking I spose". He goes, "He'll be glad to hear that then". Dad told me to get off the phone again. The guy is only average looking but I had to say something didn't I?  My parents are making me give that $1 back to the school creep. Jees.  seeya

Sunday 29th Feb - Was going to ring someone and ask them to go with me since it was the 29th

Did nothing today. How boring. Was going to ring someone and ask them to go with me since it was the 29th but I couldn't  think of anyone. Jo rang from where she was baby sitting. Talked for an hour and a half. Interesting.

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