Thursday, June 12, 2014

I'm a Rockabilly Rebel From Head to Toe

1996 - The Dog House Blues Bar at Broadbeach

I'm sitting on the top floor with my friend who has convinced me to come and watch Hatz Fitz play. I'm in my usual black clothing with massive Nicole Kidmanish hair.
As my eyes scan the crowd down below I see a group of guys walk in. They are all wearing jeans, leather jackets that have had pitures painted on the back, smoking cigarettes and all have hair like Elvis.
I can't take my eyes off them. Most people in the club smirk at them & laugh but I think they look amazing.  One of the lads looks up at me & smiles.

I turn to my friend and say "See that guy there. I'm going to marry him. I'm serious. He's The One".
Of course my friend thought I was off my chops pissed and told me that I was an idiot.

In the words of Spandau Ballet, to cut a long story short I did marry him & we were together for 10 years.

Michael introduced me to a new world. A subculture called "Rockabilly".

That night, like the floozy I was, I went back to his house and that, pretty much, was that.
His house was like stepping back in time. Every single thing was pre-1960. I thought it was the most fantastic thing I had ever seen.

Before that night I was into any music that was hard, fast & angry. A lot of punk, metal and rock.
My very first introduction to rockabilly music was Big Sandy. I remember listening to the CD and this incredible feeling coming over me. It's very strange but I was like a light being switched on.
I couldn't believe that this music wasn't being played everywhere! From then on I was like a sponge when it came to music.

Luckily for me Michael was a DJ & had a MASSIVE music collection. I started with UK psychobilly like Guana Batz & the Meteors and then went to classic rockabilly like Charlie Feathers and Gene Vincent.

I went to my first Wintersun in 1996 and in those days there were 2 groups. The Rockabillies and The Rock and Rollers.  The Rockabillies were all about wearing vintage, drinking, swearing, music, dancing and being loud.
The Rock n Rollers wore fluro poodle skirts and danced to 'not too fast or loud' music.

Back in those days we had no internet. *gasp* No digital cameras. No REPRO clothing. No Facebook.

We had to find old 1950s women's magazines at swap meets and garage sales and practice doing our hair to look like the gals in them.  It was exciting to find a fabulous vintage frock at the Toowoomba Swap meet for $20.
The more I discovered about this era the more I fell in love and discovered that this was who I was.
I was very lucky to have a few vintage style 'mentors' in Michael when it came to music, my neighbour Jacqui (aka Kitty Von Purr) and our house mate John who taught me everything I needed to know about wearing and buying vintage.

First and foremost this group of people who called themselves "Rockabillies" cared about the music NUMBER ONE.

Events were based around the music and dancing (and grog). 
Most of the guys wore jeans, leather jackets, creepers OR gab jackets & awesome rayon shirts.  Most of the girls wore vintage or sewed their own clothes.  But the 'scene' didn't revolve around the clothing.    This subculture was a group of people who LOVED rockabilly music but then also LOVED the whole DESIGN aspect of the era of the 1950s. The furniture, the cars, the clothing, the textures and fabrics and the colours. 

Sadly, I think that the "rockabilly" subculture has been somewhat lost in Australia.
For some of us, it has now been replaced with more of a "1950s vintage appreciation culture". 

With the advent of the fabulous internet I am still finding new & exciting aspects of this era that I feel a real connection with. I spend hours swooning over architectural designs, prom gowns and lamps.

In the last 20 years or so the whole 'scene' has changed dramatically. 
To me it is like a big crock-pot of cross culture.
It's like somebody has gotten a big pot and chucked a whole heap of everything in.
Punk, Pop, Vintage, Goth, Rock and Roll all mixed together.

I have NO problem with people dressing however the hell they want to dress. As long as a person isn't an arsehole I couldn't give a rats what you've got on.


I get really aggravated with the overuse of the word "rockabilly" used to describe fucking everything.
 I just do not fucking get it. 

A polka-dot tight skirt that comes to mid thigh is NOT a 'rockabilly' skirt! It is a skirt.

A bandana worn over your hair is NOT a "rockabilly" bandana. It is a bandana.

Your "Betty Bangs" are not rockabilly. It is a vintage inspired fringe.

Rockabilly meets Boho Chic high-waisted Cut-offs shorts

Lately the new revival thing seems to be all about everything PIN-UP.

Now before yawl get out your 'rockabilly' heels to stab me AGAIN I will say "good for you".

If putting on a nice florally or polka-dot frock and doing your hair in 'victory' rolls and having your pic taken makes you feel awesome then that is absolutely brilliant. 

What gets my goat is that with ALL of the immense internet I can't believe just how WRONG some people get it.

OK let me explain myself: If you call your pic a PIN-UP photo then what ever BUT if your shoot is a "Vintage" or "1950s" shoot then for the love of Betty Grable can you do some research.
Do your hair & makeup true to the era you are supposed to be representing. I guess I must be a grumpy old woman who is a stickler for accuracy. 


Some of you will be screaming "Hang on Mz Vicki you've done a PIN UP shoot". Yep I have.
I have nothing against Pin Up stuff at all.

I am definitely NO purist and definitely NOT an
expert on ANYTHING.
This is just my opinion.
Fake Cupcake Hot Pink Rockabilly String of Lights

I wouldn't buy a Buddah statue and put it in my front garden
and then proclaim to the world that I am a Buddist.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


It's around midnight & I suddenly wake with a start. I sit bolt upright in the dark bedroom.
I'm all alone as my husband is away on a business trip again.
I'm tingling and my body feels like it is covered with static electricity.
I am breathing heavily and rapidly.
I am ecstatic. I am filled with beautiful happiness.

Because I have the answer.
The answer to EVERYTHING.

I fling my legs over the edge of the bed and start grinning to myself.

I feel fantastic.

Another Bipolar manic attack has begun.

I walk briskly to the kitchen, lighting a cigarette on the way & set the jug to boil. I don't realise it but my teeth are chattering, I am constantly licking my lips and wringing my hands.
As the jug boils I start pacing back & forth across the kitchen muttering to myself
"How could I not have seen it before? It makes perfect sense. I know what I have to do. I know the answer......... KNITTING!"

The jug boils and I make myself the first of about 30 cups of coffee that I will mindlessly consume over the next 5 hours.
Inside my brain the neurotransmitters are firing on full power as my mind is totally inundated with thought upon thought overlapping the next filling my head like waves crashing.
With every second my excitement, happiness and creativity grows until I am literally laughing hysterically with the complete ecstasy of my incredible discovery.

My thoughts are now racing on fast forward and if you could project the thoughts through a speaker it would be like 10 talk back radio stations all playing at once on top volume and would sound like this:

Knitting. How could I not see it? Knitting. I could knit. If I could knit I could make all my own cardigans and clothes. Everything.
Oh my God I could make gifts for all of my family & friends. Christmas. Birthdays. everything.
Tea cosies. Cardigans. Toys. Oh my God the toys. Cardigans. Gifts.
That would make them so happy. Oh my God I could sell them. I could sell the knitted goods. Yes sell them!   I could have a stall at a cool market. Knitting would be awesome. It's so relaxing. A market. Southbank maybe? Yes Yes Yes! Oh my God I could have a SHOP. A knitting shop. YES! My own shop. Full of my knitting. I would have workshops. Oh my god it's going to be amazing. Where's a pen & paper? I have to get this down. I have to draw my shop layout. Advertising Advertising Marketing. What if I could get somebody awesome to model my things?
Oh my God what if I got Dita Von Teese to model my knits. Oh my God Dita Von Teese totally WOULD model my knits! YES OF COURSE! Got to knit. I have to start. Shit Shit Shit Shit. Spotlight doesn't open for 8 hours. Shit Shit. Ok ok ok ok ok. It's all good. It's great It's great.

This plays over and over in my mind while I drink cup after cup of coffee and smoke and smoke and smoke.
By the time 8.30am has come around my pupils are like saucers, I am shaking, stuttering and rubbing my face over and over again. 

I get into my car and it is all I can do not to run every red light and Stop sign in my rush to get to Spotlight. Every car in front of me get screamed at and I start hammering on the steering wheel and stammering loudly "Come on come on come on!!! Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck".

I throw myself out of the car and practically sprint into the shop where I go to the knitting section.
I stand in front of the yarn and needles and books and suddenly my excitement & joy is replaced with confusion as I realise that I don't even know HOW to knit.

The rows and rows of different coloured wool. The rows and rows of different types of wool. The rows and rows of different needles. It becomes all blurry and I feel the walls of the store pulsating in and out. The music playing over the speakers feels booming in my ears. I start to scratch at my arms and biting my lip hard and begin to sob.

"There's too much. There's too much. There's too much" as my brain decides that 8 plus hours of hyperactivity is enough and begins to shut down.
A store girl approaches me and asks me if I am ok but I've literally lost the power to speak.
So I just look at her mournfully and cry.

I drive home and it is all I can do not to drive my car at full speed into a wall as crushing sadness fills my veins and threatens to strangle me from the inside.

Everything slows down in the world and even though it is a sunny day the colour leaves and the world becomes grainy and grey.  My brain feels heavy and swollen and I feel like the grief of the whole world has become mine to bear.
Nothing matters anymore.
What a fool I was to think of knitting. What an idiot.

I fall through the door of my empty house.  I drop heavily onto the couch and light another cigarette.
I unscrew the cap of the bottle of wine and pour half the bottle into an oversized glass and drink deeply. The alcohol burns my stomach but I don't care.

I drink and drink

and then

I sleep and sleep.