In the mid-Fifties when Elvis shook up the world by telling everyone to stay off his blue suede shoes, I was a little girl with plaits. I certainly obeyed his order, staying well clear of blue suede shoes if or when I saw them. I can’t recall ever seeing any. That’s not the point - if I had, I would not have stood on them. Elvis told me over and over not to do so....
The handsome young Elvis, with his lop-sided, come-hither smirk, bedroom eyes and uncontrollable hips taunting his audiences, set the girls’ hearts a-flutter. Every red-blooded young bloke wanted to be like him.
It’s hard to believe 40 years have passed since Elvis left the building. But, they have.
I clearly remember the day well, and what I was doing at the time the news broke of his death. I was up a ladder painting the walls of our lounge area of the house in the Brisbane suburb of Torwood my ex and I had purchased a few months earlier.
The music scene changed forever when Elvis first told Mama that’s all right.
Teenagers of the world knew it was all right. Nothing Elvis could say, sing or do would sway their dedication away.
“Bodgies” and “Widgies” created concern, raising the eyebrows of some disapproving, tut-tutting parents and adults. To the detractors, rock ‘n roll was the “music of the devil”.
Nevertheless, the resurgent jiving was thriving. Rock ‘n roll won the poll; stole the day, and didn’t gather moss along the way!
Elvis remains The King; not a pretender, but the owner of the throne.
Similar to the attitudes held by some towards rock ‘n roll, not everyone was enamoured of “the brave new world”.
As the Fifties unfolded, fashions changed. Even though the first bikini hit the beaches, stunning goggle-eyed onlookers in 1946, bikinis really took off in the 50s. Shapely young lasses embraced the beachwear. The National Legion of Decency had multiple fits, and turned purple in the process.
Wearers of the cheeky garb gave beach inspectors a run for their money.
The legendary Paula Stafford introduced the bikini to Queensland’s Gold Coast in 1952. The brief, navel-gazing outfits were a far cry from 1907 when Aussie swimmer Annette Kellerman was arrested on a Boston beach for wearing a modest, neck to toes swimsuit.
In magazines of the Flirty Fifties navels were air-brushed out of photos. To be corrupted by a belly button was a definite no-no!
The Sixties broke loose, overtaking The Fifties, taking no prisoners.
Shorty-pyjamas graced bedrooms across the land; a revolution lay ahead.
The Sixties kicked off innocently enough with Brian Hyland’s “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”. Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon had fun kicking up the sand at their beach parties.
Then....POW! POW! The world turned upside down! The Beatles, The Kinks, The Stones, The Animals etc., etc., arrived.
A little later the buds of Flower Power burst into bloom. Free love, free thought, Ban the Bomb...freedom to choose
Monterey and Woodstock music festivals were fitting endings to the Swinging Sixties; each showcased artists such as Otis Redding, Hendrix, Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, Canned Heat, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Santana, The Grateful Dead, who, along with many others of note, spread the word and scattered the love through a smoky haze.
The Mamas and Papas closed Monterey. Scott McKenzie helped. He urged everyone to go to San Francisco, but to be sure to wear flowers in their hair.
Post haste, VW Kombi vans decorated with multi-coloured, hand-painted flowers and rainbows travelled the highways and by-ways. The world as we once knew it would never be the same again.
The 70s brought conflicts and upheavals. Changes in attitude and in leadership occurred.
Martial Law was declared in the Philippines by President Ferdinand Marcos while his wife, Imelda was out buying more shoes.
Idi Amin kicked up a stink in Uganda.
Allende was overthrown and killed in Chile, an event that caused a reaction here in Brisbane (a story I will relate at a later date. At the time I was good friends with the then Chilean Consul, Dr. Robert Wright...a fine Queensland-born gentleman and veteran of the Second World War. I have written about Robert previously. Sadly, he passed away in 1990).
Haile Selassie, in Ethiopia was overthrown by a communist junta.
A military coup occurred in Argentina, while another went on in Pakistan. And an attempted coup went on in Iran.
The Vietnam War came to an end in 1975.
Chairman Mao died.
Times they were a-changing....but, then again, perhaps not...It doesn’t appear we’ve taken many steps forward to improvement - come today....We humans are slow learners...
The Seventies gave us mini-skirts, pantihose, bell bottoms, Afros, tie-dye, hot-pants, wide-collar shirts, jumpsuits, pant-suits, culottes and crop-tops....
The Seventies also gave us great music...music we love to this day – music that has yet to be matched! I doubt it ever will be.
Slow-Roasted Pork Belly: Preheat oven, 200C. Dry skin of 500g pork belly; score skin. Rub well with salt and 5-spice powder. Cook in oven 45-60mins until crispy. Remove from oven; lower temp to 110C. Cool pork a little; cover with smoked chilli honey. To pan the pork was in, add 175ml dry white wine, a splash of olive oil, ½ large butternut, diced, 3 diced beetroot, 1large red onion, quartered, 4 whole garlic cloves and 5 springs of thyme; season.. Lay pork on top; return to oven,1-1/2hrs, baste every 15mins or so.
Braised Pork Belly: Criss-cross score skin of 1.5kg pork belly. Rub salt into cuts; chill 2-4hrs. Heat oven, 105C. In Dutch oven, over med-high heat, heat 1tbs sesame oil; brown pork belly on all sides; remove; set aside. Add 1tbs minced garlic, 2tbs grated ginger and 2tbs minced shallot; cook about 1-2mins. Add 2c chick stock, 2/3c orange juice, 1tbs brown sugar, 2tbs soy sauce; season to taste. Bring to boil; adjust seasonings as desired. Add pork belly; simmer in hot broth 5-6mins. Cover; place in oven; braise, 3-5hrs, checking and basting periodically until desired tenderness – tender, but not falling apart. Increase temp to 218C; remove lid; cook 15-20mins or until skin is crispy and golden. Remove pork from liquid. Place Dutch oven on stove top; reduce braising liquid to desired consistency, approx 1-1/2c of broth left. Cut pork into serving portions; serve in bowl with broth and sautéed vegetables of choice.
Orange Upside Down Cake: Preheat oven 162C. Topping: Place 1c white sugar, 1/2c water, 1 scraped vanilla pod and vanilla pod halves in large oven-proof, non-stick or cast iron skillet. Stir until sugar dissolves; turn off heat. Remove pods. Slice 2 navel oranges very thinly; arrange in pan; overlap slices a little, but don’t make multiple layers. Turn heat to med-low; simmer 15mins, until oranges soften. Realign slices that moved around; remove pan from heat. Melt 10tbs butter. Place 4 eggs, 1c sugar and 1tsp vanilla extract in bowl; whisk with electric mixer 8-10mins until thick, pale, increased in volume. Combine 1c plain flour, 1-1/2tsp baking powder and 1/2tsp salt. Sprinkle over egg mixture; fold through; fold in the melted butter and 1-1/4c almond meal. Pour over oranges; bake 40-45mins.