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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Just came back from town with the blues


The Puberty Blues, that is, written by two Sydney girls thirty-seven years ago as 'the great Australian classic'. The book - later made into a movie -scandalised most adult Australians when it was published in 1979, and its 2002 reprint, which I picked up from a Vinnies shop this morning, is still a bumpy ride today.

This later edition has not just one foreword but two: by Kylie Minogue who wrote, "I don't recall reading Puberty Blues so much as devouring it. I was fascinated. The honesty of the story made it hysterical and terrifying at the same time", and Germaine Greer who goes on for much longer - as she's wont to - but can be summed up in her final remark that "Puberty Blues is a profoundly moral story".

The two Sydney girls, Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey, didn't so much write a book as a booklet because it's a mere 115 pages, of which the last two summarise what happened to those true-life characters in later life:


Jeff Basin Heroin habit
Bruce Board
Labourer in Caringbah; unmarried father
Frieda Cummins Unknown
Dave Deakin
Dead; heroin overdose in Queensland
Danny Dixon
Plumber in steady job in Sylvania Heights
Kim Dixon Numerous breakdowns
Garry Hennessey
Heroin habit; serving seven-year gaol sentence for armed robbery on a chemist
Glen Jackson
Heroin habit; involved in same robbery but got off; dobbed in Garry and Johnno; father to Vicki Russell's baby
Heroin habit; serving nine-year gaol sentence for same robbery
Tracey Little
Heroin addict; admitted to Drug Rehabilitation Centre
Kerrie Mead Fell pregnant; baby adopted
Cheryl Nolan
Heroin addict; admitted to Drug Rehabilitation Centre
Darren Peters
Heroin addict; whereabouts unknown
Vicki Russell Unmarried mother
Seagull Heroin addict and on the run
Steve Strachan
Gave up surfing and started drinking; hangs at local pub
Wayne Wright
Dead; fell from window while breaking into flat to score drugs
Susan Knight and Deborah Vickers Ran away from school and at eighteen wrote this book


If this is an account of growing up in the 1970s, then I never grew up!