Managing Expectations - a message from Celia and Josef - The website has, from the start being an act of love - love of the music and dance of the era. From the outset we have provided this service free to all as a community service. We have never asked, or expected remuneration, for the time we put in. We do get a considerable amount of positive feedback, which is greatly appreciated, because it helps us get through the other stuff, which at times feels over-whelming.
In the past three years Celia's health issues have been mounting. She has had numerous operations, procedures, visits to the cardiac emergency unit and the emergency department. She also looks after our grandchildren, good or poor health, three days a week. We take our commitments seriously and don't let down our children or grandchildren, or our website users, due to health or other commitments. At times this may mean Celia is maintaining the website after a night at the emergency room, or with two grandkids napping briefly in the other room, or with one on her knee. This is a voluntary job and we have done the best we can in the circumstances. We admit if it was a paid job she would have not have taken our grandkids on ... but this commitment has greatly enriched our lives, and we would rather not do the website than forgo the time we get to enjoy them.
We currently intend to continue with the website, but would like to address some of the complaints by explaining the following:
Going to gigs and festivals is our social life, if we video or photograph - this is work. We don't video and photograph every gig or party we attend. Sometimes, like you, we just want to kick back and enjoy ourselves.
The quality videos and photographs we post take time to edit, produce and load. A ten minute video can take 3 to 5 hours to edit properly and the same length of time to up-load. Our photographs are also all edited and improved prior to posting. As a result if we do film or photograph your gig we may not include both, and an extensive write-up, as videoing a dance circle alone, takes at least five hours for editing and up-load. Please try and appreciate what we do do, rather than focus on what we don't do. We'd like to have a social and family life as well.
We do not as a rule post private gigs, only gigs in venues open to the public.
Thanks, Celia and Josef
Bodgies, widgies and moral panic in Australia 1955 - 1959
Dr Keith Moore, Humanities and Human Services, QUT
Abridged, the full article - http://eprints.qut.edu.au/633/1/moore_keith.pdf
In the latter half of the 1950s, concerns that Australia's teenagers, and especially working-class teenagers, were becoming delinquent reached a crescendo. Law-abiding citizens observed with concern bodgies and widgies congregating in milk bars and on street corners. Violence and sexual license were their hallmarks, they believed, with alarmist and sensationalist media reports having established and fuelled these understandings. Without recourse to reliable statistics, many people embraced the opinion that a substantial proportion of the country's teenagers were uncontrollable.
Some advocated punishments such as sending 'bodgies to the Nullarbor to work on a rail gang', sending them 'to sea under a tough [navy] skipper' (Perth Daily News 1957) and inflicting harsh corporal punishment upon them. Others, however, were more concerned about the adoption of preventative measures. Parental alcohol consumption and gambling, lack of discipline, high wages and youthful access to unsuitable comics, horror picture shows, and after 1956, rock and roll music were among the factors that generated delinquency, they suggested. Their views, popularized by sensational press reports, contributed to a 'moral panic' throughout the Australian community.
Although the moral panic that was especially overt in the latter half of the 1950s focused on juvenile delinquents and particularly bodgies and widgies, apprehensive people feared that 'good' youths could be attracted to lawless and antisocial behaviour, hence they extended their concern to all teenagers.
The first bodgies were World War 2 Australian seamen who as well as impersonating Americans were black marketers and the first bodgie gang was the 'Woolloomooloo Yanks' who congregated in Cathedral Street Woolloomooloo. By 1948, about 200 bodgies were regularly frequenting Kings Cross milk bars. Soon, bodgie gangs formed at other inner-Sydney locations. After a time, moccasins and American drape suits complete with pegged trousers replaced their attire of blue jeans and leather American Airline jackets or zoot suits. For bodgies, almost all of whom were working class, emulating the high status Americans who had so recently occupied Australia as military personnel was easier than achieving upward social mobility.
Even the term 'bodgie' denoted the rejection of mainstream values. The term referred to something that was fake or bogus - although the female equivalent 'widgie' had more flattering origins, with the term possibly an abbreviation of the word 'wigeon' that meant girl or female teenager and was in use in Australia around 1946.
Reverend Arthur Oliver suggested that teenage delinquency was 'spreading beyond the slums. The forces that debauched American youth - crime comics, films and radio shows accenting violence - [were] operating here' he warned, and he predicted that it would be 'worse' when television arrived.
Rock and Roll
In August 1955, the Sydney Sun-Herald warned that the rock and roll 'dance music craze' that was sweeping America would soon reach Australia. Alerting readers about the 'hysterical abandon which characterize[d] its primitive rhythmic beat', the feature warned that the music was 'a contributing factor' in juvenile delinquency and banned by police in a number of United States communities.
As rock and roll erupted across Australia, the public's alarm over teenage delinquency escalated, especially because many bodgie gang members dressed similarly to the rock and roll singers and embraced rock and roll music. In September 1956, just as Elvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel reached the top of the hit parades, Sydney's first rock and roll riot occurred following the screening of Rock around the Clock in the Victory Theatre in George Street. Wild dancing in the street took place, with those defiantly dancing outside police headquarters charged with offensive and indecent behaviour.
The immodest behaviour of rock and roll stars on stage encouraged delinquency and immorality critics claimed. At a Sydney concert in 1957, Little Richard, considered one of the most radical rock and roll entertainers in the world, substantiated their concerns. As the unstoppable reverberating rock and roll beat penetrated every corner of the large tin stadium, the entertainer mounted the piano and removed his shirt and singlet amid disbelieving screams and encouraging cheering from his 11,000-strong audience.
To the country's moralists, Elvis Presley was 'Satan personified as his 'erotic' gestures on stage seemed designed to corrupt the most demure of teenagers. When reviewing an overseas Elvis concert, Perth's Daily News complained that his performance was a 'frantic sex show', and under the headline 'Filth [and] eroticism', the same newspaper a week later advocated that Presley's records should be banned. Nevertheless, teenagers flocked to his films, with many ignoring the warning from the Sydney newspaper, Sunday Truth, that the Elvis movie Jailhouse Rock was 'sex-crazed and disgusting'. It depicted 'an unsavoury nauseating and muddy brew of delinquency, sentiment, bad taste and violence', the newspaper asserted
Bodgies and Widgies
Concerns about sexual experimentation and petty vandalism amongst 'good' teenagers were minor compared with the hysteria that surrounded the behaviour of bodgies and widgies. The ceaseless barrage of sensational and alarmist headlines about this youth phenomenon created anxiety and worry amongst many 'respectable' citizens.
Between 1956 and 1958, Australia's newspaper editors generated a heightened and sustained climate of trepidation and fear through their articles about the violent behaviour of bodgies
Reports about the sexual behaviour of bodgies and widgies also concerned the press and therefore the public. In January 1957, the Melbourne Herald explained that scores of bodgies and widgies had participated in a five-day 'rock and roll orgy' at a house in Pascoe Vale in Melbourne while the owners were on holidays and under the headline 'BODGIES IN SEX ORGIES'.
The Moral Panic subsides
Responding to public concerns that had largely arisen through sensational media coverage, entrepreneurs began embracing a more persuasive and perhaps more effective approach to limiting juvenile delinquency. Marketing a homogenised version of rock and roll designed for mass acceptance was a beginning. As British historian, Iain Chambers explained, in 1958 in Britain, 'High School' with its focus on teenage angst and sentimentality had replaced rock and roll with its sexual overtones and its wildness. This circumstance was also strikingly evident in Australia.
The producers of Brian Henderson's television program Bandstand that commenced in 1958, clearly intended that the show would contribute to the taming of rock and roll and with it, juvenile delinquency. As James Cockington commented, the show's host Brian Henderson 'looked about as wild as the local librarian'. Its competition, Six O'clock Rock, under the influence of its host, Australia's 'Wild One', Johnny O'Keefe, was raunchy and 'blatant' but also did little to challenge conventional norms of behaviour. As Bob Rogers and Denis O'Brien explained, the show exposed parents to rock and roll music, and although 'it would be too much to claim that it was responsible for breaking down many barriers of adult intolerance towards the music', it familiarised them with it, thus diluting its rebelliousness.
In March 1960, the Sun-Herald reported the release of Elvis Presley from the United States Army. He was returning to a society where numerous radio stations no longer played the distinctive hard-edged rock and roll of 1956, 1957 and 1958. 'Modified rock and rollers' such as Ricky Nelson, Fabian and Bobby Darin had sprung up in Presley's absence, the newspaper report related. 'I'm going to put all I have into bringing rock and roll back' Presley declared, but his manager had probably already decided that his future career direction would be as a singer of modified rock and roll numbers and insipid ballads in unexciting and characterless love movies.
Meanwhile in Australia, Johnny O'Keefe also felt the need to offer a tamer version of rock and roll to capture a wider audience - and the approval of television executives. He was reborn as the 'mild one' and hosted a family orientated television program, titled, Sing Sing Sing.
Although many saw the modification of rock and roll music as influential in curbing youthful lawlessness, the overt actions of Australia's police probably contributed more substantially to the demise of the country's bodgie gangs.
Gradually too parents of teenagers began to receive less criticism and more understanding from the press, with the Sydney Morning Herald actually admitting in 1958 that juvenile delinquency had decreased over the past fifty years and that statistically cases of youth violence were low. The newspaper further explained that juvenile delinquents were not a cross-section of society, and that frequently they were the offspring of parents who had prior convictions for misbehaviour in their youth.
Increasingly the term 'bodgie' was absent from reports of teenage gang violence. Journalists reverted to the old-fashioned and therefore less glamorous term, larrikin, when commenting upon juvenile crime, while articles about youth became less censorious and increasingly indulgent and accepting. In addition, amongst young males, bodgie clothing had become mainstream. Wearing bodgie attire and behaving like a bodgie was no longer rebellious.
'Responsible' entrepreneurs in the music and entertainment industry had decreed that the country's principal rock and roll stars would no longer encourage rebellious and angry behaviour amongst fans. From about 1959, teenage idols had begun discarding their brooding, disaffected personas and instead embraced the 'wholesome' values of middle class respectability. The portrayal of teenagers as well-adjusted and valuable community members in countless movies and television shows as well as magazines and newspapers from about 1959 onwards was particularly effective. Reinforced since then by the American television show, Happy Days, along with re-runs of numerous late 1950s American television series and movies, the public continue to hold the erroneous view that the 1950s decade was a golden age in our history where social stability, community harmony and stable families were the norm.
Camperdown Cruise Rockabilly Weekend 2012 - A review
Dr Cecilia Netolicky Up-loaded 31st October 2012
The Camperdown Cruise Rockabilly Weekend was a pleasant surprise. We headed off with no great expectations, and were blown away! The festival was among the best we've attended. The organisation was superb! There was a quick change over of bands, clean toilets, and easy access to all venues. It was good to see tight security for the cars. We remember hearing stories of stolen and damaged vehicles at Wintersun in the past. Also the variety of activities was excellent, with something there for everyone.
The venues were perfect. The Theatre Royale, the Rockabilly Room, is tasteful, and vintage, with a great dance floor; the gymnasium, the Rock'n'Roll Room, was also a good venue with all wood floor, and linked to the theatre by a passage, so you didn't have to experience the weather when moving from one venue to the other. The Tiki Marque was also linked to the gymnasium, and decorated out effectively, minimally and tastefully. The dance floor was huge, but very slippery. Next time we need to take shoes with traction to dance there.
There were reportedly 2,000 cars in the car show, and Arthur's vehicle was a stand out! Not being a car buff I enjoyed the atmosphere they contributed, and as an artist, I appreciated the artwork on many of them.
The markets were excellent. There was a vast choice, with lots of high quality, imaginative, creative and generally well-priced goods. Almon Loos, the Rockabilly barber from the USA, was fully booked, and going by the hairstyles of women on the street, I'd say the hairdressers and make-up services were also kept busy. There were a lot of classy, vintage hairstyles on the streets, and on the dance floors.
The fashion parade was a nice touch, and we all enjoyed watching our local gal strut her stuff. Credit to the girls who worked the floor wearing not much, in 10 degree weather, with a cold wind.
The burlesque show, at Salon Tease, was one of the better burlesque shows, with real women, with curves, and something to shake. The tassel-twirling, by Foxtrot India, was extra-ordinary! The outfits were gorgeous, even though they were often off soon after hitting the stage.
Accommodation was initially a problem for us, but Arthur organised for us to stay with a couple in 100 year old house. Many of the locals made their homes, or rooms in their homes, available. This was a great experience. We met a nice couple and had some interesting conversations. This made the Camperdown experience even richer.
I've wanted to catch Warren Earl for some time, having acquired one of his CDs. We were told that on the CDs he sings, writes his own material, and plays all the instruments. His voice was rich and full, great to listen to live. Scotty Baker was another surprise. We hadn't heard him before and happened to catch his bracket in the Rockabilly Room. One of the best Rockabilly voices I've heard. You really get to experience the quality of a voice when you're editing video, as you have to listen to the same track over and over again. The Go Getters, from Sweden, were terrific! They're the total package - great music, good performers. We caught them twice at the festival and loved it both times.
We were told the Camperdown Cruise started six years ago with around a half dozen cars and one band in a shed. Arthur has done an amazing job. Reportedly over 10,000 attended this year's festival, and the down-town area totally rocked!
A few video clips below to give a taste of the cruise ...
A Saucy Little Secret - a review and reflection on Carol Neist's review
By Dr Cecilia Netolicky Up-loaded 9 August 2012
Having just read Carol Neist's review on artsHub of A Saucy Little Secret (written by Melanie Bainbridge and produced and directed by Harry Deluxe and Erin Fuery and performed @ The Ellington Jazz Club), I felt it necessary to add my two cents to the mix. I left Carol's review with the feeling that she didn't particularly engage with the show, or the issues, but didn't want to offend the performers and scriptwriter, or the "aficionados" audience, who, in her words, "all adored it".
Carol praised the singers, performers, scriptwriter, director-producers and band. She commends the "beautifully crafted in-character monologues", but later says they were "just a bit too long", and that they were stories "we've all heard or read a dozen times already". "Beautifully crafted", but "too long" and we've heard the same story many times? Either they are beautifully crafted, or they could use more work.
How often have you read the tragic stories of five black lesbian or bi-sexual 1920s women from tough backgrounds who rose to glory, if only for a few moments? Definitely not a standard fairytale because the point is made that that magical few minutes of fame and fortune died with the Blues, resulting in many of the performers returning to menial work.
Also the juxtaposition of the five stories adds to the point made. The fact that in the 1920s there were numerous women (at least these five in the Black Blues music industry in North America) battling gender stereotyping and trying to find an acceptable yet satisfying way to be part of society as a whole, lead a life devoid of persecution and pressure to change and become "normal", and be accepted for who and what they were. The message is both poignant and significant. It is an important story for many people today still battling with the issues of gender and the packaged Dick and Dora literature that offer no role models for people not suited to, or interested in, playing the desperate housewives, or strict masculine roles advocated in this type of narrow-minded fiction.
Having worked extensively with young people with serious gender issues, young people trying to cross gender boundaries, young people fighting to change gender, and young people who just simply don't fit the Lois and Clarke stereotype, I believe there is a dire need for literature, film, art, video games and discourse that challenges these stereotypes and recognises gender as a continuum rather than a dichotomy, where there are infinite socially acceptable ways to be a child, adolescent or adult in any community.
I have to commend Melanie Bainbridge for her courageous effort to focus attention on the issue by entering a work into mainstream theatre that demonstrates the urgent need to address this issue in order to make better futures for individuals marginalised through gender stereotyping. This is a significant contribution. It is not "overkill", or just another "poor-waif-makes-good story", to view A Saucy Little Secret in this way is to belittle it.
To me one of the best indicators of good theatre is: do I remember the story in the morning, the week after, the month after; does it affect my modus operandi; does it offer a fresh look at society? To all of these things I have to say YES it does. I am well acquainted with people struggling with gender issues and I didn't find the stories stale. I can't get the stories out of my head. They are haunting. They felt real, important, and I feel I need to react and act on my new knowledge. This is what good Art does. It moves people to action.
I too could offer some advice on minor changes, but I choose not to do so, because I looked at the work as a whole. The music was awesome. The production had a huge impact on me, and I choose to be changed by what it had to tell us. I would like to see more people have the opportunity to have this same enriching experience.
This is a link to Carol's review: Carol Flavell Neist, A Saucy Little Secret, August 06, 2012
Announcement - New Recording from WS Holland Band "Million Dollar Memories"
Well, as I promised....it's time to make our big announcement (at least it's big to the band and me). Apparently, it's pretty big to you guys too because so many of you have joined the list since we mentioned we were going to make the announcement to you first.
OK, enough beating around the bush. Most of you know of the success of the Million Dollar Quartet play that is currently playing to rave reviews on Broadway in New York City, and in Chicago. The play is about that famous impromptu jam session that took place on December 4, 1956 when Carl Perkins, Clayton and Jay and I were at Sun Records to record our follow-up single to Blue Suede Shoes our first hit record and million seller. The song we were in the studio to record was Matchbox, that once again, became a hit record.
Well, Sam Phillips (our producer and owner of Sun Records) hired Jerry Lee Lewis to play piano on the session to, 'spice it up a bit'. But, before we could get the session kicked off in walked Johnny Cash. John had heard we were in town to record and stopped by to say hello that day. We had all toured together as a package show booked by Sam's booking agency, Stars Incorporated.
Before long, in through the front door of the studio came Elvis Presley who stopped by to see us all as well, and who had toured with us. So, you know what happens when a group of musicians get together...before long a jam session breaks out. For the next several hours we played song after song the boys knew and I was there on drums for the whole thing.
It was really no big deal at the time, but years later it came to be known as the Million Dollar Quartet session. It was all recorded and now available on CD online.
A few weeks ago my guitarist and band manager, Ron Haney approached the band at rehearsal one night and played a song for us he had just written the day before called, "Million Dollar Memories". Well, to say the least it knocked me out. Listening to it that night so many memories of that famous jam session came back to mind and beautifully captured just what happened at Sun Records on that cold December day back in 1956.
As soon as I heard "Million Dollar Memories" I knew we had to record it. So, this past Sunday we went into the studio and did just that. Today, we went back and did the last overdub session on it. Now, it is being mixed and mastered and over the next couple of weeks The WS Holland Band will release "Million Dollar Memories" as the first "official" recording we have done together as a band.
We are so excited about the project that truly took on a life of its own. It was like Johnny, Carl, Elvis and Jerry Lee were right there with us in the studio cheering us on to complete the recording.
I'm not going to tell you anymore about the recording (just now) but over the next few weeks I will let you know all about it and how, just like the original Million Dollar Quartet session so long ago, the creative juices were flowing as we added each instrument, vocal and effects. I will tell you that I get to do the verses on the song and the boys sing the bridges.
So, without any further adieu (whatever adieu is) I would like to officially announce, to you folks on our list first, the very-soon-to-be-released "Million Dollar Memories" written by Ron Haney and recorded by myself and the WS Holland Band.
The song will be available, of course, for sale over the next few weeks and we will let you all know when that takes place and where you can preview and buy it.
We are very excited about this our first release as a band and look forward to getting your feedback when you hear it.
So, stay tuned, and when the final touches are put on the recording we will put it online at a private web site page for you to stop by and check out a preview of it. And, of course, you will get the exclusive opportunity simply because you are on "the list".
Thanks for reading so far, and most of all thank you all for your much appreciated support over the years!
See you on the road soon...
WS "Fluke" Holland