Saturday, May 30, 2009


Meme time and this one's been made up by yours truly. A list of Firsts. Calm down, I won't nominate any blogger personally; anyone can do this if they like, but if you do, can you please be kind enough to let me know you're doing so via the comments field and then put a link to your site?

First Job - babysitter, at the ripe old age of fourteen, to two boys aged seven and five. I shudder to think what a fourteen year old would have been able to cope with during an emergency situation, but in 1982 this one was able to hold her own playing Donkey Kong, Galaxian and Pong and still get them to bed before Dynasty started.

First 'real' job as an adult - a 'Graduate Trainee' at the ANZ bank in 1989. Twenty two thousand dollars a year to be an assistant bank manager during the time when interest rates hit 17.5%. Was bored and miserable and wondered just how my English and Roman Art & Archaeology subject choices had managed to convince their HR heads that I'd be a success in the role.

First love - MH from primary school, aged five. No boy picked their nose and wiped the slimy contents on the lino floor of the all-purpose room quite like he did. Why that impressed me, I still can't quite understand - or want to delve too deeply into - to this day.

First TV show - 'Here's Humphrey'. He narrowly beat out the other Aussie-made show 'Fat Cat & Friends' because Patsy-bloody-Biscoe always had to whip out her guitar and annoy us with a song and Fat Cat looked creepy instead of cuddly. I did have a hearty laugh last Christmas when, out in the kitchen making a cup of tea with Mum, I heard whoever it was hosting the 2008 Carols by Candlelight that "Coming up next is Humphrey B Bear!" Mr B Bear is a mute with three fingers on each hand who never wears pants. What the hell was he going to do to entertain the punters squashed on picnic blankets?

First Actor Crush - Greg Rowe, lead star of the movie 'Storm Boy'. I even pestered my parents long enough to for them to give in and take us to see Mr Percival the pelican at Marineland. It was there that my father crushed my fantasy balloon by pointing out that it could have been any damn pelican shoved in front of a wonky hand-painted sign ready to pose for paid photographs.

First Actress Crush - Lyndsey Wagner as The Bionic Woman. She was a beautiful school teacher with jazzy taste in clothes, the ability to hear the beat of a butterfly's wings in a nuclear shelter nine miles away and could do something cool with her leg but I forget what. Or maybe it wasn't G-rated and my parents didn't want to explain it to me.

First book - 'Go Dog Go' by PD Eastman is the first one I remember reading over and over again to myself. I loved looking at the dog party scene at the end of the book, but these days I identify more closely with the sole dog in the crowded bed with its eyes open, sleepless and alone in its suffering.

First record - 'The Best of ABBA' in 1975. Lovingly played on the radiogram and danced to in the pool room on orange shag carpet many, many times. After looking at the cover so many times I noticed that Agnetha wasn't wearing any shoes - her bare toes were peeking out underneath her long tablecloth dress.

First cassette tape - 'Complete Madness' in 1982. Played on my mono-cassette and radio thingy as I rolled over the waistband of my tartan school skirt to make it look shorter and decided that wearing pink plastic Australia-shaped earrings was the height of coolness.

First CD - ABBA's entire output, all purchased in one go in 1989 when I spent my 21st money on a stonkingly huge black stereo system with a five band 'graphic equaliser'', turntable, CD player and double-tape deck. Oooohhhh.....

First purchased iPod song - Plastic Bertrands 'Ca plane por moi'. I always liked it and wonder where he is now. A translator for United Nations perhaps? ("I am the king of the divan! Ooooo-eeeeee Eeeee-ewwww")

First car - 1971 Renault 16TS bought for $1600 in 1989. Poo brown in colour meant that it was referred to as the 'Flying Turd' and very easy to find in car parks. Couldn't go faster than 80km per hour which is probably why Dad so strenously encouraged me to buy it. Home to a various scary assortment of Huntsmen spiders who liked to make their acquaintance when I'd lower the sun visor and have them almost stretched across my face.....

First sport played - tennis. Started learning at age eleven but came home after the first lesson telling everyone that I didn't need to go to any more lessons because I knew it all. Dad reckons sat ever-so-haughtily at the tea table and announced, "I've already learned my backhead, my forehead and my swerve."

First concert - Dire Straits, Footy Park, Feb 1986. Most of it was spent in silent agony whilst having to stand up for three hours with a full bladder bitterly regretting the 600ml of warm iced coffee I'd slugged down beforehand and enduring the crotch of some strange man grinding into my back as the crowd kept surging forward closer to the stage.

......Or was it seeing my mother in the lead role in the musical 'ShowBoat'? She was about to kiss the leading man, and I broke free from sitting on Dad's lap in row three and ran up to the stage yelling out DON'T YOU DO THAT TO MY MUM! Dad hurriedly scooped me up and escorted me home to bed, relieved to have left the performance not due being embarrassed by his child's behaviour but due to his severe loathing of musicals in any form.

First overseas country visited - Scotland, 1981. Dad got a job as a teacher in Aberdeen and the teacher he replaced took Dad's job in South Australia for a year, swapping houses as well. I couldn't understand a word the kids were saying to me for the first couple of weeks, and dreaded having to say any answer with the number 'eight' in it due to having the class cack themselves with laughter at my Skippy accent.

First encounter with a famous person - 'World Safari' adventurer and cornball doco-maker of the 1970s, Alby Mangels, was a Murray Bridge boy was rumoured to be attending the high school fete day in a helicopter, throwing out twenty dollar notes. TWENTY DOLLAR notes! Huge crowds attended, only to find that twenty ONE dollar notes were rather unenthusiastically scattered about in a Mangels-less oval. Dad tried to console me by saying that Alby as a student was dumber than a hatful of crackers.

Years later we saw Robert Morley in London (wearing a bowler hat) in 1981 and I served Fergie and Nick Faldo a drink at a Cartier event when I worked at the Savoy Hotel in 1991. It was one Bolly for the customers, and one for the staff *hic*....

First brush with death - well, maybe not death, but certainly rape. I was dumb and naive enough to sit in the front with a minicab driver in London, 1991, on my way to a job interview. He pulled over in the dark, said that he couldn't find the address in his A-Z and reached over to grab at my.... Years of wrestling with brothers gave me better reflexes than expected because somehow my clenched fist angrily smacked him right on the nose. He clutched at his face and I leapt out of my seat and got the hell out of there, running around the corner. I asked a passerby where Kingsgate Avenue was and was told it was in the next street. I walked in, did the interview and got offered the job. Hopefully there's a driver out there with a nose like a busted sandshoe and a pathological fear of female Australian backpackers.

First house owned - Heidelberg Heights, 1996. Just off bustling Bell Street and within earshot of drunken bogans and/or police helicopters giving chase to miscreants making their escape after burglarising Heidelberg West houses. It cost us $103,000 (ooooh, over one hundred thousand!) with spongy floorboards, chandeleirs, different patterned wallpaper in every room and brown carpet in the kitchen (yes, the kitchen) that was so stained that the dog used to lie on the floor and lick at it whenever she was bored or hungry.

First radio station listened to - 5MU. Adelaide stations were just too crackly. The sr-e-e-e-e-etch of the screen door opening and banging shut on Saturday nights as sports captains popped into the studio to hand over their tennis and cricket scores to be called out was distinctly audible and the homemade jingles were hilariously bad. They had phone requests on week nights, and I always got on first call. First song requested? (blush) 'Harden my heart' by Quarterflash. My defence is that thirteen is the worst age for taste, maturity or common sense.

First kiss - Ian Penn. 1978, at the oh-so-romantic location that was the South Primary School's incinerator. He'd clearly done it before (many times, apparently) but it was a first for me and I ran out of there afterwards like a roadrunner on acid. It was several more years before I tried it again, and not with young Mr Penn.

First shag - Nope. Can't go there. Just. can't. How anyone can write a sex scene - let alone reveal their own participation in one - befuddles me. I'd die blushing, slumped over my keyboard.

First heartache - Brenton W. We dated for three months when I was twenty and he a hugely mature twenty five. He dumped me just before heading overseas for 2 months, so the thought of my charms not being sufficient enough to keep him 'nice' during that time was, on reflection, probably more galling than no longer enjoying his company. It hurt like hell at the time though and I cried many tears over it. Bastard.

First hospital stay (apart from being born or having a baby) - sinus operation in 2004. There were polyps inside my nostrils that were snotty versions of stalagtites and thus made any cold or sniffle headed my way automatically mutate into a hellish episode of fluoro green phlegm, throbbing nasal cavities and a honking nose blow that frightening sleeping dogs and small children. Any bruising or swelling was a small price to pay for being able to lift my head up without any grunting effort and smell things again.

First disappointment - Sunday school, 1974. The teacher told us that if we prayed to God, he'd give us what we asked for. I went to bed that night, thinking hard. God was a busy deity, so it would be best to ask for something small; nothing that would trouble him too much. But was it there the next day or the day after or the day after that - HELL NO! All I wanted was a Big Sister Self-Saucing Chocolate Pudding in a tin!

First victory - Best Costume at the Murray Bridge Centenary in 1979. Sure, Mum sewed the costume but I had to wear the damn thing. The prize was definitely a completely un-fun product that the local toy shop couldn't sell to blind Freddy or his evil Aunt - an enormous box containing thousands of used match sticks and a bucket of glue. Despite placing a heavy emphasis on good manners and being grateful, even my mother said (when we were home and away from prying ears), "Oh, that really is crap, isn't it?"

....which was the first time I'd ever heard Mum swear.


River said...

Oh! The Best of Abba. We had the same album. K's parents bought it as a gift for T, aged 3, when they came to visit us in Sydney a few months before our Kath was born. When they found out (within 10 minutes) that we didn't have a record player, they went straight out and bought us one.

Have you since had a Big Sister Self-Saucing Chocolate Pudding? Or are you still waiting for God to deliver?

You do look lovely in your historical costume, did you keep it as a memento?

Baino said...

Oh such fun. I may pinch this one when I'm in a pinch. Big Sister Self Saucing Pudding? I haven't had one of those since my uni camping days. We used to chuck em on the fire, wait for the lid to 'pop' three times and voila! Chocolatey steaming goodness! I used to love babysitting. Did it from being about 12 years old for the Hattons across the street, she left the best suppers and paid ooh, I think about $10 a night!

Kath Lockett said...

God didn't deliver, River but the local Woolworths in Murray Bridge did many times. They're still a guilty pleasure but Love Chunks makes a much better home-made microwaved version that's delicious,so maybe my prayer was answered after all?

Baino - help yourself. TEN BUCKS a night you lucky duck - I was paid two bucks an hour!

Scotty said...

how wonderful to have pictures and things from your childhood! it is amazing how similar (Go Dog Go, ABBA, etc) individual's experiences and cultural touchstones are despite growing up half a world away!

Kath Lockett said...

Sorry River, forgot to say that the costume was eventually donated to the 'Murray Bridge Players and Singers Costume Rental' concern that operated out of a shed behind the old butter factory. I'm sure the Victoria and Albert museum will hunt it down eventually.

Thanks Scotty - were you Agnetha or Bjorn?

Sig said...

Your Alby Mangels story is GOLD! I wish I'd been to the same school as Alby Mangels.

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