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Jillian 28 – Appro & Other Things.

For the start of these episodes go to
http://career-change-strategies.com.au/jillian-1-meet-my-friend/

It's coming up to Melbourne Cup time, and it got me thinking. I asked Jillian if she had heard of 'buying on appro'?

She said she remembered her parents talking about it. Wasn't sure if they ever did it - but yeah the concept was known to her.

Appro

Seems that what used to happen was, in the olden days, you could buy something for a small deposit – probably about 10% of the price and take it home. Things like washing machines were popular in my youth, since many people back then did their washing in a copper. Now that's a story for another time.

When you had the unit at your place you could use it for a bit (time usually depending on the item and the price paid) and if you didn't like it you could return it. You then received all your deposit back. The system could be used for almost any non-consumable product.

Item had to be in resalable condition when returned, of course.

Why do we remember appro at this time? Well it has been known that a number of the Melbourne ladies have purchased hats and fascinators, even complete outfits that they will never wear again so that they can make a huge splash at the Melbourne Cup Carnival. Not cool or nice but I'm told it happens. Hence the link in my fevered brain.

Jillian at The Cup

Jillian remembered going to the Melbourne Cup - the main race day - once many years ago with a couple of friends.

They dressed up in all sorts of finery, top hats and frock coats for the gentlemen and many layered long chiffon dresses for the ladies. Hair in ringlets and things like that.

“It wasn't an attempt to follow a fashion style or time in history – just a way to dress up with what we had or could get hold of easily”, she said. “The clothes and shoes etc didn't have to match or anything. We were just out for a good time and this seemed like the way to do it. You couldn't really wear high heels either as we had to stay within the car park area or the public lawns near the tote boards and the ground was often soft there at that time of year.”

Champagne

We had Champagne (we were still allowed to call it that back then) which we poured from a china teapot into Royal Albert Tea Cups and drank with pinky fingers afloat.

“Don't ask, she hurried on, when it became obvious I was going to. “I have no idea why we did that. One of the guys made that decision.”

“We ate little patti-pan cakes that we had baked the day before. Now they are all the rage, of course and called cup cakes. Who'd have known? Quite appropriate don't you think? We were trail blazers back then.”

Oh and we hired a friend's horse and cart to take us there. We were really going over the top.”

Home

“I do remember”, she said, “waiting for about 4 hours in a queue of very drunk patrons to get a taxi home. It was horrendous. In many cases the women were the worst. Brings out the beast in people I reckon. Freezing cold, loads of stuff to carry and very tired. Never did it again. Haven't been to The Melbourne Cup since. Can't imagine ever feeling the urge.” #ourjillian

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Jillian 26 – The Food Goes Up And Down

The Food Goes Up And Down

Our Jillian went by herself on a cruise once quite a while ago.

This is one of her stories.

Yes. I know. Another torrid travel tale, but this is funny.

Cruising Alone.

She began, “When you are on your own, you tend to gravitate towards other people so you can share the experience. This is aided by the ship's crew as they allocate you to a table for the evening meal in one of their huge restaurants. I was placed with four best mates. So we five, (a bit like Enid Blyton's Famous Five – the four friends and their dog Timmy), spent a lot of time together.

Friends

“I guess they thought of me as the dog – always trailing along behind them no matter what they were doing. I figured I was more like Julian the older one who was the leader. Almost my name, right? Jillian. So I deserved to be him.

Tour

“One stop, all 5 of us decided to go on a guided tour in a medium sized party type of boat., This included a trip around the island with commentary, lunch and a swim stop.

Swim Stop

“The swim stop came first. It began to rain quite heavily just as we reached the beach. It was the strangest thing. The sea-water was very warm (almost bath temperature), but the rain was freezing cold. We were caught in the middle - our bottoms hot and our tops cold. The weirdest feeling.

“That rain storm should have warned us. But no. What was to come was the best yet.

“It became quite rough when we were on the seaward side of the island (with the tide coming in). Of course as our boat began to pitch and roll – it was lunch time.

Lunch

“The lunch buffet tables were bolted to the deck on the port (right) side of the boat running from the front to the back. You were supposed to start at the back with cutlery and plastic plates and move forward filling your plates with the delicious seafood and other island delights as you went. Then you would find a bench or table to sit at to eat, or go outside onto the deck.

And the food goes up and down

“Of course the rolling motion meant the food was sometimes up and sometimes down. I learnt that day NEVER to stand between a band of hungry tourists and the food.

“You see as the food went up they all short-stepped quickly backwards away from the table down the sloping deck laughing and shouting and gesticulating all the while.

“Then when the food went down they short stepped quickly forwards - towards the tables, grabbed a few things onto their plates before heading backwards away from table again as the boat rolled the other way.

Rinse and repeat

“Each time they managed to get a few more morsels of food. But no one thought to stand and hold on for a bit so many managed to fall over and spill plates covered in slippery prawns, mayonnaise, lettuce leaves and olive oil dressing and other delicacies all over the floor.

“This meant sliding slippery people and accidentally discarded food rolling all over the place with the motion of the boat, further adding to the tribulations of our tourists as they strove to collect the lunch they had paid for. They were getting more and more raucous as it went on.

“It was hilarious. And the vision will never leave me. Some things just can't be unseen.

“I have no idea if anyone actually got anything to eat. I know I didn't. I could not stop laughing.” #ourjillian

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Jillian 23 – Some Drinking Anecdotes

Drinking

Jillian has told me so much over the years and as I began this task; I compiled a list of potential topics. Many have already made it into print and many don't really lend themselves to one of our stories. There are others that will be revealed 'in the fullness of time' as they say.

That leaves quite a few that are not likely to make it due to not enough information, or just not being enough.

But I began thinking that they might make a paragraph or so, as part of a group of similar incidents or memories.

I figured I'd give this a try for the 21st episode. In America this is the drinking age, so I looked for a few drinking incidents. Let's hope it is a bit of fun.

Didn't make it for that number – a couple of others had the pleasure, but now is the time.

These are not all Jillian’s antics, but they are based around friends, family, colleagues, or even just (in some cases) mere proximity. ie Our Jillian was nearby or picked up the story details by osmosis. I don't know. They were just a list of things on my notepad.

There was some connection, however tenuous, with Jillian. If you are bored, just remember – we can't all be wonderfully funny all the time. No matter how hard we try.

Air Conditioning

“Did you know,” she said once, “that night clubs turn off the air-conditioning during the evening to make it hot and cause patrons to drink more? And then turn it to Arctic levels when they want them all to leave?”

“I figured as much.” I said. Was a no brainer really.

Wheel Spin

At the finishing stages of a party that a friend of Jillian's attended, many of the revellers popped outside and put one of the guest's cars (a mini as will become obvious in a moment,) up on some wooden blocks until the wheels were just off the ground, but covered by the longish grass in the parking field. When this fellow came out of the hall everyone was hanging around to watch. He got in started it up, put it into gear and went ----nowhere. Wheels just spun and spun. This was really funny because it was an official end of year shindig, she told me later, and the prankee was their teacher.

Dunny

Gee she knew some dodgy characters, our Jillian.

Another chap was left behind at a night club. They thought he had gone home earlier. But the next day they found out what happened. He had fallen off the toilet in a drunken stupor (those early days when toilet cubicle doors went almost to the floor) and had become wedged between the bowl and the door. Jillian and her friends looked for him and not finding him, headed off home a bit miffed. He was found on the final security check when they couldn’t open a dunny door to check inside. Someone had to climb over and move his prostrate body so they could open the door and get him up and out of the place.

Takes all sorts I guess.

Pink Elephants

Old joke but a couple of her friends actually did try it – she swears - very early one morning on the way home from a student social function shall we call it?

Cops: “What are you lot doing?”

Students: “Scaring away pink elephants.”

Cops: “There are no pink elephants here.”

Students: “We're doing a f@#$%^& good job, then aren't we?”

Concoction

I really think this one was Jillian herself. But she denies it. I suppose you would.

A young girl (I'll pretend I believe her) was going to a Blue Light Youth Disco back in the days when they still existed. She was 15 or so I guess and, thinking that this whole boring thing the olds wanted her to go to with her stupid school friends was going to be a complete bust, decided to spice things up a bit.

Not knowing at that time, (it has changed now – well it might have depending on who we are talking about here) much about booze she proceeded to 'borrow' a little bit from each of the bottles in the parents' booze cupboard.

If she had thought about it for a few seconds she might have figured if it was left in a bottle in the cupboard it was probably not much good, but that thought never crossed her mind.

She semi-filled a coke bottle with the concoction and topped it up with enough Coke to disguise the colour and the smell.

The attempt to share it with her friends failed because it tasted absolutely revolting. As it would, having a little bit of Pimms, Green Ginger wine, cheap scotch, cheap vodka, tequila and a couple of lesser know liqueurs. It was always going to be 'the pits'.

But as a girl of conviction, if nothing much else at this time, she figured. “I'd better drink it all as it was my idea.” And drink it she did.

Not long after she felt very unwell and had to be brought home by one of her friend's mothers. She was violently and continuously ill for some 20 mins when she arrived home, went off to bed chastened as it was obvious what had happened, and slept like a baby I'm told.

Didn't even have a hangover in the morning apparently.

Bugger.

#ourjillian

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Jillian 22b – Potty Mouth

How Jillian and her Mum Hit The Town and Learned a Few Choice New Expressions and so Much More!

Show-time in Melbourne continued!

There was still another planned event to go. "How am I going to handle this?" Jillian said to herself.

Venue Number 2

What she really said to me was. "I had a couple of free tickets to the Les Girls show at St Kilda beach.

"They were given to me by a friend (Tom) who worked there as a photographer. You know the kind that muscles up to you and takes those "candid" (and she made the quote marks with fingers) photographs. Later on they bring the prints back and you have the choice to buy them or not.

"Most cases you buy them even though they're pretty awful.

"It was the big thing that used to go on in night-spots before roses.

"Now with the roses, of course, you feel like a bastard if you don't buy one for your girl, and if you do they usually die in a very short time.

"You're stuffed both ways,” she said, and I figured - she'd know.

She went on. “Tom told me all sorts of weird stories about how they operated. Female impersonator shows were relatively new to Melbourne although they had been in Sydney for some time."

Stan Munro

For more than 50 years Stan Munro has travelled the world in drag.
When Mr Munro came to Australia from the UK in 1963 he said he landed his first job as a dancer and acrobat.
"I starred in and compeered Les Girls in Sydney and then did seven years with Les Girls in Melbourne," he said.
"It wasn't long until I was doing solo female impersonating and I have travelled the world with it ever since."
On Friday, July 27, 2012, the then 72-year-old "warmed up" the crowd before Australian pop icons 'Mental As Anything' took to the stage.
In 2013 he was still performing around Australia.

Loads of men brought their girlfriends there while their wives stayed at home thinking they were out at an 'I don't know what - gambling evening maybe'? That would probably have been better than out with a girl. And Tom said the men usually refused the photograph because they didn't want their wives to see it. He often took a quick surreptitious one anyway. The girl usually bought it.

He figured if a bloke could get a night off to take a girl to a show in St Kilda, he could probably hide a photograph.

The Dark Room

But anyway - the dark room,  he told me, where they did the developing and printing of the photographs was a long narrow bit of a room at the back of the auditorium, shut off to keep out the light.

He said he often found interesting things happening, on the dark room floor amongst the spilt chemicals and off-cuts of photographs, discarded film rolls and scads of damaged negatives. He thought it was pretty gross. Lucky mum didn't see any of that. Me too. It would have been an image hard to 'unsee'.

Enough. On with the show.

“OK.” I said. “Enough of the background. Tell me the story.”

“Ha-ha yes!” She reckoned that the background was indeed fun. I agreed, but, “Let's get on with it.” she said.

“OK. We went there in a taxi. I'm not sure what mum was expecting but even after the débâcle of the Flying Trapeze she probably wasn't thinking she was going to get a man dressed up as a woman singing off-colour songs and making off-colour jokes; some of which she may not even understand.

"And lots of fellows dressed up as girls in a chorus line.

"A magician and a few other cabaret style acts.

"Actually it was quite a good show. Dinner theatre kind of thing. We sat at tables, shared with others in our case, and the food was just the usual basic institution kind of roast beef and potatoes. OK but not special and not, to be honest, what I really wanted to show her food-wise in Melbourne. Afterwards I thought that what we ate was more like the stuff she was used to and would have gone over very well."

This time it was me that did the eye-roll thing. This was getting a tad boring.

She saw me and cut to the chase. I didn't get 'The Glare' Funny that!

The End

“The funny bit,” she said, “was what happened at the end of the evening.

"After it was all over, I went to the toilet and left mum in the foyer. Told her to wait for me. Strange really. She was usually the one to rush to the toilet as soon as a show was over. Not tonight!

"On my return – no mother.

"Now this was a bit of a shock. And not a pleasant one. How could I lose my ageing mother in a down-town venue after a show? I had no idea. Panic set in and I began running all over. Back into the auditorium, the dark-room (NO), the toilets again. Calling out 'Mum' in the dunnies is not a good thing in a drag venue in Melbourne. Still nothing. Back to the foyer.

"Then I spied a small sitting room kind of thing a bit off to the left of the foyer. I rushed in.

"Shock again.

"There was my dear old mother, her daggy ancient handbag on her lap, her hand on a man's knee and …. the chap was Stan Munro – the star of the show. OMG. I couldn't believe it.

"She was chatting away in a very lively and almost intimate manner with a female impersonator. They were both so engrossed in conversation they didn't seem to notice me creeping up to them.

"Don't ask me what they were talking about. I have no idea. I don't want to know. Believe me."

I gathered her up, apologised to Mr Munro and made a hasty exit.

The Cab Ride

In the cab on the way home she was quiet for a long time. Then she said, 'He was a very interesting young man that Stan chap. Very clever and quite sweet. His head was shaved. I thought that was funny. Why do you think he would have a silly job like that? And why dress up as a woman?'

This time I went home horrified.

#ourjillian

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Jillian 19 – Best Radio Around

Ya just never know what Jillian is going to come up with next. Here's a story from a long time go which must have been a hoot.

I was at this party with my sister. She was a few years older than me (she was 14, I think, at the time), but it was a youth group party, no booze and kids my parents knew, so it was all right. Besides the olds were going out with my aunt and uncle and so sis had to baby-sit me and this was how it was going to go down. All good.

We were driven to this house in the suburbs and went inside. It was your typical young teen party – dim lights, loud music, a sort of supper of pointy sandwiches (with hundreds and thousands – we were all still supposed to like the stuff we had liked when we were 7), a few sweet biscuits, and some fruit cake. Plastic bottles of coke, fanta and lemonade with plastic cups. You know the story, right?” she asked.

I said I did. I didn't ask about the parents of the kids living in the house, or whose house it was. Seemed inappropriate.

Well, it wasn't all as mum and dad had thought, but I was hardly going to say a word. You don't look a gift horse and all that sort of thing.

Ya see, a few kids believed that Vodka mixed with lemonade – a lot of lemonade – didn't have a taste of booze nor the smell, so a few enterprising ones had managed to get hold of some parental vodka and fill up their own bottles with this concoction. Nobody would know, they thought. Sis made sure I didn't get any. Spoil sport.

The party moved into full swing a tad after we arrived. Bit of booze and the snogging began. It was really neat to part of this grown up stuff. It wasn't long before I couldn't find sis any-more, but not to worry.

What really got me was the music. It was coming out of the radio, really loud, but somehow not like normal radio, I couldn't tell what was different. At 8.00pm there was the Radio Network News. Pips and all. It seemed so right, but also wrong.

The main announcer was called Jim Post. He kept on saying 'This is your host with the most, Jim Post. The most hits, the most gossip and the most fantastic party vibe.' I think that was a new age word - vibe, I hadn't heard it before. There were a couple of other announcers, someone called Mike and another, John, I think. But there was definitely something weird.

The radio station was called 'Best Radio Around - Radio BRA' I thought that was funny as well as I hadn't heard of this station, and I listened to the radio a lot. We were in the early 60's here and there was not a lot else to do. 'Surf music' was playing. That was neat as well. My favourite”

A bit of history here,” Jillian said. “This was the time of The Surfaris, Jan and Dean, Duane Eddy, The early Beach Boys and even Chuck Berry. There were two Australian bands that became known in this genre as well. The Atlantics with their hit Bombora, and Col Joye and the Joy Boys. Their biggest hit in 1963 'Murphy the Surfy' was covered by The Surfaris a year or so later. Nuff history. OK?

I think what really got me was that every now and then someone would yell out a song they wanted to hear and nearly always, not long after, that song came on. Very strange.

But after I heard the name of one of my sister's friends called out on the radio, and some gossip about her new boyfriend I knew there was something I needed to find out. What was going on here?

I went over to the radio set and it didn't seem to be tuned to any station I knew about. But the sound was definitely coming from the radio speakers. This was intriguing. I couldn't figure it out. I had no idea, but there was stuff here I needed to know. Little detective Jillian?

A few moments after this my sister clapped me on the top of my head (I really hated that but it was her quiet way of saying 'squirt - You're the little sister' and asked how I was. 'Was I enjoying myself?' She asked.

'Too right, I replied. 'But what's going on with the music and the radio stuff?' I asked.

She laughed out loud, a bit too loud I thought, probably she had indulged in a little bit of the vodka drink. 'Don't ya know?' she said. 'It's not really the radio. It's a couple of our mates doing it all from the back bed-room. Come on Jillian, you are such a KID,' she said.

'I know,' I said. 'I ... ah ...  just wondered how it was all being done is all.'

'Come on – I'll show you,' she said. And we headed off down the passage to a room away from the lounge. I spotted a big hand written KEEP OUT sign you couldn't miss. She listened with her ear to the door and then tapped lightly on the wooden panel and said her name. The door opened a moment later and we walked in.”

This is my sister Jillian,” sis said.

To say I was gobsmacked would be an understatement. The room was totally full of stuff, and 3 older boys. Men really. I mean they were to me at my tender age.

There were a couple of tables in the middle of the room and two record players side by side with funny felt thingy's on top of the turntables under the records; 2 tape machines - 1 a cassette player and 1 was with reels. There was a transistor radio, several big boxes of records and cassette tapes, 2 or 3 pairs of headphones and 2 microphones on stick things covered with a foamy sheet of some kind. There was a funny kind of box thing on the table under the microphone with knobs and switches on it. And wires. There were wires absolutely everywhere. Everything was connected to everything else with wires - every bit of table not covered with equipment was covered with wires. And power cords and double-adapters were all over the floor.

This was so exciting. I had never seen anything like this.

Just then one of the blokes held up his hand to us and motioned us to keep quiet. He leaned forward towards the microphone and with one hand flicked a switch (the sound in the room of the music currently playing stopped suddenly) while his other hand was holding a record on the turntable of the record player to his right (I could see the turntable was going round, but he was holding the record still). What's that about? I thought.

He started talking. I was so excited I nearly wet my pants. Well maybe I did – a little.

Anyway, he said, and I'll remember it 'til I die.. 'Hey all you party goers out there, once again this is your host with the most Jim Post, and you're on the best radio around radio BRA. (only this time he said the word bra and smiled up at me).

We have a very special tune to play for you right now. This is a favourite of a friend of mine - Jillian.'

And I noticed he let go of the actual record which started to turn around. and wound one of the knobs. The music started as he finished speaking  my name and got louder as he turned the knob. It started straight away not after a few seconds like when you put a normal record on and it all sounded so professional.  Then he turned to me - to us.

'How are you cutie,' he said. 'You sister has told me a lot about you.'”

#ourjillian

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