I was born in Australia. My parents had an old suitcase filled with the clippings they had collected on their travels so far, it was a fascinating trove for me; my family travelling before I was born to come to where they were now was a strange thing to think about. They kept things like ticket stubs and menus; their boarding passes for the vessel they travelled on. I think their box of clippings and ephemera inspired my original scrap book. My scrap book dates back to the 1970’s.
Over the years my collection of newspaper clippings and letters, photographs and ticket stubs has been damaged; at one point several portions of it destroyed. I have lost pieces here and there as I have moved around the country. These days it seems an odd thing to be carrying around.
The position of newspapers has changed in my lifetime. It was not unusual in 1974 to stay up until midnight waiting for the review of a show to come out in the morning paper. If it was a good review celebrations would be at The Pancake Kitchen, Adelaide’s only late night venue willing to receive a modest theatre crowd back then. Now you would be lucky to get a review in a newspaper if you were outside of the main interest of the newspaper itself. It is still valuable to get a review or a piece in a publication, but not so much a newspaper these days.
So I find myself hoarding a curious collection of clippings. When I interviewed Sir Ian McKellen he told me about his friend who was spending time putting Sir Ian’s collection in order. We chatted about this for a little while and by the end of the conversation I was determined myself to put all of my bits and pieces together. Not so much in order, and certainly not in comparison to anyone else least of all Sir Ian; but he did inspire me.
He spoke of the usefulness of having things in one place and I agree. I see it deteriorate before my eyes. The newspaper yellows, becomes thinner. It will all come to dust. While I am able to potter around and put it here I will keep working on it feeling less distressed about it decomposing in the atmosphere. Here it can rest as data. Pictures and when I have time or inclination, words. I may never get the opportunity to tell my story in full. It would be something I would like to do, but seems a far off task to complete. Here I can look and see what there is to tell about.
Younger days in the 1970’s around Adelaide were difficult days at times. I know people are aware I was abused because the case has been tried and the men who abused me have been convicted. One of them has Home Detention and the other is due to be back on the streets in a year or so. The abuse happened in the 1970’s. Over the last decade 2005 – 2015 I was able to take the men to trial.
The complexities involved in looking over these times and finding the positive outcomes are many. On the one hand I see I had an extensive training in a range of areas as a young person, all of which serve me in my adult life, on the other hand I have distressing concerns, memories, emotional recollections, anxiety attacks, any number of odd distracting momentary experiences to contend with when considering my life.
Looking back after time it is easier to accept what has happened all the while knowing ‘moving-on’ can involve accepting the inevitable, nothing will change, it will always be there. So okay, the other stuff, the good experiences were really good. After I disentangled myself from the abusers to the extent of keeping away from them whenever and wherever humanly possible, I moved on to have some great experiences on stage and with art.
I enjoyed being involved on stage, in theatre, it gave me a world to focus on that contained control and order; there were people watching. Discussions and notes would be had in a process of review, rehearse and refine. I could understand all of that and enjoyed the process especially when working in collectives or ensembles that appreciated the process side of theatre.
In the 1970’s there was a great deal of activity around Adelaide’s theatre scene.