Tag Archives: 1970s

Dear Diary Episode Three: Touch Me I’m Sick

25 Jul

And now, for your voyeuristic pleasure, I present to you, dear reader, another fascinating and sensational episode of Dear Diary, featuring the writings of two young women, one circa 1970s, the other circa 2000s, straight from their respective diaries, treasures which I have found through years of thrifting and garbage digging.

Our first entry, courtesy of a young girl named Valerie is extremely unusual when compared to the rest of the entries.  Most days, recorded in a five year diary spanning the years 1969 through 1974, reveal a very perfectionist and repetitious existence, often with very little change from day to day.  For example, take these two entries, written on consecutive days:

Day one, February 4th, 1969

“Went to school, to choir, watched TV, did homework, did dishes, got clothes ready, bed.”

Day Two, February 5th, 1969

“Went to school, watched TV, did homework, got clothes ready, went to bed.”

Not much is revealed about her inner life.

Valerie’s time is passed by cycling through the same mundane chores and tasks, much like the rest of us.

But in the later years of the diary, as she transforms from pre-adolescent to adolescent, she starts to spend more time with friends, and boys, and she attends parties and drive-ins and such.  But the following entry is a marked departure from her usual, innocent and responsible behavior, and she dutifully records the inevitable consequence.  This entry also marks the last time she would write in her diary, as her experience that night seems to delineate the place where she completely crosses over into the fraught world of the teenage girl, a place where a five year diary offering only four ruled lines per day is no longer enough to explain what has occurred.

July 8th, 1971

“Went dancing, got drunk, went swimming, kissed Bob, Barry, Jack, Rich, Mike, was sick.”

The rest of the seventies is left to our imagination.

Valerie’s five year Diary

Old diary entries always have a dreamy quality, I guess because memories seem pale and somewhat indistinct the way dreams do.  This entry, from the second diary, recorded by an unnamed author, details a dream that in its melancholy beauty evokes the kind of longing and loss that typifies reminiscence.

April 1st, 2003

“Last night my dream hurt me.  It started out at the Big Bop downtown. (The big Bop was an infamous, but now defunct punk venue that was in downtown Toronto.–Miss Lady Heart)  I was with a bunch of girls from my school and all these girl bands were playing L7 and 7 Year Bitch songs and stuff.  We left and went to a bar at one point.  And I think Devin was there.  (This seems to be the author’s boyfriend.  See Dear Diary Episodes One and Two for more on him.–Miss Lady Heart)  Something happened with Devin, but I cant remember.  I can see us standing in a snowy back ally, that’s all.  The part I mostly remember was walking around with these kids that were real hurt inside.  We didn’t say much, but I could tell they were sad.  I remember us going to this house and the guys just sat down in this room, but us girls 3 altogether, climbed out the window, and there was a beach outside.  These dolphins swam up to us, and they were bleeding, and they seemed like they wanted us to kill them, and that’s why they came.  I didn’t want to, but the other girls started throwing things at them and hurting them, and the water got bloodier and bloodier.  I was so sad, but they liked it.  The dolphins were beautiful before.  After they died, the girls sang this gorgeous song.  I almost knew it, but not quite, it was like dying and heaven.  I wish I could remember it.  After that all I can remember is me and these girls visiting a sick boy in a house down the street from mine.  He wanted me to hold him so badly and when I did he almost melted in my arms.  He was sleeping in my Strawberry Shortcake bed sheets.”

Each girl writes of  a totally different subject, yet they both evoke the same sad, romantic, dizzy feeling, a feeling of being emotionally overwhelmed,a sense of the power and mystery of water, the sometimes fleeting nature of love, and the music that’s in the background.

the second diary

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Thrift Store Finds: Betty Crocker’s Dreamy Dessert Portraits

4 May

I rarely look through the cookbook section of Value Village, (a local Salvation Army-type thrift store) although it is interesting as a sort of monument to the various food trends and failed weight loss ambitions of our over-satiated culture, (Scarsdale Diet Program, South Beach Cookbook) and it’s ripe with opportunity for an occasional laugh at food non-sequit0rs (for instance, a cookbook entitled Microwave Gourmet!)  But one day my tendency to towards zeroing in on brightly coloured plastic led me to notice a set of Betty Crocker recipe cards packaged in a little yellow box.  I love retro photographs of food as they are usually elaborately staged and often feature very ostentatious interior settings, plus, I love the  super-saturated colours that are characteristic of 60s and 70s photos.  My sweet tooth led me straight to the dessert section where my senses were so overwhelmed by the pastel loveliness of some of the photographs that I graciously ruined the set by taking the best cards so that I could present to you, dear reader, this curated photography exhibit of readymade art:

Neghiborhood Egg Dip

Princess Party

Filled Lemon Cookies

Cherry Berries on a Cloud

Are these not lovely?  They are like the postcards of art  masterpieces you can buy at the museum gift shop.  I mean, a white heart-shaped cake topped with cherries shown on a lace tablecloth?  Betty Crocker recipe cards, get out of my head!

More Frozen Desserts

Grasshopper Pie

I love the suggestion of a little tea party with two cakes, a turquoise one and a pink one.  Each card comes with a suggestion for a party or activity to go with the recipe.  The ones that are for children’s parties are especially sweet as the activities proposed, such as making paper-bag puppets or letting each child make their own candy apple, bring up fond memories of the kind of simple fun that used to make up children’s parties that you don’t really see anymore.

Cake n’ Ice Cream

This Cake and Ice Cream card has a collage like quality, wouldn’t you agree?  The creamy soft yellow cake with ice cream, which looks like it’s covered in tinsel for some reason, looks like it’s been decoupaged onto the background.  Just stunning.

Pink Bavarian Cream

And the Pink Bavarian Cream cake?  It’s like a beautiful sculpture, almost figural in a way.

Gay Nineties Ice Cream Party

Fabulous!  A gay ice cream party!  I love it!  And I love that these are all regular sounding desserts.  Everyone tries to be so fancy and unique with their cakes and stuff, they don’t make vanilla, it’s marzipan instead, or, you know the cheesecake has gooseberries or something gross on it.  Have you watched any of the shows on the Food Network lately?  It’s horrifying.  The host will start off making something good, like a chocolate cake.  They’ll bake it and put it on a plate and it’s looking all yummy, but then, in a misguided effort to seem sophisticated and unique they’re like “And now we’ll make the icing, which will be a mango chutney salsa spread,” or something equally as bad and I’m watching like “Noooooo! Stop you’re ruining it!”

Anyways, I hope you have enjoyed attending my readymade photography art show.  Stop by again soon to see more used goods that I have decided are now an “art”.

Dessert recipe cards purchased at Value Village, 3130 Dixie Rd, Toronto

Thrift Store Finds: Give-a-Show

1 May

When shopping at my favorite junk store I came across this great Kenner “Give-a-Show” Star Wars projector toy.  It’s a small flimsy projector that comes with slide strips that you manually feed through it to create a movie like experience.  A few of the slides have small captions at the top or bottom, but the bulk of the ‘show’ must be filled in with either imagination, or memories of having seen the film,  the latter seeming like an unlikely senario for the age group reprisented on the box:

How old are these kids, like four?

There are 16 slide strips, and though they are numbered the fact that so many of them are just illustrations of ships shooting at other ships with “Pu! Pu!” type sound effects written on them makes recreating the plot of the film with these a task only suited to a hard core Star Wars fan, not a toddler.

I noticed a few other blogs posting about this item, but none thought to properly highlight how hilariously awesome the slides are.  The bold colours and simple graphic illustrations are wonderful to begin with, but as I mentioned above they are also punctuated with unusual sound effects, like “Ktang!”, “Sfoom!”, “Ftik!”, and “Wok!”.  On closer inspection of the other bloggers’ sets, I realized that some of my slides have been printed irregularly, creating extra colourful scenes that are really quite striking.

And so, as the box suggests, I will now “Give-a-show” to you, dear reader, and hopefully this post will be something you “Give-a-Shit” about.

These first slides are the misprinted ones, which are my favorites out of the bunch.  I love the unintended pink and purple result:

"You are my prisoner Princess Leia!"

"Artoo! Where are you going?"

"Into the trench!"

It’s quite a show eh?  The slides are perhaps better viewed this way, as they lose their saturation when projected with the cheap toy projector.  These misprinted slides would make awesome t-shits and other pirated merchandise don’t you think?  But again, please refrain from stealing my idea to make counterfeit goods and sell them.

Here are some of the best of the properly printed slides:

"I cant shake them!"

"On to Alderaan!"

"The fighters...trouble!"

"Where's Alderaan?"

"Get that Capsule!"

"Use the force Luke!"

These are just a few of my favorites, as there are 112 slides in the set there are too many to show them all.

Did any of you have a Give-a-Show toy as a child, and if so, did you ever Give-a-show with it?  I think these types of toys are kind of cool in theory but they taint the child’s imagination and confine their play to things they have seen on the TV or in the movie, kind of like when you read the book after you’ve already seen Girl, Interrupted and you can’t get Angelina Jolie’s vacuous face and whole “I have my children’s shoe sizes written in Swahili tattooed onto my shoulder blade” persona out of your head.  Thoughts?

Star Wars Give-a-Show found at Odds and Ends, 703 Queen St. W., Toronto

Dear Diary: Episode Two, Boys in the Park

30 Apr

As I revealed in the last “Dear Diary” Post I have acquired two diaries, one, a five year diary written in the years 1969 and 1970, and one written around 2001.  They are both written by girls around the same age, but of course they have vastly different content and writing styles.  The first contains entries that are rather brief and succinct, while the second goes into many juicy details about boys and getting in to trouble and stuff.  In this episode, I have selected two entries wherein each girl talks about a boy she has a crush on.  As I said before, the 1960s diary, written by a girl named Valerie, contains entries that are very short and to the point, and mention very little about who her friends are, but as I read along, a boy named Vince starts to enter the picture, and a very sweet and timid affection seems to develop between them.  Let’s join Valerie, her life already in progress, on May 31st, 1970:

“Was all day with Vince at the park, kissed me, watched TV, went to Vince’s bed.”

At first when I read this, the lack of punctuation at the end there made me think that she had gone to Vince’s bed, you know, with Vince.  But I think she forgot the comma, and just meant to say that she went to bed at the end of the day, an obvious assumption one make’s about anyone’s day, but an event she nevertheless felt important to end most of her diary entries with.  After this entry she starts to write about Vince a lot, even though just two weeks ago, on May 16 she wrote that she had kissed Rich at Cindy’s party!  You go girlfriend!

Valerie's five year diary

The second diary has much longer, rambling entries and is therefore much juicier.  I’ve gathered from my reading that at the time the unnamed writer had a boyfriend named Devin, but that didn’t stop her from meeting a boy she had a crush on named Christian at a local park in this undated entry:

“Christian paged me and I phoned him and we met in the park.  He was wearing this pinkish tank top that said “Black Hills”, blue trousers rolled up at the cuff and 20 holed doc’s  He has this really cute haircut that’s longer on one side and swept over his forehead.  He dresses, like, better than me.  While I was with Tara (seems to be the writer’s best girlfriend- ladyheart) I was asking her if I was evil for meeting this boy but she said not if I had good intentions.  He was a really nice guy, and I was really comfortable talking to him, but by the end of the night I was thinking he was gay.  Maybe I’m being stereotypical, but he sold weed in these pale pink bags, he was a really good dresser, he works at this gallery “ArtSystem”, and when we were talking about graffiti he said his tag name was “Sugar”  Oh, and he said that these thug guys in his neigbourhood called him a fag.  Later Tara said that he was just an art fag, not gay.  I don’t know.  It would be a shame for all women if he was gay.  He is so beautiful.  I find him very fascinating.  I hope me and him can be friends.  He says Artsystem has the craziest parties.  Maybe he’ll invite me to one.  I know where he lives.  It’s right, like two doors away from the “El Mocambo” (a now defunct legendary  Toronto nightclub- ladyheart)  He said he grew up up in the suburbs and he coudln’t take it so he used to just stay with friends and stuff, like wherever he ended up.  He was telling me about this one time when he was waiting for someone in Kensington Market really early in the morning, and all the meat stores were getting their deliveries and he was telling me about when he saw these huge stacks of beef carcasses that the delivery guy was unloading, and he was picking them up, one by one and slinging them over his shoulder, and sometimes he would hit his head with them, and carry them into the store, and come out and do it again, and he was completely covered in blood on his uniform.  He said it was the most hilariously morbid scene he ever witnessed.”

Wow, leave it to a guy to tell a gross story like that on a date.  Or could it be called a date?  The writer does have a boyfriend.  What do you think, dear reader?  Were her intentions good?  Should she have gone and met this boy in the park?  I think we’ve all seen what the romantic atmosphere of a park can lead to based on Valerie’s diary entry above.  Her innocent kiss led her right into Vince’s bed.

The Juicier Diary