Saturday, 27 May 2017

Two Deaths In Suburbia: An Original Short Story

This scene, taken from the TV movie "Go Ask Alice." Alice is a typical teenager, shy and unpopular, who leaps into the crazy drug world after a hit of LSD. From there, our unfortunate suburban girl is intoduced to Speed and Torpedos--the very next day. Then, for some bizarre reason, Alice tries pot, which is known as a gateway drug and not something that. after hard substances, you THEN gets this wild rush, complete with running around talking about encredibly oversize curbs. Sure. Here, doper and drug dealer, played by Robert Carradine (yep, THAT Robert Carradine with teeth that could take over the world). Chris, in that stupid floppy hat and Jan are salivating as they see the stash. So Alice leaves her comfortable home in the suburbs. There were a lot of kids like these.
Here's Gerrie Mason in all her neurotic, drunken glory. Portrayed by legendary Julie Harris. Deboarah Winters played daughter, Maxi, whose wholesome facade falls into pieces when she tells her parents that she was on the Pill, has used LSD many times and has a biker boyfriend, laughing all the while. In this scene, mother, Gerri Mason and the sickening father, Arther, frightening, loud and kicks Arnie out of the house because he wrongly believes that his son supplied Maxi the acid.  Steven McHattie, who playes Arnie. One wild trip in the stiffling suburbs.
Neil with a beautiful German Shepherd. They both are appearing to giving the side-eye, most likely due to Neil's insistence  that these shots work much better in black and white.

Watching Your Show  Of Show, I Love Lucy
This rather odd photo, with Neil, Chris and the German Shepherd sitting on a red, plastic couch is inexplicably outside after a rainfall.  Behind them are two pictures engulfed in fog---altering with a UK suburb and an American one.
Here's a weary picture from the past of a housewife having to use one of those usless carpet vacuums that basically did absolutely nothing.
How to hold a baby. It doesn't appear to have one of those "Jolly Jumpers" that take the place of this woman who often had to multi-task. Looks like fun.
Not sure why this woman is pointing her finger at the TV. That huge eye, filling the screen, dilateds and with a nucleahere's a flower-like symbol, may or may not be a symbol for something in the nuclear vein. I strongly believe that, because the 1950's  mindset was on the cold war and atomic war. Childrer were to dive under their desks so that they'd be safe. "Duck and Cover." was an actual method drummed up by some clueless principal. 
No, this isn't a game of monopoly, with a player having the most motels, thus winning. It's an aerial view of little houses in perfect little rows and perfect little roads that most likey, perfect little families and perfect little abodes in Hell. Or suburbia.
 first I thought this was some kind of suburban mall, Boy, was I wrong. It appears to be a dilapidated mess that  represents the urban decay that naive people to arrive, en masse to be housed in "A post war paradise" I use the word "paradise because that is what these families were told. Gullability ran rampant, until the bubble burst and they realised that  thesuburbs would be a living nightmare. And it was, particularly hard for the housewives.
Here we have a kid defacing public property. There's a toilet,near the back, but, quite frankly, I didn't want to venture into anymore guesses. Kids even vandelised bus stops. It gives the bored and angry suburban rebels something to do.

It was just a matter of time before almost every suburbia dweller rose up against a waning and ever-crumbling concrete wasteland. It wasn't just the pervasive boredom where  people had been held captive in a world slowly crumbling and falling into what had become a prison, particularly for women who had been churning out more children that they could logically not afford. But that was just the tip of the iceberg . They were expected to cook, clean, vacuum and do laundry, metaphorically become prisoners in their own homes, chained to sewing machines and packing lunches for their her children.

But that was what suburban mothers were expected to do. After all, their husbands worked so hard to provide for her and their kids, didn't they? They were all living in a protective bubble of sorts, unable to prick the damn thing and escape. Instead, these unfortunate souls continued in their sunless, robotic environment and became complacent to ridiculous proportions.

The years after World War Two saw a massive movement of people into new suburbs. The growth of suburbs resulted from several historical forces, including the social legacy of the Depression, mass demobilization after the War (and the consequent “baby boom”), greater government involvement in housing and development, the mass marketing of the automobile, and a dramatic change in demographics. As families began moving from farms and cities into new suburbs, American culture underwent a major transformation. Race and class dynamics began to shift; the longer distance between home and work generated a highway and housing construction boom; and older community institutions began to disappear as the family turned inward

Author: Bruce Lesh, Franklin High School, Baltimore County Public Schools

I didn't sign up for this. All I do is cook, do laundry and tell my husband how wonderful he is. Screw this crap. But is there a way out??
These poor housewives were prisoners in their own home. Living in the suburbs,  There were weak little trees---way too tiny on a manicured lawn. But in time, they would dwarf the houses.  Given sewing machines to delighted wives. Now her life was complete. As for her hopes and dreams, they had to be squashed underfoot like a dung beetle.  After all, their days were spent cleaning, dusting, vacuuming and making certain that their husbands come home in the evening with his pipe and slippers.  What kind of life was this? Did she sign up to be a slave in the kitchen?
Mom, I need you to come over here--the sooner the better. I forgot the seasoning for my stew and Billy will throw a fit. You know how he is. After working all day, he deserves a tasty dinner. Right, Mom?
Are the depressed housewives deveoping  a rebellious streak?
Groceries meant that these gals were actually allowed to temporarily break out of the suffocating home for an hour at least. What is wrong with this picture? Were these weary housewives slaves, chained to a stove, or didn't they appreciate suburban living? But it was the 1950's after all. WW2 had ended and the soldiers came back to a triumphant fanfare, with streamers, balloons and cheers in New York City. Many soldiers who fought overseas were tired and looking forward to starting their lives over. And the scourge of suburbia was cemented in stone.  What kind of life were housewives handed to them.?
In all it's tepid glory.

Sharon Anderson was fed up. Completely burned out from her supposedly happy life in her golden cage, swallowing her pride and affixing a smile that frighteningly appeared as a twisted rictus grin. She hadn't signed up for this. Like many other suburban prisoners, Sarah had naively stepped into quicksand and it didn't take very long for her to see exactly what she was up against: Subserviance. And no way out. Could she be the only housewife who felt this way? Staring blankly at soap operas and sitcoms as she ran her iron over her husband's shirts, white shirts that had to be starched; but not too starched or David would tell her that they were "too stiff".  David complained many, many times that the sewing machine he'd given his wife was gathering dust. "You do know what it's for, don't you?"

 "Yes. I know what it's purpose is, David. But I don't understand why we can't just go to the mall and buy clothes. We have the money. Your job pays well--at least thats's what you tell me."

Sarah's mind snapped back into reality. She would just love to be able to tell her husband what was on her mind, but would never want to "rock the boat." After all, David provided well, the rent payments were never late. His job as a defense attorney was incredibly stressful, having to duke it out with the prosecutor, knowing that he had to prove that an oftender wasn't guilty, when it was obvious that, more times than not, that he or she had committed an often gruesome crime.

This family was hanging by a thread. There didn't seem to be any disarming abuse, whether it be emotional, psychological or physical. Anyone gazing upon the rows and rows of seemingly identical houses wouldn't bat an eye. This was suburban paradise, wasn't it?  Housewives all over America and Great Britain should be thrilled, right?

Sharon never surrendered to the "suburban dream", even though she was forced to keep her rebellious side  to herself, of course. She couldn't tell any of her friends, bridge  even the paperboy. That may seem like there was an unhealthy dose of paranoia in her head-----but there needed to be. After all, Sharon had no idea where she would go to live. She realised that she had no money, save for cleaning products,  vacuum bags---well, you get the picture. She didn't even have any plans. David rarely took his wife out to the movies, to a restaurant or anywhere for that matter. Sharon longed for the freedom to go into a movie theatre and sit there all day, even if the same film was played over and over. But it was just a dream, a wish that could never be fulfilled. Sarah then left to pick up her children from school.  Amilia was an outgoing and engaging child who made friends easily and was years ahead of her actual age of eight. Her younger brother, Luka had just turned six last week. Unlike his sister, Luka was very shy, had few friends and spent a lot of time to himself, not because he enjoyed it, but because it was his sancuary against the stifling suburban atmosphere that seemed to depress the little guy.

Although he was only six, Luka had an uncanny ability to see through the thick fog of oppression that engulfed his family: He saw how unhappy his mother was, how his father told her what to do all the time and essentially kept her hostage in the so-called "lap of luxury." The Andersons prided themselves on being the first neighbours to own a TV. There were only black and white ones, but that didn't really matter. David belonged to The Hunt Club, went golfing every Saturday, drove an expensive car and as for their house, well, it stood out from the others because of its size and its staggering beauty.

Now, nothing much had really changed.  David wanted an inground swimming pool, but it was no secret that he needed that to round out the portrait of "perfection" more than anything. Little Luka wasn't fooled. He approached his father one afternoon, as they sat  on the front porch and asked, " So is Mom going to swim in it too?"

David smiled and responded, "as long as she's a good girl."

"Good girl", for God's sake! You don't treat Mommy very well."

Instead of continuing the rather awkward conversation, David got up, grabbed the newspaper and headed inside. What a coward, thought Luka in disgust. Something has to be done, but I'm just a kid. Nobody would take me seriously anyway. Mom rarely smiled anymore and was perpetually tired from her many "duties". There had to be something he could do. Maybe there is, he mused, a smile spreading over his face. Maybe there is."


Part One Of Two

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

"You're So Flamboyant"

Here's good old Elton John in one of the first pictures of this odd but endearing musician's eccentric clothing and eye wear in the early 70's. You can tell it's an old photo by the discolouring and fading colours. Elton was just getting started.
 Note the  jazzy colours,, a coat he must have bought in one of those second hand shops. Looks happy whenever he performs. I don't know which chemicals he's adding to his performances. 
I wonder if this getup was the end result of some feelgood " drug-infused" substance. If not, then there is no way he'd have drummed up this piece of work when sober. 
Whoever that girl is, she doesn't exactly appear to be thrilled with the ZOOM eyewear. Can't say as I blame her.
Looks as if Elton John is strangling Miss Piggy.
A scene from the rock opera, Tommy. Written by The Who and featuring Elton with mile high shoes.
He did love to be in the spotlight--still does.
A bit much, even for him. It looks as if he stole the cashmere coat from some chilly gal who just wanted Elton's autograph (I refuse to see that as made of fur)  Bad Elton.
Here's Neil doing his Carmen Miranda impression. He does justice to a bit of flamboyancy too. 
We were just talking about Miranda. She did know how to light up a room, give her that.  I wonder if those pearls are real. Likely.  She was just adorable. Eyebrows are a bit bizarre, but she somehow makes them work.
Quite original, as there are many impressions of Liza Minnelli and other "gay icons" already.