Half the folks I read about as having married, have since come out as gay. Not even thirty years ago, people felt they had to hide who they were. Anyone over forty was considered to be of advanced age, and a rare few were celebrated as looking good “in spite of their years.” IVF was still in its early stages, and as ICSI hadn’t been devised, success rates were low. Gluten was considered good in most cases, and low-fat powdered skim milk was the go! Sexual, domestic, financial, emotional and verbal abuse were rarely discussed. If they were mentioned, it was only in brief commentary, advising the person to seek some form of therapy, though adequate help was scant. The postal service was rushed off it’s feet; the internet and express delivery still a long way off. We thought it marvellous if we could have our film developed in 24 hours, viewing the dodgy pictures we’d taken.
We saw Hollywood stars fall in and out of love, just as we did. Some famous folk sadly succumbed to drugs, alcoholism or other tragedies. If only we had a time machine to warn them! Would they have listened? Would we, had we been approached, regarding impending disaster? Some of the ads and features I came across in the old magazines made me smile and reminisce; some made me glad to be alive right here and now. People can be who they truly are without falling foul of the public or media. They don’t need to announce an engagement or marriage to be accepted. Medical advances have seen everything from cochlear implants transcend from one station (leaving only a minor improvement in hearing), to many, which can be adjusted easily for the individual’s comfort. Laser surgery is a thing, as are insulin pumps and scores of other astounding breakthroughs in medicine. A friend of mine was kept alive via an artifical heart whilst waiting for a transplant in the past five years!
Ageing is celebrated, and we are actually seeing people over forty on catwalks, and in the arts, being revered and heard. We live in an age of self-defrosting fridges, little vaccuums, mobile phones, laptops and the internet. Rather than hiring a huge video cassette, we are able to download a film on our IPads. We are fortunate, to be alive at this time. No more secrets nor shame. We are indeed fortunate.
March 9th, 1987
Elton John was married to Renate Blauel and Michael Crawford was on stage in Phantom of the Opera.
March 12th, 1984
There was a feature on Celebrity Homes, with pictures of Liberace, Rock Hudson and others.
Joan Collins had started seeing Peter Holm. In good news, stress increases your metabolic rate! A recipe recommended orange juice, sugar, gin, instant coffee and ice as a refreshing drink. It goes without saying that a man requires a hostess and elegant wife to not only cook, but charm his colleagues. It is apparently expected and a lady can look at it as being her “job” as a wife.
December 11th, 1990
Elizabeth Taylor and truck driver Larry Fortensky were an item, as was Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin. Cigarette companies were still running competitions, and the latest innovation was a rechargable vacuum with a torch on the end! There were no hair straighteners, only curlers and crimpers.
August 28th, 1990
Nicole Kidman was 23 years of age, and engaged to Tom Cruise. The movie Ghost was a hit and reduced-fat foods were becoming popular. Julia Roberts and Kiefer Sutherland were going out and fridges that automatically defrosted were beloved. Forty is considered old! Apparently, Mick Jagger-at 47- is exhausted from touring and at his advanced age, is looking forward to being home with Jerry Hall and the kids!
I stopped in at The Bower, a darling little shop in Parramatta that sells everything from pre-loved tea sets to furniture. To my joy, I found magazines for 30 cents each, some dating back thirty years. It was extraordinary, the information on the pages. So much has changed regarding everything from medical advice to technology. Here is a quick run-down:
May 5, 1986
Six cigarette advertisements in one magazine! In Hollywood, Dudley Moore and Christopher Reeve were out on the town with their respective partners. A feature on a lady who started a bread-making business boasted that her success lay in using only high-gluten content flour! Porridge with dried apricots was apparently a popular breakfast! Peter Russell- Clarke was our most popular television food presenter, and featured in ads for Australian cheese.
Sanitary ads featured smiling women in pastel shorts, running and swimming. Laxatives (that could unblock a drain), were liberally put on show, and used as an adjunct to a healthy lifestyle, whether you needed them or not! Monstrous vacuums were the order of the day, as were video clubs. Send a cheque, and you would be the recipient of several family video-tapes in 28 days!
April 27th, 1987
Princess Diana was featured heavily, as was 46-year-old Raquel Welch. Shirley MacLaine’s Out on a Limb autobiography had recently aired as a mini-series in the US. In cutting-edge news, there was incredulous talk of laser surgery to improve eyesight. Could it be a reality?!
Retirement plans were aimed at those aged 55 years upwards, with no talk of working beyond that age. Shoulder pads are huge.
Elizabeth Taylor was 55, mineral water and oat bran were served at health retreats and cane furniture was in.
Glass brick windows afforded light and privacy, and Brandy Alexander pie (complete with marshmallows), was a popular dessert! OCD wasn’t then a known term, and what was coined as a germ phobia was usually treated with heavy medication. The strongest sunscreen at the time was factor 15+