First published on Livejournal
I've done my first draft of "Call Him Ringo", my attempt at short historical fiction for an anthology. I spent two days in the State Library researching the Beatles visit to Melbourne, prices of groceries, what was on at the movies and the theatre at the time, what was happening in the world at the time. I knew I wouldn't use more than a small amount of what I'd found, but the human interest stories in the Sun (now the Herald Sun) were far better for my needs than the rather dry articles in the Age, a paper I much prefer to read in the present day. If it hadn't been term holidays I would have had to go in after a long day at work and leave the writing for the weekend. back to work next week, so I'd better get on with the other stories I have in mind, while I can. "Call Him Ringo" is going to sit there for a while, percolating, till I can look at it again and decide how much of a rewrite it needs before I submit it. I really hope it does sell, because there's not much call for short historical fiction for teens these days. Perhaps I can extend it to a novel, later.
By the way - movies at cinemas in Melbourne in June 1964 were "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Cleopatra", among others. "Camelot" was happening at Her Majesty's in Melbourne and "Carousel" at the Princess. You could buy three tins of salmon for 1/6 at SSW (fifteen cents) and if you spent more than thirty shillings at Spotless Dry Cleaning (very hard, by the way! The cost of every service they offered was a lot cheaper than that) you got a free Beatles beaker, suitable for hot drinks.
Bob Dylan had a new album out - it was reviewed in the Sun - and was fairly new himself.
Women in Victoria weren't allowed to go on juries. Teachers had applied for equal pay for women and been knocked back.
The Vietnam War was looming on the horizon. There were a few Australian advisers there already and in November that year, Australia started to draft boys.
And on a page of the Sun that had the young woman who'd written an 812 page letter to the Beatles say she was starting another one, there was an article about an earthquake in Japan. Right next to her smiling photo. :-(
It made me feel more comfortable with the era, more able to write about it, but there was no need to show off as some historical writers do - "Hey, look how much research I did!"
And then there's oral history. It turns out my brother-in-law Gary was at the Southern Cross on the day the Beatles came out on the balcony - and because he couldn't get a ticket, he simply stood outside Festival Hall. He was a student teacher at the time. I wrote him into my story, as I've done before.
Fingers crossed it sells!