Gertrude’s Diary #106 – English Woman 1959

This week, instead of actually writing anything, I’ve been reading about how to write.  Firstly in a collection of essays by famous writers of the 19th and 20th century, and then with the fourth instalment of Clive James’s biography – which assured me that writing anything takes a lot of sitting around doing almost nothing to get into the right mood.  This knowledge gave me the confidence to read an anthology of short stories by Tim Winton and to work on my 3D Pinball skills.  Thanks, Clive.

Then a friend told me that Gertrude is too ingratiating, and this further delayed the necessary steps required to reach the decision to start writing.  Anyway, I’m really, really sorry about being ingratiating.  I hope you all don’t mind too much.  We’re still friends, right?  I’m not sure what is the proper response to being told you’re too ingratiating.  Perhaps a nice, blunt F&*k You is the only way to show that one is taking the advice seriously.

No matter, because I’m finally here in the site admin section.  All I needed was the proper inspiration, and this week that inspiration comes in the form of English Woman magazine from July 1959.  Because it is in such a large format, English Woman (the Australia and NewZealand edition) was difficult to capture on my A4 scanner, so I spent a lot of time farting around with various editing tools.  My limitations in this area prevented me from including a wonderful quiz which featured such questions and multiple choice answers as these:

At the end of your first date, your new boy friend asks for a long goodnight kiss.  Would you; a) Kiss him?  b) Tell him firmly that you disapprove (“No Reginald, you don’t get a bit of tongue until after our wedding.”), or c) Invite him into the house for coffee instead (As recently as 1959, “coming in for coffee” had still not become a euphemism for casual sex).  As the quiz is entitled, “What the Boys Say”, I thought the correct response would almost certainly be a), but the answers given were: a. No, he’ll think you’re cheap; b. No.  A hint is enough;  c. Yes, kissing sometimes just means that the boy doesn’t quite know how to say goodnight.  Of course.  Or sometimes it just means that he’s heterosexual and conscious.

Summer drinks with the Bernard Bradens caught my eye (obviously the concession to Australian and New Zealand readers didn’t extend to actually tailoring the material to suit their seasonal differences).

Bernard and Barbara in their Garden by the River Thames

Bernard and Barbara are in the garden until the end of August (what, can’t they even duck inside to use the loo?), where they’ll be drinking a combination of lemonade, red wine, cinnamon and honey.  When I saw the words “Have ready a big glass bowl”, I expected to see “to catch the vomit” immediatly following, but it was in fact a serving suggestion.

 It's always a Partini with Martini

I also admired this advertisement for Martini.  Better Drink Martini!  With both hands!  Judging by the way this pair are guzzling it, there was a drunken group in the background singing the skulling song.  I like the helpful explanation of what “on the rocks” means.  Would their readership have otherwise been thinking, “I don’t mind it on the rocks, but it can be dangerous at high tide.”?

The vomit stains from this stuff are indelible

I was only partially able to capture this advertisement for custard.  I’m not sure if the colouring is a result of primitive printing methods, or if this is actually the colours it came in.  Surely one’s family would be glowing in the dark after eating something of such luminosity.  At least they’ll be gay.

Finally, a teaser for the next exciting edition.  20 exciting ideas for serving ice cream and how to knit your way to Fashion Magic.  How do they fit so much into one magazine?

The anticipation is killing me

One Response to “Gertrude’s Diary #106 – English Woman 1959”

  1. Apparently the Bernard Bradens also added tinned peaches to their nauseating beverage. Erk.