When journos go bad


Three homely ladies

Here in the Dodgy Perth offices we do not believe the fashionable theory all journalists are lazy bottom-feeding scum. Statistically speaking, at least one of them has to be an acceptable human being.

Sometimes, however, they don’t do themselves any favours. We’ve all seen the ACA piece, or read something in The West, and asked ourselves “How is that news? Did you have five minutes to go and realise you’d spent the day in the pub and so just knocked out some sensational rubbish through your beer goggles?”

Well yes. They did. And so did a journo from The Mirror in 1935. They managed to fill many, many column inches sneering at overweight women, and throwing in some casual racism on the side.

And what had provoked this? Just a contact ad in the West Australian:

Miner (47), would like to meet homely lady, prefer fat woman, child not objected, view to above [matrimony]. Genuine.

After noting “fat women have had a sorry time through the ages”, our drunk hack observes that while the Turkish are an exception, the “average civilised man” doesn’t like plump chicks.

The newspapers are full of adverts for diets and slimming pills, and there is good reason for this.

Could you ask a fat girl to sit on your knee? Could you rely on her to have the agility to hop off it in time if someone came along?

Could you hold her in your arms in the back seat of someone’s car without feeling that you had the weight of the world on your shoulders or a ton of spuds on your chest?

People glare at her resentfully in crowded trams because she takes up a whole seat while others stand.

Bathers leave the water for fear of a tidal wave as she cavorts down the beach like a dyspeptic balloon and rumbles into the sea with the concentrated grace of a generation of elephants. Surfers crash into her broad back and, before they get the water out of their eyes, object to the P. and O. Company leaving a liner in a swimming area.

Just a tiny hint of fat-shaming, we’d say.

Anyway, now onto his twelfth gin, our lazy scribbler signs off with a pun: “A miner might like ‘a good crushing,’ but the average smart young man doesn’t.”


They don’t spare the rod in Perth


And doesn’t he look happy about it

Today Dodgy Perth answers that difficult question: Is it okay to hit 17 year old girls? In the 1920s The Mirror used to run an advice column. Readers would send in their problems and the following week other readers would offer their opinions.

Today, we offer a problem and advice from 1928:

Up to what age should a father spank his daughter?

I have a daughter who is nearly 18, and lately I have had to speak to her several times regarding the late hours she keeps but she takes no notice.

I am now seriously considering asking her father to apply the slipper but I am afraid he would refuse on the grounds that she is now too old to be spanked.

There does not seem to be any other way to enforce parental authority. What should I do?

Yours etc, ‘Mother of Five,’ (East Perth).

The answers were consistent.

‘Mother of Five’ has a perfect right to ask her husband to spank her seventeen-year-old daughter if she won’t do what she is told and refuses to correct her bad habits.

Spanking isn’t a matter of age; it’s a matter of common sense and girls should be spanked until they have sufficient common sense to be able to get along without the strap.

Yours, ‘Twenty-one,’ (Subiaco).

Another mother wrote:

I take the opportunity of giving the lady a little advice on this most important subject, which as far as spanking children is concerned, is as old as the hills.

If the girl of nearly 18 years old did not do as I told her and she treated me with so much contempt I would not go to her father to perform the operation of spanking her.

I should take the pleasure of getting a cane about 18 inches long and put her across my knee, and use it to such an extent that it would sting and hurt, and give her something to remember.

Don’t think she is too old to punish at 18, don’t hesitate about it, and you will get the respect all the sooner from your daughter.

Yours etc., ‘Another Mother.’

Anyway. So now you know.

When drag came to Perth

ValentinesIn honour of St Valentine, the Court Hotel is holding one of its (in)famous Traffic Light Parties this evening. If you haven’t been to one before, Dodgy Perth can assure you of a great night out.

The event will be hosted by two of the Court’s regular queens, Hannah Conda and Barbie Q.

Which leads to today’s historical problem: When did drag first come to Perth?

It is impossible to know who was the first local man to dress in women’s clothes, since appearing in public meant almost certain arrest. As happened to South Belmont resident Richard Moyes in 1949. Richard was only spared jail by agreeing to see a psychiatrist.

Stewart Hobbs of East Cannington was not so lucky the following year, when he was sentenced to fourteen days for wearing a dress.

But men will be men (or women in this case), and in 1953 The Mirror was shocked to discover that suburban houses were hosting Drag Nights.

Because the innocent readers of The Mirror wouldn’t have a clue about the jargon of “the effeminates”, the newspaper helpfully defined ‘drag’. It meant having an elaborate wig, painted and rouged face, expensive frock and dainty underwear, brassiere with padding, silk stockings and high heeled shoes.

Sounds about right to us.

The paper had been tipped off by a man who ‘accidentally’ (yeah, right) attended one of these drag nights.

All the guests were men, and there was plenty of hard liquor and hot jazz and dancing. Especially dancing.

Most regrettable of all was that the queens were intelligent men, who held respectable jobs during the day.

The Mirror’s informant fled when one of the ‘synthetic sirens’ asked: “Have a dance with me please, darling.” So, unfortunately, the reader is unable to discover exactly what kind of debauchery took place later that evening.

However, the paper suggested that it might have involved a mock religious marriage ceremony. Or it might not, since no one saw anything of the sort.

Jazz. Dancing. Liquor. Drag queens. In Perth? Where was the strong arm of the law to sort things out?

And especially important, where was our invite?