Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Nostalgia Overload

A friend phoned me up two days ago and said they had 'live' sixties music on PBS. I found what she was talking about MY MUSIC hosted by Petula Clarke and featuring many of our old friends doing their thing. Eric Burdon can still really rock it and my personal fave from the 1960's (as I was 12 in 1967) Peter Noon, still looks 21. 

So Here's an article I wrote for the Globe and Mails' Facts and Arguments a few years ago now. (It says  I have a 16 year old. So that's 8 years ago. My gosh!) I can spice it up with real pics. I still have those magazines, which I used to research my story Looking for Mrs. Peel.

 I once caught a TOP theatre producer in the UK (or more precisely her IP) combing through the play online. I thought "Yea, I've made it!" But I heard nothing.


A Boomer's eBay Experience

Originally in the Globe and Mail All rights reserved by the author.

By Dorothy Nixon

I’m a cutting edge kind of girl: I like to use the new technologies, to explore their potential, or, more to the point, their potential to help me.

Even if I am a boomer (like so many others) soon to hit the big 5-0.

Even if I am still suspicious of the Net, when it comes to giving out my vital statistics, my precious credit card information.

Like many people, I have two online shopping venues I trust: Amazon and Ebay, those ebusiness success stories.

I know Ebay is certainly popular with the teenagers.

My 16 year old tells some how his friends buy ‘all their Christmas presents’ off Ebay; and he keeps begging me to set up an account for him.

But I’m hesitant. I mean all he wants to buy is ‘frivolous stuff’ like add-ons for his CD burner or some Def Leppard T Shirts.

I, myself, am on a singularly important mission. I’m trying to research that ‘magical’ time between April 28 and Oct 27, 1967 for a memoir I am writing.

That’s why for the past two months I’ve pretty well been glued to my computer console, checking out ‘auctions’ of ‘67 memorabilia, ephemera and assorted popular culture kitsch and puffola on Ebay.

(Mashall McLuhan was BIG in 1967. Some said Expo 67 was a manifestation of his "global village." Hmm. There has been a great deal written lately about Loneliness and Social Media.)

I’ve surfed for the Avengers and Man from UNCLE TV episodes that played in ’67; my old school textbooks; any print material on Expo 67, brochures or books; and key vintage magazines, the Times of our life and the Lifes of our time. Even the Tiger Beats, Women’s Days, and Chatelaine’s of that giddy Bobby Gimby era.

Let me tell you, it’s been a blast (from the past): Using Ebay judiciously is an acquired skill. You can get carried away.

I’ve learned a lot, some of it the hard way. For instance, if the vendor claims it’s rare, it probably isn’t. I had to laugh the other day when I saw a certain March 1967 Look Magazine posted with a starting bid of 100. US. The Death of the President. I was amused because this particular issue has to be the most commonly auctioned magazine from ‘67 on Ebay. .

Oh, and Canadian bidders beware! From what I see, vendors of small items actually make their money on shipping and handling charges. No one wants to ‘win’ a magazine for 99 cents US and then get hit up for 16.99 s and h; that’s what happened to me.

Money and postal orders can add a chunk to the price of any vintage magazine. My bank charges 5.00 for a money order. Postal orders cost about half that. Ouch! And remember there’s major duty on any sale over 20 Canadian.

OK, if you think you’re being ripped off by a vendor, you can always refuse to pay but that’s where things can get nasty.

Ebay has a feedback form, where both buyers and vendors can rate their satisfaction with any given transaction, positive to poor. I’ve found that some people use this as a weapon: “You give me bad feedback, I’ll give you bad feedback.”

So far, I’ve yet to give negative feed back despite the fact that I’ve had problems with a good percentage of my purchases; I’ve received wrong magazines, damaged magazines;one vendor ‘forgot’ the postage, which I’d paid for!

And one mega merchant re-posted my magazine a day after I had ‘won’ it. It took about ten emails, but things worked out in the end, I got the magazine I wanted, a ‘rare’ Canadian edition of the 1966 TIME Man of the Year: Everyone under 25 (That’s you and me, fellow boomer). Don’t say you’ve never made the cover of any magazine.

(Man of the Year, Us Boomers. Now we're just geezers about to bankrupt the economy)

He claimed he had dozens of each magazine, so that it was no big deal!

But on Ebay –when it comes to vintage magazines - rare isn’t really the point, is it?

The 1967 Star Trek and Avengers issues of TV GUIDE are not rare at all, they come up all the time, but they are a sought after collectible and can go for 20 to 30 dollars US. I haven’t been able to land a copy of either one. 

(Leonard Nimoy was being positioned as a 'teen dream'.. In one of my TV Guides Isaac Asimov claims his teenage daughter thinks Spock is sexy. (I thought Asimov was sexy, or just too charming when he visited Talk Shows. )Yesterday, I saw a rerun of the Spock Napkin episode of Big Bang Theory. Twiggy Eyes and The War took precedence over Expo 67 for Americans.)

Get Smart, Green Acres, too. Any magazine with the Monkees on it.

Twiggy was huge in 67 (figuratively, not literally) and any fashion magazine (especially Seventeen)with that emaciated Carnaby Street icon on the cover, goes for relatively big bucks too. 20-25 dollars US. The highest bid I saw on any 1967 general interest magazine (over 100 US) was on a copy of the genuine (not commemorative) 1st issue of Rolling Stone with John Lennon on the cover.

If you really want to win an item, don’t bid until the very end and, then, have your fingers ready at the mouse.

I missed out on a windfall of 27 TV Guides (a genuine tragedy) because I didn’t stick around to the end and some seasoned Ebayer outbid me at the final second. That purchase would have saved me a bundle in time and money.

However, I did win the TV Guide with Lawrence Welk, the issue that came out April 29, 1967, the first week of Expo. Imagine my happiness when - by some miracle it – it turned out to be the Montreal St Lawrence edition!! In fact, in the space of a couple of months, I’ve acquired most every mainstream US and Canadian magazine with an article on Expo 67.

I’ve found advertisements, too. “Look what the Russians are building just 40 miles from the US Border.” blares an ad aimed at Americans for Expo. (They are referring to the Russian Pavilion).

I’m also reliving the darker side of events during the “Summer of Love”: many articles are proof positive that history really does repeat itself.

Here’s a report on William Westmoreland exclaiming to Congress that Vietnam anti-war protesters are giving the enemy confidence; another about Saudi women being freed from the tyranny of the veil – by –of all things – television.

Westmoreland made the May 5, 1967 cover of Time for this speech, but I never saw it: the Canadian edition featured Prime Minister Pearson on the cover, delivering an altogether different kind of speech at Expo 67’s opening.

Ah, what a blissful time it was. But try to explain that to my 16 year old!

Back to Other Nixon Essays