Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Seventies Sucked Everywhere

Including Newfoundland, it seems, though less because of economic depression (that came later) than because the island's inhabitants remained isolated and what they received of contemporary popular culture was sad and shabby. From the National Geographic*:

"In many an outport I found one establishment emblazoned 'General Store and Entertainments.'" (This should give you a good idea of what the author was in for.) In "prosperous" fishing communities, the Entertainments "consisted of a pool table and a jukebox; if not, they consisted of a couple of pinball machines." I imagine at least one of these didn't work. The other was emblazoned with clowns. Sad clowns.

Moreover, "in only two outports did I find a movie house, each of them showing a ten-year-old movie on a screen of wrinkled canvas silvered with blotchy radiator paint." The author doesn't say, but I'll bet the movie was the original Ocean's Eleven (1960). A tedious film in the best of circumstances, despite its partial redemption by Sammy Davis Jr.'s singing.

For more provincial fare, Newfoundland residents had access to TV broadcasts from all three of the island's principal towns. And "for a more riotous social life, an outport may stage an occasional net-knitting contest, while fairs may feature competitions in fish cleaning." It almost makes Indiana sound cosmopolitan by comparison. Almost.

* G. Jennings, "Newfoundland Trusts in the Sea," Jan. 1974.

1 comment:

Gorges Smythe said...

LOL - Sounds like my kinda place!