RETRO FUN: Take a hilarious journey down memory lane with the movie Swinging Safari. Ln cinemas now.
RETRO FUN: Take a hilarious journey down memory lane with the movie Swinging Safari. Ln cinemas now.

Can you remember the swinging 1970s?

AS THE '70s Swinging Safari movie images started to unveil themselves on the big screen in front of me, the memories came flooding back from when my family were growing up in a suburban Sydney cul-de-sac.

Once I got home from the cinema it was out with the old photo albums and on the phone to the family to reminisce.

I remember the two boys across the road with air guns, a madly barking Alsatian protecting the loud opera singer in the second house up the road, lots of teenage boys and girls to grow up alongside, a small park at the end which everyone played in and let off the occasional bunger, and plenty of freedom to visit the neighbours. We knew we were free to roam and have fun.

In the summer, it was down to the beach all day where we fried ourselves with coconut oil, while we tried to blonde our hair with lemon juice and then peroxide.

Were we surrounded by "rudderless families" as profiled in the retro movie? Since I was in my mid-teens, I don't really know.

But when I asked my oldest sister what she remembers about the antics of our cul-de-sac families, she very firmly replied, "not for the record".

She did however remind me of some of the fashion of her friends and their parents which made up a lot of the movie wardrobe - everyone with long hair, halter tops, long dresses, big lapels, chunky earrings, neck scarves, bell-bottom pants, thongs and platform shoes, mission brown and burnt orange colours, men with hairy chests and heavy gold chains and rayon, lots and lots of rayon.

Even the old flammable pyjamas made a showing.

Constantly tucked in around the outrageous Swinging Safari parody with a swingers party that goes very wrong and an exploding whale, is a myriad of 1970s memorabilia; you just need to keep a close eye on everything happening in front of and beside the main movie characters. There is the shag pile carpet with plastic cover to protect it, almost unbreakable Parker-type furniture with its vinyl seat covers, pearlescent plastic chimes, the beach umbrella with its awful fringe, vinyl records, amber glass tumblers, and the very trendy fondue set.

Remember the rumpus room? Do we still have them?

They were the best indoor place to play and hide from the parents. In Swinging Safari the kids thrive in the rumpus room where they hatch some crazy stunts.

The old Fairlane (ours was murky green) and the Kingswood gets a show-in, so does K-Tel and the "free steak knives", the Avon lady, space food sticks, Chiko Rolls, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Kahlua and milk, and last, but not certainly not least, cask wine.

The favourite neighbour dog, the over-fed golden Labrador is in there too. We had one called Bambi. Once we had fed her she would visit many houses around the cul-de-sac for more of the same, even though we put a sign around her neck saying, 'please don't feed me'.

On the way home from the theatre I stopped outside the nearby retro furniture shop to gaze at the contents and shake my head over the prices. I wonder, just wonder; if we had kept all that wonderful, mad '70s artwork, clothing, cars and more, we might just have made a lot of money from it now? At least we could wear it, drive it and decorate with it, and be back in fashion.

Swinging Safari is showing in major cinemas now.

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