Julie Mac’s scrapbook

I had pretty much forgotten about my Sharpie past – Growing up, working in the corporate world, marrying, having a baby and a mortgage, then a divorce and re-marrying keeps you busy. I remember having a pang of envy and nostalgia after hearing of Larry Jenkins and Peter Robinson’s photographic exhibition and mixed emotions when given a copy of Tadhg Taylor’s Top Fellas in 2005. I sat up all night reading Tadhg’s book and after hiding it under some books on my bedside table, I had a sleepless night as I began to process the feelings and images flashing like a movie trailer in my head.

At the 2006 Skins’n’sharps exhibition, I offered to scan my Sharpie photos for Sam. Putting the photos together and adding the names and dates I could remember, it bought memories flooding back of my old mates. I scanned some photos but the resolution was crap, so I thought about it and for a few different reasons, I decided to donate my albums and scrapbook to Sam. If I died tomorrow, what’s the bet my husband and daughter would chuck my albums in a dumpster, set fire to it and dance around, while throwing in my antiques and the other stuff they hate (which is pretty much everything I own, plus my precious poodle).

In my eyes, Sam is the custodian of our Sharpie culture. Also, Museum Victoria has shown interest in Sam’s collection and I think it’s hysterical that one-day my embarrassing, teenage girl stuff could be classed as historically important.

I contacted Sam and we met up in December 2008 and had a great time going through the photos, ephemera and stories. Sam asked me to write a bio to use with the pictures on his site and I found I had trouble writing it, well not so much the writing, but with how it sounded. No matter how it was worded, it made me sound like a mole!

My association with the Melbourne Sharps was via my boyfriend Skeeta, a handsome Eastern Sharp. Heartbroken after we split, I had a summer romance with a Billy Idol look alike from the Westside Sharps, before going out with one of the St Albans Sharps, Chap, a 6’2″ blue eyed hulk.

In my effort to write a bio for Sam, I ended up writing ‘RAGE – A Sharpie’s Journal – Melbourne 1974 to 1980’. I still had handwritten pages from writing about West Side when I was 15 and using my old diary, a friend’s diary (I will take your secrets to my grave!), photos and oral history, I put together a novel to try to capture the culture and period from the girly point of view, adding guns, cars and bitch fights for the boys.

In the year it took me to write RAGE, I’ve re-united with old mates and have found the bonds between us are still intact, if not stronger. When we made our Sharpie mates, it was probably the first time in our short lives where we chose our own friends outside of neighbours, forced family friends or kids from school, sporting activities and clubs.

After spending over twenty five years disassociating myself from my Sharpie past, I look forward to healing rifts with old rivals and growing old, together again with my mates.