This Friday’s pulp offering comes via Line of Sight author, David Whish Wilson.
Julian Spencer’s The Spungers was put out in 1967 by Scripts, a publishing company based in London, Melbourne and Sydney, that released a lot of the more explicit Australian pulp fiction I’ve come across from the sixties and early seventies.
As I’ve written previously, the sixties saw Australian pulp publishers start to produce kitchen sink and exploitation fiction, often dressed up as lurid exposés of drug use and sexual promiscuity. These fed off mainstream society’s fears of youth rebellion and changing sexual standards.
The focus of many of these tales was Sydney’s Kings Cross, which in the sixties became well known as a centre for prostitution, sly grog and drugs, often to meet the demand of American servicemen on R&R during the Vietnam War.
The Spungers is a classic piece of exploitation pulp dressed up quasi social commentary on the declining moral values of youth in the sixties. Not that much has really changed. Update the language a bit and whack in a TV crew from A Current Affair and The Spungers would be right at home in Australian in 2011.
The inside front cover blurb is priceless:
“The Vicious, sordid activities of a scruffy Kings Cross beatnik clash with those of a young surfie who decides to spend a misspent holiday rorting up the Cross.
Spotty Williamson was a bludger who would do anything… except a day’s work. Drifting, spunging, bumming, conning money and sex off anyone he could charm.
The encounter with Phil the surfie reveals two types of teenager today. Together they squander through a series of boozey parties and wild incidents, until they meet Victoria. Then the differences begin to tell.”
Love the shoes, too.