|"The Hipster Go-Go Dancers perform non-suggestive, early to mid 60s, original and authentic, go-go/fad dances and are not associated with today's burlesque, strippers, erotic dancers or modern hybrid go-go classes. Think music shows between 1964 and 1966 with Swinging London fashion.
Kathy has been professionally trained in 1960s dance and go-go and together with Marie have more than twenty-five years experience dancing to the sounds of the 60s. Their classic style consists of dancing on stage alongside cover and original bands from the 1960s as well as atop of podiums for 1960s nightclubs in Swinging London fashion and original, short, white go-go dancer boots. Over the two decades they have been involved in a variety of events, mainly around Melbourne - Australia, concerning the wonderful, swinging period and were the original dancers for radio station PBS FM's monthly Soul-a-Go-Go between August 2007 and July 2008." - The Hipster Go-Go Dancers Web-site.
|Marie and I were born during the early to mid 1960s and had our first tastes of go-go dancing at the end of the decade through shows such as Fredd Bear's Breakfast A-Go-Go and The Banana Splits. The taste lay dormant for a while and then burst into life again towards the end of the 1970s.|
|We meet in our early teens at high school and begin our love of go-go dancing in each other's bedrooms, listening to the likes of the Beatles and the Monkees on our radios and record players.|
|We graduated to the dance floor of the Groove Tube Cafe in amongst the Melbourne mod and ska scenes. During the 1980's we were a part of the Sixties Appreciation Society during its inception, where I helped put together the first couple of magazines, and together we modelled clothes and danced in cages at the Society's first 'Happening' (The Burnley Tavern). We danced the night away with 1960's influenced bands. We were spotted by local fashion designer, Diamond, and asked to model and dance in 1960's go-go outfits alongside a few other SAS regular go-go girls - Ruth, Michelle and Bronwyn.
The mid 80's came and Marie and I went our separate ways. Marie remained around the mod scene where she became a common face go-going around Melbourne dance floors and 1960's parties showing the younger ones her self-taught go-go abilities. She also appeared at more SAS Happenings dancing and modeling 1960's style gear. She recounts a time when somebody knocked on her front door wanting to take her photo. Marie later appeared in an article in Melbourne's Age newspaper as part of Melbourne's mod culture.
Meanwhile, I had run away to the Pat McGuire Dance School for 4 years to become a professional 1960s go-go dancer, learning all the dances I could from the 1960's, turning up every now and then on 1960's discotheque floors. At the end of each year I gave a dance routine demonstration for the school. I stayed until the school ran out of dances to teach me and became known around the Melbourne city centre as 'that girl with the white go-go boots' often being stopped by shop-keepers to discuss my go-go boots and give instructions to the younger girls on how to 'bouffant' or 'flip' their hair.
|In 1987, The Easybeats staged a re-union tour with all 5 original members. I had offered my go-go services to the Frontier Touring Company for the show but the organizers didn't think it was feasible to have girls in each state so it didn't happen. I later heard from Stevie Wright who said he would have been all for it! (Was it really you, Stevie?)
Marie and I met up again in 1989, by which time she had married, and did a couple of more Happenings. This time adding a third girl and taking on the name 'The Hipster Go-Go Dancers', named so after our 1960's Aywon trousers we loved wearing. Our last 'Happenings' together were at the Tote Club and Sarah Sands Hotel dancing with Marie's husband's band, The Eye Creatures, and Sydney's Ye Purple Knights. Marie did a following Happening without me, modelling 1960s mod fashion by Cosmic Breed Mod Gear.
Whenever we went out together people would walk up to us and ask if they could take our photos or talk to us about the 60s for school projects. Before parting they would always ask the same two repetitive questions. "Are you two sisters?" and "Are you wearing wigs?" Answer one: "No, we are brothers" and answer two: "No, this is our own hair. Look!"
|In 1991 the Hipsters were suggested as dancers by Maria Wright of the Sixties Appreciation Society to partake in a 1960's weekend at the Malvern Town Hall where we danced with Daryl Cotton and the Rock-a-fellaz, the Fabs (ex-Town Crier, Barry Smith) and Ross D. Wylie. During the show intervals we modeled singer Colleen Hewett's latest 1960's fashion range whilst demonstrating our dancing skills. There were knitted two-tone designs that we didn't mind and I had seen the same designs in old 60s magazines. But there were others we just didn't like and didn't think looked anything like 1960s fashion. Davy Jones from the Monkees appeared on the same bill that weekend but, unfortunately, we were not required to dance during his act and watched his performance from the floor.|
|The organizer of the Malvern weekend asked The Hipsters to dance for the upcoming Beatlefest '92 at Melbourne's Royal Exhibition Buildings. The Hipsters danced alongside Sydney Beatle tribute band, the Beatnix, by coincidence matching the colours in the costumes I had made to that of the band. I think it was because of this that audiences often thought that The Hipsters were a part of the Beatnix act .... but we weren't. The Hipsters structure as a trio did not work out so it became a duo and went on to repeat the Beatlefest '92 gig in Sydney at Darling Harbour, hosted by 1960's pop singer, Jeff Philips.
Thanks to the main organizer of the early Beatlefests, The Hipsters went on to further dance appearances repeating Beatlefests in 1993, 1994 and 1995 at both Dallas Brooks Hall and Melbourne Central. We were surprised some of the younger fans were wanting our autographs but gladly obliged. A great thrill came for us when we were asked to be the dancers at Beatlefest 94. It was a special event - The Beatles 30th Anniversary Tour - dancing again with our Beatlefest stage partners, the Beatnix along with support act The Uptight Roadshow featuring Ross D. Wylie at Melbourne's Festival Hall. The show was a packed house of around 5000 people. It was 30 years to the day that the Beatles had played on the same stage. The Beatnix did their first set using the very same song list and order that the Beatles did 30 years before.
Television station Channel 9 were taping a special on the event, so we were asked not to perform our dance routine on the opening number, 'I Saw Her Standing There'. They were trying to re-enact the original show and of course back in 1964 there weren't any support go-go dancers. I was photographed in a Beatle dress I had made from Beatle curtain material (see dress above), along with a set of Beatle dolls, by Melbourne newspaper, The Sun, for a story promoting Beatlefest. A couple of years later The Hipsters were photographed and interviewed for a few of the local suburban newspapers, Leader, again promoting another Beatlefest.
In between Beatlefests and maintaining our everyday jobs and having children The Hipsters did a couple of corporate nights with The Fabs, a few more 60's weekends and a charity show at the Palace featuring Russell Morris, Tony Worsley, Wayne Duncan (ex-Daddy Cool), Bobby and Laurie, and Peter Robinson (ex-Strangers). Marie and I would often laugh about the one dressing room at the Palace for all of the performers and walking in on half dressed men without their shirts on. Ooh la la!
The podiums at the Palace were set up so high we almost had to climb ladders to get on them, and the lights were so close to our heads that we could smell the hairspray in our hair burning. It was only later that photographs would show how high those podiums were and we didn't know that the audience could see so much of us ... so to speak. A little later there was talk of going to Adelaide for a 60's weekend but unfortunately that show never eventuated. I can also remember doing one of the corporate shows (which I think was for BHP) at the old Southern Cross Hotel in Bourke Street with a girl named Rachelle as Marie was at that time in the motherly way.
The year 1997 had The Hipsters hitting another high. We were engaged to perform with Australia's top acts from the 1960s at Festival Hall in Melbourne in a show called 'The Last Great Sixties Show'. We were invited to attend an intimate daytime promotion of the show where the cast of the show were being interviewed by local current affairs programme 'Today Tonight'. The Hipsters were interviewed but it never made it to air. However, our dancing did!
There were many icons appearing in the show: Alison Durbin, The Allstars, Bev Harrell, Bobby and Laurie, Denise Drysdale, Daryl Cotton, Glenn Shorrock, Grantley Dee, Johnny Young, Little Pattie, Marcie and the Cookies, The Masters Apprentices, Normie Rowe and the Playboys, Peter Doyle, Ronnie Burns, Ross D. Wylie and Russell Morris. And this was 6 years BEFORE the success of the ABC's 'Long Way To The Top' shows. The show was filmed by a family member of one of the acts. Now that would be something to see today.
It was wonderful standing back stage, chatting, laughing and cajoling with the bands just before we were due to run on to the stage and climb up onto the podiums. My best memory was having Australia's first go-go dancer and my favourite, Denise Drysdale, up alongside me on my podium during the show's finale whilst we go-go danced together. I offered her the spotlight but she politely declined. Earlier in the night, backstage, Johnny Young was clowning around and got down on one knee before we went on stage and playfully serenaded me with a chorus of 'All My Loving' which made everybody laugh. The adrenaline and excitement was in waiting to go on stage and tread the same boards our musical heroes had once stood upon back in the 1960's including international acts - the Beatles and the Hollies. In between sets of songs we would rush to our stashed beauty cases to straighten our costumes, re-position our hair and gulp water. The dressing room was too far away from us to have to wander back and forth. We were lucky to mingle with the performers at an after show party. Musician Bobby Allen was astounded by how authentic we looked (in our white boots, red fringed dresses and teased hairstyles) and enquired about using us in his shows. It didn't happen.
The next year saw The Hipsters grace the large stage again with the 'Superstars of the Sixties' show at the Melbourne Entertainment Centre. Again the cream of Australia's 1960's musical talents appeared. A nice programme was available at the show which featured a photo and small blurb about The Hipsters at the back. This show featured Bev Harrell, Bobby and Laurie, Buddy England, Colin Cook, Denise Drysdale, Doug Parkinson, Grantley Dee, The Groop (original formation), Johnny Young, Marcie Jones, Normie Rowe and The Playboys, Peter Doyle, Ross D. Wylie, The Thunderbirds, The Town Criers and The Virgil Brothers. Ray Brown from Ray Brown and The Whispers was hoping to be obtained for the show but had unfortunately and surprisingly not long passed away. Guest presenters on the night were Gavin Wood and "hi-dee-hi" 1960's DJ Stan 'the Man' Rofe. I can remember how FABULOUS!!! The Groop looked in their beautiful matching dark blue suits. They were one band who looked liked they did back in the 60s, Marie chasing them before they went on stage to obtain autographs for her poster. One of the show organizers had commented to Denise Drysdale how great The Hipsters looked and was looking for a response. The reply was that we ought to be home in bed. I wasn't quite sure how to interpret that.
|The Hipsters attended a sound rehearsal in South Melbourne the day before the show and watched as each of the artists came, did their bit then left. I have great memories of arriving extra early at The Entertainment Centre for the sound check and being up on a podium with pen and pad in hand taking notes on the arrangement of the songs so I could adjust any dance routines; being allocated a dressing room and then being shifted to the tiniest one of all that you couldn't swing a cat in. During the actual show, Normie Rowe came up to my podium whilst he was singing and kissed my hand. After the show Marie was yelling out of her car window at one of the guitarists that she thought looked like John Paul Young when Johnny Young popped his head through her window and scared the BEEPS out of her. She got such a fright that we burst into laughter.
When the Beatles' double red (1962 -1966) and double blue (1967 - 1970) albums were released on CD in Australia, we were requested to perform some of our Beatle dance routines for Virgin Records at the entrance of their Bourke Street store. Of course there was Beatle music blaring out of speakers to entice the public to visit the store. Then things went quiet for a while.
In 1999, I accompanied one of the organizers of the sixties shows to a couple of schools where a talk was given to the children about the 1960s whilst I spoke briefly about dances of the era, presented hand outs and performed a dance routine. As the new century approached The Hipsters saw it out dancing at a few private parties with the Greasy Hawaiians at the Williamstown Yacht Club (or was it the life-saving club?) and a New Years Eve Party at the St. Kilda Lawn Bowls Club.