When I grew up there wasn’t such a thing as a shopping mall. Ok, so there were covered centres where shops were circled around an escalator, but you didn’t hang out there. You did your shopping quickly, then went home. There was the odd coffee shop but no restaurants.
If you were seen loitering around the shops then someone called the cops.
Teenagers never went near malls. If you told a teenager to go to the shops, they would shrug and tell you that they had better things to do with their lives. What that was, I can’t recall. Life for kids was mostly about playing vinyls in the lounge.
Teenagers lived for the moment they could start to smoke. I remember it being the highlight of a small-time suburban youth. Kids talked about it as though it was an international news break. It was announced with great aplomb that Mike had smoked his first cigarette.
The boys were all virgins, but chain smoking madly to get over the stress.
There were three or four cigarette brands, and Gunston was the strongest. So Gunston landed up sponsoring the local surfing contest. The synergy was that real men had the balls to inhale a cigarette with kick. And only real men could conquer the ocean.
It must have been a good feeling, to receive a free carton of cigarettes from the sponsor, and then to enjoy your trophy by caressing it while you smoked. Life was simple. As the adverts said: Life was Great.
The idea of a winner these days is a little more complicated. Teenagers have a lot to achieve before they hit 20. It’s surprising that so few of them are addicted to tobacco. Not that it ever got anyone over the humps.