The photo above shows the author of this blog (right) and two friends in the back yard of a rented house in Petersham, an inner suburb of Sydney, in November 1972. We had, some hours before the photograph was taken, ingested some substances on small pieces of blotting paper. The previous day just happened to be the one in which it was announced that the Australian Labor Party had won the Federal election for the first time since 1949, the year of my birth. It’s hard to recapture the feeling of the early Labor years. The Liberal/Country Party Coalition Government had been led from 1949 to 1966 by (Sir) Robert Menzies who probably felt that the greatest honour conferred upon him was to be named, after his retirement, a Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. With Gough Whitlam’s Labor anything seemed possible (though the government was unseated in 1975 after various financial scandals). University fees were abolished. A new system of arts funding got off the ground. Young people were understood. Labor did eventually regain power in the 1980s under Bob Hawke and Paul Keating, but it had by then become a fully-fledged instrument of right-wing economic theory. But for us that day in 1972 was a moment for celebration. In the evening we drove around town in a VW beetle, shouting joyously when we saw flags or bunting of any kind ‘this is socialism!’ We felt as though we had landed on a strange planet. The next day I went back to work, on the City of Sydney Public Library mobile, delivering books to the aged and incapacitated. My first visit was to the home of a man with a tracheotomy who spoke through a hole in his neck.