From the desk of Roland Rocchiccioli – 26 January

January 23, 2022 BY

Growth: Men’s jocks have come a long way from the days when Y-fronts were made for comfort and definitely not for style! Photo: SUPPLIED

Once upon a time, in another century, women’s most popular knickers were cottontails, and men wore baggy, white underpants, called Y-fronts. Both styles sat high on the waist, were most unflattering, and were a short step-up from Bombay bloomers!

PRAISE be, they are now very much a thing of the past!

Like most children of my generation, I did not wear underpants until I went away to boarding school. I remember the first time, distinctly.

My father, Ginger, and I went to Perth three-weeks before the start of the 1960 secondary school year. We stayed on Cottesloe beach at the Hostel Manly, a traditional English seaside boarding house. At a reasonable tariff, including three meals in the dining room, it was much favoured by country folk. A large two-storey establishment, it housed about a hundred guests, some of the whom slept en masse on the large open, upstairs verandah which faced the ocean.  It was a fantastic holiday location. Sadly, the hostel has been demolished.

In the final week of the holiday, my father and I went into Perth to buy my school unform and all the items on the clothing list for boarders. It included four pairs of Y-front, white underpants.

For the first time, ever, aged 12, on the afternoon of Sunday, 8 February, the date I had to report in at the school boarding house, I wore a pair of Y-fronts under my grey, uniform shorts. It was a whole new experience.

The Y-fronts lasted for the first year, or so, after which I discovered Jockettes – a daring style of men’s underwear made from nylon.

That, as they say, was all in another life in another land.

Some years ago, and I am not exactly certain how it came to pass, but I met-up in a South Yarra cafe with Sean Ashby. He was in Melbourne trying to interest retail outlets in his new brand of men’s jocks – aussieBum.

As he recounts, there was scant interest in either his swimwear or jocks. One self-important department store buyer called a meeting of his staff to make a mock of Sean’s aspirations. I imagine, if he has not been fired for his profound stupidity, he is still ruing the day. It is a quintessential example of someone believing they are more important than their job.

Sean refused to accept defeat. Working from his dining room table, and using his life savings of $20,000, he started-up aussieBum with a determination to take charge of his future.

Twenty-two-years later, aussieBum is recognised as an iconic Australian brand that has twice been awarded by the Australian Federal Government for its exporting success – ‘Australian Exporter of the Year – Manufacturing’.

Today, aussieBum is an online sales company, with an annual turn-over of $150-mllion. Outside of Australia his key markets include North America, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France.

Sean Ashby is the most wonderful story of determination and success.

Australian actors Kodi Smit-McPhee, Sarah Snook and Nicole Kidman have won Golden Globe Awards.

Nicole Kidman won for her performance as Lucille Ball in the movie, Being the Ricardos.

The late Lucille Ball was, and remains, a comedic genius, and whose brilliance should be recognised in the same light as Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, and Laurel and Hardy.

Kidman is mesmerising as Lucille Ball. She manages, with seeming ease, to walk the fine line between playing and mimicking the great star, which is a most difficult acting job to accomplish. While all the comedic brilliance is there in the recreation of some of Ball’s most famous moments – including the hysterical, grape crushing episode – Kidman is not intimidated by playing the women. She delivers a superbly nuanced, pitch-perfect, hilarious performance. At moments you believe it is Lucille Ball.

I would be astonished if Nicole Kidman were not nominated for an Oscar, and I would not be surprised if she were to win.

Roland can be heard with Brett Macdonald radio 3BA every Monday at 10.45am and contacted via [email protected].