Popular Culture Conference

In April I am off to New Orleans to the Popular Culture Conference to give a paper about Australian baby boomers and Jaffas. Remember all that Jaffa-rolling down the aisles of the local picture theatre? Well, a Jaffa always was a marble or a mini cricket ball, wasn’t it?

If the aniseed ball defines the 1930s childhood it seems that the Jaffa defines the baby boomer childhood. While one cannot imagine children of the Depression throwing precious lollies onto the ground (though they might pick one up), post-war kids had enough money to start playing with their confectionery in ways that their parents’ generation could not have conceived of.

Of course, contemporary children have still more money to spend on lollies, but picture theatres are no longer their primary source of entertainment and the stepped, carpeted floors in Megaplexes do not lend themselves to Jaffa-rolling. But the thrill of a Jaffa gathering speed as it made its way down the sloped wooden floor of the 1950s and 60s, at a suitably poignant part of the action of course, is one of the moments most commonly recalled by older Australians when reminiscing about their childhood confectionery.

Let me know your thoughts on the practice of Jaffa-rolling. Did girls do it too? What did we think about the children who picked the Jaffas up afterwards and ate them? Was there a similar practice in other countries?



Filed under Lollies

4 responses to “Popular Culture Conference

  1. Portia

    I know that kids these days throw popcorn and m&m’s at people…not so much jaffas anymore they are too good to waste.

  2. tonirisson

    Some people said the same thing ‘back in the day’. “Who would waste a perfectly good Jaffa by rolling it down the aisles?”

  3. I was more of a popcorn thrower myself, and was MORTIFIED by the kids who ate the Jaffa afterwards.

  4. This brings back such strong silly memories- I did this in the 70s/80s. I used to roll the jaffas ‘full pelt’ along the carpeted floor at a particular cinema in country Victoria because it the wrapped around the edge of the stage in a large arc so would roll up and roll back down again…lots of fun…until one day the usher shone a torch in my brother and my face and told us to ‘stop being such a pair of bloody little pigs!!’
    And no one ate them…that really WOULD have been piggy! ;o)

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