The biggest problem in getting "Heels" into print has, for the last few years at least, been one of persuading the shy and retiring Club member to produce material. There is a marked tendency to say; " Someone else could surely do it better...." What interests me is the modesty of all these supposedly self-reliant trampers, accustomed as they are to fighting their way through untamed bush; combining as they do, the sensitive poet in communion with Nature, and the unquenchable bushperson. Closer questioning revealed that they feared, above all, the laughing ridicule of those reading the confessions so laboriously wrung from reluctant pens. This intrigued me still further, because a change I have watched with pleasure in this club, is its increased friendliness.
This is probably not immediatly obvious - we're a rowdy lot, and inclined to form cliques - but in comparison with the VUWTC of four or five years ago, this year shows a marked change. The emphasis is no longer so uncompromisingly upon competitive tramping; now, in fact, super-keenness is gently ridiculed, although fitness is always envied, and " pikers " encounter the same ridicule as the " red-liner ". The point is, there is room for both in the Club now, and this is as it should be. Some may object - a tramping club is there to tramp, not to socialize - and this, certainly,seems to have been the view of the Club in earlier years. But how many wistful would-be trampers were dissuaded by this rather complacent attitude? (Incidentally - or is it entirely incidental? - the very competitive and fit VUWTC of about eight years ago was almost entirely male...) In my view, the word " club " implies a social activity, and a tramping club should keep this in mind. I don't mean to encourage " piking ", ( a deplorable habit, ) or to say that parties should be our first concern; I mean simply to express my enjoyment of a club which is able to laugh at itself, thus leaving room for all kinds of tramper, from the stumbling socializer to the loping " red-liner ".
This a long way from my original question, which I seem page 2no nearer to answering. If we are indeed able to laugh at ourselves, why this unwonted modesty about writing, this fear of ridicule? One can only conclude that it's the old stiff-upper-lip, don't cry in public attitude...we know what is going on, we enjoy the socializing and-or red-lining and we all guess as to who enjoy which most...but none of us are keen to acknowledge our own preferences in writing, for eternity to muster arguments against us. This magazine is thus a triumph of good humour, self-realization...and careful concealment.
I would like to thank all those who helped to get "Heels" '76 under way, especially Bill, Ken, Jude, Wharry, and Bryan. Special thanks are also due to those w ho typ e d69(½=)(# thxi s ma zg -axxa!ø 7 zi ne... ?!, Lucy, Marilyn, and Julian.