- Bushwackers need a new poodle. Prime Minister Howard stands by George W(surge) Bush and declares now is not the time to pull Australian troops out of Iraq. Stop and stare. Bow wow. The Blair-pup had to be put down, so our Johhny tries out for the role as lap-dog-in-chief. Even Paris Hilton had a more robust pooch.
- Intervention. I still don’t know what is behind the Police-troop deployment into Aboriginal homelands, but it does seem that Howard has discovered Al Kaeida training camps operating not far outside of Darwin, or something (see here).
- International Culture. The pub chain ‘Walkabout’, so charmingly named after Nicolas Roeg’s film where the white guy shoots himself dead in the desert, leaving his 2 blond kids to be saved by David Gulpilil, is so my favourite. And now sporting, in its Covent Garden London branch, a full wall mural of an Aboriginal man (generic), carrying his kid off into one of those love-a-sunburnt-country sunsets. Aside the fact that walkabout is also a derogatory white folks reference to the laziness of black employees (and at least Roeg had some sense of irony in his use, it was the white dad that went troppo), the charm of Walkabout pubs, Kangaroo steak sandwich aside, cannot be denied as expats and tourists compete to be the first to hurl on their neighbours.
- Speaking of which. Neighbours. Please forgive me for this, and all things Melbournesque, but I used to share a house with the fashion consultant on this long-running TV-soap, so I know a thing or two. Set in Nunawading, but totally unaffected by the ethnic demographic of that fair suburb. When I arrived here the first pub I went into was screening a four hour daily ‘omnibus’ edition of the show. Thankfully now pubs are turning into fruit machine venues, gastro-bars or ‘walkabouts’ – which is, sad to say, an improvement on Kylie and Jason regurgitations.
- Cultural Cringe. That old favourite of expats. TNT Magazine asking me about how outdated I thought the British view of Australia was; as I said elsewhere already, I think the TNT ‘journalist’ wanted me to trash the old routines of cork hats and bbqs in favour of the new sophistication on show at, the then upcoming, Australian Film Festival in London. Happy to oblige. Yes, the British view of ‘Oz’ is outdated, since people have not yet got into the habit of referring to the place as the new apartheid, there are not organised protests outside the High Commission, there are no sanctions and boycotts, the rugby tour of France is going ahead without incident, the troubles (civil war by any other name) are barely reported, Shane Warne is a hero in Hampshire, Clive James book is on the shelf at LRB shop. I’m starting to miss Germaine Greer (oops, no I’m not, she is still everywhere over here).
I think I could do five more here, but really, why? Better we just acknowledge that nostalgia ain’t what it used to be and get out that old guitar…
Pilgrims, let us all sing together:
Our Andy’s – gone – with cattle now –
across the Queens-land – border,
he’s left us – in dejec-tion now –
our hearts – are out – of – order…..
ack, I can’t even do that properly, warbling along like Slim Dusty, and what on earth is the next line?
I suddenly have this vision of a boxing transvestite on a Harley Davidson:
“Where the bloody hell are you”, Aunty Jack.