MELBOURNE CUP CARNIVAL SPECIAL – PT II
Taken from National Geographic…
“Once a year, the Black Grouse South Victorian Crested Bogan congregates in the Azore Islands general admission area of Flemington, off Portugal‘s coast Epsom Road, for their annual rut. Many of these creatures travel several thousand kilometres for about an hour to arrive in mid-spring, for this is the only time of year that the entire Black Grouse Bogan population is in the one place, at the one time.
The Black Grouse Bogans are extremely energetic birds and they display constantly. Each male has his own little area into which he tries to entice a female. They make a wonderful turkey-like noise which reaches a crescendo when, periodically, they all display at the same time. They regularly challenge their neighbours, with a different call which sounds like an approximation of “come on then”. Many fights ensue. Some of this is done for effect when a female passes by, but some is serious and quite vicious.
There are sites where the females tend to congregate, and space near these display areas is fiercely contested. After a number of mock charges one will attempt to escalate from mere display, with the sole intention of establishing dominance over its opponents. Almost every male has a bare patch on the back of stupid hat on its head, while some retain the plumage ruffled, directionless hair of their youth. Those that do have this spend a great deal of time grooming it, particularly early in the day.
Most also have a red patch on their breast pair of white leather shoes that contrasts sharply with the black of their feathers suit, and is thought to be a secondary means of display. The weaker birds bogans who spend their time on the outer edge of the display area have often had all their tail feathers money removed. They look a sorry sight compared to their elegant peers.”
The bogan has taken to the Melbourne Cup like an aspiring actress to a terminally ill oil magnate. The combination of comfortable, familiar surrounds, ample (low quality) booze and a chance to uncover as much skin under the guise of ‘formal attire’ as possible has made the lure of racing’s biggest day impossible to resist. In 2009, the Cup is a far cry from the genteel, debonair event of yesteryear. Today, as dusk descends over the looming trash pile that Flemington has become in a matter of hours, female bogans can be seen vomiting daintily, stilettos in hand, while a male bogan hovers optimistically nearby…