#247 – Gig Photography

10 10 2011

We may have figured this out. For all the talk, posturing and driving down inner-urban streets with all four windows down and the sonic enema of David Guetta emitting at NASA-like frequencies, the bogan does not actually like music. It has an underdeveloped Morrissey gland. Sure, it responds, Pavlovian bivalve that it is, to rave whistles and sub-bass rumblings, but things like ‘rhythm’ and ‘melody’ may well do no more than cause the bogan confusion.

So, why? Why would the bogan so studiously be such a big music fan, to the point that it actually likes ‘Music on Facebook. Not an individual artist or band, but ‘Music’? Our thousand monkeys experts at the Boganomics Institute in Genève have, after several billion hours of rigorous testing, nutted this problem out. The bogan, knowing that everyone else ‘gets’ this music caper, must fit in. It must, on pain of social exclusion, give the appearance of enjoying the mundane bleatings of Michael Bublé and, by extension, encourage the musical abortion that is Human Nature. It must undergo the trauma of indie rock gigs to prove its bona fides. This, of course, explains why the bogan is incapable of attending these gigs without resorting to shouted conversations and the occasional punch-on.

However, these are bogans we’re talking about, and subtlety is not their strong suit. The bogan would not waste time listening to music simply to enjoy music, but to establish its street cred. So, beyond the aforementioned musical drive-bys and Facebook posturing, how can the bogan prove that it is a music fan? By taking photos, of course.

Having established that the bogan is unlikely to frequent live music performances for the pleasure of witnessing live music, it becomes easily understandable that the bogan’s true purpose for being there is to stand front and centre, raise their iPhone above the crowd, in order to get a blurry, diagonal capture of half of Kings of Leon’s lighting rig, and a flurry that could possibly be their bassist’s hand, and start snapping. And snapping.

In Phuket, the bogan is perfectly happy to enjoy the experience of getting smashed on buckets of beer and errantly identifying ladyboys while only taking the occasional snapshot. The experience of live music, however, is lost on it, so attempting to create a visual record of its attendance, and uploading it – post-haste – to Facebook becomes of paramount importance. Forward-thinking bogans may even upload a Twitpic or two while still at the gig, adding reams of bogan musical veracity to its already bulging resume of forgotten, but recorded, concerts.

The Facebook photo album ‘Kings of Leon Awsum!’ rapidly assumes equivalent importance to other albums demonstrating the bogan’s max clubbing skillz such as ‘Friday Night OMG!!!1!’, ‘Boutique Fridayz!!!’ and, of course, the unforgettable ‘Friday Night with the Girlz!!!’. The only real difference between these undifferentiated dark blobs of pixels is that three contain elevated images of poorly arranged cleavage, while the other (un)focuses on a brightly lit stage 40 metres away. The bogan now understands music.

#246 – Tax Refunds

29 09 2011

It has happened since the dawn of time. In 1854. Taxation issues caused ancestral bogans to attack police in an unsuccessful revolt on the Victorian goldfields. The tax paid on discovered gold was deemed by the miners to be excessive, and they wanted it back. They wanted a tax refund. They did not get a tax refund. The subsequent 16 decades have, in a large part, been dedicated to the bogan getting square.

In modern Australia, income tax is deducted from a worker’s salary at a rate that, all other things being equal, should result in the person neither underpaying or overpaying tax throughout the year. This system entitles the bogan to bark about the perpetual and limitless misuse of its taxpayer dollars. This very nearly makes sense, so it is not meaningful to the bogan.

While British colonists in North America 350 years ago lobbied for political change (and led to the American Revolution) with the slogan “no taxation without representation”, the bogan, being the ambitious parasite it is, has higher aims. While the bogan will reluctantly have tax deducted from its monthly salary, it agrees solely on the condition that all of this money, and more, is returned to it at the end of the financial year. Also, it wants infinitely maxtreme levels of political clout at all times. “No taxation, yes representation”.

A recent survey reported that 89% of people expected to receive a tax refund from the 2010-11 financial year. From this, we can deduce that at least 11% of Australians are not bogans. The remainder comprises people who genuinely warrant refunds, people who have successfully defrauded a pathway to a refund, and a large horde of bogans who are smirking on borrowed time. In the weeks and months after June 30, Australia’s towns and cities rattle from the shrill cry of bogans opening their ATO envelopes. Birds flap from their perches on sandstone cathedrals. “Where’s the refuuuuund?!?”, complaineth the bogan, upon receiving a cheque for a mere $400 to offset unspecified and highly dubious expenses. The bogan knows that it paid thousands in tax over the year, and continues to ponder this injustice as it drives down the smooth, four lane road to chemist. A script for PBS-subsidised Ritalin is collected for little Thailaar, who is on her third warning at a private school mostly funded by the government.

An angry phone call to the creative accountant later that day involves a slew of incompatible accusations about the accountant’s level of ability, coupled with a demand that the tax return be filed again, getting it “right this time”. Because the bogan is acutely aware of its Bill of Rights, it therefore knows what is right, and that it has a right not to pay bills. Conceding that bogans (particularly those in marginal electorates) are indeed right, parties on both sides of the political fence are profoundly reluctant to reduce any tax deductibility loopholes frequently used by bogans. Furthermore, new ways to offset income tax miraculously appear near election time, confirming that, Eureka! – the bogan is right.

#245 – The Makers of ‘The Hangover’

9 09 2011

We know that the bogan likes sequels, and we know that the bogan likes remakes. Both of these things provide the bogan with a rich, nourishing bubble of security that – when it is enveloped by its Natuzzi™ couch, watching its Samsung™ 60” plasma – mitigates the risk that bogan lives in constant fear of. That it will buy something that reflects poorly upon it.

Most industries figured out the power of branding in appealing to the bogan long, long ago. Proto-bogans were encouraged to make their children happy little Vegemites™, or that nine out of ten doctors smoked Marlboros™. It has reached the point today that the marketing industry is engaged in a constant tailspin, like Keanu Reeves to the bogans’ Patrick Swayze, as they both hurtle to Earth, the bogan seeing no reason to pull the ripcord just yet.

The trouble in the modern day, however, is that branding’s easy with products that can be re-purchased. The bogan that is convinced to switch from Red Bull to Mother so it can be more maxtremely manly will continue to drink said massive cans once its loyalty is certain. When it comes to films, it is less simple. The bogan will, perhaps, pay money to see a movie in the cinemas, or most likely watch it at home on the screen it purchased on generous interest-free terms at Harvey Norman. Once it’s bought, or watched, it ain’t about to get bought again, no matter how strong the brand.

Now the moguls, as the movie types’ superlative tends to be, had a few fixes, namely making the same film again, and making n sequels of any popular film, turning it into that most appealing-sounding of film concepts, a ‘franchise’. Having bogans pay extra money for the sick-inducing experience of watching in the third dimension was also a brief fillip, before even bogans cottoned on to the inanity of Avatar (until Avatar II comes out, of course).

Trouble is, making a new movie is expensive. The cost associated with putting together even a lame remake masquerading as a sequel was discovered by the makers of The Hangover (Zack Galifinakis + baby), as they made the same movie again, chucked a ‘2’ in front (Zack Galifinakis + monkey) and made a metric fucktonne of money. Metric fucktonnes of cash notwithstanding, though, even a sequel is a gamble. So they figured out something even better. Apply the branding of entirely unrelated material to a new movie. Thus, even though Judd Apatow has directed a mere three feature films, there have been at least 370 lesser works tossed out to the slavering bogan horde with his name attached, to huge bank.

In the relative Apatow-silence since Knocked Up (no one liked Funny People), there needed to be a new brand to bring the bogans in. Luckily, The Hangover, with its references to maxtreme partying and Las Vegas, hooked bogans the world over good and proper. Thus, we have been treated to the likes of Due Date (Zack Galifinakis + puppy) and The Change-Up, in which other movies are remade at low cost, then branded ‘Hangover’. We’re confident that they will make a metric fucktonne of money.

#244 – Low Interest Rates

5 09 2011

The bogan understands economics. With a level of understanding akin to James Cameron’s grasp of screenplays, the bogan will frequently invoke its right to free speech to opine vociferously on the performance of the economy, thus the performance of the government of the moment. And the bogan knows that there is only one true measure of economic performance: interest rates.

Interest rates are the Reserve Bank’s sole means of regulating an overinflating economy, or spurring on sluggish consumer and business spending by discouraging or encouraging bank lending. However, unlike the ‘conventional’ economic wisdom, which the bogan is assured by News Ltd is spurious, the bogan knows that a truly strong economy exists only when interest rates are at all-time record lows. The bogan approaches interest rates much like a climatologically paranoid beaver. Should it rain heavily, the beaver’s dam could well be fucked. The bogan, loaded up with $500,000 of borrowed money to pay off the McMansion, views rising interest rates much like as incoming inclement weather; that is, a clear signal of impending economic doom.

Thus, every month, there is a near-pornographic obsession in the trashmedia with the upcoming announcements on interest rates, as ‘journalists’ rapidly calculate the monthly cost facing overleveraged bogans’ average mortgage repayments. Accordingly, bogans will express outrage when the banks have the temerity to ‘pass on the rate rise’. National politicians will then fuel the flame of righteous bogan fury, claiming that the banks have a responsibility to bogans everywhere, and that their behaviour (making a profit) is un-Australian.

Once the dust has settled, the bogan will begin complaining to everyone about how the rising interest rates are the government’s and the banks’ fault, and that they are now in ‘mortgage stress’, because that it a term they heard Kochie use once. This is despite the fact that mortgage rates are still about half the level of 1991. This is also despite the fact that the bogan has happily loaded up the credit card at 20% for a new bookshelf from IKEA, a 0.25% increase in the interest rate is enough to send the bogan into a seething rage.

The bogan, under the extraordinary levels of mortgage stress it inherited due to the policies of a government that has no control over interest rates, will approach the bank, asking to fix its exchange rate. It understands economics, but not fixed or variable mortgages. It resigns itself to watching the monthly announcement on the increase in interest rates, and will then exercise its right to free speech to opine vociferously about how unaffordable housing is in Australia.

#243 – Perspective-Based Photography at Famous Landmarks

25 08 2011

“Wait…move your left hand over a bit…that’s it…nah, wait, you missed it. Fuck. Try again.”

Travel to any part of the world with any landmark that has appeared in a James Bond movie or a Contiki catalogue, and you will undoubtedly hear words to this effect. With a strong Australian dollar, cheap flights, and internet accommodation bookings, the newly internationalised bogan has embraced overseas trips/tours/drinking with a previously unseen fervour. They then decide, in their uncommonly belated manner, that it would be totally bitchin’ if they posed alongside a famous landmark, employing their unparalleled grasp of telephoto perspective to create the impression they’re, you know, holding it up! While the bogan has precious little perspective on life, empathy, culture, and modesty, it has an unlimited desire for perspective in its photography.

How artistic and clever it makes the bogan feel to have come up with such a devastatingly effective photo. The several hundred other travelling bogans undertaking the same process within a 50 metre radius are clearly ripping off what is an original idea. It is inconceivable that anyone other than that one particular bogan could have realised how extreme it would be if a photo made the Eiffel Tower look really small, with the tip being squeezed by the oily pincers of the bogan.

After the magic of the digital camera allows the bogan to make the requisite 300 attempts to place the photo’s two subjects in harmonious alignment, it can be taken home, enlarged 100 times and placed on the wall of the formal living room. The roaring success of the photo is enough to induce the bogan to tell its friends that it’s thinking of becoming a pro photographer. Indeed, the possibility to take more perspective-based photos (along with V Australia now flying to North America) may lure the bogan to journey to NYC to create a sidesplittingly unprecedented scene where the Statue of Liberty gets sodomised from behind. An alternative, and equally appealing option is to kiss the Sphinx, and then make a joke about getting older pussy. Or, or, what about one where it looks like the ruins of the Acropolis are getting stomped on?!?!

The bogan will never, ever, ever tire of this.

#242 – Playing the Market

19 08 2011

The bogan’s love of making a quick buck is well noted, so it was only a matter of time before it turned it’s liliputian attention span to the sharemarket and its promise of easy, maxtreme wealth. But the bogan isn’t interested in investing. In doesn’t care for fundamental analysis, P/E ratios or portfolio diversification. Even the shortest investment horizon is too long by half. The bogan wants a quick fix, a super expressway to leviathan plasmas, hot asian escorts and solid gold houses.

Taking Koshie’s advice on Sunrise, the bogan puts $5000 in a managed fund. But after a year, the bogan is shocked to learn the fund has only made a paltry 12% (despite outperforming the market by 4%). It expected to turn to that $5000 into at least $100000 by now!

The exasperated bogan then accompanies its entrepreneurial mate Troy to a seminar that promises retirement by 40. The bogan loves being in on a secret, and the seminar seems to offer an exclusive avenue to intense max millions. Two hours later, however, the bogan exits the seminar hungry, confused and dissatisfied: the free sushi had weird seafood in it, it doesn’t understand what a CFD is, and the only time it had ever been exposed to a stop order in the past was when it attempted to enter its partner’s back door without prior permission. Besides, the promised 25% per annum return is still grossly inadequate.

Its plans of becoming the next Warren Buffett buffeted, the bogan considers doubling its money at the dogs when the conversation at Thursday night poker turns to the market. “Boys,” the bogan’s business mate Troy says to the attentive crowd, “a mate of mine gave me a hot tip…” Scrambling outside in between Coronas, the bogan jumps on the iPhone to his wife. “Jade, we’re gonna be rich,” he exhorts excitedly. “Can you free up some money…”

The next day, the bogan puts the children’s education fund in Yam Aha Ltd, a highly leveraged agricultural investment scheme, growing yams in Papua New Guinea with revolutionary farming techniques. Not content with the promised 150% return, the bogan then takes out a margin loan, boosting his surefire, guaranteed return to a whopping 300%.

Initially the stock does well, prompting the bogan to gloat to his friends about ‘playing the market’ and purchase a new jetski and 3D plasma. One month later the stock has turned south as tropical cyclone Wilson leaves the summer yam harvest in ruins, and the bogan yammering. Initially, the bogan slogs it out like an ANZAC, taking solace in Troy’s sage forecast that the world price of yams is about to rocket as the Chinese government produces ethanol from yam extract. The next month, however, the stock plummets before going into a trading halt as ASIC announces Yam Aha is really a front for endangered parrot smugglers.

Forced to sell the McMansion to meet the margin call, the bogan vows to be wiser with his money in future. Until Troy tells him about the octagon scheme….

#241 – Theatre Restaurants

10 08 2011

Despite the best efforts of their marketing departments to abandon their traditional audiences, theatres around Australia remain only occasionally of interest to the bogan. This occurs during the runs of things such as Shane Warne the Musical, Puppetry of the Penis, and the farewell tour of something they once fleetingly liked.

However, there is one type of theatre that the bogan has maintained a hunger for. A theatre whose exterior is so maxtreme that it couldn’t possibly contain things that bogans do not like. Theatre restaurants have been present in Australia’s capital cities for decades, and also can be found in bogan strongholds such as Newcastle and the Gold Coast.

While theatre restaurants may appear to be particularly bogan, there is a brutal subtext to these venues. The people who theatre restaurants pay to amuse the bogan on stage are very unlikely to be bogans. Generally, they are inner urban uni students or drama graduates who have failed to take Hollywood by storm. As punishment, they are forced to spend the rest of eternity dressed up in corsets and plastic fangs, clumsily overplaying physical comedy so that the bogan knows when to laugh.

Because the actors and hosts at the restaurant all look ridiculous, this gives the bogan the green light to express its own sartorial personality when attending a theatre restaurant. An unfortunate side-effect of this, is that theatre restaurants are popular venues for hens’ nights. The boganic bride-to-be, adorned in enough penis-themed products to impregnate a latex sex doll, is in its element at a theatre restaurant.

These actors will cavort around the restaurant, barking into lapel microphones, and involving selected bogans in the hilarity. Meanwhile, the bogan chews its way through a plate of rubbery beef and blackbean, and offers the room unsolicited insight into what’s on its mind.

As the bogan gnaws futilely on its rapidly congealing meal, it pauses to consider the entertainment value of the miserable actors on the stage before it in silence. While it finds the entertainment to be awesome in the consistent way that the stars of the show will draw attention to the flaws of various other guests, and the buxom wenches seem to be hovering around its table quite a bit. But then, the host, Count Dracula himself, swaggers towards the bogan, eyeing its Elwood t-shirt and lycra sleeve ‘tattoo’…