#107 – St Patrick’s Day

17 03 2010

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, only 0.3% of the Australian population was born in Ireland, and only 0.8% are second generation Australians of Irish stock. Seeing as bogans account for at least 20% of the Australian population, it stands to reason that, unless Irish DNA offers a predilection towards being a bogan, there are only around 160,000 Irish bogans. The average age of an Irish immigrant being nearly 50, TBL believes that, nationwide, there are only around 20,000-30,000 Irish bogans between 18 and 30 years of age.

Yet, once a year – today, March 17th – hundreds of thousands of bogans around the country congregate at Irish pubs and bars and celebrate their Irishness. By getting smashed on Guinness and glassing cunts. These bogans will alter their standard display behaviour, also. Rather than merely wearing garish T-shirts and posturing aggressively at one another for the benefit of the female, they will wear garish green t-shirts and posture aggressively at one another for the benefit of the female.  Upon meeting a real Irish person, it will first patronise them by clumsily attempting to put on an Irish accent, and then prepare to fight them. Possibly with the ultimate idea of finding gold at the end of this particular bloodied leprechaun. It’s hardly surprising that the bogan has taken to St Patrick’s Day with this sort of delusional fervour. After all, the bogan will happily embrace any culture that it perceives to be based on drinking, fighting and people with a passing resemblance to itself.

While Irish pubs spend the rest of the year half empty, on St Patrick’s Day, the bogan will PAY to enter the same venue and eke out a narrow gap for itself between the toilet door and the cigarette machine. It will then spend the next six hours drinking a beer it shows no interest in for the other 364 days of the year, and complaining about how crowded the pub that it never otherwise attends is. On its first pint of Guinness, the bogan will inwardly wince at the dense black sludge in its throat, pause to compose itself, and then loudly pronounce its themed deliciousness over the surrounding din. Much of this din is caused by a patently hopeless U2 cover band, earning $500 for a set that is completely devoid of monetary value at any other time.

Indeed, St Patrick’s Day is a rare example of the bogan’s rampant one-dimensional nationalism being put on the back burner. Today, the bogan will go to great pains to inform bystanders that it is “one quarter Irish” (presumably leaving only three quarters Australian), which in its mind, qualifies it to enthusiastically recount the same three Irish jokes that it told on St Patrick’s Day last year. And the year before. And the year before that.

#22 – Cover Bands

10 11 2009

Bogans love commercial radio. But, with the limiting nature of only liking five different artists (selected from; Pink, Snow Patrol, U2, AC/DC, Nickelback, Coldplay, Green Day or any remix of anything. The Beatles are also allowed, to convey an understanding of musical history, while some outliers like Franz Ferdinand provide extra rock cred), the bogan can quickly grow bored. Commercial radio does what it can, by playing these artists on constant rotation, but still there is a void. Particularly when it comes to live music. Pink’s constant defilement of major arenas notwithstanding, major international acts rarely venture to the antipodes.

Hey kids...Crazy Haus! Enter the cover band. You know them. They were the guys who formed a band in year nine, playing gigs at lunch to 30 kids who then got booted out of the auditorium for crowd surfing. That was, until the point they formed a cover band, the highpoint of their lives. It’s Darren, Sam and Clint, plus Clint’s younger brother who they recruited to play bass because their old bass player’s wife won’t let him out on weeknights/their old bass player got hooked on ice and disappeared in Darwin/they never see their bass player anymore. And, in a desperate attempt to reclaim the euphoria that is live performance, they go to the same pub, on the same night, every week, and play the same songs. To the same bogans.

And bogans love it. Having only five artists to listen to means that opportunities for attending live rock performances (is there another kind?) are few and far between. Sport notwithstanding, communal entertainment is usually designated as being for ‘other people’. Opera (“poofs”), dance (“poofs), non-rock music (“poofs”), comedy (“is it Hughesy? No? Poofs”) and the theatre (“poofs”) are all for a cultural subset that is not bogan, leaving only whichever Fast and the Furious film is in cinemas, or the pub with a cover band. Those five artists mentioned above can be re-created without the talent, verve or originality of their original members but, importantly, the cover band will mimic each song down to the 16th beat.

Thus, the bogans can bounce around, singing only to the chorus of ‘Betterman’ and ‘Jessie’s Girl’, while screaming for post-Californication Chili Peppers, and feel inordinately cultured. Meanwhile the boys from ‘Jet Black’ or ‘Crazygarden’ reel out “hit after hit”, and the bogans continue to regret that they jumped in to the loud bit from ‘Blister in the Sun’ one measure too soon.