according to British People Having fled before this grand final of right wing MasterChef (MasterRace/ So You Think You Can Stop the Boats? / Thank God You're Not Here) I threw myself into doing what all expats who move to London must: talking about Australia loudly and at length all the bloody time.
Clive James did it and made a career, Barry Humphries did it in a dress and made a career, Germaine Greer did whatever she wanted to whomever she wanted, wrote a hugely influential book and ended up on Celebrity Big Brother (more about that in a bit.)What does the Englishman on the street think about contemporary Australia? Well, after ten months of comedy clubs, bars, club bars, members bars, mid price restaurants and late night kebab shops let me tell you what I've heard.1. We're All Bartenders Who Live In One Suburb And Finish Every Sentence With A Question Mark?Most people I meet in London have a mental coach outlet purses kavu picture of The Great Southern Land or worse, they've visited and everything terrible that happened on their fateful trip to Dubbo has been now magnified into the national character.The place they talk about isn't always the nation I recognise, but then, I'm from Perth, which is barely in Australia. I've managed to irritate friends in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane many times by greeting them with, "It's a great pleasure to visit coach usa shop online your country."The conversation usually starts by looking at you in relation to London.When you say you've moved over, the curious and elderly will ask if you live in Earl's Court, because "that's where all the Australians used to live". If you're in a bleak frame of mind, you can point out that Australia was much the same until the arrival of Captain Cook.If asked what your job is, you may quickly discover the stereotype that Australians tend bar, since there's a legion of backpackers who've been doing it for decades. I have no idea; since, like all decent people, I stopped wearing a backpack right around the time I turned 11.It's an idea that's played for laughs by stand ups over here. It doesn't get any, but, as Pol Pot would've told you, it's fun to watch people die.Whole evenings can hinge on your accent. People you don't know will analyse your speech for hours, while you wonder if this is karma for saying your Swedish mate's voice sounded "flat packed" back in 2006.There's a popular idea that we sound like everything's a question? Because we go up at the end? Of every sentence? (This is weird when I was at drama school, that's what they taught us about people from Los Angeles and all teenage girls from everywhere.)Why do we sound like this to the English ear?They're still showingrepeats on daytime TV, meaning this, as with all of life's major issues, can be blamed on Kylie Minogue.A drunk actor once accosted me in a bar and yelped, "AUSTRALIAN? YOU DON'T MOVE YOUR MOUTHS VERY MUCH BECAUSE OF ALL THE DUST AND FLIES." He'd been taught this at drama school.Curiously, I'd been taught the same thing but about people from the American Midwest. (The "don't move your mouth" is meant to help you form sounds you're not familiar with. The "flies" is an evocative image to help you remember not to move your mouth.)He was a strange lad with no idea how to keep his mouth closed, especially not around a fly and definitely not an open one, but that's not really relevant I just want to know who it is that goes around teaching these weird accent things to drama schools. This was fine though I became upset when a lovely young lady greeted me with, "Oh, you're Australian. You're all really racist." But she was French, so fuck her.The assumption that every Australian is racist is, of course, a racist assumption. It's also a very brave one for just about any descendant of the British Empire to make, given, well, history.What's interesting is that Tony Abbott's offshore detention centres aren't even remotely on the cultural radar here. The Australian Navy escorting leaky boats to Papua New Guinea gets less coverage than; say, the time someone saw a barely poisonous spider in Scotland. (And as front page news told me, someone saw a barely poisonous spider in Scotland.)Australians end up branded this way for two older reasons: 1. Personal experience of intolerance (hard to argue, I have apologised for many mulletted men I'll never meet, but with whom I shared a country) and 2. The Stolen Generations, the White Australia Policy, Terra Nullius, Children Overboard basically, everything that's ever happened in our country that didn't involve Skippy.Occasionally people may try to test you out, just for a cheap thrill. There's a nasty, smirking coach outlet handbags zalora undercurrent of "come on, do something Colonial" that I've seen a few times a real desire that you'll suddenly vanish and reappear with a hat made of corks, a tin of Fosters and a ripper of a story about the last time you burned down a coach bags sale clearance Mosque.Here's me onstage in a comedy club:Read that out loud, factor in the "colonialism" thing and you'll know exactly what that guy said, loudly, in a room with hundreds of people in it.
What possessed a man to shout the Australian equivalent of the "N" word in a comedy club? Was it a call to discuss Reconciliation or the continued appalling state of Aboriginal healthcare? In England?Nope it was just a white guy shouting hateful slang about our indigenous population, because I'm Australian! Hey? Geddit? Because we're all racist! WOO HOO! YOU GOT ME, PAL!I stomped on his brain. It was okay, it was empty at the time.That's TWO Terra Nullius references in one article, folks! C'mon! Here's a picture of Kylie Minogue.
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