Mark (xb95) posted that he was coming to Australia.
The following rose up unbidden from my brain this morning in my hungover state and I left it as a comment. But reading it over after someone said "heh - and so true!" I thought "ah - content I don't have to drag from my sluggish brain syllable by mawkish syllable - to the posting facility Hortense!". I now present this comment without comment (except to say (a) that it is bloody hard to try and distill the national character - the first rule about being an Australian is that we really don't talk about what deep down it is to be an Australian; and (b) I need an icon for when I'm talking about the wide brown land, dangnabbit!)
I do hope you have a wonderful time also, just, if you are coming in the next few months you will need to invest in/take heed of the following:
- a large sunhat
- SPF gazillion+ sunscreen
- a resolution NOT to try and imitate the accent (it's cute the first 43,000 times, but after that, well...)
- if you drink, heeding the following warning: our beer has a higher alcoholic content, and you will find yourself on your arse in very short order
- not worrying if you hear someone calling you "...*mutter mutter* bloody septic *mutter mutter*..." (that's quite old-fashioned but it might happen, and it's fine, we're just all living in terror everyone else will figure out this is a fabulous country and try to emigrate. Ah, Australia. Come for the open source, stay for the bizarre xenophobia of one of the most multi-cultural nations on this planet)
- we insult the people we love. The ones we don't we ignore. Someone calling you a bastard is a sign of affection. Really. My brother-in-law used to call his much-beloved mum "the old bastard". (This may be a slightly extreme case in retrospect, but there it is).
- say it after me: Are-STRAYlya. Try not to move your mouth or lips. NOT "OSS-tray-liarrrrr", lingering lovingly on all the syllables.
- irony: we has it.
- if it's your shout, it's your shout.
- we loves the intarwebs because we know we're a fuck of a long way from anywhere and we worry about it and we're early-adopters from way back and it's all very mixed up and weird. But we LOVES the intarwebs and computers and what-have-you.
- there are things here that WILL try to kill you in a very cheerful, straightforward non-personal way. Spiders, bugs, jellyfish, Sydney drivers etc etc. ALWAYS check your shoes before you put them on.
- we love our food. our food is excellent. (well, in Melbourne it is. In Sydney, it's expensive too.) Try and get some exercise if you don't want to come back waaaay heavier than you left.
- to play with an Australian's brain, ask them to articulate EXACTLY what "died in the arse" means. we can only use that one in context.
Have a lovely, lovely time.
********************************I have no idea if this speaks to my fellow countrypersons. I DO know that I never ejaculated the phrase "stone the crows!" (and MEANT IT) until I was resident in the UK. A teddibly cultivated friend found herself calling everyone in sight "mate" when she was touristing her way across Europe.
Then there's this, which always cracks me up but is a very broad overview. VERY broad. I can almost hear John Clarke reading it in his best sardonic accent. (note to non-Austrayans: John Clarke: exceptionally funny, very very clever man with an accent that, in its purest form, could actually etch glass.)
And then of course there's this, which I will occasionally quote at bemused students,
(a) just because they are too young and tragically under-educated in the finer art of the piss-take;
(b) because if you take out the wavering accents, I swear I went to school with boys just like this - good country boys all of them and they probably went on to the University of Woollomooloo;
(c) because the brits getting it right gives me the giggles although
(d) they are drinking Fosters in the skit which no self-respecting Australian would ever allow to pass their lips because it is frankly bug piss; which therefore makes it a reverse-double-piss-take-with-a-half-pike-dismount and of course a complete classic.