[First filed: January 26, 2009 @ 00:43]
When I was younger and dumber I actually backpacked around a lot of Europe with an Australian flag on the back of my pack. So it’s fair to say I’m rather fond of the flag and think it’s actually a pretty good symbol of Australia.
On that note who am I to begrudge the current crop of young and dumb their own moment of patriotic fervour?
But it remains that the Australia Day Live concert is a strange beast. Having attended my first one tonight I feel prepared to have a poke around what’s going on here.
The most important thing about the concert(s) is that it’s really pitched at 16 year old girls, and people who like being around them (i.e. young men).
(More and a slideshow below)
The other thing you need to understand is that it’s several different business transactions. Different TV networks take control at different times, there are awkward pauses in different ad breaks, and the MC is more of a warm-up guy.
In exchange for the “FREE” concert the audience agrees to present a series of TV friendly images to the rest of the nation.
This is brilliant because a lot of 16 year old girls LOVE the idea of being on TV. Everyone wins.
Tonight had other pieces of marvellous strangeness.
The Commonwealth Bank had provided cardboard lawn seats, basically a folded backrest and a panel for resting your bum on. But heavier Australians bust up the backrest, so surveying a row of these seats gave instant weight readings.
They were also distributing little yellow battery powered fans on a neck lanyard. At first glance they looked like the classic “dick’n’balls”. Nothing more Australian than that really, bravo!
And did I mention the flags? Everywhere you looked a different way to display the Australian flag.
Which really got me thinking about the battle cry of the Barmy Army in Australia. “Get yore shite stars orf our flag”.
I guess the union jack is reasonably fashionable in its own right, doubly so with some Australian stars on it.
For those worried about the southern cross brigade though, I’m happy to report that the crowd was thoroughly multicultural. The large non-anglo component of the audience seemed to be pretty happy with celebrating both the day and the flag.
But just in case you weren’t in the spirit security guards were distributing both temporary flag tatoos and little plastic flags.
At every moment we were exhorted to visit the merch tent where various stars of the evening would sign stuff of theirs after you bought it.
The sixteen year old girls seemed to really, really like it. And the fans of sixteen year old girls were also pretty happy.
While I’m not entirely sure about how the money all works out it seemed like harmless fun for a lot of people.