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Canberra Writers Festival
23-26 Aug 2018

Bogans in Canberra

By Steven Bailey 6 January 2015 27

Steven and Ange - bogans

I’ve had a lot of contact with bogans over the past few weeks, and I love it. After working on the Victorian election, a few visits from extended family throughout the holiday period, and my first visit to Canberra’s Summernats, my exposure to boganism has gone from a medium-rare to burnt-to-the-bloody-sh$t-house. Before I go any further I’d like to distinguish between the fun-loving, piss-taking Aussies, and the ferociously feral, bigoted, and violent wild-life found in half-human form.

I’m wondering whether Canberra harbours a special kind of bogan; a smarter, more fragile, and gentler bogan than in most other parts of Australia. I think we do.

Some years ago when I was a labourer I met a man who, over time, became a good mate. He goes by the name of Piggie, and he was my superior in the work shed. Piggie’s vocabulary is laden with words that begin with the letter ‘F’ and then often followed by words that begin with the letter ‘C’. His face is grog-blossomed bright red, and he once accidentally tore the blouse off of a female police officer… needless to say, he knows what it feels like to be beaten to a pulp. Nearly every day of Piggie’s adult life, he has woken up at a sparrow’s fart, knocked off at 3 or 4, and then drank himself to sleep.

A few of the other fellas in the shed thought it quite funny to put me to work with him. They didn’t think that a classically trained musician could work with someone like Piggie, and they made bets on how long I’d last. The worst, a few days; the best, a few weeks.

Piggie would test me. He’d make me lift things that I couldn’t, and say things that I wouldn’t. He would shriek obscenities at me, and find joy in trying to ‘crack me’, as the other fellas would put it. I would persevere, and never really let on that I had a much more diverse and rough upbringing than he might have imagined, not until much later anyway. To his frustration, I enjoyed his company. I’d ask him questions about his life until it came to the point where I knew more about him than many of his other workmates who had known him for years.

Everything changed about two-months in when we got talking about music at smoko. I asked him what music was played at his wedding (he’s not married anymore, ‘the grog got too much’, he would say). He said, ‘Ave Maria’, and I just whistled a bit to him in the final minutes of our break. I saw his yellow eyes remembering of a time that was and could have been.

Shortly afterwards he invited me to his ‘after work drinking hole’ to meet his mates. It was there I saw him in his element. I don’t have enough time to write about him but, for instance, he’d tap his mates on the back after they’d lost everything on the pockies and give them a ‘red-back’ (twenty dollars) just so they could get by for the next few days. His mates die in their 50s, 60s, and 70’s. They don’t make it to their 80’s and 90’s like mine will. Many of them will never make it to the pension, and if they lose their jobs they rarely make it back into the workforce. Canberra just doesn’t accommodate for them.

I noticed that Piggie and I were very similar but just in utterly different worlds. We both have an anti-authoritarian stance, and a willingness to speak our minds to the points of our own detriment. We both have strong convictions, yet we both take the piss out of ourselves.

I’d give my life for Piggie, and he’d do the same for me. Piggie is a bogan, and I’m proud of him.

Piggie wouldn’t let me take a photo of him, but he says, ‘they’ll kind of guess anyway, don’t reckon?’ 

www.boganandproud.com

What’s Your opinion?


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Bogans in Canberra
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watto23 2:39 pm 09 Jan 15

Mysteryman said :

watto23 said :

…It is relative, I’ve got nothing against anyone, I make jokes about them, as they do about myself and others.

I’ve defended muslims on here on many occasions, of whom I feel get victimised a lot more than they deserve.

What I do have an issue with is people who are not tolerant of others. I don’t drive V8’s, drink VB, like mispelt kids names or many other things associated with bogans. But I’m happy for them if that is what they like. I only draw the line on when it affects others and their own way of life. ie burnouts in suburban streets or unsocial/bad drunken behaviour. Just like fundamentalists from various religions feel the need to push their beliefs onto me or society. Its fine if you don’t harm someone or don’t change society to match your set of beliefs. I respect their right to believe what they want, no matter how stupid it seems to me….

“Everyone needs to be tolerant of the things I’m tolerant of, but I won’t tolerate your intolerance”.

Can’t have it both ways. You either tolerate everyone and what they believe, or you don’t. You can’t say you respect everyone’s right to believe what they want, and also say you’ve got a problem with people who don’t tolerate what you do.

Classic post-modern paradox, and why the “accept everything” approach is nonsense.

Is it really a paradox? Maybe what I said is, but people understand the meaning. In a way its a form of nimbyism someone saying they will tolerate someone….. of course until it affects them.. The world in general is not that tolerant of anything, people always want what they want and in general humans are selfish. Even eco-warrior hippies are selfish because they don’t give a toss about things like

Postalgeek said :

watto23 said :

Probably, I definitely don’t fly business class and hang out with the snobs 🙂 Plus I’d rather backpack rather than stay in 4 and 5* hotels. So that would be bogan behaviour to a chardonnay sipping Red hill resident.

Being a chardonnay-sipping Red Hill resident doesn’t give you license to define economy class flying or backpacker hostels as boganity, and I don’t think either of them make the ThingsBogansLike list.

http://thingsboganslike.com/the-full-list/

True but it was a reference to point of view, that I am someones bogan. Just like all westerners are wealthy when compared to Africans.

mr_wowtrousers 1:59 pm 09 Jan 15

I wasn’t disagreeing as such, but as you say it’s not as black and white as being completely tolerant or intolerant. Personally, I think it is impossible to be completely tolerant and I don’t necessarily think we should strive for that, re; relativism, like you mentioned.

When we are part of a society we choose, as a community, what is acceptable and not acceptable. As you say, what is acceptable to you is not the same as what is acceptable to me, but that is why we have agreed up laws/rules etc. We agree on what is unacceptable to the majority.

Of course, that all comes down to the values of the day and these can obviously change. Some things seem to be fairly self evident though (harming others etc)

Mysteryman said :

mr_wowtrousers said :

We live in a society and we all agreed to be bound by certain social constraints so we can get along. That is, I agree to give up some freedoms in order to keep the peace, but you have to abide by that as well.

If you don’t agree with that, feel free to move to an area of Australia where you can do what you want within the bounds of the law without annoying or hurting others.

If you want to be a true ‘outlaw’ or 1% then you have foregone all the laws of society so no laws should be observed when dealing with you. Your choice.

Was that directed at my comment? Perhaps you need to re-read what I wrote…?

Tenpoints 11:31 am 09 Jan 15

Steven, it’s great that you found a connection with someone from a different social background. Too many of us are safe in our friendship groups, bitching about others without ever attempting to gain a better perspective.

mr_wowtrousers said :

I don’t classify boganism as having anything to do with your education income, your upbringing, where you live, what beer you drink or how many f-bombs you drop.

What is categorically and unequivicolly true though is that “bogans” are people who are loud and ignorant. Not just ignorant, but wilfully and proudly ignorant. To loudly boast that you don’t know something and have no interest in knowing or learning about something shouldn’t be a source of pride. To go on and have loudly voiced opinions about things you know nothing about and gleefully admit to not even being bothered to find out about makes you a bogan.

I know plenty of uneducated people who are salt of the earth. They are willing to admit they don’t know something and find out about it. Same with people without much money. I know rich people who are crass fools.

I was living OS in Japan for a few years and coming back to Australia was a slap in the face. The amount of loud, rude, ignorant, xenophobic people here is an embarrassment on a world scale.

Australian bogans? You are looking at our future . . .

+1.
I reserve the term Bogan for those “Impossible to ignore” types that loudly and aggressively let everyone know how confident they are in their willful ignorance. A subset of this behaviour is people who prefer violence as a dispute resolution method and who have little to no emotional understanding or self-awareness.

Mysteryman 10:27 am 09 Jan 15

mr_wowtrousers said :

We live in a society and we all agreed to be bound by certain social constraints so we can get along. That is, I agree to give up some freedoms in order to keep the peace, but you have to abide by that as well.

If you don’t agree with that, feel free to move to an area of Australia where you can do what you want within the bounds of the law without annoying or hurting others.

If you want to be a true ‘outlaw’ or 1% then you have foregone all the laws of society so no laws should be observed when dealing with you. Your choice.

Was that directed at my comment? Perhaps you need to re-read what I wrote…?

mr_wowtrousers 10:03 am 09 Jan 15

We live in a society and we all agreed to be bound by certain social constraints so we can get along. That is, I agree to give up some freedoms in order to keep the peace, but you have to abide by that as well.

If you don’t agree with that, feel free to move to an area of Australia where you can do what you want within the bounds of the law without annoying or hurting others.

If you want to be a true ‘outlaw’ or 1% then you have foregone all the laws of society so no laws should be observed when dealing with you. Your choice.

Mysteryman said :

watto23 said :

…It is relative, I’ve got nothing against anyone, I make jokes about them, as they do about myself and others.

I’ve defended muslims on here on many occasions, of whom I feel get victimised a lot more than they deserve.

What I do have an issue with is people who are not tolerant of others. I don’t drive V8’s, drink VB, like mispelt kids names or many other things associated with bogans. But I’m happy for them if that is what they like. I only draw the line on when it affects others and their own way of life. ie burnouts in suburban streets or unsocial/bad drunken behaviour. Just like fundamentalists from various religions feel the need to push their beliefs onto me or society. Its fine if you don’t harm someone or don’t change society to match your set of beliefs. I respect their right to believe what they want, no matter how stupid it seems to me….

“Everyone needs to be tolerant of the things I’m tolerant of, but I won’t tolerate your intolerance”.

Can’t have it both ways. You either tolerate everyone and what they believe, or you don’t. You can’t say you respect everyone’s right to believe what they want, and also say you’ve got a problem with people who don’t tolerate what you do.

Classic post-modern paradox, and why the “accept everything” approach is nonsense.

mr_wowtrousers 9:55 am 09 Jan 15

I don’t classify boganism as having anything to do with your education income, your upbringing, where you live, what beer you drink or how many f-bombs you drop.

What is categorically and unequivicolly true though is that “bogans” are people who are loud and ignorant. Not just ignorant, but wilfully and proudly ignorant. To loudly boast that you don’t know something and have no interest in knowing or learning about something shouldn’t be a source of pride. To go on and have loudly voiced opinions about things you know nothing about and gleefully admit to not even being bothered to find out about makes you a bogan.

I know plenty of uneducated people who are salt of the earth. They are willing to admit they don’t know something and find out about it. Same with people without much money. I know rich people who are crass fools.

I was living OS in Japan for a few years and coming back to Australia was a slap in the face. The amount of loud, rude, ignorant, xenophobic people here is an embarrassment on a world scale.

Australian bogans? You are looking at our future . . .

Postalgeek 3:59 pm 08 Jan 15

watto23 said :

Probably, I definitely don’t fly business class and hang out with the snobs 🙂 Plus I’d rather backpack rather than stay in 4 and 5* hotels. So that would be bogan behaviour to a chardonnay sipping Red hill resident.

Being a chardonnay-sipping Red Hill resident doesn’t give you license to define economy class flying or backpacker hostels as boganity, and I don’t think either of them make the ThingsBogansLike list.

http://thingsboganslike.com/the-full-list/

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