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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


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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/

dungfungus 2:19 pm 08 Jan 15

watto23 said :

pptvb said :

watto23 said :

Steven Bailey said :

switch said :

What’s going on in the photo?

That’s just me and my fiancé Ange having a bit of fun. 😉

The keen eye says it was staged as there is no way a bogan would pass out with all that beer left undrunk. Plus neither of you are really dressed like a bogan.

I don’t have an issue with bogans, however I tend not to know too many because our interests rarely cross paths. There are times I’ll try to educate a bogan about something they won’t read in the murdoch press, just for the challenge 🙂 But they generally are more colourful characters and could easily keep me entertained.

Blen_Carmichael said :

The definition of bogan is a relative one. “Someone not as sophisticated as moi.”

Watto….. theres a fair chance YOU are someone’s bogan.

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.

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.

Back to bogans, some bogans or country folk or those associated as being lower class have had some very interesting stories and lives that are often worth hearing about, even published in a book.

Personally, I myself feel like I’m a strange and abnormal person in many ways. But without different people life would be pretty damn boring!

I’ve defended muslims on here on many occasions, of whom I feel get victimised a lot more than they deserve.
One of the two policemen murdered in Paris yesterday was a Muslim and he got a lot more than he deserved.

Mysteryman 1:48 pm 08 Jan 15

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.

watto23 1:06 pm 08 Jan 15

pptvb said :

watto23 said :

Steven Bailey said :

switch said :

What’s going on in the photo?

That’s just me and my fiancé Ange having a bit of fun. 😉

The keen eye says it was staged as there is no way a bogan would pass out with all that beer left undrunk. Plus neither of you are really dressed like a bogan.

I don’t have an issue with bogans, however I tend not to know too many because our interests rarely cross paths. There are times I’ll try to educate a bogan about something they won’t read in the murdoch press, just for the challenge 🙂 But they generally are more colourful characters and could easily keep me entertained.

Blen_Carmichael said :

The definition of bogan is a relative one. “Someone not as sophisticated as moi.”

Watto….. theres a fair chance YOU are someone’s bogan.

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.

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.

Back to bogans, some bogans or country folk or those associated as being lower class have had some very interesting stories and lives that are often worth hearing about, even published in a book.

Personally, I myself feel like I’m a strange and abnormal person in many ways. But without different people life would be pretty damn boring!

turbotim 10:47 pm 07 Jan 15

“ferociously feral, bigoted, and violent wild-life found in half-human form,” sounds more like middle management in the public service.

pptvb 7:11 pm 07 Jan 15

watto23 said :

Steven Bailey said :

switch said :

What’s going on in the photo?

That’s just me and my fiancé Ange having a bit of fun. 😉

The keen eye says it was staged as there is no way a bogan would pass out with all that beer left undrunk. Plus neither of you are really dressed like a bogan.

I don’t have an issue with bogans, however I tend not to know too many because our interests rarely cross paths. There are times I’ll try to educate a bogan about something they won’t read in the murdoch press, just for the challenge 🙂 But they generally are more colourful characters and could easily keep me entertained.

Blen_Carmichael said :

The definition of bogan is a relative one. “Someone not as sophisticated as moi.”

Watto….. theres a fair chance YOU are someone’s bogan.

Antagonist 6:27 pm 07 Jan 15

“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.”

I think we do have a unique bogan culture in Canberra, but it is hard to articulate exactly what defines our local variety. It is difficult because we have a high population of ‘white trash’ rather than the true ‘bogan’, and it is hard to know exactly where to draw the line when distinguishing between the two. The term ‘bogan’ has been debased so much these days that it means different things to different people, just like our political overlords have debased the word ‘sustainability’. But I digress. My point is that there is a fine line between ‘white trash’ and the true ‘bogan’, and I think it is this grey area that causes so much confusion.

I note the recent rise of the CUB (cashed-up bogan) in contemporary society following the mining boom. Perhaps Canberra bogans have evolved into their own ‘educated bogan’. While some may argue that the addition of an educational qualification will, by definition, exclude one from being a bogan, I would argue the same for the non-dole bludging CUBS that have also turned up in Perth, Kalgoorlie and Mt Isa.

To illustrate this grey area, I will tell you about my ‘friend’ (who may or may not be as smart and good looking as me) who lives in public housing, has a Ford Falcon ute, is on a Centrelink payment, pays Child Support, loves and wears his flannie (flannelette shirt)with great pride, and has tattoos from neck to knuckles. One might immediately pigeon-hole said friend as a ‘bogan’. But NO! The falcon ute is blue (not white), the Centrelink benefit is his Austudy, and he is in the final year of his science degree at university. Is he white trash, or a bogan? And we see this a lot in Canberra.

farnarkler said :

Booners were back in the 80s when a denim jacket with a Metallica/Megadeth/Iron Maiden patch sown on the back was part of the uniform. A pair of desert boots and a packet of Winfield were also pretty common. They’re now accountants and EL1s and 2, married with children and living in the suburbs. They come out of their suburban purgatory for the occasional Def Leppard or Led Zeppelin cover band performance.

This is pretty close to my own experience as an 80s booner, but we thought the guys wearing denim jackets looks like tossers. Enter: the flannie. The outfit was ‘boon boots’ (not quite a true desert boot – more like a work boot without a hard toe-cap), tight faded black jeans, faded black Metallica/Megadeth/Iron Maiden t-shirt worn beneath an unbuttoned flannie. Ear rings also entered the scene – strictly left ear featuring a single stud for beginners, sleeper for bad boys, several sleepers (3 max) for the hard core. Not many of us could grow facial hair, but if we could, we all would have had goatees.

Masquara 5:50 pm 07 Jan 15

Stephen, as you are one of the rural poor, I’m surprised you have never noticed that the squattocracy and the rural bogans have a lot more in common with each other than with the middle class – any middle class, anywhere.

Affirmative Action Man 2:17 pm 07 Jan 15

A thoughtful & insightful article clearly above the usual RA product.

I guess bogan means different things to different people. It used to mean ignorant & unsophisticated these days its more about a style & an attitude.

Blen_Carmichael 1:21 pm 07 Jan 15

The definition of bogan is a relative one. “Someone not as sophisticated as moi.”

neanderthalsis 12:57 pm 07 Jan 15

Steven Bailey said :

watto23 said :

Steven Bailey said :

switch said :

What’s going on in the photo?

The keen eye says it was staged as there is no way a bogan would pass out with all that beer left undrunk. Plus neither of you are really dressed like a bogan.

You never know watto! We might have been on our way to a wedding… and that was our third eski.

The matching black thongs (maybe even the elusive double pluggers) lend credibility to that claim.

Steven Bailey 12:26 pm 07 Jan 15

watto23 said :

Steven Bailey said :

switch said :

What’s going on in the photo?

That’s just me and my fiancé Ange having a bit of fun. 😉

The keen eye says it was staged as there is no way a bogan would pass out with all that beer left undrunk. Plus neither of you are really dressed like a bogan.

I don’t have an issue with bogans, however I tend not to know too many because our interests rarely cross paths. There are times I’ll try to educate a bogan about something they won’t read in the murdoch press, just for the challenge 🙂 But they generally are more colourful characters and could easily keep me entertained.

You never know watto! We might have been on our way to a wedding… and that was our third eski.

watto23 9:52 am 07 Jan 15

Steven Bailey said :

switch said :

What’s going on in the photo?

That’s just me and my fiancé Ange having a bit of fun. 😉

The keen eye says it was staged as there is no way a bogan would pass out with all that beer left undrunk. Plus neither of you are really dressed like a bogan.

I don’t have an issue with bogans, however I tend not to know too many because our interests rarely cross paths. There are times I’ll try to educate a bogan about something they won’t read in the murdoch press, just for the challenge 🙂 But they generally are more colourful characters and could easily keep me entertained.

Postalgeek 10:34 pm 06 Jan 15

As far as my understanding goes bogans come in all shades of income level. Bogans like to impose themselves on the landscape, visually and audibly, and abrogate responsibility and sustainability. You can be rough and not a bogan, or cashed up white collar worker and be a huge bogan.

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