Thursday, June 26, 2008

Local pride

I'm really not sure what I'm doing with my life. My head is all over the place. Whatever Leilani Kai has going on, I want to be part of it. Or Natalie Avellino. I also saw today that in the USA, you can hire a "celebrity package" where for two hours a pretend paparazzi follows you around and you get a faux fur coat. I wouldn't mind that for my birthday party - it might also be what Natalie Bassingthwaite needs after her solo album bombs. That's probably the fed upness talking, since I like The Bass, but her book with her sister has really put me off her.

One of the themes of this blog so far has been local pride - whether it's taking a visitor from Scotland and proudly showing them Tacos restaurant or simply mocking another nations inferior weather, a bit of local pride doesn't go astray. I was a little harsh on the Advocate in the last post, at least they are out having a crack at restoring some local pride. When I was in Scotland lately, a newspaper had published a report from an Englishman slagging off parts of Scotland and invited the locals to write in and defend the area. I saw some old woman walking past, and she clicked her teeth and said "Yeah, it is a shithole, no one is gonna write in!" - the Advocate would have organised a march on the guys house. When the Big Penguin was mocked on Have I Got News For You, I felt quite moved to send them an angry e-mail on behalf of the Advocate, to which they never replied. Guess you didn't have a comeback huh Merton?

Two quick stories on local pride - firstly, my Dad is from a town called Paisley in Scotland. It has an abby (and an Abbie - how are you babe?), an obviously fantastic football team, some neds, some would be drug lords, and hundreds of years of culture. My Dad is reasonably proud of his home town and my parents are really, really proud of Scotland. Just ask them, they'll tell you everything ever invented by a Scottish person and compare it to Australia's record of the Hills Hoist and Vegemite. Anyway, my Dad, when we first moved to the North West Coast was talking to a local about what was interesting and fascinating about the North West Coast. This local really thought about it and said "The paddock" - a paddock is a field with essentially nothing in it. And this was some pretty non specific advice, given just saying "the paddock" could have meant anything. The local looked my Dad in the eye and said "Yeah, the paddock in Latrobe! Shits on the Eiffel Tower!" - I definitely admire the guy for trying to sell 1982 Tasmanian fields as something to go and see, he had a lot of local pride, but shits on the Eiffel Tower? Sure, if he'd mentioned the Courthouse Museum...

Of course, it's easy to have a flippant attitude to this kind of thing. Hell it fills up some space on a blog. But my main thought about local pride is as always revolved around Burnie (such a clumsy sentence skinny man). If you didn't spend Xmas in Burnie in the 1980s, you really missed out on a treat. A fat, slightly awkward man clamering for children to sit on his knee and call him Santa, the hum of the Fitzgeralds carol singers, and most of all, the decorations. My god, the decorations. Well, I say decorations, but basically they strung some of those crepe bells you see across the top of some lamp posts. I hate crepe bells, they really are the worst Xmas decoration you can have, they are the Josh Fraser of Xmas decorations. But the mayor was really proud of them, going to great lengths to make sure that he was photographed every day in the paper pointing and smiling at them. So far, so good for Xmas in Burnie...problem was, Billy Connolly was in town. And doing a gig in Burnie. Comes on stage, first line, very line..."hello Burnie...I see you've got your decorations up! Fucks sake! Nothing like Xmas in Burnie! Get those shite decorations oot the box Doris, it's Xmas time!"

At which point, a certain local dignitary stormed indignantly out of his seat. Yes, Billy might have been the Big Yin in general, but nothing offends a man more than questioning the size of his bells.

I think I heard that phrase right...

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