Hello all

When I popped out this morning to fill the car with petrol and go to the Fruit Market, I made a chance decision to go to Christopher’s Cafe nearby for a nice coffee. I blame this latter decision on what happened next and the effect it’s had on my day and my blog!

As I approached the quiet area in the cafe to sit in one of their nice padded lounge chairs, a book was sitting there commanding my attention. Oh no, I thought! I had come out to escape the house and my computer and most of all anything connected to my blog. I’d had one of those restless nights spent tossing and turning because I was mentally writing my blog … all night!

Have you ever had one of those nights when you have been working at your job the whole night? Every time you turn over, you are interviewing customers or composing letters on your computer or possibly paying people their wages? Well, for me it was the blog. I blame this on the fact that I broke my rule of never doing anything blog related in the evening.

Yes, I had checked out a website that was fascinating and with so much great information on how to improve the look of your blog, how to have influence, etc etc etc I could not resist looking at it. And I paid the ultimate price: blogging while I tried to sleep. (For the obsessed, here is the link for any bloggers out there:  http://heidicohen.com/use-your-blog-to-build-influence/#utm_source=feed&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=feed  )

Anyway, as I sat down in the cafe, I resisted the urge to look at this book as I knew it would be great blog material. My skinny flat white coffee and home-made Monte-Carlo biscuit arrived (ok, so I was lashing out from my strict health diet??) and still I resisted reading the book. Well, folks I have to confess my resistance lasted all of a few minutes. The book was too compelling (and I knew of its existence). It had the wonderful title of: “Things Bogans Like” but it has too many authors (with rather dubious names, one being ‘Intravenus De Milo’) to quote here.

Oh, what a title! “I’ll just have a little peek” I thought. No more than that. But … pleeeaase … just like an alcoholic cannot have that first drink, so too a ‘information junkie addict’ like me, cannot just take one peek! I was gone. I did try but in the end, I got out my blog book that I carry (why was I carrying it when I was escaping you might ask?) and began to jot down some information. Now, it did help that a small picture of my favourite violinist – Andre Rieu – was just visible in the corner of the front cover. I was in, hook line and sinker.

This is the Bogan book that greeted me at the Cafe

So here I am writing to all of you about “Bogans.” I cannot believe that I am doing this as it was not part of my plan for the day or my blog, but there you are! But first of all, I am aware that a lot of the terminology I will be using will be double-dutch to my overseas followers so I will have a glossary of Australianisms at the end of this blog to help you cope. The subtitle to this book says “Tribal Tatts to Reality TV. How to Recognise the 21st Century Bogan.”

On the back cover it stated:  “The word Bogan is still associated with flannelette, VB, utes and mullets (see below). The word needs to be reassessed. The nouveau-modern Bogan is not a Paul Hogan Bogan.” The dictionary says a Bogan is a ‘gormless’ (foolish, lacking sense) person in Australian colloquialism. Interesting?

No apparently, not any longer: the Bogan now has money and aspirations. “Today’s Bogan defies income, class, creed, gender, religion and logic.” How fascinating!

The book was full to the brim with things that make a person a Bogan. Far too many to talk about here but I took note of a few that interested me. For example, today’s Bogan loves to misspell their kids names – on purpose! They say that these kids with the weird spelling will be spelling out their names to all and sundry for the next 80 years. In a classroom, you will have a “Riley, Reilly, Rhylee, Rhylie, Ryley and Rylie,” all pronounced the same way.  

I laughed about this as I have noticed this happening here in Australia and it must drive those kids crazy. When I was working, I had customers with weirdly spelled names telling me that it did.

Other Bogans were those with Tribal tattoos because it expresses their artistic tendencies as they don’t like paintings.  Also silver Pandora bracelets for the women: they don’t buy the gold because it is too expensive so if you see a silver Pandora bracelet on a woman, she’s a Bogan!

I’ll leave you with the Andre Rieu connection which is hilarious.  The book says that Andre saw Vanessa Mae, the ADHD violinist jumping around all over the place as she played her violin and thought “Hmmn this is a good idea, people like this, I think I’ll make my millions and do something with my violin that Bogans would like and they can see themselves as sophisticated when they’re not.”  This is because he sees his classical music critics as members of a stuffy elite and he wants to open music up to the ordinary person.

How true is this! I have heard classical musicians saying how much they hate him and his music. Andre likes to tell the story of a classical conductor who had cause to hear his music and he said “Oh, that is a very good violinist and orchestra” but when he was told who it was he said “Oh, that man, his music is terrible! He gives the profession a bad name with all those ‘groupies’ that follow him.” Andre laughs uproariously as he tells this tale.

Now, I have to ask you: do you recognise yourself as a Bogan? I have to confess that I must be, as I am part of the ‘groupies’ that like Andre Rieu’s music! If you want to know more about Bogans or if you cannot decide if you are one or not, go to their website and check them out:    http://thingsboganslike.com/

In the meantime, here is the Glossary of Australianisms to help you out:

  • flannelette: a napped cotton fabric, referring to shirts made out of this thick fabric which lower class folks wear.
  • VB: referring to a brand of beer ‘Victoria Bitter’ which was consumed all over Australia by the working class.
  • Utes: short for utility; a car at the front with a tray on the back (like a pick-up truck) and used by ‘tradies’ (trades people colloq.)
  • mullets: referring to hair cuts where the hair is short all over with one long piece of hair like a rat’s tail hanging down the back of the head.
  • Paul Hogan: an Australian comedian/actor who came to prominence as Crocodile Dundee in the movie of the same name. and formerly worked as a rigger on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
  • ADHD: Attention Deficit Disorder (hyperactive)
  • Ocker: the uncultivated Australian working man

Now that we have established and discussed this new type of Bogan, let me say this: I’m not sure I believe a word of it!! As far I can see, a Bogan is still someone who lives in a lower-class suburb, cannot afford to have a nice house and speaks the English language like an “ocker”; he is a blue-collar worker.  You get my drift?

So, what do YOU think? Am I right or not? And tell me: are YOU a Bogan?