Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Malcolm McLaren, the aging outlaw of punk (both music and art) had this to say a while back:“Being British is about singing Karaoke in bars, eating Chinese noodles and Japanese sushi, drinking fresh wine, wearing Prada and Nike, dancing to Italian house music, listening to Cher, using an Apple Mac, holidaying in Florida and Ibiza and buying a house in Spain. Shepherds pie and going on holiday to Hastings went out about 50 years ago and the only people you'll see wearing a Union Jack are French movie stars or Kate Moss.”I wonder what being Australian is about. Don't tell me Akubra hats and Drize-A-Bone coats, the outback's miles of empty red dirt. Don’t tell me the coconut-and-saline scent of the beach, the breathy whisper of the surf. Do tell me it’s more than prawns on the barbie and barracking your mate as he shotguns an ice-cold tinny.Nah. Truth is, Australia isn’t really about anything at all – except, maybe the desperate solitude of its suburbs, and all those mortgaged red-brick bungalows on quarter-acre patches that never feel quite like home.Maybe this explains why my recent work has been rooted in the exotic, the weirdly esoteric. Give me voodoo, not a stubby of VB.