are bogans. They are, perhaps, the prototypical bogans. They aspire to cool. They aspire to adulation. They look to David and Victoria Beckham, and sigh. They dress their one year-old daughter in a matching outfit to her mother at a TV awards night. This is the new bogan paradigm.
is your more traditional bogan. But this bogan is harmless. He does not colonise. He does not post racist rants on news website blogs. He does not buy enough tickets to ensure Pink plays 75 straight nights at Rod Laver Arena. No, he is happy to pick up tickets to the occasional AC/DC tour, and beyond that he stays home, nursing a cold drink, watching telly. He is happy. He does not invade every bar that is mentioned in the entertainment section, hoping to spot a minor celebrity. He does not attend classy restaurants wearing jeans and painfully self conscious Converse. He doesn’t go to a gig by a buzz band, then proceed to get spastic drunk and have yelling conversations three metres from the stage. He is, by and large, a top bloke.
We will endeavour to highlight the new bogan lifestyle. And we will fight against it. Welcome to Things Bogans Like.
#1 – Arbitrary Thievery
It begins and ends with bar mats. Or street signs. Bogans have an enduring love of home decorating and re-decorating, and this love manifests itself in strange ways – particularly during young bogan nascence, when cash-poor bogans resort to theft…and find they enjoy it. Depressed by the banality of the exurban lifestyle, the newly-adult bogan heads to the local pub’s uni night (Thursdays), already well prepared by imbibing on Woodies or Cruisers (see future installments), looking to fill the void.
As such, couched in the stated desire that ‘it’ll look mad on the bar that I’m going to build when I move out’, bar mats are surreptitiously swiped from under the apathetic bartender’s nose. Conspiratorially unveiling the stash in a quiet corner of the pub, the bogans gain a taste for it, and on the walk home, decide that their future home bar would be best equipped by pasting the walls with a random variety of street signs. No sooner has the thought entered their head then they are swinging futilely from a lamppost, images of ‘Andrew St’ signs sitting above their newly installed keg and taps flashing through their foggy mind.
The illicit thrill of kleptomania lingers through adulthood. Glassware is a common target, although by the time parenthood rolls round, many, still trapped in the same urban fringe, step up to legitimate shoplifting. Like any junkie, the rush gets harder to find, and pint glasses and witches hats lose their lustre, only to be replaced by lifting a singlet from Bardot or Supre. However, it always comes back to barmats, often resulting in the arrest of a bogan while on holiday in a South East Asian location (see future installments).
#6 – Prefacing Racist Statements With ‘I’m not racist but…’
The new bogan is a beacon of tolerance. This comes from the brief association with a person from a different country/race/religion at the local Thai or Chinese take away, the ostracised work colleague, or the evening spent on the Woodies with a mate’s girlfriend’s friend’s Asian friend. Thus, in the event of a discussion relating to racism, aboriginals or Asian drivers, the bogan is all knowing.
Each statement typically begins with an honest admission such as:
‘I’m not racist….. but those Abos really have it too good, the bastards’
‘I’m not racist…but those fucking curries should quit whining. Seriously a couple of them get bashed and you’d think it was the end of the world.’
Or the more authoritative, and ever popular:
‘One of my best mates is Asian, so I’m allowed to say they STINK. They really do, even in Bali and Bangkok. And they can’t drive. It’s like genetics or something.’
This form of disclaimer can be extended beyond occasional interactions with foreigners, and many bogans will actively carry, wear or enact visible or tangible evidence of their god-given right to besmirch those who differ from them. Common examples include Buddhist iconography – in the form of home furnishings, or the more portable keychain – t-shirts with foreign languages, or tattoos with bad translations of common phrases in other languages.
By proudly displaying in this fashion, the bogan carries a semi-permanent signifier that, when they ruthlessly and unnecessarily characterise an entire billion-strong ethnic group on the basis of a tired stereotype, they do it from a position of understanding and empathy.
#11 – Ruining Music Festivals
A new type of festival goer has emerged in recent years. First observed around the turn of the millennium at the Melbourne Big Day Out, it goes just to say it did, and because everyone else is. It pays hundreds of dollars to attend festivals, often paying top dollar to scalpers at the last minute after its lack of organisational and budgeting skill prevents it from acquiring tickets in advance.
It attends festivals only to spend the vast majority of its time hovering around the beer garden or the line for beer in a valiant attempt to avoid actually seeing any bands. This is because it does not in fact know any of the bands playing, not having heard them on commercial radio or seen them on Video Hits (There is one rare exception – when there is a DJ tent, or famous electronic artist performing. In this instance, it instantly congregates with its kind, pops candy, and proceeds to beat the crap out of its peers in sheer happiness at the glowing solidarity provided by Girl Talk’s ‘Shut the Club Down’).
As the day goes on, and it consumes far more alcohol and drugs than it could possibly handle, it begins to get agitated. It has strayed too far from its natural habitat. There are too many emos around. Everyone is wearing black, and Travisty t-shirts are few and far between. It gravitates toward others like it, easily identifiable by a lack of shirt (or aforementioned Travisty attire), intense sunburn, an Australian flag draped over their shoulders, a Southern Cross tattoo, or all of the above.
Once a group of sufficient size is formed, confidence begins to swell among the herd. It, with the security of its new posse, can now begin hurling insults toward emos, who are identifiable to the herd by their lack of Travisty attire. The herd, the alcohol and the drugs have given it super powers, and it uses those powers for the most worthy cause it can think of: to intimidate foreign-looking people into kissing the Australian flag.
The proliferation of the festival-going, shirtless, sun burnt, Australian flag draped, Southern Cross tattoo bearing bogan has ruined many a festival. In fact, the bogan has the unique ability to ruin any public event, including the Melbourne Cup, one-day cricket, Cronulla Beach (not actually an event), New Years Eve, and Christmas.
#12 – Christian Audigier
Christian Audigier is an arsehole, but the bogan loves him. Despite not knowing who he is. Despite being his personal billboard for years.
Mr Audigier is the plastic-faced French fashion designer who has unleashed the visual misery of not just Von Dutch, but also Ed Hardy on cities worldwide. His technique is devastatingly simple: repackage Californian redneck pop art from the 1960s by printing it on hats and t-shirts, get some trashbag celebrities to wear it, and then affix astonishingly high prices to the products. The bogan is willing to structure its entire month’s wages around the acquisition of one of these products.
“Von Dutch” was actually a Californian mechanic and car pinstriper named Kenneth Howard, who worked from the 1950s until dying of alcoholism-related causes around 15 years ago. His estate sold the rights to use his creative works to a Japanese conglomerate, who then on-sold them, and they eventually wound up in the filthy paws of Audigier. The brand’s time as genuine fashion was fleeting, before the bogan became aware of the brand and began paying $110 for a trucker cap bearing the logo.
Once the Von Dutch trend waned, Audigier returned with something even more obnoxious – Ed Hardy. Hardy is a Californian tattooist and artist who sold the rights to use his 1960s tattoo work in 2002, which were once again snapped up by Audigier in 2004. The subsequent clothing line features retro tattooing (skulls, flames, predatory animals, and other things bogans like) covering large tracts of the garment, with t-shirts selling for between $150 and $250.
Bright metallic print and glitter is regularly present. The bogan, like a moth to a light globe, is drawn to the opportunity to display fashionable torso tattooing at venues that demand the wearing of clothes. If the bogan is able to afford multiple Ed Hardy garments, it can also indulge its short attention span by donning a different garment the next day, and hence a new set of tattoos. Being able to display large tattoo art in a nightclub or shopping centre environment increases the confidence of bogans, and makes it feel closer to Hollywood.
At the conclusion of the Ed Hardy fad, Audigier will retreat to his lair, flip through a retro pop art book, and plan his next cynical attack on the salary of the unwitting aspirational bogan.
#14 – Sexualising Their Children
Once upon a time, the upwardly-mobile, social climbing bogan would be content to live their life in a self-consciously pointless quest to emulate whichever celebrity topped whichever magazine’s ’sexiest’ list. This was a relatively harmless pursuit. Sexy celebrities generally were quite sexy, and an ambitious bogan is less threatening that an aimless, directionless one.
However, since ‘the good old days’, two things happened. Being ’sexy’ became synonymous with ‘have recorded a sex tape, and present themselves thus’, and bogans developed a taste for dressing their children as adults. The latter of these is usually the result of an upbringing wherein the bogan’s parents could not afford whatever off-the-rack Just Jeans low riders were in amongst 12 year-olds at the time. Today, the nouveau bogan is in a less parlous financial situation. Hence, dressing their primary-schoolers in hipster jeans and crop-tops is justified by a need to ensure that their precious offspring are not teased at school as they were.
The result is that, in an effort to have their children fit in, and now with the extra leeway afforded by a booming economy and low-priced clothing outlets like Supre, little Maddylyn and Bylynda are now dressed like Paris Hilton. On a bender. With Britney Spears. By this, bogan parents consider themselves ‘cool’ in the eyes of their pre-teen daughter, with whom they wish to remain ‘BFFs’.
This sexualising of children is amplified by the inherent competitiveness between bogan parents, who equate preparing their kids for a lifetime of fluffing the high school dropout with being ‘cool’ and ‘adorable’. Thus, we see children strutting around in their ‘Legal-Ish’ T-shirt, decorated, with delicious ‘irony’, in silver glitter, thereby making it the preserve of the 10 year-old girl. Couple this with a skirt last seen on the members of Tatu, and it is bogan parent nirvana. Not that this is the end of it. Indeed, it has moved to the point where newborn boys are proudly displayed wearing a t-shirt avowing that they are a ‘tits man’.
#15 – Personalised Numberplates
All people seek to express their personality through their actions, possessions, and personal presentation. Because the bogan has more personality than the rest of us, it requires more canvases upon which to portray its traits. One of these canvases is the lower back, but another important one is the numberplate of the bogan’s car. While all cars come with numberplates, for the bogan that rectangular piece of metal is more than a registration tool – it is an existential statement of identity and intent.
State traffic authorities have identified this need in the bogan, and offer a suite of solutions. For a price of hundreds of dollars (and an additional annual fee of hundreds of dollars), the bogan is able to use the front and rear of his vehicle to announce his multi-coloured manifesto to the world, provided it is 6 characters or less. Undeterred, inventive alphanumeric abbreviations are employed, the skills for which have been honed through years of virtually illegible text messaging. The message of the numberplate usually refers to the car’s ability to attain speed, or the alleged importance or desirability of its owner. Examples include “WTABUZ”, “2HOT4U”, and “COPB8″. On other occasions, the numberplate is a variant of the driver’s name, though the motivation behind such a choice is unclear. Often, the bogan will seek to remove the badging from the rear bumper of the car to make it seem more subtle, yet describe the make or model of the car on the numberplate in far larger letters.
The personalisation of the numberplate is believed to make it easier for the bogan to locate its vehicle in shopping centre carparks, as well as intimidating or impressing other bogans during Friday night repetitive laps up and down a street that has fashionable shops on it. By having a personalised numberplate, the male bogan can prove to prospective mating partners that the car is not stolen or his parents’, underlining his suitability as a father and provider to her children.