Updated: Feb 14
Following an afternoon walk, kicking off through crunchy carpets of multicoloured leaves, which blanket the mud in Walter Raleigh’s jacket style (“especially the October wind” has given way to “especially the November fall”), my enjoyment of the afternoon early-winter sun, and a regret at having to beget myself indoors once again (I love the outdoors, hate the indoors with equal measure) - here are my thoughts on bogan-ism. Or, bogan-alia, as it were.
I go out on walks as often as I can, when my depression will allow it. I think as I walk, and formulate my thoughts, as though I were rehearsing for a great audience. It gives me clarity; it is the only thing I can hang on to, in this mad world which for some stupid reason, people think we are somehow all forced to live in.
Anyhow - back to the subject of bogans - which is much more fun!
Before the Alice Evans/ Ioan Gruffudd thing kicked off, I had never, ever heard of the word “bogan”. No matter. Every time I hear it, (and I do hear it a lot, nowadays), it creases me up.
Ostensibly, “bogan” is an Australian term - but sounds completely Irish, to me. “Drongo”, on the other hand, I can understand, is completely Australian (plus, it’s got more than a tad of made-up-Barry-Humphries-speak, about it).
To me, “bogan” has reminiscences, of this troll-like creature, which suddenly appears in front of one out of the mist; something like, The Hairy Boggart, in the tale of the Boggart and the Norfolk Farmer - or, something out of the legends of the Oirish giant Finn MacCool. Whatever it is, or wherever it comes from - it inevitably cracks me up.
Apparently, the British equivalent is (or would have been, many years ago) “chav”. Yeah, I’ve known a few of those. The ones that used to wear mint-green, metallic shell-suits, back in the ‘90s. I can say with some conviction, that I was not one of them (too busy being a depressed Gothic student, and dressing in black, the whole time). Or, in the US, apparently they’d be called “trailer trash”. I cannot comment - having never lived in the US.
Like I said, I do laugh every time I hear Alice Evans’ use of the word “bogan”, and I don’t know where the hell she got it from, but it makes me laugh every time, and I honestly cannot find it within myself to criticize her behaviour on social media. I think, given her situation, she is within her rights, to say exactly what she thinks.
The fact is, that our generation (Generation X) has gone through more upheaval, than most women would have had to go through in a lifetime. Not only have we had our own marriage breakdowns to deal with, but also those of our parents (in my case, my parents’ marriage breakdown was extremely acrimonious, and also ended up ruining my own marriage). We have also been expected to maintain perfect careers, perfect lifestyles, maintaining this perfection within a shrinking workplace and pool of resources, which is shrinking, purely because of the virtue of our being in it! The Women’s Lib force did us favours in some cases, but none at all in others, and still doesn’t. In many cases, due to the lack of focus on our biology, we are drugged, causing metabolic upheaval, and us to gain weight (I refuse all drugs; I even, now, refuse to take doctor-prescribed vitamins, Goddammit, because they were making me sick on a regular basis). Why should we not be mad? And angry? And express it?
I went out with a married man, once. This was, however, ONLY, because his soon-to-be-ex-wife had ALREADY, moved out, was ALREADY, filing for divorce, and had ALREADY, run off with her choir director (who had been married twice before - and already had a baby girl, with his then current wife - who was named after the new flame). Dear me, what a mess. Perhaps I shouldn’t have touched this one with a bargepole; it generated such psychological turmoil, I’m not sure I could go through something similar again.
So, I “get” Alice. I think, why a lot of people don’t “get” her, is that her humour is Fire Sign humour. This is definetely, distinct, from the “normal” kind of humour that is “supposed” to be “socially acceptable” (and isn’t, to anyone without leather hide). It’s a lot more ballsy, a lot more direct, and needs a certain sort of interpretation. It’s quite extreme, and if you’re not into it, you just won’t “get” it.
Aries (that’s me): We annoy people, just because we’re here. Don’t ask me why, we just do. Well, yes, I can tell you why. We are about 1000x more capable than anyone on the planet, and don’t care who knows it. Our mantra is: “I’m good. I’m good. I’m good. I’m good. I’m good…etc.” You get the point. We will get scratchy, if we think that anyone else (who is especially incapable and incompetent) is being promoted, over us. A happy bunny, will not be on your hands. Bette Davis is my idol. WATCH OUT!!!
Leo: These are the people who (like Madonna) swing upside down on the bars of the climbing-frame, so everyone can see their knickers. They are quite adolescent in their humour, but you know they don’t mean it, really - they’re just trying to get their kicks, and entertain people - they are natural entertainers - they can't help it. Although I want to give them a swipe sometimes, I generally love them, and what I appreciate more than anything about them, is their honesty. “There’s nothing like a really good fight” (or catfight (sic)?) - as Elizabeth Taylor would say. Their putdowns will include, anyone who threatens their Social Status/ Love Life/ Popularity.
Sagittarius: Um, who are these people? Do they know? Do we know? Does anyone know? I’m not sure. Do they have anything original about them? One thing I am sure about, however, is that they will get a tad ratty, about anyone who insults their Accepted Intellectual Quotient, or status as “Government Scientist”, or some kind of yawnsomely defined position which was obviously attained through racketeering. Fact: A high number of serial killers are also Sagittarius. We’re talking, really weirded out serial killers here. Ouch. That’s not true of Aries. Trust me, Aries is the safer bet. Aries aren’t criminals. All we’ll do, is probably just get very drunk, and scream the door down (apropos Bobcat Goldthwait, in Police Academy).
So yeah, this is Fire sign humour. A little off the beaten track, but hey, I always go off the beaten track. I have the North Node in Sagittarius (see above). The Happy Wanderer, that’s me. We’re “live and rampant” (as Sir Les Patterson would say), and genu-wine-ly funny, and if people don’t “get” us - then, that’s just their big deal.
Back to bogans!! I’ve known some real, live bogans, I can tell you. We had a notoriously thick girl in our class at school (a Saggie), who, despite the fact she was English, and had no perceivable learning difficulties, managed to get 2% in our end-of-term Religious Studies exam. Yes, you read that right. 2%. I found it incomprehensible that someone could actually be so thick, but it was roundly confirmed, several years later, when I met her at a school reunion. Apparently, she failed the Common Entrance, but the private school we were at accepted her anyway, as they were desperate for money. One of the questions on the Common Entrance paper, was “how many months are there in a year”, and at the age of 11, she still didn’t know. One Leo friend of mine, said this kid must have been living under a rock all her life. Clearly this was so, judging by her approach to suntan (see later).
I could have accepted reasonings such as “we go by a lunar year, so therefore there are 13 months” , or various interpretations (Julian/ Gregorian/ take your pick) of the calendar, but to have no clue at all - is clearly indicative of “bogan” status - you exist to live, breed and die, in precisely that order.
She also circulated pictures of her wedding, at said reunion. When I had turned up with tinted moisturiser on my face at school many years before, she had asked me whether I had thought of seeing a psychiatrist (presumably, because of the shade of my face - I was a young and awkward and inexperienced 14, at the time). However, when I saw the pictures of her wedding, I wondered whether the person in the pictures was actually her. It appeared that not only had she had a spray-on-tan, but that she had also applied fake tan on top of the (already) fake tan, so that the resulting skin colour was darker than a Tamil Indian. I reserved judgement on that one, though this individual is not the only person I’ve experienced doing this kind of thing.
Now, you know, people might say I’m a bogan. My general disposition is not always indicative of "class" (is anyone’s, to be truthful?). I am live, loud and raucous. I drink for England, and don’t hold back. To my credit, I can’t say I’ve ever pretended to have class. I know I don’t have it; I have a posh voice, but at the end of the day I am a human being, and I am not going to turn out in a twinset and pearls, just to please whomever. Who would you rather have a good time with - the Queen, or Dolly Parton?
As Jilly Cooper might imply, the niceties of middle classes are reserved for the middle classes only. As a presumed right royal bastard (looking suspiciously like some members of the Royal Family), having been conceived through some line, at some time - I should, in theory, be spared the socially enforced niceties, of the so-called middle classes. Various birth certificates recorded my ancestors as being relatively simple souls: carpenters, millers, husbandmen, etc. I don’t believe a word of it. I believe, some ancestor of mine, was a prince; in deed, as in name.
I like nice clothes. I like to be very smart; I like anything in faux black leather, and well-cut stuff. My latest acquisition, is a beautiful, black, faux-leather cape, with a faux-fur collar. Could it be, that my ancestor is Dick Turpin?
I don't know, was he a bogan or not? Therein, lies the question!