Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What I Learnt About Australia

I recently came back from a three week trip to Europe. Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam. Sometimes it's nice to be away from home, but whenever I'm overseas I inevitably find myself looking-out for references of home. Not because I feel particularly homesick. It's just interesting to see how different lands and people see your home. So, how do Europeans see Australians? Or more accurately, how did I see Australia in Europe?

frog + legs. Jardin De Plantes, Paris
On more than one occasion I was asked where I was from, and this was uniformly followed by "Australia? That's so far away". Which, I guess is pretty true. After almost 20 hours of economy air travel (one way), there's no room to hide. I managed to catch 'Crocodile Dundee' on both French and German television (dubbed into each respective language). In France it seemed to be on repeat for a few nights. Channel 9 rural drama-soap 'Mcleod's Daughters' was also on French TV. On German TV, I saw a talent show contestant attempt his best Brian Johnson / AC/DC impression. He sang 'Thunderstruck'. The judges laughed. He didn't win.

currywurst from Konnopke's Imbiss, Berlin
In Prenzlauer Berg, near where I stayed in Berlin, there was an Australian pub called 'Uluru Resort'. I didn't venture inside, but from the other side of the street it looked pretty busy. The English-Australian accent might be a beautiful and lyrical thing, but in a sea of French, German and Dutch, it did stick-out a little. I came across a few fellow Australians on my travels, and almost every time, I heard them before I saw them.

cake-like snack, Amsterdam
In record stores I dug up quite a few Australian artists. Black discs from INXS, Severed Heads and Hunters & Collectors. One store in Paris had a stack of Kylie picture discs filed away under the racks. Records from groups like The Triffids, The Church and The Go-Betweens also popped up. It was nice to see Robert, Lindy and Grant looking back at me (on the cover of 'Send Me A Lullaby') in a record store in Amsterdam. Sure, they might not have been as popular as Mick's knife or Linda Kozlowski in a pair of g-string bathers, but at least they made it over.

1 comment:

Kapitolina said...

I remember sitting in a bar off La Rumbla in Barcelona, this dude was playing records and he played The Church 'Reptile' - greatness penetrates everywhere.