Saturday, 25 September 2010

The celebration of Aussie boganism begins hours from when the start whistle rings out across the verdant sward in the middle of the Melbourne Cricket Ground and while there's only so much interest that can be extracted from shots of change-rooms, the camera gets plenty of help from secondary actors. The camera does more than track its way down the passages constructed in the bowels of the Melbourne Cricket Ground. It also sits, transfixed, staring at groups of suited men lined up behind a desk and holding branded microphones into which they pour endless streams of verbiage - all in honour of the Australian Football League grand final that is about to start today.

Warm-up band INXS looks tame rather than iconic and sounds inadequate without the splendour of lead singer Michael Hutchence, who died 13 years ago in November. The support vocalist's breasts jiggle enthusiastically as the new lead singer - who knows his name? not me - struts across the stage constructed above one of the main entrances to the stadium's underbelly. Perhaps it's the entrance the players will use to, soon, stampede onto the playing field.

Not yet, though. A well-drilled procession of Toyota utes drags itself out of the stadium's voluminous guts and starts to drive around the field but stays in the out-of-bounds zone. On the back of each ute sits a pair of past worthies, players celebrated for something-or-other. They sit, suited and grinning, on folding teak deck chairs of the kind normally found set outside the back door of a suburban house and used for barbeques and other summertime activities where plenty of beer is drunk and lots of meat is eaten. Some of the men have children on their laps as they make their well-deserved victory lap around the stadium where 100,000 fans cram their scarves and jackets into plastic seats that cannot be removed.

Talking of deck chairs ... Advertising screened during the grand final appeals to the same, identical demographic as that of the audience. You can get your bathroom tiles grouted seamlessly. You can buy an iconic, award-winning lifestyle home that is architecturally designed. You can use a top-of-the-range welding machine in your chosen profession of tradie. If you are cashed-up and willing, the opportunities available in this modern, football-loving society are quite simply endless.

2 comments:

Glenda Trimble said...

Lord spare us - the old "all people who like footy are idiots" saw.

Included in the 100000 people who showed up at the Melbourne Cricket Ground yesterday were some of Australia's most prominent and accomplished names in the arts, medicine, business, journalism - in short, from all walks of life. AFL footy in Melbourne is not like the NRL - it is followed by people of all types and classes.

Sure there are some dumb people in footy and there are some dumb people who like footy and people involved in footy do some dumb things. That goes for human beings as a whole though, not just footy people.

Matt da Silva said...

An oldie but a goodie. There's a bogan in all of us, but some of us choose different objects to admire, Glenda. There's a bit too much attention paid to these well-heeled fellows and their by-turns athletic and seedy passtimes.