Every year generations of school children will be condemned to hours of shuffling around doing the heel toe heel toe polka, bouncing around the hot and smelly school halls of Australia.
Bush dancing seems to be one of those odd rituals in Australia that seem to resemble something we can call an identity and culture but oddly never really has become part of the collective imagination. Funnily bush dancing is not particularly Australian, nor is it really carried through into any real cultural practice or into a career unlike ballet, drama or fine art.
Our nation that is famous for it’s masculine obsession and prowess for sport seems to take the time to ‘indulge’ in bush dancing. Primary school children in between the grueling ordeal of having to try every sport that is humanly possible take a break and learn a highly organised form of dance, something seemingly feminine and creative.
For those of you who are unaware of Bush dancing, it is essentially square dancing for retards.
“Bush dance – in general has less emphasis on complex foot work and more about people being in the right place.” -Wikipedia
There is no succinct explanation of why it is called bush dancing, other than the obvious fact that people first danced in halls surrounded by the Australian bush. One might surmise the influence of colonials who encountered Aboriginal tribes who had complex mating and courtship dances. The bush dance could be a European reaction to the courtship rituals seen by the Aboriginal people, a benign form of the mating dance.
The music of Bush Dancing is essentially folk music with songs like “Bound for South Australia” many have a sea shanty feel about them, many of the songs sound similar and they are rigged to sort of ‘fit’ the rhythm of organised dance.
Many ideas from our colonial past linger here, Australia once a proud, prim and proper nation believing in strict Victorian christian principles. In this environment dances and courtship rituals took place under the watchful eye of a local moral enforcement agency. For some insight it’s good to read a paper from the time to get an idea of just how far people penetrated into others personal lives.
This may explain why we still have these rituals in our schools, a country which still has Queen as the head of state and who is steadfastly glued to it’s murky European convict past, it should be no surprise that a Victorian courtship ritual remains there as well.
There is no harm in this cultural practice, but what is the relevance to kids today? These days Australian youth trundle off to rock festivals every year hammering themselves into mosh pits, dancing up a sweat at bush doof’s fueled with alcohol and drugs finding themselves grinding up against each other in their first sexual encounters.
This experience of Australian youth today is so remote from quaint organised Victorian world of bush dancing.
Bush dancing is resolutely daggy but in a strange way this could be in someways its savoir. Modern hipsters have a knack of finding outdated and daggy practices and making them cool again.
I put the gauntlet down, hipsters take on the bush dance.
I have been thinking about my blog and the way I want to portray myself.
In a way you put yourself as an ‘authority’ on something when you do reviews and talk about different subjects in life.
Reviewers are pipe smoking types retiring in their library while they contemplate the finer points of the things they review. I would like to dispel this myth and distance myself from these haughty types
My place on this earth is one of peasant proletariat worker, and my days are very ordinary ones. My aim here is to empty out the contents of my day and go over it like a crime scene, and expose them for everyone to see.
I wake up early because I start at 6:30 am, at the moment in Australia it is fairly cold 13 degrees in the morning which makes it hard to get up.
This particular morning before I had a shower I found my cat Ling ling who decided that he would really like a pat. I spent a little bit of time tiredly contemplating animals and their link to humans. What he was thinking and how he was so reliant on me. He seemed to really enjoy this petting but I had to get ready and I felt sad like a parent abandoning a child.
Shower, I spent a fair bit of time daydreaming in the shower, I was contemplating a documentary about poisons that I had watched the night before. Did you know that Botox was extremely poisonous?
As I got out I was still a little sleepy and half the contents of the cabinet fell out onto the ground including a $20 dollar bottle of sleeping droplets my wife bought.
‘Sorry, shit sorry’ I said as I looked at this strange yellow liquid that smelt very odd. I spent some time looking at the orange liquid on the white bathroom bench top before cleaning it up, it made me think that it may be a kind of poison it certianly looked very noxious.
Stare off into wilderness at kitchen table for 5 minutes.
Put shoes on and leave house, For those of you who are wondering “what about breakfast”. I don’t have breakfast that’s just me I don’t do breakfast.
Hop in my car. It is a 2002 blue Kia Rio, it’s basically a piece of crap and keeps breaking down, I have very little love for it because when I was an Auto electrician I learnt to loathe all things car related.
Today to increase the enjoyment of my journey I put on a brand new episode of the ‘ Sunday Night Safran’ podcast, which is exciting because they have been away for 6 weeks. I giggled away as I drove in the dark.
Call into servo and buy a coffee and say g’day to Lyndal lady who works behind the counter. ‘The coffee machine is working today’ she usually says. I often go to find the coffee machine is not working, or run out of milk.
Just recently I have been taking the disturbing trend of skipping the coffee altogether and having a Red bull. I know- its going to kill my liver one day.
Walk up driveway and clock into work, morning meeting. Bell goes at 6:30. My boss Brian (who reluctantly let me take his photo) chairs our morning meetings. Sometimes the meeting is important, usually it’s just a gossip session.
The meeting starts with a safety moment where people just basically talk about their weekend or some idiot on the road. Every now and then something important happens like a big boss comes down to our section and explains some major change.
I work in a train factory, in a section called ‘cabs’. The cab is a fiberglass hull full of electronics that are on the front of the trains.’ We have a contract to build 160 public trains, we are up to 127.
With no further trains planned people in the factory are beginning to get nervous.
My job for the day is earth wiring, basically I have to cut 50 pieces of varying size wire and place those yellow numbers on each end and put crimps on them.
It’s the easiest task I have to do, but surprisingly repeating the same task like this over and over becomes increasingly difficult the more you do it. The job becomes so repetitive that the only option is to day dream.
During my day dream session today I started to contemplate the politics of trade unionism in the workplace today, discussing finer points with other workers every now and then.
Today’s topic that took center stage was the subject of the American frontier and the vision of a better world or new world. I tried to contrast Australia’s colonial settlement and compare that to the American dream and the ‘Go west ideal’. Basically I decided that Australia never went west it kind of hit a desert and gave up, seeing that vast expanse of desert was just so soul destroying.
I wondered about how this effected the Australian psyche having bugger all arable land to settle on and by then the morning tea bell went off.
Often I dream about art and design seeing I spent a lifetime turning my career around and gaining a degree in Visual communications but today it is the philosophy of the poineering spirit.
Morning tea, morning tea is so short that it is hardly worth mentioning. In this time I have a cup of tea and then sometimes just read a little bit of a book if I can.
9:15 -12:30 Fellow workers
This is Junior, he is my main work buddy, usually he is up this ladder. This particular day he was fairly quiet up there because he was on the phone messaging his wife (Nobody can see him).
Junior’s heritage is Maori and from Samoa which I find fascinating to talk about in regards to culture. Junior is a Jehovah’s witness and sometimes I have to navigate very carefully around the subject of religion, mostly Junior is very good about it and we hardly ever talk religion. (He knows I am a fairly ardent atheist). Junior can be very funny and we both are always joking around about different things.
This is Curly or Keith Boyce, apparently they call him Curly because he has only one hair on his head. Some guys also call him ‘poppy’.
Curly is one of those people of an older generation who is a bit of a know it all. Junior and I often play jokes on Curly which he takes fairly well.
Curly can sometimes be a fun person to be around he always has a story and he usually brings the whole group together in his own way. However he can also be a little bit nasty and small minded. He does from time to time make brutally racist comments which Junior and myself have found very offensive.
This is Chris, he sits across from me at lunch and is my fellow electrician. Chris is a very good electrician but he also has the record for being the clumsiest person in our section often tripping or falling over.
He is also probably the most conservative person I have met in this workplace.
We talk about real estate every day even though I find the topic essentially very boring. He often gets very upset over different things and I am basically not allowed to ask him about being Catholic anymore.
Afternoon downhill run -1:00 to 3:30
Different images from the afternoon.
2:45 packing up and going home!
At the end of this particular day I had to unwrap the wiring loom of these red bubble wrap things, hundreds of them.
Sometimes I have nightmares about this red bubble wrap.
Before knocking off we have to ‘colour in’. The colouring in sheet is about bosses being able to keep track of what we are doing.
At first it was a way of saying ‘do your work’ but it is never mentioned anymore so I think now it has become a rough guide for office types who don’t know what the hell we are doing on these trains.
I am deciding on building a new deck on the back of my house and Chris the builder spent most of the afternoon planning out exactly what it would look like, it started to rain and you can see the rain drops on our plans.
5:30pm – Bedtime
I started writing this blog post, editing and re-editing it. Between that I posted a picture of Ling ling on Facebook.
I later paid my registration for the KIA and then ate a toasted sandwich.
This is my day, I could go into more detail about it but it probably really would bore everyone to tears.