Friday, January 7, 2011


I received an email from a fellow blogger after my last post asking "What/Who is a "Bogan"?"

Well, here is an image of the typical Aussie Bogan:

IRKING CLASS: A real bogan - as played by comedian
Chris Franklin (above) - never goes out of style but grows
a little older and wider. Source: The Sunday Mail (Qld)

Time was when you could pick a bogan easily: Barry - or Bazza - had a mullet haircut and wore a wife-beater singlet and you'd spot him leaning on his ute swigging a VB in between yelling at the missus Sharon - or Shazza. But no longer. According to the authors of a new book, the 21st century bogan is a much more complex character, not conforming to class or income brackets - and the species is proliferating.While the bogan of old was harmless and generally happy to sit at home with a coldie, the modern version is mobile, has money and aspirations - lots of aspirations.

You may work alongside them, live among them. You will certainly rub shoulders with them in the shopping mall. And, horror of horrors, you may even share some features with them. The book, Things Bogans Like sprang from a satirical website of the same name. The anonymous authors say defining today's bogan requires more careful study of what they say, do and- above all- buy.

To help you identify them, we present an A to Z guide, based on excerpts from the book. But be warned, this could lead you to discover the bogan within.

A. ADHD: While the bogan parent is always eager to acquire cheap glory, it is vehemently unwilling to accept responsibility for the conduct of bogan junior, despite little Bilynda and Maxxx setting fire to the upholstery in the formal dining area. Using the same mental shortcut that caused it to decide that it had a spurious gluten allergy, the bogan will loudly and arbitrarily announce that its recalcitrant offspring has ADHD. At this point, the bogan parent feels relieved and reassured that none of this mess is their fault.

B. Buddhist home furnishings: No longer is the bogan confined to decorating its home with HSV wall clocks and novelty stubby-holders. What better way to announce one's entry into the knowledge economy than by purchasing a Buddhism-themed figurine, statue or water feature from the garden section of Kmart?

C. Celebrities: The bogan is of the opinion that years of work, skill and sacrifice aren't really the key things behind success . . . all that is really required is for the bogan to loudly announce a desire to be a celebrity.

D. Discount airlines: The bogan is no longer restricted to holidaying within a five-hour Commodore journey of its nest. But it expects celebrity service at bargain prices. If the discount flight is 30 minutes late, a small cluster of bogans can be seen gesticulating maniacally at the service desk. The bogans' flat nasal yowl reverberates across the departure lounge, prompting other bogans to begin howling like a neighbourhood of cross-eyed dogs. Due to incidents such as this, the Bali to Brisbane Jetstar flight on Sunday afternoons has come to be known as the ''bogan bus''.

E. Enormous prams: Mumma Hummers, as they are affectionately known, are the armoured tanks of the baby transport world. These giant infant carriers ruthlessly dominate every footpath, zebra crossing and foodcourt aisle that they happen to rumble across. For while the bogan mother is walking a child instead of a pit bull, she desires to intimidate all the same.

F. Franchises: The bogan has standards - standards that can only be met when the front of the shop has a familiar logo that the bogan has seen in other suburbs and towns too. For while each bogan is a unique snowflake, franchises allow them to be as precisely unique as each other.

G. Going to work in the mines: While in a remote area of Western Australia, the bogan will ply his modest skill set, earning in excess of $500 a day. This financial windfall opens the glittering door to hyper-bogan consumption. Within months, he is playing GTA on his new 125-inch full HD, 3D, LED TV, ripping doughnuts in his shiny Chevrolet ute and drinking phenomenal amounts of locally-brewed Stella Artois.

H. Hot Asian Chicks: If the illegal fishing boats full of Afghani immigrants that wash up on Ashmore Reef were full of hot Asian chicks .hordes of bogans would be strapping long-range fuel tanks and floral bouquets on to their jet-skis and trying to intercept the vessels themselves.

I. Interest-free, no-deposit: Maintaining an appropriately fashionable abode with massive TV screen and loud home-theatre system is an expensive task. Thankfully, the proprietors of equally massive retailers such as Harvey Norman saw a hole in the market. So now, Bogan dreams can be fulfilled, by getting free stuff. Sure, they had to sign a few forms before being allowed to leave, but so what?

J. Joining the army (not): Perhaps the most devoted bogan love is talking about joining the army. For there is nothing conceivably more maxtreme than talking about shooting an xtreme gun, in xtreme temperatures, in countries and terrain that it is xtremely unaware of . . . once its back recovers.

K. Kids' names: Rather than actually bestowing their newborn with a genuinely one-of-a-kind name - or at least uncommon one- the bogan merely takes a common one, then misspells it. Ever met a Hayleigh? A Breeyanah? A Kayleb? These kids will be spelling out their names to all and sundry for the next 80 years.

L. Literally: As in ''It was so hot yesterday, I was literally on fire'' or ''I literally died crossing the road this morning''.

M. McMansions: The average size of new homes in Australia grew by 40 per cent between 1985 and 2003 as the bogan became aware that it ''deserved'' a formal living area, a rumpus room, a parents' retreat, an en-suite, a study, a formal lounge and a large void near the stairs. A home that, at first glance, looked reminiscent of a celebrity home.

N. Number plates: Because the bogan has more personality than the rest of us, it requires more canvases upon which to portray its traits. One of these is the lower back, but another important one is the number plate of the bogan's car. The message usually refers to the car's ability to attain speed, or the alleged importance or desirability of its owner.

O. Overseas travel: Thailand is close enough for the bogan to leave its nest at dawn, read the latest movie adapted to a novel, or watch Anchorman and land in time to be slurping from a bucket by evening. Safely ensconced in a Phuket tourist resort or Australian-themed bar, the bogan can drink near-toxic amounts of cheap beer, get bronzed, eat spring rolls, adorn itself with braids, tramp stamps or tribal tattoos, and watch Anchorman again.

P. Patriotism: To the bogan, buying Aussie-made is the retail equivalent of wearing a flag cape and punching on at the Big Day Out totally maxtreme true blue. In the tradition of co-opting symbols it doesn't fully understand, the bogan tatt du jour is the Southern Cross, or ''Aussie Swazie''. The bogan believes Australia has a monopoly over a constellation that is visible from about 50 other countries the bogan has never heard of.

Q. The Qur'an (or Koran): The bogan will tell people that the Qur'an binds all Muslims to a thing called ''Shania's Law'' which compels them to spread chaos and oppression throughout the globe. This, the bogan believes, has all been in order to attain maxtreme quantities of virgins in the afterlife and it is highly suspicious as it wants its virgins right away.

R. Reality TV: Some analysts thought reality TV would be a brief fad but they failed to understand the bogan's bottomless need for validation and glitz. And because it's bogan versus bogan, the bogan always wins.

S. Self-help books: Bogans love shortcuts, be they get-rich-quick schemes, examining a limited number of habits of ''highly effective'' individuals, or simply seeking an effortless strategy to living superbly. This makes the bogan a prime culprit for the burgeoning self-help publishing industry and intellectual cretins/life coaches/gurus who model themselves on Anthony Robbins.

T. Tans: Many bogans turned to tanning lounges in the 1990s but the message of young melanoma victim Clare Oliver got through to many. The shift in bronzing tastes coincided with a proliferation of spray tans, creams and lotions. These come with the promise of transforming pale bogans into the colour of ''ethnic'' people they do not like. This oddly contradictory aspirational racism is rarely effective, though, with the bogan ending up a blotchy shade of orange.

U. Underbelly: It had crime, it had violence, it had drug use, it was based on some semblance of fact, it was on commercial TV and it was absolutely loaded to the brim with heavily stylised semi-explicit sex scenes and exposed breasts. It was, in short, the televisual equivalent of bogan heaven.

V. Vampires: The female bogan desires nothing so much as xtreme romance. While she often tells her disapproving friends that despite the tribal tatts and glass-induced facial scarring, her man is ''a real sweetie underneath'', the vampire is a representation of the fantasy that her muscle-bound neolith can't live up to.

W. WAGS: ("Wives and Girlfriends”) There is a celebrity that appeals even more greatly to the bogan than the footballer or cricketer: Their girlfriend. The femme-bogue decides that becoming a WAG is her calling; her destiny. This results in weekly pilgrimages to weekend haunts known for containing athletes, where the femme-bogues stalk their prey with a single-minded, ruthless determination. By the end of the night, the female bogan has passed out in a tangle of arms, legs, sequins and shame.

X. Xmas sales: (Take the "Christ" out of Xmas is their motto!) The bogans surge, foaming at the mouth and desperately snatching any item within a two-metre radius of a sign saying ''(up to) 70 per cent off''. Skinny bogans wriggle between the fat ones, tall ones reach over the top, and the fat ones jut their ample rumps outwards to create a quivering exclusion zone around the precious discounts.

Y. Your favourite bar: Once content with glassings and gropings to a Top 40 remix soundtrack at high capacity beer barns, the bogan now has an inkling that it is missing out on something. The bogan will learn of the non-bogan's favourite bar when the trashmedia report that an actor from Underbelly went there once.

Z. Zoo Weekly: Having initially conceded to his girlfriend's refusal to have the magazine in the house, the bogan was sent to the 7-Eleven to purchase a Diet Coke. At the fridge, the male bogan spied the promotional placard: ''500ml can of Mother and copy of Zoo Weekly for only $6.'' His relationship was doomed.

From: Things Bogans Like, published by Hachette Australia, is in shops now. RRP $24.99.

ps a "Commodore" is an Australian-built utility - but not the working class type!

Two utes at the Deniliquin Ute muster, 2002

Commodore on left, Ford Falcon "Longreach" on the right. These days a "Fire Engine Red" is the preferred colour, tho' 'Nightstalkers' like a dark blue or purple!


Sharon said...

LOL! I only understood about half that, but you know, I believe my DH is a bogan!

Jo said...

That is funny! Thanks.