The other day, while I was eating a Balfours meat pie in my friend’s Lexus, I burned my tongue. “Crikey, what a bloody joke,” I mumbled incoherently, trying not to dribble any gravy and miscellaneous chunks on the cream leather. I was about to take a swig of Farmers Union Iced Coffee to try and ease the pain when a loud, booming voice entered my mind.
“You’re a bogan” it stated. “NO, I couldn’t be! I’m not!” I tried to subconsciously argue. “What even IS a bogan?” I continued. “What makes someone a bogan? Are bogans even real?” Eventually the voice grew tired of my questions and buggered off, but for rest of the supremely comfortable Lexus quality ride home, my brow remained furrowed. “Strewth,” I thought to myself, “What the bloody hell is going on?”
In the following days, I began picking up on my erratic borderline bogan behaviour. I went and watched drag races, I developed a love for Chopper Read and I ate a Chiko Roll and loved every second of it. I even scored a bargain at the Elizabeth shopping centre, and tried to end a couple of sentences with the word ‘mate’. Slowly but surely, something was happening to me. Something unexplainable.
I decided to research the word ‘bogan’. Wikipedia (this isn’t an essay, so deal with my wiki referencing) defined a bogan as an “unkempt, slack, messy person or redneck”, but I wasn’t satisfied. I decided to hit the streets in search of the truth. To find out what was happening to me, I needed to do some research
The first person I spoke to was my mum’s friend Moira, who lives on Victoria Avenue. Moira’s a top sheila, and coincidentally the most unbogan person I know. I asked her what she thought a bogan was. She replied: “I don’t know, I guess it’s more about attitude than anything.” She continued, “I think it’s kind of a carefree state of mind. Even though it’s not all about money, it seems to come from…,” she paused, “…lower socio-economic areas. Can I say that?” she half-laughed, half-grimaced. “I think it’s about values. And it would stem from your parents, definitely; how you’re raised. I suppose it’s a bit of a culture, really.”
My next stop was Salisbury East, where I interviewed Ben, the son of another family friend. “So what is a bogan?” I asked. “Uh, I’m not sure,” he laughed. “Maybe I’m half bogan.” When asked what makes someone a full bogan, Ben launched right in with: “An appreciation for all things Aussie.” “Such as?” I asked. “…cars, sports, booze, um…actually I don’t know,” he laughed again. “It’s an Australia-wide thing,” he said. “And yeah, it probably has something to do with the area you live in. It’s to do with appearance too, like how you dress and all that. Most bogans are really daggy.” “Not so many ‘true bogans’ around the city,” he added.
Driving home, I was upset. Had I discovered nothing? While Moira viewed bogans as a culture, detached from monetary issues, Ben saw bogans as people who liked cars and footy. After my interviews, I asked other people what they thought the term ‘bogan’ meant. Results were largely unhelpful. The two worst responses: “That chick whose baby was stolen by a dingo” and “Omg I dunno, like, um, poor people?” After some serious soul searching, I realised one thing. Boganism is subjective. The bogan is part of contemporary Australian life and seems to represent a weird sense of freedom. I’m not saying I want to go out wearing a Dada tracksuit, smoke weed during the day and call people the C word, but hey, if we take our judging hats off, I think we can learn a thing or five from the bogans around us.
Sure it’s fun going shopping on King William Road, and dining at snobby restaurants with names that sound like exotic diseases, but you know what other things are fun? McCain oven pizzas, sacks of goon and Aussie V8s. We live in a society where it’s possible to have the best of both worlds. Screw definitions and social stigma, do whatever the hell you want and if anyone labels you a bogan, tell them they’re a bloody idiot (mate).