Friday, January 18, 2013

New South Welsh

This was a new one for me:

"What nationality are you?"

I was walking home from the shops. I see the kid who asked the question fairly regularly; he's always out on his bike and he'll always say 'hi'. All very nice and friendly, the only problem being that it is almost impossible to distinguish him from his two other brothers, who are always out on their bikes, always saying 'hi', and always all looking exactly like one another. Come to think of it I'm not even sure whether there's three of them. For all I know there might be four, or five, or six....

Nationality! I wonder whether it was my beard. Did that make me look multicultural? Or my tropical Hawaiian shirt? Or my dusty black Fedora? It was really rather flattering that he thought of me that way. As it was, all I could think of in reply was "Australian".

Turning round the corner, it suddenly struck me. I shouldn't have answered "Australian" at all. I should have told him the truth: "Nationality, you say? Mate, I come from a country far, far away. They call it New South Wales...."


Caz said...

Of course, there might only be one of those lads, an only child.

I love that he thought you exotic enough to boldly ask your place of origin.

And yes, you should have done the "from a place far, far away ...".


Then you could have asked him from where he and his 17 brothers hail.

TimT said...

Maybe the combination of copious beard and black Fedora made me look suitably Amish. The brightly coloured Hawaiian shirt was neither here nor there.

We see one of these young chaps every time we go to the shops. Usually try and say 'hi' first to them before they say 'hi' to us. That way you get the initiative....

TimT said...

Oh, and they have mullets! I love it, it takes me back to my childhood growing up around mulleted teens in Balranald!

Steve said...

Oh, and they have mullets!

Oh dear. I see tattoos in their future, with 100% certainty.

The odds of jail for at least one of the brothers is probably higher than average too.

Actually, sorry, now that I think of it, it's rat's tails which are the sure sign of future time in the slammer; not mullets.

[Am I being inappropriately judgemental enough for you today?]

Caz said...

I have to disagree: I think it was the Hawaiian shirt.

It's good to say "hi" first, so that the band of brothers learn to speak only when spoken to. It's old fashioned, sure, but imagine the peace and quiet if everyone reverted to nice manners.

I have tattoos, does that mean I have a mullet in my future? (Oh gawd, nooooooooooooooo.)

Steve said...

Tattoos [plural] caz!

One as a mistake would be allowed in my benevolent Australian dictatorship, but two: institutionalisation is called for!

(Don't question it - I just know what is good for society.)

I would have put "just know" in italics, but couldn't get the HTML to work.

Steve said...

PS: I fear one day Tim is going to shock me by detailing the cat tattoos the Baron has been getting for years.

TimT said...

Cat tattoos! I haven't heard about those either so I fear the Baron may shock us both, Steve.

TimT said...

Is a cat tattoo a cattoo?

TimT said...

Off to my weekly poetry gig so I'll try and verify if these young local worthies have tattoos on my way.

Steve said...

Googling cat tatts does, of course, bring up many examples.

The owner of this one would be locked up forever under my magnificent rule:

Caz said...

Steve - yes, of course I have tattoos, plural. No token rose or goldfish on the ankle for me, nooo sireee.

Lotus flowers, lilies,orchids, a big hibiscus that covers three other tattoos (does that count as four?),the symbol for Odin, and so on and so on. All quite discrete, covered easily.

Perspective is always a funny thing, isn't it? Mostly I don't think about it, completely forget what I've got and on which body part. For you, shocking, hideous! For me, and I'd guess for others with more than some piddling token effort, it's a matter of no interest or angst - no more so than having short hair or long hair or wearing trousers or a skirt.

On the matter of CDs ... err, dare I say something about USBs?

Steve said...

Caz, you get credit from me for the "covered easily" aspect.

I'm sure you're relieved. :)

Caz said...

Timmy - that weekly poetry gig? Soooo, hipster. (And you must drop me a note to tell me where.)

Steve - despite my own inkings, I still get the heebie jeebies when I see some lovely young lass with a tattoo across her chest (astonishingly frequent, nowadays) or other locations or sizes that clearly can't be disguised or covered with perfectly ordinary choices in clothing. (Who wants to wear polo-necks and long sleeves all year around?)

My first thought is: "what is she going to do when she gets married?!". 'Cause, ya know, it's difficult enough for a woman to find a wedding frock without having to worry about the size, colour and/or position of her tattoos.

Awfully, awfully old fashioned and stereotypical thought ... I know. And yes, I'm ashamed.

TimT said...

You should see the hipster photos of me on facebook, Caz.

It's at the Dan O'Connell every Saturday, 2-5. These days now I'm not working at the old place of employ, though, I'm hoping to get to a few more poetry gigs.

Caz said...

More poetry gigs?

Jeez, who knew there was a poetry gig scene?

(I really must get out more.)

In my relative youth, poetry readings were quite common, The Princess attended her first poetry reading at about six weeks, in Canberra (I have exact age and date, in her baby book).

That was way back when ... a bit of a hey day, for a significant cohort: Gig Ryan, John Scott, John Tranter, Allan Wearn, Laurie Duggan, etc.

Steve said...

Tim Train: Poet for Hire.

Actually, I've been meaning to post at my blog about how Karen Armstrong, in her bio of Mohammed, notes that there was one bit of unpleasantness in which he ordered a couple of poets to be killed. Armstrong, being keen to paint him in the best light, notes that poets were seen as politically very dangerous, such was their potential to influence their audience in old Arabia.

You are lucky to be a poet in Melbourne instead; but the idea of cheery you being pursued by exotic assassins for a particularly dangerous afternoon of poetry at the pub does strike me as sort of funny.

TimT said...

Gig did a, well, gig at the Dan last year. For that time I'd written a series of four-line haiku, the surprise was in the supposed-to-not-exist fourth line:

Bird in leafless tree
Singing a delicate song
Recalling summer:
Eddy is a bastard.

I wrote a Gig Ryan poem on the spot to tease her too:

Tree bud waits for spring
Ready to bloom, in its own
Unknown language.
What did Gig say?

She left as soon as her set was over though. Ah well.

TimT said...

Only character assassinations happen in Melbourne, Steve. :)

Steve said...

I wish to make an additional comment in order to round the number of them to a nice, even "20". Odd numbers are the devil's work. (I just made that up, but I bet someone else has thought it before. Wait a minute - I've just Googled it and it seems I've got it arse about - even numbers are apparently unlucky and evil:

I'll have to do something about my mistake.)

Steve said...


TimT said...

What about 13? That's the odd man out...

Steve said...

The exception that proves the rule!

I've always felt very kindly towards "24" myself. I like all the factors.

Any favourite numbers, Tim?

TimT said...

The cliched ones. 3, 7, 9, 12, 1646474848475643857494775447585854885.03....

I wrote a piece called 'My Favourite Numbers' once. Kind of performance thing. I'll try and dig it up, I might be able to put it on the blog here.

Email: timhtrain - at -

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