The Null Device
The latest front has opened up in the Australian culture war; organisers of "alternative" music festival Big Day Out have banned the wearing of Australian flags after incidents of racism and redneckish behaviour on the parts of the sorts of people who came in with prominent flags.
"People were wearing the Australian flag and were a bit racist. There was a group of Middle Eastern people sitting down and they went up to them and said `you're not Australians'.
"I told them to bugger off and they started yelling at me, saying I wasn't Australian because I wasn't behaving like them.
"The Australian flag was being used as gang colours. It was racism disguised as patriotism and I'm not going to tolerate it," Mr West said.Some things, it seems, are universal.
Anyway, Australia's populist Prime Minister, John Howard, Hammer of the Latte-Left, who is not one to pass up an opportunity to be the voice of the silent majority, has called on the event to be shut down unless the ban is reversed.
During my visit to Melbourne, I videotaped a few gigs. Now (time and computer facilities permitting), I'm going through the tapes and will be putting a few choice fragments on YouTube (with permission of the performers, of course).
The first fragment: Light Music Club, "Music for the Tiny Hours", live at Spoon, Brunswick:
Apologies for the shaky camerawork/less than ideal video quality.