If you haven't been to Rye, imagine all the pointy-faced nasty white-people you've ever met and collect them in a place which once upon a time could be accurately subscribed as 'sleepy seaside town' - which now resembles 'suburban hellhole with a beach'.
The peoples of Doncaster, Bulleen, Balwyn, Warrandyte and Templestowe have colonised this place like some cancerous fifth column which still equates 'four wheel drive' to 'safety on the road' and 'money spent on add-ons to your Commodore/WRX' to 'sexual prowess'. Even better, drive up Boneo Road out back of Rosebud and see for yourself what the world would look like if we all were stockbroking money-sucking freaks obsessed with building temples to ourselves in which to crouch and complain that there's not much on telly... or better yet, villains in a James Bond film. It's fascinating. There's a secret underground of niceness there, holding out against the middle-aged suburban weekend holiday warriors jacked the house vales through the roof'... if you can break through their innate sense of 'fuck off, tourist' you can meet nice people.
Curiously, where there's a lot of fat white middle aged people collectively snarling at each other to get the fuck out the way of my serenity, there's not much culture. Which leads me to our dear old Ballarat.
While rumours of Def Leppelin playing at Kryal Castle continue to abound, what IS coming to town is the Monsters of Rock tour, sometime in May, we think.
Monsters of Rock? You mean, Kiss, Black Sabbath, Motley Crue and Guns n Roses? Are we talking about the biggest bands in the world? In our fair little vale? Kinda. It's the biggest bands in the world - a tribute.
All the best cover bands of Melbourne are taking it on tour - and coming to Ballarat, and I, for one, salute them. If only because I was forced to watch not just Wolfmother drag their scabby arses in and out of my radio and tv and then onto the hallowed stage of the Meredith Supernatural Ampitheatre, but Airbourne too - complete with the standard knob-licking compliant 'can I have half of that..and a t-shirt?' alleged music journalism that accompanied it.
Two bands who didn't just rape the legacies of the bands before they were long in the grave, they put a whole new twist on necrophiliac sodomisation. Wolfmother? Well, Sydney's always been a source of tryhard wankers with more money to spend on haircare. Warrnambool? You've got a lot to answer for. Not just Dave 'Holden means a lot to my bank account, please refer to the Bill Hicks Guide to Artistic Integrity' Hughes, but Airbourne, too. Pre-pumped and primed as the very rebirth of Oz Rock itself... these sad losers have faded like Bon Scott's cumstains...and were never anywhere near as potent. If I'm gonna get cover bands, give me the real deal. If I want someone to rip someone else's shit off and claim it as their own I'll go download some mashups.
And I like the crowds as well. Last time I turned out to see professional, dress-up cover bands it was at the home of tastless imitation of style, Crown Casino. To see all those 30 and 40-something nearly-balding heads party like it was 1989 - and the same, slutty chicks who worked the room back in the day of the Village Green and Hard'n'Fast do the same now, only now as roadkill-dressed-as-mutton-thinking-it-was-lamb, was pure gold.
I tried looking to the younger generations for some hope. In fact, it's just finished being O Week in Ballarat, and seeing all the uni students descend upon our fair educational institutions and apocalyptically party like it's the end of time rather than the start of their indexed to inflation HECS statements, really was something. For starters, the big gig was being held at 21 Arms. 21 Arms? The only underage venue where alcohol is legal? The venue where the private school kiddies get a little bit of public school rough? WTF? And as for the associated cultural events - the Iron Lung competition, the street party, the massive bangin' rave - what was there?
I'll tell you what. Karaoke.
Are we dealing with a whole generation of culturally retarded kids as a result of the Howard years? What's going to run out in Ballarat first - the water, or the nutritional goodness of seeing some decent live music onstage?