rugbyMy wife paid me the ultimate compliment the other evening. After my whispered tirade to her about the nationalistic failings of the English (read Poms here if you are Australian) who were also eating in our restaurant, she told me to shut up, and accused me of being a rough uncouth Australian bastard. What I found complimentary was that she didn’t preface the phrase with the word old. Now that wouldn’t have been nice.

Although my wife is Swiss, she does have a profound sense of my Australian genetic code, and as such tends to be rather lenient on me when I am on one of my pedantic crusades. Some might call it racist, but as it is white on white, that would hardly be accurate. Others may call it prejudice, but that would only be simplifying and demeaning a deep held, spiritual belief.

And that is that in general and on the whole, when I am confronted by more than one Pom (read any English person here) in any social setting, the hairs on the back of my neck stand to attention, my blood pressure rises and I wait in physical preparedness for the oncoming and inevitable first salvo. “Ahh, you’re a colonial then?”

My blood runs cold as I return the impolite salvo with, “Better than being a bloody Pom!”

To understand this fully, one needs to be aware that my predecessors were transported to Australia in the late 18th and early 19th century as punishment for crimes. Crimes such as stealing bread to feed their children as a result of the unemployment created by the Industrial Revolution. At the time, the English aristocracy had believed there was a criminal gene residing in these petty thieves. They had other excuses for the Irish, Scots and Welsh. In the end it was the same result. Transportation to the world’s most remote and harsh prison colony. Australia.

Luckily some would say, Australians have not resorted to violent protest, insurrection, civil war or terrorist attacks. When given the opportunity to become a republic, Australians for some reason stayed affixed to the monarchy. Why?

Very simple. It leaves us Australians free to take our battle to the cricket ground and rugby pitches where real wars can be fought. It also leaves us free to remain rough uncouth Australian bastards. For if we didn’t have Pom bashing as a national sport, what the hell else would we do?

At least Poms understand. No one else would.

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Rough Uncouth Australian Bastard
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10 thoughts on “Rough Uncouth Australian Bastard

  • 03/01/2010 at 12:53 pm

    I'm not ignorant of the rivalry, stereotypes and such, but for some reason my emotional senses just don't connect when I meet people from different cultures. Maybe because I'm half Scottish and half English, I don't know. I know it's often just in jest, but it much too often turns ugly. Even in sport (not so much Cricket) where fans are concerned. Thanks for the interesting read.

  • 03/01/2010 at 7:04 pm

    Derek, I love this entry. I have been to Australia: my son lives there: he is, may I say, a "famous" wine importer. I found Australians to be straight talking, wildly joyful folk. And I love reading this entry from you where you explore the source of your problem with the English while blending the whole discussion into an evening with your Swiss wife who clearly loves you: bluster and all!

    BTW, could you tell me how you get reviews posted on the side of the blog? That is really cool. DM me on twitter or write a comment on my blog, perhaps?

  • 04/01/2010 at 5:34 am

    Those reviews really are cool, Derek. I wouldn't mind knowing how you did that, too.

    I've heard nothing but good things about Australia and its people. I'd love to visit, someday when I afford it.

    BTW, as a citizen of a former British (or is it Pommish? :)) colony called the USA, all I can say is, I'm not sure which is worse: living in a former penal colony or a former refuge for religious wingnuts who owned slaves (and had the temerity to insist they believed that all men are created equal).

  • 18/06/2011 at 6:19 pm

    We understand very well, Derek; all's well in love and war, especially on the fields of Rugby Union (my game, played it for twenty years) and cricket (not for so long – got bored, unless limited overs!).

    In the photo, by the way, I recognise the fellow with the neat hair cut and the white shirt, but not the fat hairy bastard in the yellow shirt…

  • 19/06/2011 at 10:40 am

    I am left with an inquisitive feeling; two things that I need to ask your about (i) which restaurant was it? and (ii) were they well behaved?

  • 19/06/2011 at 11:20 am

    Well Poetjanstie, the restaurant in question was in Basel, and they (the Poms) were acting all very Madam Hyacinth Bucket! lol Knowing you are from the North, I am sure you would sympathise with my problem with 'pretendy' aristocratic social queens from a couple of counties just South of London.

    Those of you Poms from the North however are almost brothers to us uncouth Aussies, as it was from the North that most people were transported to the colonies.

  • 19/06/2011 at 12:54 pm

    I've lived in Yorkshire for 37 years, 20 of them in the steel industry, where, if you have any 'airs and graces', you won't have 'em for long 'cause Yorkshire folk will knock it out of you! But I have to confess I was born, bred and educated in the south, even went to a public school run by an ex master of Gordonstoun, and run on the same tough lines.

    BUT, I have to tell you that we're not all Hooray Henries! And that includes members of the English Rugby team; very few of them, at least amongst the players, left in that setup, particularly since the game went professional. We may have invented the game, but we don't own it!

    In fact, I have actually grown to hate pretentious middle class aspirants and anyone who doesn't have a very clear view of how fortunate and privileged they are by virtue of the luck of birth (one of my previous blog posts on football, perversely, referred to this). In the western world, certain members of humanity really (sorry that word!) don't have any idea how hard life could have been for them. We have to 'bloom where we're planted' but we don't need to behave like… well, how shall put this, as a Yorkshireman once taught me… like pompous twats! (hope that's not too unprintable?!).

  • 19/06/2011 at 1:23 pm

    I have to tell you Poetjanstie about my very first visit to the 'North'. I arrived in Leeds after a few days in London. It was my first visit to England by the way, so I was young and green. After checking in to my hotel, my mate and I went to a pub for a beer.

    I politely ordered two pints of Tetleys and was immediately greeted by a fellow next to me at the bar with:
    'That ain't beer for fooookin' Aussies! That Fosters shite up there t'is for you!'
    I looked aghast but he quickly followed up with, 'Wish that foookin' Lillie played for Yorkshire.'

    We then had a terrific afternoon with him and a bunch of his mates, and got as drunk as skunks!

    It was a wonderful welcome to the 'North'.

  • 19/06/2011 at 1:33 pm

    Wonderful. Abuse from a Yorkshireman is as good as an invitation to join his fellowship, albeit with strings, mind! :)

  • 19/06/2011 at 2:19 pm

    Derek mate, I went through the same "Ah you're from the Colonies crap" when I came back here to the land of my birth (England) in 2000, having spent most of my life living in New Zealand.

    Funny, but If I was pushed to declare who and what I am, I'd still say I'm a Kiwi first and last, born in England. But don't hold the last part against me will you. :)

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