The Relative Advantages and Disadvantages of Australian Artists

by Humphrey B. Flaubert (T. I. S. M.)


The brutally Darwinian mating ritual of the weekly Springvale Youth Club learn to dance the never ending sound of traffic on the busiest road in the Southern Hemisphere the swirling mechanical hiss of the lure as it rocketed around the Sandown Greyhound Racing Track every Thursday night the impenetrable stare of the bouncers at the Waltzing Matilda beer barn the girls with heavy black eyeliner and permanent sneers the pastel parachute-suited parents wandering around the grubby corridors of the Brandon Park Shopping Centre the danger and allure of a twice yearly sojourn to the MCG-sized Chinese Restaurant in Glen Waverley where Derek J., the Sri-Lankan one-man band would softly corron Elvis ballads while we all struggled with chopsticks and made a big fuss about the little hot towelettes we got at the end of the meal the regular chainsaw awakening of Dad mowin' the patch of lawn just under your bedroom window every Saturday morning the chops, culets, sausages, steak or roast and three veg boiled to near disintegration point week in week out menu the drunken hi-jinks on the last day of high school and so on and so on for forty overs of doing the Mexican wave and shouting "Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi oi oi!!!"

This is the oasis from which TISM sprang.

Tough, wouldn't you think, to be creative, when you come from a world like that? Well, actually, not at all. It's easy. A total pushover. Nope, sorry, but Australian creative minds have it on a goddamn plate. Now take Nick Cave to illustrate the point. What makes Nick Cave brilliant? What makes Nick Cave more creative than TISM? His origins? 'Fraid not. Nick Cave came from Wangaratta, for god's sake. No, it's not that. It's the fact that Nick Cave went to Berlin that makes his struggle for creativity more noble, more Herculean, more admirable. Can you imagine trying to be creative in a city full of creative people? Full of chain smoking, drug-experimenting performance artists, industrial sound painters, blank verse poets, post-modernist novella writers, etc etc all drawn to Berlin's "dark seedy underbelly"? Give me a break. Nip into a milkbar for a litre and you'd be waiting in a line of five underground musicians to be served by a fucking out of work sculptor while a method actor preparing for a movie about wines urinated in the corner. Eeerrrghh. Enough to make you want to become an insurance salesman post-haste.

No, give me the wide nature strips and AV Jennings prefab housing estates any day. Creativity comes easy in Australia, the world's outer suburb.

Not that being creative is worthy of praise. People would call me creative, and I recognise this as a deficit in my personality. Instead of facing up to the screaming rigours of everyday life, of commuting every day to a job you don't like in order to provide your children with education, safety and an environment where they learn to care, nurture and become nice people, creative people like me retreat into our self-centred arrestedly adolescent bubble and "create" so that lots of people will pay us money, cheer us, listen to our opinions about stuff we aren't qualified to have an opinion on and want to sleep with us.

Then some nice person comes along and writes an article about how tough it is for us to be creative! Great!



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