The West, Saturday: Dullsville

7/4/2007

This is not a good idea, but I’m going to do it anyway, apologise, to the people of Perth.

In many ways, although I have lived in this city for over 20 years, I have never really been at one with it, its lifestyle, its vibe, its inner core. The boy from Bridgetown has always kept his distance, his separateness and has remained an amused observer.

This, hopefully, will allow you to forgive my seeming indiscretion.

When the big news broke, when it became a major news item for eastern states newspapers and national TV stations, I was one of the first quoted.

From memory, unreliable as it is, I seem to recall I was quoted on the front page of this very newspaper.

I certainly remember appearing on a daily TV breakfast show hosted by Steve Lieberman, or a man who was sitting in his chair.

In fact, it was not Steve who interviewed me but rather his offsider, a woman who’s name is no longer with me and who is no longer with the daily TV show or with any show I watch.

What occurred, of course, in typical media fashion, was that my comments were taken out of context.

Not only was the context re-contextualised, but what I said was also isolated from what I did not say and left unsaid.

Ok, I did say Perth was dull and that the bon mot, Dullsville, was well deserved, but nowhere was it pointed out that I continued to live in the place.

Many of you, especially those of you involved in the communication arts, know that what is unsaid often carries the most important message.

What I implied by offering comments from Perth, about Perth, was that although I would admit to a strong dullsville strain in Digger and Dealer City, it was only superficial, that the shallow dullness above, hid a deep, seething, vibrant underbelly beneath.

And in one particular bit of the under-belly, I and my friends lived a culturally rich and eventful life.

I could have added, as does Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, James Dean and Al Pacino.

Or, if this is your first time in this column, Brian Burke, Julian Grill, Ben Cousins and Daniel Kerr.

Oh yes, these past few months have certainly made a few of those Easterners sit up and read their papers.

Not all that long ago, their columnists and street-mockers took great delight in having fun at our perceived parochialism and, indeed, many of them refused to visit, claiming that the five-hour flight was the most exciting part of the journey and there was no point in it because all you had to look forward to at the and was the return and they had no interest in going over old ground.

Perhaps that’s why so many of them are still with us now, not used to the distances, they can’t face the long trek back.

But back to the underbelly that hangs beneath this great state of ours. And I’m not talking Yarragadee.

Let’s face it, it’s put us on the map, it’s a mark of our maturity, of our continued rise up the ladder of high-profile cities.

Who wants to visit a town where the major attractions are a couple of bells stuck up a tower, a mob of kangaroos just down the road from the CBD, lovely white sandy beaches with no surf, or an adolescent clogged island with nowhere to sleep.

What we have always needed is human drama, scandal, on a scale to match Profumo and Keeler, Stalin and Trotsky, Kennedy and Monroe, Starksy and Hutch.

And now we have it: Sydney (Brian Burke) Greenstreet versus Humphrey (Alan Carpenter) Bogart, James (Ben Cousins) Dean up against Clint (John Worsfold) Eastwood and Rupert (Hancock) Murdoch up against Conrad (Wright) Black.

Such reckless, self-indulgence by our high profile citizens can only enhance our image in the east, full as it is of your educated and sophisticated modern tourists, who shun base natural beauty and seek the glamour of cultural contrivance, deceit and good old sex, drugs and money.

This week I will attempt to right the injustice of my earlier “dullsville” comments. I will be contacting Steve Leiberman and, as soon as I remember its name and channel, the producers of the breakfast TV show.

I will claim I was disoriented at the time, heavily medicated following a number of losses on the property market, suffering from mild heavy-metal poisoning, and depressed following my break-up with Megan Gale.

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