Bondi

Some years ago (first guess, last century, more likely the 1980s than the 1990s) I heard a song Is ’e an Aussie, is ’e Lizzie? by the duo Mr Flotsam and Mr Jetsam (I seem to remember simply ‘Flotsam and Jetsam’). At the time I didn’t have access to the resources of the internet but I have recently found that they were the English songwriter/pianist/tenor Bentley Collingwood Hilliam and the New Zealand bass Malcolm McEachern. They performed light comic “with mild social commentary” and sentimental songs. (I also accidentally found the thrash metal band Flotsam and Jetsam, who presumably don’t.)

Is ’e an Aussie is apparently typical. (I recently included a link in a comment to a recent post, and my number one commenter of recent times, Batchman, said that it didn’t work in the USA. Try here or here or here, or search for ‘Is ’e an Aussie Flotsam Jetsam’.) It features rapid-fire and witty rhyming, almost all of it to do with Australia. In fact, in the first rhyme, Lizzie tells her girlfriend:

Mary-Anne I’ve met a man who says he’s an Austray-lee-an 

She says that he:

Throws a fond eye, talks of Bondi

But later we learn that:

He, being well-born, lived in Melbourne

Hang on …

Bondi’s not in Melbourne; it’s in Sydney, 875 kilometres away. 

In real life, there’s no reason why someone living in Melbourne, well-born or not, can’t talk about a beach in Sydney, but they’re more likely to talk about one closer to home. Except this is a song, and St Kilda, Sandringham and Mordialloc don’t rhyme and scan quite so well. If Hilliam didn’t know where Bondi is, I’m sure McEachern passed through Sydney on his way from New Zealand to England. Bondi is now famous, among other things, for its large population of New Zealanders, being almost the closest point to New Zealand.

Two slightly relevant memories:

Many years I travelled to New Zealand. I was talking to a man who said he was travelling to Australia next. He was going to fly into Mel-bourne then catch tourist buses to Bris-bane. I thought “Oh please don’t. Go from Melb-n to Brisb-n instead” but didn’t say anything. 

I once saw part of an episode of a British tv program called Shoestring, about a small city radio presenter/‘private ear’. A character introduced herself as working for a small radio station north of Brisbane, called ‘The sound of the Gold Coast’. I can’t remember anything else about the episode, or whether she turned out to be other than she purported to be (or maybe the writers simply didn’t know where the Gold Coast actually is). The brief synopses on Wikipedia don’t include a visiting Australian.

Hang on …

For a moment I thought I might be mis-remembering the whole thing, but then I found this page, which says that she “dupes” the radio station, which suggests that the writers included this mislocation deliberately.

(If my memory is correct, and everything supports it so far, then it’s strange that I can remember one sentence from one episode of one tv program which I saw probably 40 years ago.)

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