Footy fever not felt by everybody

OUTNUMBERED: Down The Mall acknowledges they will be in the minority as the football-mad community celebrates the season's climax.

OUTNUMBERED: Down The Mall acknowledges they will be in the minority as the football-mad community celebrates the season's climax.

DTM has some deep links to the AFL. That might surprise some, but we’re talking about the real, original AFL – the Anti Football League.

Your scribe once spent a couple of years (seasons, in the language of footy) as honorary secretary of the original AFL.

But we are sensible enough to admit that next weekend, in this city, we might be a bit lonely. The cries of “carn” the whoevers, and “go” the wassernames will ring loudly over the city.

Just in case there are some people in Bendigo who have not been exposed to this culture, allow us to pass on some snippets from Bruce Dawe’s poem, Life Cycle.

It starts: When children are born in Victoria

They are wrapped in club colours, laid in beribboned cots,

Having already begun a lifetime’s barracking.

Carn, they cry, Carn … feebly at first

While parents playfully tussle with them

For possession of a rusk: Ah, he’s a little Tiger! (And they are … )

It ends: So that mythology may be perpetually renewed

And Chicken Smallhorn return like the maize-god

In a thousand shapes, the dancers changing

But the dance forever the same – the elderly still

Loyally crying Carn … Carn … (if feebly) unto the very end,

Having seen in the six-foot recruit from Eaglehawk their hope of salvation.

Footy and culture. In the same sentence?  

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Funny word, ”carn”. It’s long been recognised as an Australian word derived from “c’mon”, which is abbreviated from “come on”.

Or is it? Throughout European languages, “carn” most often refers to “meat”. Carnage, carnivore and – here’s a factoid – carnation (it was thought to have a fleshy colour). Even “carnival” refers to flesh. In ancient Italy, the festival of carnevale referred to a time of fasting … a farewell to meat. So, football crowds are sort of shouting “meat the Pies!”

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Bendigo’s a beaut place. In a week when world headlines were dominated by the Brangelina separation, death and chaos in Syria and race riots in the US, Bendigo’s much loved 3BO’s bulletin one morning this week was that Cogho had forgotten his glasses and Es had cut her thumb.

Reminds DTM of the time a South African academic was appointed to a senior post at La Trobe uni. Asked what attracted her to Bendigo, she held up the Addy and on page three was a short story about a Malvern Star bicycle being stolen. 

“I want to live in a town where a stolen bike is news and where even the bike’s brand is important,” she said.

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