I just finished Bill Bryson’s Australia travelogue Down Under, published as In a Sunburned Country in the US, and it was simply delightful. Just the right mix of historical context, adventure, local flavor, eloquent prose, and snarky humor. Bryson is, in my humble opinion, one of the great modern storytellers of our time. One of his primary tenants of the book is just how little those of us outside of Australia know about the goings on in the sprawling country, and what a shame that is, because interesting things seemingly happen all the time.
10 years after writing his book, I doubt this sentiment has changed much, although I do feel, at least in indie circles, there has been a renewed focus on the music of Australia not seen since the 80s. Which brings us to today’s song, certainly the most recognizable tune ever to come from the land of Oz, and quite a good one at that. I mean it took Thriller to knock it out of the #1 slot. And Bryson was right, strange coincidences do seem to happen in Australia, as I just read that a few months ago it was ruled that the flute part was based on an old children’s nursery rhyme called Kookaburra which apparently somebody still owned the copyright for. Looks like Men At Work are going to have to fork over between 40 and 60% in royalties. Well, at least they’ll still have the Who Can It Be Now? money.
ps. vegemite tastes like boogers.