The Land Of Oz

“You will bow before me
The dark lord
The one true master
Or I shall summon
The hounds of hell
To bite you in the nutsack!”

SCRATCHY: See, you really do hear Satanic messages when you play a record backwards!

EVIL SQUIRREL: I didn’t doubt that, but that’s my Kylie Minogue record for Pete’s sake!

DEVIL: Did I hear someone summon the dark lord?

ES: No, we were just searching for subliminal messages in my record collection…. begone Satan!

DEVIL: I have been unleashed on this Shelf and wasn’t even allowed to choose a song for this countdown, and now it shall fear my wrath!!!!

DEVIL: (Sporking the record to death) BWA-HA-HA-HA!!!!

ES: Dammit, now how am I supposed to hear The Locomotion?

SCRATCHY: There’s two better versions that won’t invoke the demon of shitty music, chump!

Spork! Spork! Spork! Spork! Spork! Spork! Spork! Spork! Spork! Spork! Spork! Spork! 

ES: I can’t take any more of this desecration of classic hits…. maybe the next Shelf Critter request will ward off this evil…

SPONKIE 1: The next critter request is by…..

SPONKIE 2: OMG!  It’s US!!!!!!!!

BOTH SPONKIES: YAY!!!!!!!!!

SCRATCHY: What are these two kids doing in the countdown?  I mean, they make fine lackeys for my Monday Muzak posts, but they don’t even have any personality to choose a song with!

SPONKIE 2: Sure we do!

SPONKIE 1: Yeah, we’re Australian!

SCRATCHY: Bullshit!  I know both of your parents, and neither of them is Australian…

SPARKLEPONY: That’s right!  I’m Hungarian!  Or was it Bulgarian?

RAINBOW DONKEY: And I’m Pangean since unicorns have been around from the dawn of time.

SPARKLEPONY: So you ungrateful spawn have absolutely no Australian genes in your…

RD: Wasn’t our postman about ten years ago an Aussie, dear?

SPARKLEPONY: Rainbow Donkey!!!  How could you……. er…… let’s just drop the subject, mister!

SPONKIE 1: It has nothing to do with Mum and Dad!

SPONKIE 2: Yeah, we were created by Aunt Sharon, and because she loved her homeland of Australia so much, we carry that Aussie heritage with us!

SPONKIE 1: Oi!  Aunt Scratchy, can we have a Foster’s now?

ES: There will be no underage drinking on the Shelf!  Unless it’s for entertainment purposes….

SCRATCHY: (Pulling the Sponkies choice out of the envelope) I shoulda figured…

In a world where just about every country has its share of stereotypes applied to it by outsiders, there is probably no land on this earth that has been condensed into one large over-generalization more than Australia.  Part of that is because of the island’s continent’s very unique setting, where you can find more exotic animals than Michael Jackson even owned.

G’day, mate!

And when it comes to things Americans will often think of when someone mentions Australia, this 1982 song will always be right up there with Crocodile Dundee and kangaroos…

There is so much fascinating background on Men At Work‘s signature tune, that I could practically write a novel on it.  Aussies have embraced the song as a sort of patriotic anthem, just as Americans like to play “Born in the USA” to celebrate the red white and blue.  And just like The Boss wasn’t exactly flattering Amurrica in that song, Colin Hay wasn’t putting Australia up on a pedestal in “Down Under” either.  Hay thought Australia was selling out its cultural spirit to commercialization and Americanization, the “thunder” he was warning everyone to run from.

Oh, now the video makes sense! Well, not really…

“Down Under” is a treasure trove of Aussie slang and references.  Non natives would probably have no idea what the first two lines of the song meant, assuming they could understand what Hay was singing in the first place…

Here’s a hint on what “head full of zombie” means.

“Down Under” was also the victim of what may be one of the strangest copyright infringement suits in the music industry, which is really saying something given that John Fogarty was once sued for plagiarizing himself.  In 2007, 25 years AFTER the song was originally popular, an Australian game show called Spicks and Specks asked the question “What children’s song is contained in the song ‘Down Under’?”  The flute interludes in “Down Under” were taken straight from the song “Kookaburra,” which apparently like “Happy Birthday,” is somehow still “owned” by somebody despite being widely believed to be a traditional public domain song.  The question tipped off Kookaburra’s owning entity to sue the band for royalties, which they were eventually successful at.  All because of a stupid game show…

Damned question writers!

Know what’s better than a vegemite sandwich?  Next week’s Shelf Critter request!  Tune in Monday…

About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
This entry was posted in SCT Request Countdown and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to The Land Of Oz

  1. love it… but I can not understand how a living thing of the species human can eat it directly from the jar with a spoon…. that is a kind of iron man challenge LOL

  2. Kismet says:

    You are a wallaby wannabe.

  3. Juliette says:

    Ohhhhh this is so much better than “Born in the USA”, the song, not the reality. This just makes me happy. Men at Work was/is such a fun band. Can’t help but smile. Thanks to all the critters in the nest for making Mondays a little bit better.

  4. I worked with an Australian (g’day) woman at the time this song was popular. I asked her about vegemite and she said, with a look of distaste, “It’s an acquired taste. It tastes so odd that most people don’t like it, plus the texture is slimy.” Oh boy! 🤢 What a great way-back choice!! Go Sponkies!!!

  5. Mer O'Leary says:

    I miss Aunt Sharon. She sent me a knitted Merby years ago and some fibro hacky sacks.

  6. I think Colin may have been on spot on with the song’s message. I’m told the vegemite is made from leftover brewer’s yeast with a rich and salty taste and symbolic of Australia’s national identity. I’ve not been a fan but to each his own. It’s better than the Born in the USA song so there’s that.

  7. I thought this was a fun song when it came out……never QUITE understood the words but didn’t mind that – it was just fun to listen to. I miss Sharon too – so much talent. She made a “Sammy Purse” for me which I still have a treasure. Vegemite may be the most disgusting thing I’ve ever tasted – truly. ICK and YUCK.

    Pam

    • I didn’t recognize them when I saw the printed lyrics… “fried out Kombi,” “chunder”…. at least I always understood vegemite, even if I didn’t want to know anything about what’s in it! Aunt Sharon left a lot of neat treasures all over the world, and it was cool how she latched onto my following and made them her friends too!

  8. What I’ve taken from this is: Stay away from the vegemite…and everyone loves Men at Work’s “Down Under” more than Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA.” This is a good group and I have to concur. Damn, now this song is going to get stuck in my head…at least it’s not Springsteen! Ha! Mona

    • I didn’t like Born in the USA even when I was too young to know what it meant. Springsteen had some good songs in the 80’s, but not that one. Down Under’s good, but I can think of three Men At Work songs I like better…

  9. draliman says:

    Yay, I saw this song coming as I scrolled down. In a couple of hundred years, when people play “classical music”, this will be one of the songs they play.

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