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