Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Live where?

The weekend is thankfully over, and with it Frankston Council’s Festival of Lights (or, as the traders call it, Festival of Fights). I love my hometown and all, but it’s a little distressing to respond to heavy rain with “Well, that’ll keep all the drinkers at home.” Sad? True.

This is a weird place. People at one end say they actually live in a subsidiary of Mt Eliza, or North Frankston. Multi-million dollar residences litter the cliff face and there are lots of nice cars. Lots of yummy mummies sporting ghd-ironed hair and the kind of fake tan that involves a paper g-string and a home visit, not just a home application. Ten minutes down the road is everyone’s favorite game: Spot the unmarked cop car. If there’s only one, it’s a slow day.

Frankston’s main street: Friday: 3 pm. A car is pulled over and the driver fined for driving an unroadworthy vehicle. The four inhabitants bicker about the ownership of the slab (no, I’m not talking about a piece of rock) in the back, while the cop pries the license plates off with a standard police-issue screwdriver. Presumably this is so the moustachioed driver (I have a feeling that’s not a Movember mo) can’t continue to drive the bomb. Lucky his passengers all have recourse to the famous beer taxi.

Depressed? Already? Don’t go near the station, then. Frankston station is possibly the most written-about station in Australian history. Once it was the train you hopped to bum on the beach for a day.  Now… I’m sure you can all hear the next bit coming. Work it out for yourself.  Across the road it’s like walking through one of those miserable glass boxes they keep airport smokers in, except the smokers at the airport are better dressed and don’t usually have small children with them.

Let's not even mention the number of pharmacies that operate primarily as methadone clinics. Lots of small children there, too.

One block over, the bus stop is an unofficial meeting point for freshly tattooed and pierced adolescents, a kind of “Who wants to be an Unemployable Lout?!” without the relief of ad-breaks and absolutely no suspense whatsoever, because the whole lot are going to win if they have to knock all their own teef – sorry, teeth – out to do so.

I’m sure part of Australia’s charm was our claim on classlessness. Lovable larrikinism, rough camaraderie, having a few beers on the back deck as the sun went down.

Mind the gap.