Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I'm here with all of my people

This morning at 8am (9am in Canberra), Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said sorry to the Indigenous peoples of Australia.

Dan and I listened to it in the car while I drove him to work. It was quite a good speech - short and simple. That's the way we like it.
After it finished, we were silent. Nova's announcers resumed speaking. I changed the radio station to Triple J and The Preset's "My People" was playing. Oddly appropriate song, really. As well as being an ace dance track, it's a song about refugees - another displaced ethnic minority in Australia.
Dan and I danced for a bit, then started talking about the speech. "Well, that's something to tell the grandkids," I said.

Then i got thinking. What will I be telling people when I'm old? Everything that's happening now will be history in the future. Nothing but nostalgia.

My parents were around for the moon landing. They stopped lessons at school to watch it on TV. Mum remembers her auntie, when she was little, running into the kitchen to tell my grandmother that John F Kennedy had been assasinated. Dad went to the Australian Woodstock. They remember when John Lennon and Freddie Mercury died. They witnessed firsthand the after-effects of the Vietnam war. Dad had long hippie hair and Mum wore flares. Mum remembers buying a pair of jeans for $3 and Dad realises that he wouldn't be able to get away with driving home after drinking nowadays, like he did when he was younger.

What my dad looked like in the 1970s

What will I tell my kids, if I ever get over my hatred for screeching brats and actually decide to have any?

I remember watching the Saturday morning cartoons when I was little and being quite annoyed when the news interrupted my viewing - Stuart Diver, the survivor of the Thredbo disaster, had been found.

I remember being awakened by the frightened calls of my mother early one school morning when I was in Grade 8. She was rambling on about a plane crash in New York. Then she said something about Twin Towers, and I thought she meant the hotel in Tweed Heads. Then she said "terrorists". I was very confused and tired, so I sat down and watched the news to find out what was going on. Over and over again, I saw planes that looked like toys crash into skyscrapers. I felt like the world was ending when I saw solid buildings crumble and people jumping head first out the windows.
That day at school, I remember my science teacher said, "I believe that in the end, good will prevail out of evil". We also did a French exam. Then I went home, turned on Sky News and watched the buildings fall down all over again. I heard the name Osama Bin Laden for the first time.

I remember watching George Bush tell the world that they would invade Iraq, and thinking, "Why?" I remember going to watch an anti-war protest in the city.

I was watching a late-night movie with friends in Noosa when Saddam Hussein had been captured. We kept groaning whenever the newsreader said, "Salt-and-pepper beard".

You could have just said "black and white". God.

Petrol was once 70c a litre. A new CD used to cost $20. Water restrictions weren't always this extreme. There used to be a drive-in cinema at Capalaba, a mini-golf course at Carindale and King George Square used to have a fountain. The Simpsons was once considered to be wildly offensive and rude. We all recognise the noise a 56k modem used to make whenever you wanted to go on the internet.

We are the internet, mobile, iPod and myspace generation. We wear retro fashion because we're out of ideas, and too much fluro. We are gangstas, emos, indie kids, electro pill-poppers and techie nerds - a product of the pop culture around us, and certainly not around in our parents' days. We do not hero worship celebrities, we watch and judge.

And now I can tell my grandkids that I was there when John Howard was voted out and Kevin Rudd said sorry.

Past posts