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eyeblink
12-16-2014, 12:23 AM
I'm in the finishing stages of the novella in my sig, and I'm asking a few questions to avoid striking wrong notes, especially for any Australian readers I might have. The novella is almost all set in the UK but the protagonist has an Australian (specifically Melburnian) mother and that introduces a fair amount of Significant Australian Content. The things I'm about to ask are nuance things and I doubt non-Aussie readers would bat an eyelid at them, but I do like to get these things right.

(Yes, this is the same project which last year I asked for examples of Australian TV programmes the mother would have watched growing up. The mother is the central character of a short story called "Spinning Fast" which I asked at the end of last year for Australian betas for, and many thanks to the four who volunteered. That story sold to the anthology it was written for: punkPunk! edited by Andrew Hook, out in early 2015 and up for preorder on Amazon.) Anyway...

1) Neil Armstrong first setting foot on the moon happened just before 1pm Melbourne time on Monday 21 July 1969. Would it be feasible that a school would be watching this live on (black-and-white) TV? As far as I can tell, this could have been a school day. The mother character would have been six at this point. (That was the early hours of the morning in the UK and I was four. I do remember a TV being on continuously in infants' school with live coverage of the later moon landings.)

2) I describe the protagonist's grandmother (aged about sixty) coming off a plane from Melbourne to London Heathrow wearing a Country Road blouse in 2003. Just wondered if this is likely to be worn on a long flight.

3) Please could someone suggest a likely suburb of Melbourne where a professional couple with two children would live.

4) Following that one, if you were to drive from there out of the city far enough that you could see the stars of the Southern night sky without light pollution getting in the way, in which direction would you most likely be travelling, and does that road have a name?

5) Finally, a question about the slang word "root" (as in "have sex with"). Can this be an intransitive verb as well as a transitive one - i.e. can two people root or can it only be that someone roots someone else? And is it used interchangeably for both sexes - if a man can root a woman, can a woman root a man? (Over thirty years of watching Australian films has not provided me with the answer to this question. If the answer to both is "yes", then "root" is exactly equivalent to the British "shag". And that's enough of me asking AW about sex.)

Thanks in advance!

ajaye
12-16-2014, 12:38 AM
Hi eyeblink, glad to hear your story sold to the anthology :)
I grew up in Melbourne around the same time as your story mum, here's my thoughts
1) We had a little black and white television at my school that we all crowded around to watch the moon landing. I would certainly presume most other schools did the same.
2) sounds fine to me
3 & 4) obviously there are heaps of suburbs, and you could choose inner or outer suburbs. Do you want to place your family there in 1969 or the 2000s? That will influence 4) because of the suburban sprawl, when is that drive happening?
5) yes, rooting is as flexible as shagging
:)

eyeblink
12-16-2014, 12:48 AM
Thanks, ajaye. This family (protag's uncle (mother's brother) and his family) would be living in whichever part of Melbourne around now. The drive out to see the stars in the night sky, while the protagonist visits, takes place in 2011.

(I visited Australia - Melbourne and Sydney - in 2010 and I didn't see the Southern night sky at all because of the light pollution. Hopefully I will when I visit next, hopefully in a year or so from now.)

franky_s
12-16-2014, 01:17 AM
Thought it would be worth mentioning that if I heard / read anyone other than bogan-class use the word root (not in a jokey way) it would really throw me.

ajaye
12-16-2014, 03:06 AM
Thought it would be worth mentioning that if I heard / read anyone other than bogan-class use the word root (not in a jokey way) it would really throw me.

yes, perhaps screw would be better, that's also interchangeable with shag and is probably more commonly used nowadays.


just further to my 1) answer, I'm pretty sure the telly was brought in specially, there wasn't usually one at the school back then.

for 4&5) of course there are lots and lots of options. You could plump them in an eastern suburb like Mount Waverley and they could drive to the Dandenong Ranges. If they are seriously stargazing there is a spot in Kallista (40 odd minutes drive via Wellington Road) that amateur astronomers use. If they're not that serious they would only need to get into the Dandenongs (the Dandenong Ranges are usually referred to as the Dandenongs, informally, but make sure you use the 's' to distinguish from the suburb).
ETA if you google Mt Waverley to Kallista you'll get an idea

Helix
12-16-2014, 03:27 AM
1) Neil Armstrong first setting foot on the moon happened just before 1pm Melbourne time on Monday 21 July 1969. Would it be feasible that a school would be watching this live on (black-and-white) TV? As far as I can tell, this could have been a school day. The mother character would have been six at this point. (That was the early hours of the morning in the UK and I was four. I do remember a TV being on continuously in infants' school with live coverage of the later moon landings.)

As an aside, the Parkes Observatory in central NSW was received and transmitted the television images from the first moon landing. (Not quite as portrayed in The Dish.)



2) I describe the protagonist's grandmother (aged about sixty) coming off a plane from Melbourne to London Heathrow wearing a Country Road blouse in 2003. Just wondered if this is likely to be worn on a long flight.

Sure. I hope she's wearing something else, though.



3) Please could someone suggest a likely suburb of Melbourne where a professional couple with two children would live.

4) Following that one, if you were to drive from there out of the city far enough that you could see the stars of the Southern night sky without light pollution getting in the way, in which direction would you most likely be travelling, and does that road have a name?

If you stick them in the inner eastern suburbs, they could drive out to the Dandenongs. An alternative is a bayside suburb, so they can look up over Port Phillip Bay.

The western side of PPB is probably better for star gazing because it turns into farmland not far from the city. If they lived in Williamstown, for example, they could just drive down Battery Road and park near the lighthouse. (No longer used.) That would give them a light-free sky to the south.

They could also drive out west to somewhere like the You Yangs.



3) 5) Finally, a question about the slang word "root" (as in "have sex with"). Can this be an intransitive verb as well as a transitive one - i.e. can two people root or can it only be that someone roots someone else? And is it used interchangeably for both sexes - if a man can root a woman, can a woman root a man? (Over thirty years of watching Australian films has not provided me with the answer to this question. If the answer to both is "yes", then "root" is exactly equivalent to the British "shag". And that's enough of me asking AW about sex.)

Root is an equal opportunity word. It can be used in a variety of ways, including "it's rooted" to describe something that no longer functions.

Although the word has dropped out of favour, we still snigger over Rooty Hill in NSW. (Or is that just me?) There's also Roy & HG's legendary racehorse "Rooting King".

ajaye
12-16-2014, 03:40 AM
The western side of PPB is probably better for star gazing because it turns into farmland not far from the city. If they lived in Williamstown, for example, they could just drive down Battery Road and park near the lighthouse. (No longer used.) That would give them a light-free sky to the south.
yes Williamstown's a good choice, used to be working class, now very trendy indeed.



There's also Roy & HG's legendary racehorse "Rooting King".
wonder where Rooting King is these days? and where the hell are Roy & HG?

eyeblink
12-16-2014, 03:49 AM
I saw The Dish when it came out, but don't remember it in too much detail now. (As an aside, a week ago the BFI in London showed a copy of the Our World multi-country broadcast from 1967 which included a bit about the Parkes Observatory. Also a live broadcast from a Melbourne tram depot at 5am on what was a winter morning.)

I'll do that Googling, thanks, ajaye - though in the morning as it's coming up to midnight my time. I wanted to avoid the kind of wrong note I'd get if I read something set in London and you had someone who wasn't a millionaire owning a house in Belgravia, say.

Thanks, everyone! Much appreciated.

Helix
12-16-2014, 03:51 AM
Nice spot, Williamstown. I lived in Yarraville for a while. Wish I had bought there before the prices took off!

Rooting King must have retired by now. He had an awfully long racing career.

*cue reminiscing music* Fatso the Fat-arsed Wombat was possibly the most Australian Olympic thing ever.

I've really enjoyed John Doyle's not-Slaven activities (Changi, the Tim Flannery stuff), but it took me a long time to separate him from the character. Even now, I still expect him to veer off into a rant about sport.

franky_s
12-16-2014, 04:02 AM
*Runs off to dig up her old 'The Dream' VHSs to watch over Christmas*

akiwiguy
12-16-2014, 04:02 AM
Thought it would be worth mentioning that if I heard / read anyone other than bogan-class use the word root (not in a jokey way) it would really throw me.

I'd tend to agree on this one...I usually think of "root" as being used in certain contexts, often "jokey" as you say franky. What's the definition of a kiwi?..."Eats roots, shoots and leaves." My partner and I have a kind of crude in-house joke, like she'll sidle up to me looking as coolly seductive as possible, and then totally blow it by saying, "Wanna root?". If I wanted a sexy term, "root" wouldn't be it.

Regarding the Melbourne/Heathrow flight of 2003, and the "Country Road Blouse". If you are asking whether that brand would be common then, I have no idea...but if you're asking generally what people might wear on a long-haul flight, from my observation there's no rules. I think of being on one of those flights as being a leveller...no matter who you are, it's basically trying to retain one's dignity as best of possible while being just one of a few hundred people farting, snoring, and probably dribbling while trying to sleep, or doing whatever to make the time pass. And the odd trip to the toilets to try to freshen up as best as possible.

I did Melbourne/Heathrow return a couple of times last year...from memory it was typically about 10 hours to China, 3 hour transit stop, and about 13 hours to Heathrow. The first time particularly it "gets to one" a bit, but is a slightly easier each time after that. But if you're asking if her dress would be appropriate...I don't see why not, but its more a matter of trying to keep fresh over that length of time.

ajaye
12-16-2014, 04:05 AM
Roy & HG's first Olympic coverage was utterly brilliant, and I can't watch gymnastics now without uttering the odd 'hello boys' and 'battered sav' :)

ajaye
12-16-2014, 04:14 AM
Nice spot, Williamstown. I lived in Yarraville for a while. Wish I had bought there before the prices took off!


I grew up in Ascot Vale, the red bus to Williamstown was our day at the beach :).