Dune­doo af­ter dark

Country Style - - COUNTRY SQUIRE -

Fla­menco fundraiser or Louisiana swamp stomp? Rob In­gram de­cides his vil­lage has gone global.

There was not much else hap­pen­ing in the street, but those clos­ing in on the mod­est con­crete block build­ing were pick­ing up some­thing de­cid­edly ex­otic es­cap­ing through the lou­vred win­dows. The spicy chicken, chorizo and chilli aro­mas of an au­then­tic Louisiana jam­bal­aya, the wail of boo­gie blues, and the re­ver­ber­a­tion of un­re­strained swamp-stomp danc­ing. A pick-up truck pulled away from the kerb, prob­a­bly off to park out down by the river. The Mighty Mis­sis­sippi? Not quite. It was the Mighty Tal­bra­gar, as it hap­pened. For this is Dune­doo Af­ter Dark. “Suf­ferin‘ suc­co­tash!” I said to The Cho­sen One. “Looks like the Global Vil­lage has fi­nally found us.” It is 50 years since Mar­shall Mcluhan, a Cana­dian com­mu­ni­ca­tion the­o­rist, in­tro­duced us to the con­cept of the Global Vil­lage. A revo­lu­tion in tech­nol­ogy ad­vances and glob­al­i­sa­tion would cre­ate a uni­ver­sal cul­ture in which Burmese hill tribes­men could eat hag­gis and the elec­tric guitar might start drown­ing out the drums of Africa. We would be liv­ing in lo­cal habi­tats with global sup­port sys­tems. We came to live near NSW’S Dune­doo know­ing that its cul­tural iden­tity was not in im­mi­nent dan­ger of ex­port. When we moved here, we had to men­tion the names of six other towns to give peo­ple an idea of where it was lo­cated. Any­one talk­ing about cul­ture out here was re­fer­ring to ei­ther yo­ghurt or bac­te­ria. Now here we are with New Or­leans-driven rhythm and blues drift­ing out of the bowl­ing club, and the sworn de­fend­ers of the pie and the pizza are queue­ing up for a po‘ boy sand­wich or Ca­jun pulled beef with corn mash and jalapeños. Across town, some very good lo­cal peo­ple who as­sist those chal­lenged by can­cer are hold­ing a fundraiser. It’s a fla­menco night, and the old Leadville Hall is a blender full of cas­tanets, stamp­ing feet, chur­ros, san­gria and the spon­ta­neous pas­sion of the fla­menco guitar. “Don’t look now, but I think we’re be­com­ing cos­mopoli­tan,” said The Cho­sen One. So look, thanks for your con­cern, but we’re not the so­cial and cul­tural waste­land you think we are out here. In Global Vil­lage terms we might even be Main Street. Dune­doo re­mains the nat­u­rally bonded, co­he­sive and car­ing com­mu­nity it al­ways was — but be­cause we’re now cel­e­brat­ing free­dom from the old tyranny of ge­og­ra­phy, it’s sud­denly a mul­ti­cul­tural mad­house. Cul­tural evo­lu­tion is en­rich­ing our lives. We are now as fa­mil­iar with a jam­bal­aya as a jam sand­wich. We’re con­fi­dent on the dance floor whether it’s fox­trot or fla­menco. The CWA stall is of­fer­ing pump­kin torta di zucca as well as pump­kin scones. I must ad­mit though, that even on my first visit to Dune­doo I was im­pressed with the ap­par­ent in­ter­na­tional flavour of the menu at the pub. “I’ll have the Chicken Kiev,” I said. “But it should have an ‘i’ in it — the menu says Chicken Kev.” “Thanks,” said the wait­ress. “I’ll tell Kev.” So, three cheers for the Global Vil­lage and its cross-fer­til­i­sa­tion of ideas and ex­pe­ri­ences. I just hope that some­where in New Or­leans there’s a lit­tle group of Cre­ole folk sit­ting on a porch en­joy­ing lam­ing­tons, shear­ers’ scones and caramel wal­nut slices… and say­ing, “How good is this!”

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