Dunedoo after dark
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!”