Easter Saturday, April 2002, and England’s most industrial city, Manchester, is playing host to a gaggle of 7 over excited Aussie gals, intent to party the night away in the North’s unpolished gem.
The DJ of this popular club has been keeping the punter’s grooving all night. Unexpectedly, there is a change of pace – someone must have slipped the headphone toting man a request because suddenly the air is filled with the unmistakeable strains of Men At Work’s “Land Down Under”. And the 7 girls slam their drinks down on the sticky table,
scream in pure, unadulterated bloody delight and make a beeline for the centre of the now empty dance floor.
They shout the lyrics – every damn word of it known by heart – with gusto, pumping the air with their fists (especially during the line “because we come from the land plenty”!) as they dance and leap with uninhibited pride. The locals meanwhile, watch on in silence, torn between feeling agonised and amused. It’s just become clear they are witnessing an Aussie invasion.
The dancefloor will not be safe again.
And so goes the story on almost every single night of drinking and dancing (and oh my, there were but a few…) I encountered during my 18 months as an expat in 2001/2002. It’s the unofficial anthem for any Aussie who has thrown a backpack over their shoulder, passport in hand, and made themselves a temporary base in another’s home country.
So every time I’ve heard this tune come on TV whilst the Olympics have been on have instantly transported me back to those crazy, carefree times, where my true taste for patriotism was born. Ridiculous, I know, that it took living in another country for me to understand the full extent of national pride, but never in my life had I realised how special it was to claim kinsman-ship with the Land Down Under until I was away. (Absense, heart, you get my drift..!)
With a slack jaw, and nothin’ much to say
I said to the man, “Are you trying to tempt me
Because I come from the land of plenty?”
And he said,
“Oh, you come from a land down under? (oh yeah yeah)
Where women glow and men plunder?
Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder? (ooohh)
You better run, you better take cover.”
Livin’ in a land down under,
Where women glow and men plunder, (yeahhhhhhhhhh)
Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder? (thunderrrrr!)
You better run, you better take cover.