Sunday, April 23, 2006


The other thing I wanted to say about the drive to Toowoomba is that there are so many "Big' things erected on them there featureless plains. I saw a Big Orange (advertinsing a fruit shop) and a Big Tap (advertising plumbing supplies) and a Big Elephant (advertising...?).These are not billboards but proper ten foot high concrete lurid renderings of the genuine article. What is it with Australia and the Big? We have the Big Pineapple and the Big Banana and the Big Merino and the Giant Earthworm - it seems that no destination is complete without a faux attraction. On the bus between Brisbane and Sydney, I remember stopping at the Small Uluru - same concept only this time the copy is substantially smaller than the original, nevertheless I was quite disoriented to be herded off the bus at 2am into a flourescent concrete and wire reproduction of a giant rock.

These Big things have definitely passed their prime. When I was a kid, a Big thing was an obligatory stop off, and no holiday was complete without a photo of Dad and the kids (as Mum was the photographer) in front of something Big. Nowadays the Big things are melancholy peeling abandoned wallflowers, usually with a dusty, broken older middle-aged couple tending their beloved collection of local rocks or dolls dressed in national costume or model railways in the bowels of the Big thing (entry only $1).

Oh, sad peoplewith hopeless dreams always make me want to cry...

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