I am currently typing from the Bieber-bedecked bedroom of my tweenage cousin, in a particularly unremarkable suburb of Sydney. I’m itinerant like that. A sort of nomad who travels by bus and peak hour trains. Most nomads don’t really do that, granted. I mean they sort of get about using in yurts and Bactrian camels across wide tractless steppe, Tuvan throatsinging ominously into the star filled skies. But I’m not really that cool. I’m a twenty first century nomad who travels by freezing buses and interstate trains that smell of cigarettes and vomit. I get my food from monolithic fast food franchises and small shops near suburban railway stations. And I can only do basic throatsinging.
Naturally this series of unfortunate events have driven me to a state of deep existential angst, where my primal desires for something real, a sense of community and probably sex have made me become disenfranchised with society. What shall I do? Listening to the Safety Dance at ear damaging levels, growing my hair long and frequently procrastinating have only lead to several appointments with the local doctor and the quiet disdain of some of my teachers. I must do something more drastic. I must form a gang.
Why not become a Lad? Suggests some complete idiot whose probably related to me. There’s plenty of them, they’re totes tough and they already have a reputation for acting like dickheads and episodes of random wanton violence. That’s all very well, I counter, except it goes against all of the values I have, and everything I hold dear. Seriously, if I wanted to turn my body into advertising space for multinational corporations and attack passers-by, I’d become a billboard or a violent schizophrenic. If anything I want to form a gang that goes against the Lad concept. Anti-materialist and mutual defence rather than recreational violence. If you’re not from Australia and have no idea what I’m talking about check this informative video. Or this short unrefined video that contains lots of fighting and stuff for all of you troglodytes out there.
Tall order? You ask sceptically, and why do you keep asking rhetorical questions? Luckily I watched a French documentary about a socialist street gang in the ‘70s last night. So I now have all the know-how and motivation to do it. I will outline my method so perhaps you can replicate it, and share this rich and wholesome experience with the collection of associates our vain materialistic society conveniently labels friends.
1. Get tough and whatnot.
Real gangs possess a sort of physical strength and presence that me and my ‘friends’ simply don’t have. The answer: Get tough. We’re going to start going to the gym, and bench pressing scantily clad women and exercise bikes with a previously dictated selection of our ten fingers. I said this because that’s pretty much the only things I’ve found at my local gym that are heavy enough to lift and look tough doing. We’ve already organised. Me and me mates are going to do boxing, running on the beach, stretches and shiz and cage fighting juvenile bears. Also taekwondo. By the end we should be so damn awesome we’d be able to take on any of the other measly gangs and groups that operate in our little town with contemptuous ease. We’ll also be able to take on the Lads, depending how many of them there are. I hear they hang outside shopping malls searching for brand name clothing and funny looking people to abuse. We’ll put a stop to that. But being tough and whatnot is only a small part of being a gang. The other part is collectivism. Yay! Collectivism!
The coolest gangs wear clothes and stuff that marks them out from all the common wimpy bourgeois mainstream folk and the other gangs. I’m thinking practically, as I always do. It’s going to be based upon plain clothes, things easy to obtain like a White T-Shirt and jeans. We’d also wear a vintage coat or something, coz vintage is cool, and a little accessory, like a red sash or button to go over the top. We’ve got to look tough, yet sophisticated, yet also resplendent. We also need a hair style. I’m going to make it longish hair because I’ve got longish hair and I can’t be bothered cutting it. I might not even worry about the hair. I’ll ask me mates about it. Any which way it doesn’t matter, we can’t look as ridiculous as Lads. Rats tails and singlets? It’s like being Bogan without Cold Chisel, which is almost impossible and defeats the purpose of the Bogan.
We need a distinctive style of music to listen to. The mods had New Wave, the punks had… punk and the skinheads had ska and then stupid reactionary rubbish about hating foreigners. In sharp contrast the new ‘Lad’ subculture cannot be said to have anything resembling music at all. At the moment I’m split between dubstep and Celtic punk. We might have to fuse both. We can also write our own music, giving us more street cred, money and women. Ok, that may go against my values, but I’m allowed to be hypocrite right?
We need a good gang name a stirring, emotive name that’s easy to say and is imbued with hidden verbal power. Like a domesticated ferret, our gang name must have the power to both threaten and comfort the elderly. Having the definite article (for all of you fools out there that means ‘the’) does make you seem bold and definitive, but also risks making you sound like a band from the 1950s. That’s bad, because the Beatles are from the 1950s, and as much as I appreciate their music, they spelt the word ‘beetle’ wrong, and that is unforgivable. I’m thinking ‘Fraternity’ or ‘Collective’. Sounds kind of sci fi. Oooh. Sci fi. Neeow!
I was going to add a ‘reason to be’, or for you fancy Francophile hipsters raison d’etre but you really don’t need a reason to hang around and do stuff with people, at least I never have. This whole thought process is probably some sort of psychological reaction prompted by the culture clash a good old country boy like me gets when he comes to the city. I’m probably threatened by all the buildings and dirty air and people, and foreign people and foreign cars and foreign basketballers. Is that a word? I don’t know. Damn foreigners. I trust most of them around here, because very few have moustaches, especially the women. That said, I’m determined to make this last, and form a kickass gang society in the Great Lakes and bust that unwanted flab faster than you can say 49.99!