Living near the bogan suburbanite magnet that is Brunswick St (at least on a Saturday night) is not ideal. I have no problem with venues or venue noise and I like the food. My problem is with the drunk subhumans who stagger down my street at 3am (some of them having come out of Bimbo Deluxe) and proceed to have a domestic under my bedroom window. There’s always screaming and hysteria. Sometimes there’s a bit of slapping too.

A recent example was the tragedy that is the relationship between Deb and Richard. They’d been out for his birthday and drunk a lot of alcohol. She’s got a voice like a chainsaw and she woke me up with her howling. They weren’t happy and she was scared he would leave her.

Apparently Deb went to the toilet (or torlet (sic) as Richard pronounced it). A man followed her in. Deb claims she didn’t know him, didn’t invite him in, and that he put his hand over her mouth to silence her. She claims nothing else happened.

Richard struggles to believe this. He says that if she really was assaulted she should have spoken to the bouncers when she got out and / or called the Police on her mobile. Sensible and fair. He tries to believe her. He also accuses her of leading the guy into the torlet and snogging him. She denies snogging him but also defends him and refuses to call it assault.

Her story keeps changing. Their friend Raj tries to mediate. He doesn’t say much. Deb claims that previous boyfriends have killed themselves over her. Richard says this is crap. She says that her life is ‘so fucked eh’ and sobs hysterically.

By this time I’m wide awake, dressed and standing on my balcony in tshirt, trackie pants and bare feet, toes wriggling and protesting against the cold. My only recording device, my digital camera, is aimed at the black street below. I can’t see them, but they’ve been at it for more than 10 minutes and there’s no way I will get back to sleep until they leave. In the meantime, I’m curious to hear what comes next.

This happens so often that I’m thinking about buying a waterproof microphone that I can run out the bedroom window and over the balcony wall so it hangs aiming down at the street below. At the other end it will plug into my MacBook Pro that I could leave on the bedside table. When I get woken up by a bogan domestic I could lean over, press record, and lie back and relax in comfort as I record the domestic without having to stand on freezing tiles.

The bogan dialogues are fascinating. The same things happen over and over again. Infidelity. Jealousy. Petty juvenile emotional insecurities. Neurotic and histrionic women. Unreconstructed, though often seemingly decent, men. Their possessiveness. Their inane stupidity and inability to communicate with each other unless they’re almost drunk into unconsciousness.

I’m looking into the legalities of recording them and publishing the recordings. It seems legal because it’s done in a public place. I’m not going to want to transcribe hours of these conversations, but they do make for fascinating listening. I could make a ‘Fitzroy dialogues’ weekly podcast. What do you think?

The Fitzroy dialogues – moi life is so fucked eh

22 thoughts on “The Fitzroy dialogues – moi life is so fucked eh

  • 1 August 2009 at 1:00 pm
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    Good idea. We all need to hear something to depress us every so often. Of course by setting up to record, it will probably not happen again for months.

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  • 1 August 2009 at 1:21 pm
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    Do it!

    What happened to Deb & Richard?

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  • 1 August 2009 at 2:17 pm
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    Great idea! I too live near Brunswick Street and hear the Friday & Saturday night drunks from my third floor window. Although I am close enough to hear them, I don’t understand a word. I’d love to actually know what they’re saying that is so important that they have to scream it at the top of their lungs. :)

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  • 1 August 2009 at 2:40 pm
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    I can appreciate the joy in this. Everyone likes listening to a little public dispute, especially when it’s bogans.

    At the same time though, recording someone’s horrible experience purely for our enterntainment seems to me a little cruel.

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  • 1 August 2009 at 3:03 pm
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    @Andrew

    Listening to drunk people argue isn’t depressing, it’s uplifting!

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  • 1 August 2009 at 6:20 pm
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    I get plenty of these too. I’ve learnt to sleep through almost anything. When the cops get involved though, it’s worth having a peek at the action…

    Friday and Saturday night I’m happy enough to put up with it. Part of living in a suburb full of nightspots. Nights when I have work the next morning though…. grrr….

    The worst is when one of the uber bogans shows off their fully sik stereo at 3am with some atrocious excuse for music. Doesn’t it occur to anyone that people live here?

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  • 1 August 2009 at 6:22 pm
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    Why are the women “neurotic and histrionic” while the men are “unreconstructed, though often seemingly decent”? I think that characterisation is a bit inaccurate and I’ve spectated on drunks with the best of ’em. ;-)

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    • 1 August 2009 at 9:30 pm
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      I speak, obviously, only of those I witness.

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  • 2 August 2009 at 1:38 am
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    Have you never seen the loud, intimidating frat-boy type drunks? I’d argue that drunk people in general are a “neurotic and histrionic” group, although drunk men are more likely to have the honour of being aggressive to boot.

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  • 2 August 2009 at 1:45 am
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    Legalities aside, I personally think the ethical issue of recording somebody’s very drunk and private conversation, and then broadcasting it online, is incredibly disrespectful and exploitative. The fact that you think they are bogans, and that I would probably agree with you, doesn’t diminish their right to privacy and respect. I think it’s incredibly arrogant and cruel of you to assume you have the right to post a private conversation between two unsuspecting people on a fairly widely-read website simply because you believe you are more intelligent and of a better class than them. If it were an argument between two liberal intellectuals I somehow doubt you’d be as eager to post. I’m not saying it’s not interesting. I just think you should stop and consider them as humans, and how it might make them feel to realise that their very private and heart wrenching argument, which may sound ridiculous and idiotic to us, has been posted as entertainment. They’re not animals. And I find your tone of bemused disgust, as if they are, kind of insulting.

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    • 2 August 2009 at 12:16 pm
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      I’m not planning to record people because I think I am better than them but because what they say is amusing.

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  • 2 August 2009 at 11:32 pm
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    I say fuck yeah. I’d love it. If you’re tanked enough to be such a tool, you deserve to be made an example of. However, I don’t think that recording them necessarily necessarily has any implicit judgment written into the act, though you’ve written a little in yourself in this text. I actually think that’s a glaring reality of humanity at this point in time on this particular spot on the earth and well worth documenting. I actually am rarely exposed to that kind of extreme drunkenness, being as I am in the quiet comfort of the next suburb north and won’t be found dead on Brunswick St after 9 pm on a Saturday, and I find it completely fascinating. I want to know the part of the spectrum I’m on, and I can only know that via the context of others.

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  • 3 August 2009 at 1:04 pm
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    I used to live on rose st and we moved because of this bullshit… our bedroom was right above the alleyway that went into the underground car park… perfect for a night night vomit or a piss on the way to smith st….

    then having to wake up on saturday/sunday/monday morning and navigate the abandoned underwear/gelato cups/stomach contents and beer bottles just to get a bit of breakfast was just fucked.

    recording them not so hot on. an invasion of privacy (even though they are loudly doing it in the public domain)

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  • 3 August 2009 at 1:42 pm
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    To Lucy, I don’t think drunken bellowing in a public street constitutes a “private conversation”. As for respect, how much is shown by these bogans for the sleeping residents in the first place. By their actions they open themselves to ridicule, fair game I say.

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  • 3 August 2009 at 5:27 pm
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    If people want a conversation to remain private, perhaps they should consider having it in private. Nothing morally wrong with recording the ambient sound of the street. Bonus if it contains a publicly aired domestic.

    I also find the junkie shouted-across-the-street conversations amusing too.

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  • 3 August 2009 at 8:49 pm
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    I suppose Brian that my point was that you think it’s amusing because, to you, they’re bogans, and therefore their conversations, which are probably of considerable angst to them, sound funny to you, which is kind of connected I think, to feeling a little better than them. Isn’t that why we call them bogans? And look, I agree that they would be fascinating and probably very amusing recordings, and I would probably listen to them with great interest, if squirming a little! I suppose my problem was that your post didn’t really consider the ethical problems associated with it – there was no acknowledgment that there may be any sort of ethical issue at all, which surely there is. You mightn’t agree at the end of the day that it is wrong, but you can surely see that there is a reasonable argument behind suggesting it might be wrong, and I suppose I felt it was very flippant to not consider this. It wasn’t a well-thought out comment – it was almost 2am and somewhat ironically I was quite drunk so suppose I was engaging in my own version of street-shouting. As to them being private/public – this is a complicated issue. My gut reaction is to remember a few of the drunken fights I may have had with boyfriends when I was young and stupid, and how profoundly mortified and exposed I would have felt if someone had recorded them without my knowledge and broadcast them publicly. Ultimately, it just seems an invasion to me, that isn’t warranted by the entertainment value you find in it. Although maybe it is warranted by the way they are invading your private space. I don’t know. Interesting issue though.

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  • 4 August 2009 at 6:06 pm
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    I agree with Lucy that it’s a fascinating issue, maybe if the ‘bogans’ remain anon. then who’s to know who they are? Even if by some fluke they come across the material online and recognise their voices then it’s in their own interests to keep quiet about it! Maybe it would prove to be a future deterrent…although that’s doubtful.

    Fundamentally, as mentioned earlier, it’s a public space and if you act like an arsehole with no consideration for others then I think that, at least morally, you surrender any rights to privacy. Besides, we should expect to not have that sort of behaviour foisted on us at unreasonable times of night and if we do then at least allow us some pleasure by, rightfully, taking the piss!

    Brian, I’m looking forward to the first installment of the “Bogan Dialogues” :-)

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    • 4 August 2009 at 6:43 pm
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      Thanks Davy. Until I can find the right mic I may have to continue to provide written summaries. We’ll see what this Saturday night brings! Sadly nothing worth writing happened last weekend, just a random bogan bloke screaming about sluts…

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  • 4 August 2009 at 8:20 pm
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    Yeah, um, sorry ’bout that, the perils of mixing drinks. I’ll try to keep it down next time ;-)

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  • 5 August 2009 at 1:41 am
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    You need a parabolic mike. Try ebay, line it in to a laptop and just record all night. You’ll can just look at the wave forms to see if anything spiked during the night. Please include drunk hipsters and well as bogans. They will be be funnier.

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  • 5 August 2009 at 9:37 am
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    I don’t know that I’ve ever heard drunk hipsters on a Saturday night. Maybe they do more lovin’ than fightin’?

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