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Sorry Wagga, you're not so bogan afterall

Buckle yourselves in, Wagga sports fans. Bogan is an offensive term, and Ian Warden wants you to know he's sorry.

Buckle yourselves in, Wagga sports fans. Bogan is an offensive term, and Ian Warden wants you to know he's sorry.

Wagga has taken offence.

Columnist for The Canberra Times, Ian Warden, passed comment that Canberra Symphony Orchestra's concert program for 2013. "We're living in a kind of Wagga," he said, branding residents "a rather conservative, unsophisticated flock".

"Lots of the selected works are the sorts of things you'd find on one of those four-CD sets of Classical Greatest Hits for Bogans, for people who don't know much about classical music but who know what they like," he said.

That's when Wagga got upset, spraying Warden on the front page of their local paper, sparking an in-town war. "We're not the bogans you might think we are," they said.

Ironically, however, some of the Wagga townfolk agreed with the Canberran's take on things. "Ummm ... it is a bit bogan here," said one.

But a note in The Daily Advertiser today fought back: "Wagga, it could be argued, has a lot more to offer the nation than our federal capital. First and foremost, the lifestyle cities such as Wagga offer are significantly better than those in places like Melbourne, Sydney and, to a lesser extent, Canberra."

So, Ian Warden is prepared to forgive Wagga for its over-reaction. Here, he mans up, hoists the white flag, and apologises.

Dear Citizens of Wagga-Wagga,

In my typically immature column in last Saturday’s Canberra Times I made some references to your fine city that have caused some of you some offence.

I’m sorry, and of course, as a citizen of Australia’s most despised and laughed-at city (the expression ‘‘Canberra-bashing’’ is part of the national vocabulary) know how hurtful it can be to have the place one lives in and loves sniggered at by ignorant outsiders.

By the way, contrite as I am, I didn’t say in the piece, though I’m accused of it, that the people of Wagga-Wagga are ‘‘bogans’’.

Indeed, the whole piece was aimed, clumsily, at Canberrans for being music bogans so dull and conservative in their tastes in classical music that to appeal to them and get their bums on seats, the Canberra Symphony Orchestra’s program for next year is made up mostly of the things Canberrans sing in the shower.

I wanted to say that this made Canberra, on the eve of its centenary, look and feel, musically, like a backward country town. My choice of progressive and cultured and city-sized Wagga-Wagga’s name for that country town of my analogy was thoughtless and silly and wrong.

My true feelings about Wagga-Wagga are summed up in the famous song about your city, Frank Ottenson’s 1942 hit ‘‘Riverina Paradise’’ recorded by Tom Davidson and his Orchestra.

It can be accessed online (go to the National Film and Sound Archives ‘‘Does your town have its own song?’’) and as proof of how contrite I am I’ve just accessed it and sung it with great sincerity.

Yours apologetically,

7 comments so far

  • So is it Wagga or Wagga-Wagga?

    Harvey K-Tel
    Date and time
    September 05, 2012, 12:40PM
    • Or Wagga Wagga? Unnecessary hyphens are rather unsophisticated. ; p

      Date and time
      September 05, 2012, 1:59PM
  • Wagga Wagga it is Harvey, amazing place to live, just as Canberra is, don't knock it until you have lived there. Having lived in both it would be a hard choice to decide which is the better, still love the lay back Wagga Wagga though:)

    Date and time
    September 05, 2012, 1:49PM
    • Thanks Tara, don't know that much about either to be honest (except the jokes which are, afterall, jokes) so no basis to knock either as a place to live. Was just curious about the 'official' name. I know not too far from me people would look at you very strangely if you called Woy Woy, Woy but you often hear about Wagga. Now I know - Wagga Wagga it is.

      Harvey K-Tel
      Date and time
      September 05, 2012, 2:51PM
  • Ian Warden offending people? NEVER LOL. come to Queensland Ian. The bogans are all conservative voters up here. Some of the locals think I am calling all conservatives bogans, but no. I studied demographics and noticed the similarity between the exodus from the western suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne and the number of extra people voting for the conservatives in Queensland. It seems there is almost a direct correlation between interstate migration from the home of the bogans, Westies in Sydney and Melbourne and with the number of extra voters for the conservatives. The numbers voting for none conservative politicians stayed the same between the previous election and this one but the conservatives soaked up all of that bogan voting power and gave us the biggest bogan of them all, ex Cordie and AJ extraordinaire Campbell Newman (aka Alfred E Neuman - check the similarity in looks)

    dicky beach
    Date and time
    September 05, 2012, 6:06PM
    • How can a Canberran journalist called Wagga peopl bogans?

      The bogans live in Canberra not Wagga.

      Date and time
      September 10, 2012, 12:00PM
      • My best friend in the world lives in Wagga and when we need to escape the rat race - we just drive up there and within a few hours all the stress we feel falls right off. It is so relaxing there and the people are kind and friendly. You could do a lot worse!

        Frances G
        Date and time
        September 10, 2012, 1:35PM

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