I come from a time and place where had anyone uttered the words "luxe listings" it would be a fair expectation the vacuum cleaner salesman was heading to your place with a new catalogue.
It was always exciting when the Electrolux man visited. He wore a bicycle stack-hat when he was driving, so, as you can imagine, we considered him a bit of a rock star.
The fruit and veg man exuded similar charisma, although smelled much worse.
Strangely, we no longer consider door-to-door salesmen rock stars. We reserve that status for genuine rock stars, people who cook food for a living and, now, it would seem, real estate agents.
At the beginning of the second season of Amazon Prime's Luxe Listings Sydney, a group of real estate agents - what is the collective noun for real estate agents, anyway? A commission? A Porsche? A scourge? - is being interviewed on radio when shock jock Kyle Sandilands refers to them as "rock stars".
Robert Palmer notwithstanding, they certainly don't dress like rock stars. Lenny Kravitz dresses like a rock star. Did you see him at the Grammys this week? Seriously, that dude is 57. He looks 23. The only thing that would've made him look cooler in his leather-pants ensemble would've been a stack-hat.
Anyway, as I was saying, the real estate agents on Luxe Listings Sydney, the male ones, at least, don't dress like rock stars, they dress more like Wall Street brokers circa 1988. There's a moment in the new series when a commission of them is salivating over a few big deals the same way Patrick Bateman and his merger and acquisition pals are coveting each other's business cards in American Psycho.
That's not to suggest real estate agents are psychopathic narcissists obsessed with making money ...
At the heart of Luxe Listings Sydney is the national fascination with the property boom. The boom began in the Emerald City and, like a virus, fanned across the country with such virulence that the owner of a shack in Bourke now drifts off to sleep dreaming of flipping his fibro for a lazy extra hundred-grand, until he wakes a few hours later in a cold sweat when he realises his kids will never be able to afford the same asbestos-riddled opulence in which he grew up.
But the real estate agents of LLS aren't concerned with such ugliness. They occupy their own beautiful universe, one defined by harbour views and a six-minute Uber to the CBD. For them, a housing crisis is when a client can't find a suitable four-bedroom pile with an infinity pool cantilevered so far out across the Pacific, you could lean over the edge and harpoon one of the many cetaceans which seem to be contracted to frolic every five seconds or so in this silly show trading on Australia's growing property-driven class divide and good old voyeurism.
For those of us financially challenged enough to have just the one mortgage in a regional town, it's hard to fathom just what is happening in the bonkers Sydney property market, so it's prudent the makers of LLS keep the show simple, somewhere around toddler-level. We have a few firms competing to sell high-end housing. That's it. We don't see many of the home-owners themselves, so it's a rare surprise in the first episode when one them, a crypto currency millionaire, jumps out of his concrete castle to say hello. Nice bloke. Looks like Catweazle in a tracksuit.
LLS doesn't need a story arc, either, because all we care about is the never-ending cavalcade of walk-in wardrobes but we're humoured anyway with something resembling a plot through the introduction of new agent Monika Tu, who's perceived as a threat to the status quo.
God love her, but I can't understand anything that comes out of Monika's mouth and even though English isn't her native tongue, she still seems to have a better command of the language than one of her more localised contemporaries, who says Monika is known for three things: her bling, her international clientele and her "eccentricness".
LLS also sticks to a standard editing device to create drama where none exists. This involves keeping an interlocuter in shot after they've stopped talking. The camera lingers on them for such an uncomfortable, unwarranted amount of time, we're forced into a dark spiral of questions: What are they thinking? Are they evil? Are they having a stroke? Am I having a stroke? Did we just time travel into the future and, if so, how much is my house worth?
Again, none of this matters because as long as the rap-music-overlaid montages of mansions keep rolling we'll keep watching, but it's hard not to be stunned by just how unrecognisable the city portrayed by LLS has become.
For some of us, Sydney used to be a place a few hours down the highway where you might go shopping for school shoes once a year. It was certainly bigger than our hometown, but still prosaic enough to score a pie and chips on a warm white porcelain plate at the David Jones canteen.
Now, through the lens of LLS, Sydney is thoroughly alien.
Indeed, watching LLS, I feel a bit like Nino Culotta in the 1966 film version of They're a Weird Mob based on the 1957 book of the same name by John O'Grady. Nino, an Italian immigrant, rushes around Sydney struggling to understand its people and their strange ways.
Despite all the culture shock, the film (you can stream it on Amazon Prime, too) is a love letter to one of the world's great cities and, by the closing credits (check out the spectacular aerial shot of the under-construction Opera House), we know everything is going to work out for Nino, especially after he buys a cliff-top block on which he'll build a family home.
These days, worth about $18 million.
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