Features Australia

Dan is back

Melburnians are on the verge of nervous breakdown

26 June 2021

9:00 AM

26 June 2021

9:00 AM

The main thing about the whole ‘Dan is back’ caper is that Dan Andrews is back. Not quite yet but very soon. End of June I hear.

Anyone living in Victoria knows what I mean, we’re just counting down the days, which is what you do in Melbourne when there isn’t much else to do, due to lockdown and an existential sense of despair we call the Bourke Street Mall at 12.30 in the afternoon, when it is completely empty except for the television crews doing live crosses about the existential despair.

Having survived his own ‘falling down stairs’ existential threat in an undisclosed holiday house location, possibly in Beijing or one of the more endearingly bankrupt locations in Latin America, Dan is coming back to save us from this existential threat and any others you’ve got, which is good for business  because since the pandemic, the bottom has really fallen out of the existential threat market.

And what about the existential threat to Raf and Virginia on the ABC who have nothing to talk about now other than, ‘why News Corp is picking on Dan because he isn’t Gladys?’ Maybe it’s a men’s-only club thing. Male club hate is on trend in the media at the moment, especially at the West Australian newspaper where they make shame lists and check them twice because they don’t know what privacy is or free association. What is a man these days anyway, if not a woman or maybe all ten genders at the same time?

Did I mention that Dan. Is. Back? And there is no existential threat? And gender rocks. Don’t look here. Look over there. At Radio National.

The thing is, everybody in Melbourne is having an existential crisis at the moment, it’s the new black. Like a lo-cal macchiato that you can’t buy in Lygon Street anymore  (because all the cafés have gone broke) but probably can in Mt Buller where the trendsetters stop on the way to the ski fields after getting the 4WD tested 72 hours beforehand (the latest Danistan diktat). Or having an opinion about Brett’s completely legal and appropriate trip to Canberra for a health awards night (for most lockdowns in a state presumably).

Existential crises are what we do instead of walking the dog. Or as we say in Melbourne — pass me that face mask I’m going out to pat my labradoodle at the brothel, thus ticking off the three existential lockdown things you’re allowed to do without pissing off your wife if she doesn’t find out.

The hashtaggy IStandWithDanster crew who deserve a great big ‘Dan Is Back’ hug for their attention to detail and unshakeable belief in messianic higher powers watched a lockdown-empty Tullamarine freeway on loop last year during Lockdown 2 (or was it 3, or 4 — who’s counting, in Victoria we do lockdowns like Hollywood does Fast and Furious sequels) and said ‘Thank you, Dan for keeping us safe’ before flipping over to watch more QAnon conspiracies on Four Corners. Why can’t the ABC just be done with it and rename Four Corners ‘The Grassy Knoll Book Depository Lone Gunman Theory’ or ‘Sally and Louise’s Big Day Out’. Maybe get Oliver Stone to direct it. I’d watch that because in Melbourne there isn’t anything else to do anyway.

Dan has been PR-ing himself all over social media like a stick of dynamite at a WA mining company’s Welcome to Country. First there was the posted image of his wife giving him a haircut like they were t-squaring a block of low-salt margarine before putting it in the wrapper and back on the refrigerator shelf next to the imported Chinese version. Then, the ‘shaky low production value video’. SLPVV, as it is known in the political and soft porn industry by brand experts and the New Yorker’s Jeffrey ‘The Zoom’ Toobin. What is it about the cultural left and its need to masturbate in front of work colleagues while telling them about your Arts grant?

Here is our recovering Premier Dan on camera, slightly grainy and looking awkward, the hair dishevelled and greying but enough on brand to make sure he is sporting his North Face jacket and announcing that he is back. While clearly Dan has only his wife to cut his hair and his spinal surgeon to adjust his spine, there is a brand manager on $350,000 per year within the inner sanctum to ensure our memory of Dan looks pretty much how we remember him before The Accident. This is the going rate I hear. I searched it on LinkedIn where they also had a very good article on male pattern balding and how it increases your career prospects if you want to sell cars.The Accident is now one of those pivotal moments in our national history like The Dismissal, the Crucifixions of Mal and Kev and Julia Gilliard’s Stop Looking At Your Watch Tony Preaching to the Converted.

In these days of pandemic, continuity is vital and like cogs in the machine or a Melbourne’s-own Kylie song that sticks in your head because there’s a scratch in your brain the stylus just won’t jump, We the People require consistent and non-contradictory information that reinforces what we already think, even if it’s wrong. This is called being on the right side of history and is very popular on Twitter when discussing your new solar panels.

Most of all, Victorians need Dan to look just like the Dan we knew back before his fall in March. Or at least something similar, like Julie Bishop’s new Julie Bishop Barbie it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t look anything like her as long as its wearing Chanel, red Dorothy heels, carries a suitcase and has a pull string dangling out of its back.

Melbourne used to be the most livable city which is important if you’re into that sort of thing, like if you drive a cab in Toronto or a satellite city for itinerant workers in Saudi Arabia, but now we have dropped from 2nd to 8th which means maybe we aren’t all we’re cracked up to be. Which is probably what is cracking us up, when you think about it. None of this is good for the ego, especially if you’re an Aries and on the precipice with your labradoodle and trying not to piss off the wife. Maybe its time to move to Queensland like everyone else.

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Michael Scammell is on the precipice.

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