Last weekend we were at a party for my uncle’s birthday. It was just like any family party: grandparents, party napkins and repetitive “So what are you doing over summer?” questions – except for a hired waiter named Gareth who my sister and I at first assumed to be a really helpful and polite second cousin. Gareth wouldn’t miss a beat. The moment you’d downed your last sip of diet Coke he’d appear by your side asking if you’d like a refill. He’d carry two bottles of wine in one hand and emptys in another. He even did the dishes.
By about 5 pm the party had thinned out to the stragglers, a few family members and my cousin’s friends that we both went to high school with. We were all seated in a semi-circle in the lounge room when Lucas decided to put some music on. A loud beat and schizophrenic cat noises came swelling from the speakers behind me. This is when my sister leaned in and said in an authoritative voice, “So this is Bangers.” I don’t even know if I’m spelling that correctly. And the Internet is telling me that there are several meanings for the phrase (awkward). But my sister was referring to the club music with a unique erratic beat that’s a little bit like a xylophone but less tropical and more like it was made with an electric keyboard. We’d been talking about this kind of music about a month back and I had to do what I often do – ask my sister to explain a pop-culture reference to me. I remember back in October when I asked tentatively “So, uh, what exactly is twerking?” and she guffawed in my face.
Let me paint you a little picture of the scene. Despite just turning fifty, my uncle likes to think he’s about eighteen (he wanted to go to the Ke$ha/Pitbull concert that was cancelled here) and knows all the music that his kids listen to. Or, at least he tries to. So he was head-banging in the corner, with a Corona in his hand. His sister and her partner were doing some crazy hopping dance moves (“They’re going to be in a flash mob in a couple of days,” Georgia told me). They were not put off by the amused and affronted glances of everybody else. Not at all. And to top it all off, my aunty in the kitchen had a cardboard box of salad mix over her head and started doing moves like Red Foo.