How to describe a bogan?

Image via Akseli Koskela
Carpark and Tesco in Stevenage as seen from the train.
How to describe what a bogan is to these English. Well how would an English person describe a chav to an American? “A bit like trailer-trash only I would imagine a little-less in-bred” perhaps? Not quite – chavs are an altogether more urban species of bottom-feeder from what I can gather from my short residency on this ‘sceptred-isle’. Whilst trailer-trash live in trailers, chavs live in estates and are furthermore generally employed outside of the scavenging industry.

But back to my original point – how do you describe bogans? Beer drinking blokes with ‘oka’ Aussie accents “Hey Robbo! Comin’ to watch the footy at Johnno’s place sat’dy arvo?” Not specifically bogan enough. Perhaps if you could imagine a 1980s Australian cricketer with a handle-bar moustache à la Merv Hughes or ‘Boonie’ you’d get an easy picture of a 40 year-old male bogan. Or better yet, to perfectly illustrate the crude vulgarity of bogans – imagine a woman with a mullet! All spiky on top and scragger-straggly at the back. Such an image would give you the bogan mother.

But do these gross extremes of boganness properly convey all the subtlety of bogan-kind. Not all bogans have mullets. Now, consider the chaviest chav-town, with 16 years olds pushing prams and teenage boys in hoodies. Men and women alike are wearing tracky-dacks, some with brands emblazoned boldly all over them, others without. From such a course chav-town (Stevenage perhaps) deduct it’s depressing English weather and ugly 1970s government-building architecture and add instead yobbos drinking “long-necks” during the day, cars parked on un-mown lawns with dry yellow grass and dandelions and women with strollers swearing at each other from opposite sides of a train track. Thus your English Stevenage would become Sydney’s very-western suburb ‘Penrith’. And there you have ‘the bogan’ Australia’s very own lower-socio-economic stereotype.