Three Dog Night
What does this mean?
The Australian Macquarie Dictionary says that a three-dog night, according to Australian Aboriginals, means a very cold night. In other words, a cool night requires one dog to sleep with for warmth while a really chilly night requires three dogs for warmth.
Why did an American band formed in 1967 choose this as their name? They found it while looking through a book about Australia's indigenous people and it must have just resonated with them.
Another American band, Quarterflash, called themselves that after an Aussie saying: a quarter flash and three parts foolish. This was a term used to describe new immigrants to Australia. They found it in a book of Australian slang and liked it.
Some more Australian slang.
His blood's worth bottling = he's a good bloke
(I've been) Flat out like a lizard drinking water = very busy
(He's got) Kangaroos loose in the top paddock = a bit crazy
Don't come the raw prawn with me = don't try to kid me
Hoo-roo = see you later
Take a squizz at this = have a look at this
You've got tickets on yourself = you have a high opinion of yourself
It stands out like a shag on a rock = it's very obvious (a shag is a large bird)
No need to spit the dummy = have a tantrum, get upset about something
Some classic Australian literature. - It's pretty good. I can say this because I didn't write any of it.
See below for image.
The Victorian Readers.
"The young readers were to begin at home, to be taken in imagination to various parts of the Empire, to Europe, and to the United States of America, and thus to gain knowledge of their rich heritage and acquire a well-founded pride of race".
Preface, Victorian Readers: Eighth Book
These ordinary-looking little books were typical of the type of literature that could be found in every Australian classroom during the first half of the twentieth century. They contained poems, short stories and essays and the occasional picture. You could dip into Aboriginal mythology and find out how the crow came to be black, imagine a sunrise in the Blue Mountains or scare yourself with the tale of the Hobyahs, which, although of German origin, shows you an altogether different view of the Australian bushland.
The Readers were gone from the classroom by the time I started school but my mother was a teacher and had her own set at home so I'm very familiar with them. I love them but my children think they're daggy, which is a quaint Australian way of saying 'lame'.
So how did the crow come to be black?
Bet you didn't know this.
Here is the Aboriginal myth, as told in the Fourth Victorian Reader.
A long time ago, when birds were men, a crow and a hawk tried hunting together with no success. Finally they decided to go their separate ways and hunt by themselves and meet up at the end of the day and share whatever they'd managed to catch.
The crow found his way to a lagoon where ducks were swimming about foraging for food and thought of a way to catch them. He put clay in his nostrils and a hollow reed in his mouth so he could breathe underwater, slipped into the lagoon and caught a number of ducks by silently sneaking up them and pulling them under the surface.
Before long he had quite a good haul, but he decided to try some fishing so he made his way to a river and, using his spear, caught a number of fish. After this he went back to camp.
The hawk had no luck at all. He tracked a kangaroo for miles only for it to get away from him, so when he got back to camp empty-handed, tired and hungry he was very angry to find that the crow had cooked and eaten everything he'd caught. He was even angrier when the crow accused him of being lazy and said he'd probably spent the afternoon snoozing in the sun.
The crow and the hawk fought, rolling around in the black ashes of the fire, and afterwards the crow found that he couldn't remove the ashes that were clinging to his feathers. Since that day crows have been black and they have eaten carrion and scraps.
Take the test. - It won't hurt a bit.
Have you read any Australian literature?
Some classic Australian cinema.
Some scenes in this movie were shot at my school in Melbourne, although I wasn't there at the time.
An ethereal little movie about the disappearance of some Edwardian schoolgirls at Hanging Rock, outside Melbourne. The author left the answer to the mystery in papers that were found after she died.
This is the film that made the world sit up and take notice of Judy Davis and Sam Neill.
Back to Three Dog Night.
Who are they?
Three Dog Night formed in 1967 and went on to have hits with "One", "Mama Told me not to Come", "Black and White" and "Joy to the World", which is best known for its novel opening lines: "Jeremiah was a bullfrog, was a good friend of mine. I never understood a single word he said but I helped him drink his wine". Unusual to say the least.
However, its members were not prolific songwriters and most of the band's recordings were cover versions of other people's music. There were also lots of members, with vocalists and musicians coming and going so regularly that they probably couldn't remember each other's names.
Currently there are six members, and twenty former members. Two of the three original lead vocalists, Danny Hutton and Cory Wells, have remained in the band since its formation and are still there today. However, Three Dog Night has not recorded an album since 1976.
More Australian literature. - Some modern novels.
Not all Australian literature features the bush, the outback and dingoes. There's crime, there's mystery, there's romance and a lot of it has a city landscape.
A big old chunky saga.
The Honourable Phryne Fisher, the mystery-solving flapper.
Maybe you love Moulin Rouge, which, despite the French name, is Aussie through and through. Maybe you love Wolf Creek (I don't).
Have you read Henry Lawson, Miles Franklin (a woman) or Banjo Patterson?
I'd be interested to know about your experience with Australiana.