THE ART OF THE GRAND FINAL FOOTY BBQ

Words and photos - J Forsyth FIRE UP!

That’s right, its Grand Final eve and the game of all games, match to rival all matches, or the game that is otherwise known as ‘the Holy Grail’ is here!

Grand Final day is a day of celebration for everyone within the Melbourne community – from nana’s who knit to hipsters that yarn bomb our fine city. And just like art, the Grand Final and the obligatory BBQ come in many different forms and movements.

Now I am not talking about bowel movements (sniggering Collingwood supporter) I am talking about art movements.

“Really” I hear you hiss

“Oh Yes” I reply smugly.

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When you think about it, The Pop Art Movement and the AFL Grand Final have a lot in common. POP Art is an art movement famous for its popular culture references and employing parts of mass culture such as advertising and mundane cultural objects. Pop Art is aimed to employ popular as opposed to elitist cultural art, emphasising the banal or kitsch elements of any given culture, most often through the use of irony. Andy Warhol and Andrew Demetriou are one in the same.

Gosh, how many hipsters do you see wearing footy scarves ironically? OR is it no longer ironic because a proportion of Melbourne hipsters are actually from Perth, so all the Dockers supporters are hipsters? Or is it ironic to be a Dockers supporter? Now, I‘ve never understood irony so I will leave that one for you to ponder.

As far as advertising goes the Grand Final, or Granny as its otherwise known is a money making machine. Channel 7 will be gagging for a goal rammed first quarter; every six pointer is an advertisement break waiting to happen. But let’s not be too cynical about it all. The Grand Final has its place in all cultural groups in Melbourne and around the country.

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There are the ‘Realists’ who believe that footy is footy no matter who is playing, there is no such thing as an AFL conspiracy to have certain teams do better than others. Realists believe that ads are there to inform the community about all the great products we need from Bunnings to make our BBQ for next year even better. WHAT! A BBQ with a sink attached and a woman chained by the leg for cleaning purposes (not cooking, that’s a man’s job) for only $299.

In comes the Renaissance movement. People, who grew up in the country or the burbs, moved to the city and left their Bogan roots behind. They finished their degrees, took down the Che Guevara posters and threw away all evidence of Michael Franti. They are the Renaissance movement and they are wacking the game on the big screen and firing up the BBQ rain, hail or shine.

Cubism forms a separate movement. Cubists entertain with cubes of tasty cheese and Kabana; after all, its not a celebration without Kabana I hear some of you say. The cheese and Kabana is often accompanied with pickled gherkins that no one eats, tin Beetroot in a faux-wooden bowl and salt and vinegar chips. “Pass the Jatz and dips will ya love?”

As time has passed, the post-modernist movement has formed. Swapped the Jatz for Seaweed crackers and adding Coles Hummus dip to the platter but otherwise the formula remains the same.

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My favourite is the Low-Brow or Minimalist BBQ movement. Snags, white bread, tomato sauce and perhaps a simple green salad, which you are under no obligation to eat, unless your mother is present yelling “J, you can’t just eat meat, get a plate for god sakes, and make sure you eat some salad.” Contrary to my mother’s beliefs, this salad can be eaten with your hands, as any true Low-Brow BBQ artist would know.

There’s nothing worse than thinking you amongst a Realist, Renaissance or even Post-Modernist BBQ host when in fact you have stumbled across a Surrealist or a Conceptualist BBQ. I say to them, ”Why the fuck did you put pine nuts in my salad? and sourdough bread is for wankers, this is surreal and I am leaving”.

“I don’t care about your conceptual shopping list made up of all organic local produce, this tastes like wank, if it didn’t come from Coles New World I don’t want a bar of it. Now get out of my way… Babe, grab the esky, we’re leaving”.

This leads me to one element of the BBQ movement that must be discussed. Drinks or Booze – Booze goes in an Esky, with ice, you put it in the backyard, sit on it when you’re too pissed to stand and pick it up when it’s time to go home. Hopefully there a few beers left for a nightcap when you get home.

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Now, it’s each to their own when it comes to the BBQ. Do what you want to do, be what you want to be yeah… After all, art is whatever you want it to be and I hope that through this loosely linked rambling, you’ll see that BBQs are too. So go forth, eat, drink, and soak up the culture that is the ‘Holy Grail.’ Let’s just hope that whichever BBQ you choose to attend is not part of the Vancouver School of Conceptual Art. This is code for, I will supply the salad and guests can bring their own meat, extra salad, bread and booze. This movement is also known as pot luck or the BBQ of the stingy.

Oh and one last thing, every BBQ, no matter what style must have kick to kick at half time. Beer in hand, shoes or no shoes, speckies (catching the ball) all the way!

FIREUP! That’s right, I said FIREUP!

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*Article originally posted September 28, 2012