Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Australiana paraphernalia

As 26 January approaches, the shops become full of distressing nationalist tat. If you must buy this seasonal stuff, here's where to get it cheaply.

At Aldi you can get giant Aussie flags, just the right size for wearing as a cape (sigh), for a mere $3.99. For the same price Aldi also has coloured face paint, and those obnoxious padded top hats in either green and gold or an Aussie flag design.

They also have T-shirts and singlets for men, women ($4.99) and children ($3.99). Some are more tasteful and subtle than others (one says "Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi!!"; another one says "Young Hot and AUSSIE"). The kids' ones are actually the cutest – you could mistake them for ordinary surfwear tees.

If you're after some Australiana swimwear, Big Dubs has flag-print men's board shorts for $9.94, and girls' or boys' board shorts for $8.92. As with Aldi, the kids' ones are the least obnoxious – I especially like the boys' shorts, which have an abstract flag pattern in red, white and blue rather than the depressing navy-with-the-Union-Jack-and-stars that's par for the course in nationalist apparel.

Big Dubs' women's swimwear is a little better than your bog-standard triangle bikinis – a cute bandeau bikini with halter tie and a red ruffle decoration is $14.98. The pants are plain navy with red ties; the Southern Cross is emblazoned on the left boob. For the less exhibitionist, but at the same price, there's a rash vest and a navy halter-neck 'tankini' with the Aussie flag across the right hip.

Aldi is boasting that its thongs – either ladies' sizes in an Aussie flag design or unisex in plain black – are 15% cheaper than last year. They're $1.69.

Aldi also has Aussie flag beach towels for $8.99, and Aussie flag beach chairs for $9.99. But at Big Dubs, similar chairs are just $7.88.

Oh god, where does the Aldi merch stop! Australia Day golf umbrellas for $7.99! Stubby holders! Picnic rugs! Big Dubs also has a ridiculous thong-shaped inflatable pool toy for $10, and to mitigate against road-rage incidents by bogans, an Aussie flag for your car for $2.

But if you're planning a more tasteful and less jingoistic public holiday, perhaps Aldi's four-person wicker picnic basket set is for you. It's one of those nice ones with a gingham lining, leatherette straps and an insulated cooler section. It includes four sets of stainless-steel knives, forks and spoons; four melamine plates; four plastic wine glasses; four cotton napkins; and a bottle opener (IMPORTANT). All for $49.99.

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