Do you remember the soap opera Neighbours? It’s the show we can thank for giving us Kylie Minogue, Natalie Imbruglia and Guy Pearce (well, the latter isn’t too bad). While we Canadians might not remember the days when it was aired regularly, Australians can’t avoid it. Much like Britain’s Coronation Street, Neighbours is a serial that focuses on the lives of families that live on Ramsay Street. And it’s one of the main homegrown entertainment exports that the country is known for. So it’s no wonder someone took it upon themselves to spoof it.
Rather than being a fanzine, spilling with all the gossip of who will die next, the creator of erinsborough exploits & exploitation uses stills from the TV show to create storylines full of social commentary. Images from the show are accompanied by handwritten sharp statements about the political climate in Australia, or quick-witted jabs at pop culture. One scene of a man and woman on a dinner date pokes fun at the show and the typical storylines in soap operas:
Woman: I never go on dates. I have trust issues, given my hidden past as a street kid and possibly something else.
Man: I’m actually impersonating my socially adjusted twin who’s in a coma. I’m really Robert, the bad seed. You should see what I get up to when nobody’s around. This afternoon I used a scalpel to cut Dylan & Isabel out of a family photo. Pretty psycho, huh?
Other scenes are used to comment on the way Australia’s Aboriginal people are treated and on misogyny in hip-hop. Between scenes there are stills from commercials, and, having lived in Melbourne for six months in 2001, the products and restaurants advertised made me feel nostalgic. (Lindsay Gibb)
comic-style zine, $1 per issue, GPO Box 4201, Melbourne Victoria, 3001, Australia.