Hylas and Depreston

25 03 2015

From the ethereal to the pathetic:

Yesterday I was reading about a classical Greek sculpture exhibition currently on in London, which features a likeness of Hylas, the boyfriend of Hercules. I was taken aback. Who knew? I had never heard that the legendary strongman “dabbled” and had not ever read the story of the beautiful Hylas who was abducted by lustful river nymphs, breaking Hercules’ heart. It struck me as an interesting parable. Even the hunkiest man alive could not protect his boyfriend from the ravages of heteronormative society. The story apparently inspired quite a lot of classical (and revivalist) art like the lovely painting above and re-kindled in me fond memories of hours reading Greek myths as a child.

But it was with an Icarus-like thump that I crashed back to reality when I heard this – a song from new Oz rock star Courtney Barnett.


Oz rock has never been my forte, and Barnett does not strike me as a particularly interesting artist but this song – I’ll admit – hit a nerve. With a video described by one youtuber as “the embodiment of lower middle class outer suburban Australian boredom,” Despreston strikes a familiar chord of fear in the heart of any Melbourne thirtysomething with its crushing tale of scrabbling to get on to the property ladder. The lyrics proclaim dolefully that Barnett is “moving far away from the cafes” to “save twenty three dollars a week.” Giving it even more pathos is the fact that Preston, named as the dreary and soulless outer suburb to which she has been exiled, is actually now considered now considered up-and-coming. Could I even afford THAT any more?

Sigh.

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