By Crikey intern Matthew Knott.
The media went gaga this week with news that former One Nation leader Pauline Hanson plans pack her bags and migrate to Great Britain.
Many have expressed surprise at her decision, but, in many ways, the UK seems the perfect choice – home to not only copious amounts of redheads and fish and chip shops, but also the BNP, an increasingly popular far-right nationalist party.
Well it it’s good enough for Pauline, it’s good enough for me, so I decided to ask the Crikey team: if you had to flee Australia, where would you seek asylum?
Sophie Black, editor.
I’d defect to New York in my mind.
Not America. New York. I’d walk the streets of Woody Allen’s Manhattan. Sit on the steps of Sesame Street’s Brooklyn brownstones and cycle down the roads of The Squid and the Whale.
I’d live in the Royal Tenenbaum’s house in Harlem, (make The Apollo my local), and loiter on Bob Dylan’s Bleecker St. When holidaying, I’d stay at the Chelsea Hotel when Dylan Thomas lived there and I’d drink highballs with the regular table of the New Yorker crowd at the Algonquin (to the left of Dorothy Parker.)
I’d eat pastrami n pickles at the Katz’s deli of When Harry met Sally and fold a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle style NYC pizza slice in my hand to go. Oh, and I’d work at Sterling Cooper on Madison Avenue. Give Peggy a run for her money, and possibly have an illicit affair with Don Draper.
Ruth Brown, website editor.
I would move to a Muay Thai gym in Thailand to become a full-time fighter.
Jason Whittacker, deputy editor.
As a very recent defector from Brisbane to Melbourne, which more suits my particular brand of cultural geekiness, I might stay put for a while. But in the event of spontaneous combustion, I’d do a Skase on Tuvalu. Soon enough you’d disappear completely.
Leigh Josey, production editor.
Monkey Island in Jamaica. A place where I combine my love of Mount Gay rum, Jamaicans, cricket, the movie Cool Runnings and small obedient primates (although there are no actually monkeys on Monkey Island).
First Dog on the Moon.
I would take my Baby Elephant and return to the moon.
Andrew Crook, journalist.
Britain. Pauline’s passion for the mother country has aroused an irresistible urge to drain endless pints in a dark, dingy boozer in Clapham.
Amber Jamieson, journalist.
Spain. Without a doubt. I’ve already spent 1.5 years living there, so it wouldn’t be a shock to the system. Fiestas, siestas, sangria, jamon, Machego cheese, swearing, football, a liberal government that has quotas for women pollies and allows gay marriage, Gaudi, flamenco, El Prado, tortilla, empanadillas, croquetas, wine from La Rioja, pintxos and the beach in San Sebastian, La Tomatina, bull fighting, plazas, giving everyone kisses as greetings, hating the French, Cabo de Gata, drinking from a porron, La Alhambra, cathedrals and the focus on food, friends and family. Let’s just ignore the machismo and the unemployment. It makes me fat (I gained 10+ kilos in one year!), but it makes me happy. And this was the view from my favourite cafe:
I was a fool to leave.
Matthew Knott, the fetcher of the coffee.
Spain. Without a doubt. What sayeth ye? Somebody already said that? But I had a bundle of hilarious anecdotes ready about my craaazy year as an exchange student in Barcelona – not to mention photos of me getting pelted with tomatoes by thousands of people at La Tomatina. You’re saying I can’t post that up now?
Oops. Guess my finger slipped.
Well in lieu of Spain I’ll say Portugal. It’s the poorest country in Western Europe, meaning everything is delightfully affordable; there are less tourists than Spain, making an Aussie feel extra-exotic; they have superb beaches and Port wine and real Portuguese tarts, nothing like the shitty ones they sell in Oz; Lisbon is stunningly beautiful; all the wonders of Europe are a short plane trip away. What’s not to love?