State of Origin is upon us once more. New South Wales bends over once more to be mercilessly sodomised by Queensland, an appropriately conservative state to take pride in one of the most flagrant exhibitions of repressed homoeroticism known to man. It’s Blue on Maroon*. We’re one-all. Yet again, we shall endure a deciding final game at ANZ Stadium, Sydney on July 17. But Queensland is fiercely defending its seven-year title, and the odds are not in the Blues’ favour.

The Maroons' Ashley Harrison, Greg Inglis and Corey Parker.

The Maroons’ Ashley Harrison, Greg Inglis and Corey Parker.

A few weeks from now, New South Wales will be licking its wounds. But they should not be bitter as they concede the NRL to Queensland. For, in this penal colony, New South Wales convincingly claims another Australian institution as its bitch: Triple J’s Hottest One Hundred. The 2012 Origin decider saw 2.5 million viewers. The Hottest One Hundred attracted 1.5 million votes. Queensland’s convict lineup of Thaiday, Inglis and Thurston saw them emerge triumphant in the exercise yard. But New South Wales’ The Presets (ranked 52, 70), Flume (4, 12, 18, 67) and Matt Corby (69) made the Blues budding maestros in music therapy.

The Rubens, Menangle, NSW.

The Rubens, Menangle, NSW.

Eleven of Australia’s newest and most notable artists came from New South Wales. Moreover, we saw Lisa Mitchell (92) of Albury, The Rubens (10, 66) of Menangle, and Hermitude (18) of the Blue Mountains carrying the standard for regional New South Wales. Conversely, Queensland only had three artists in the 2012 Hottest One Hundred – Last Dinosaurs (95), The Jungle Giants (83) and Ball Park Music (23, 27) – all from Brisbane.

Ball Park Music, Brisbane, QLD.

Ball Park Music, Brisbane, QLD.

This comes down to the cultures of each state. Queensland is heavily invested in the NRL. The Maroons is a cultural throwback to the brute strength that made this country great in its early days of settlement, manufacturing and mining. On the other hand, New South Wales, Sydney in particular, is trying to prise the title of “Cultural Capital” from Melbourne’s recycled fibreglass grip. Nevertheless, in both music and sport, the antipodes is showing its teeth as the little continent that could, to the bemusement of the Mother Country. For a country that gets as much mention as Belarus in American press (Time Magazine), Australia has made a remarkable contribution in the departments of neck-less men and drainpipe-legged child-folk.

If NRL is Australia’s backyard sport, the Hottest One Hundred is the nation’s mixtape. Queensland might win the game, but New South Wales will be holding the better warehouse after-party. The whole spectacle makes me proud to be a true-blue-bloody-ripper-fair-dinkum-redneck-hipster Australian.

*Or is it Indigo on Cerise? Azure on Vermilion, perhaps? Do watch this space for commentary by Oscar Wilde, Carson Kressley and Alan Jones.


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