Friday, April 30, 2004

Barry Humphries goes back to Camberwell

"What [the developers] want to do is make money," Humphries said yesterday. "It is vulgar, isn't it? We don't need vulgarity in Camberwell."

There’s something weirdly Oedipal going on here - Barry Humphries’s father Eric was a successful builder* in the style of and same golden era as AV Jennings. And without his dad’s money, needless to say, Barry would have been just a government school** boy who would have fervently aspired to joining the middlebrow middle-classes.

Often incorrectly thought to be the butt of Humphries’s caricatures, the middle-class is actually the comedian’s dead heart; his missing inland sea.

* John Lahr, Dame Edna Everage and the rise of Western civilisation, Uni Calif Press 1992 p.60.

** Barry Humphries attended Melbourne’s probably most elite private school, Melbourne Grammar.

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