Struggling? Feel like today’s advice columns don’t speak to you? Tropical Fuck Storm’s Gareth Liddiard hears you.
He’s taking questions for MTV Australia’s new advice column, The Moment Of Truth. This week: geography.
Me and my parents were supposed to be moving from Holland to Brisbane in 2005. Instead we went to Belgium. How do I stop melancholically speculating how sunny my life could've been?
My Dear Lars,
It sounds like you’ve got serious problems.
Though they’re not insurmountable and I think I can offer you some valuable geographical advice.
Firstly though, you’ve been pretty vague with your age. If you were a newborn baby in 2005 when you moved from the Nether Regions to Big Bad Belgium then you’d be Generation Z and about 15. All things considered that would mean you still have about 20 years before you can think about moving out of mum’s basement. By which time all of Holland and half of Belgium will be under water. So maybe think about getting a boat licence.
Once you’ve secured your skipper’s ticket and gained some valuable experience navigating the submerged towns and meadows of the Benelux you might heed the siren's call and put to sea.
Now this is where the question of sunshine comes into all of this.
You have a choice.
You can choose to set sail for the tantalisingly named North Sea, below the leaden surface of which lurks countless tall and cold waves with “Lars Knapen” written on them.
Or you could hang the old leftist testis down through the Channel, past the Bay of Biscay out into the Atlantic then right up the guts of the Straits of Gibraltar into what can only be described to a child of the northern EU as a Culture Shock.
Now I’m not necessarily talking about the weather although that does come into play. I’m talking about the similarities and differences between the European inhabitants of Europe and Australia. They are at once quite stark and eerily similar. So bear with me a moment.
I’m going to assume you have a basic understanding of the weather systems of Planet Earth and how they do the old switcheroo once you cross the equator. North becomes South and South becomes North when you’re talking about climate and the kind of flora and fauna that inhabit whatever longitude you find yourself in. Take for instance that timeless old American war-cry “The South Will Rise Again!”. In the southern hemisphere that would translate into “The North Will Rise Again!”.
Can you see what I’m getting at? As one moves from pole to equator from either end of the globe through lands populated by the English one first encounters interesting people, then less interesting but slightly more hospitable people followed by more and more interesting people until one finds oneself as overwhelmed by the very very very interesting people as by the heat and humidity.
Alas, I fear I’m being overly cryptic. What I mean is that in any of Britannia’s colonies more sun just means more dickheads. Now if we take the same concept and apply it to Western Europe the meaning of the term “interesting” or “dickhead” doesn’t work. Instead, let us use the term “chilled”.
Holland and Belgium are definitely not chilled. The Benelux can be a lot of fun, don’t get me wrong. But let's be honest, the weather up there is pretty shit. There’s nothing to do except work and be sensible about everything. This isn’t the case in the Mediterranean where the weather is warm, the wines and olive oils are literally dripping off their respective shrubs and love is always in the air. And the same applies pretty much all the way up Europe’s southern coast to the Levant. Hence the culture shock.
Your little Northern European heart won’t be able to handle the stress of all that relaxation. That is unless you move to Italy and work in one of it's supercar factories. Lamborghini, Maserati, Ferrari. These aren’t really car manufactures. They’re actually little clubs for southerners who would have preferred to have been born German or Dutch or Scandinavian.
So in the end you can either stay safe in the bosom of Belgium, move to sunny Queensland or sail the sun kissed Med. But all your options will inevitably be quite (to use the parlance of today's younger generations) problematic.
My advice is be careful what you wish for and try to be happy where you are.
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