Published in Overland Issue 201 Summer 2010 Main Posts / Writing Homecoming David Musgrave Sun-damaged, sporty, wearing tracky-daks, passengers can’t be told from cabin crew apart from their uniforms, their Australian chilliness; hedonists mostly, serious adepts of physis, puritanical, wary of alien cuisines, monolingual – all of them start relaxing as cabin crew cross-check, landing gear lowers, ailerons bristle, engines sough and earth climbs. Longitude-trekkers, these new internationalists humbled by nothing, not even their ignorance, chattering blithely, wonder aloud how home has changed in their absence. It hasn’t, but they have. The world has reduced them to miniature giants approaching a sparsely rich country, mulletocratic, athlete-revering, distrustful of politics, obedient. It’s all about making money now, caring for investments as if they were souls, or as if there was no such thing as a soul, or like, whatever. Closer inspection, though, reveals great variety: Shanghai-Chinese returning to investment properties; Heibei tycoons, cashed up and itching to visit the casino; taffy-haired surfers who get on at Cairns and stink of wine-garlic night-before-breath; Euro-tanned backpackers, double-chinned – even the fittest are Maillol-limbed beauties; experts in security returning from Guangzhou to Punchbowl; aromatherapists fresh from new franchises; teachers of English and commerce students back for one more semester. Where are the famous, the rich and powerful? Prize-winning architects returning from Chengdu with the Astrodome contract? Investment bankers from Stanmore? Fact-finding pollies? Business or first class, economy, it doesn’t matter: pig-tailed professionals or t-shirted, unkempt and scolding their children, they all speak the same vulgar-demotic. Even the hosties are customers somewhere or other. Difference is not really monetary – it’s an asset. As wheels kiss the tarmac, dawn strips them bare: so ugly they’re beautiful. David Musgrave David Musgrave is a poet, critic, novelist and publisher at Puncher & Wattmann. His latest books are Phantom Limb (John Leonard Press) and Glissando: A Melodrama (Sleepers Publishing). More by David Musgrave Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 11 November 202211 November 2022 Main Posts On the last day of Subscriberthon, our amazing online editor gives you one last (very good) reason to subscribe Editorial team What's in store for the last day of Subscriberthon? First published in Overland Issue 228 10 November 202210 November 2022 Main Posts On the second-last day of Subscriberthon, our favourite editor-duo give you reason #1002 to subscribe to Overland Editorial team What's in store for the second-last day of Subscriberthon?