About eight months before I met my wife I heard this song called “Depreston” by a new artist from Melbourne named Courtney Barnett. It’s about house-hunting in a suburb of Melbourne called Preston. I didn’t like it or not like it. I’m gonna go ahead and say: it’s fine. But after meeting my wife, I definitely liked asking her, “Have you heard this song ‘Depreston’? What’s Preston like? Is it really depressing?” And when she took me to Melbourne for the first time, I actually got to see Preston. Again, didn’t like it or not like it. It was fine.
It never occurred to me that parts of Australia could be depressing. The entire continent is sold to the rest of the world as an unending sun-and-beer shower in tropical paradise. Australia is not a regular country made of cities with some nice areas and some bad ones; it is one big shirtless party, where the Fosters is a-flowin’ and the pelicans are a-helpin’ little fishies find their dads.
Now that I’ve married an Australian and spent time here, I know it’s not so different from America. It has its gorgeous areas and its goddamn hideous ones (nothing on the level of Gary, Indiana, or someplace like that; I mean “ugly” relative to, like, Sydney). It rains as much as anywhere. There are days where you walk outside and just go, “Ah, god. Nope!” There are towns you can’t imagine anyone wanting to live in. There are people who are not hot.
On hearing “Depreston” for the first time, never in a billion years would I have predicted that I might one day call Preston home. Jen and I visited there to see her friends last weekend, and after finding out how much space we could get for a third of what we were paying in Brooklyn, I’d move there in a heartbeat. Life takes you on some crazy turns.
We listened to “Depreston” in the car the other day. I like it better than I did when I first heard it. Barnett’s accent still bugs me. Some Australians are just too damn Australian. Oh, and I’ve been informed that the town filmed for the “Depreston” video is not actually Preston, so if you watch the video below, just know that it isn’t Preston. But probably looks about the same.