When I was a foolish 18 year old (as opposed to the foolish 50 year old who at least knows he is a fool), I said many silly things, one of which was something about how fantastic Fosters Lager is. (Yes, it was still commonly available in Melbourne in 1987.)
Now you can only get it overseas – it’s meant to be some sort of flagship Australian beer.
So… last night I went to the Rome Down Under Bar, somewhere over the Tiber and north of the Vatican, as I was curious to see what relics of glorious Australiana were on display.
Aside from the name of the bar, the Down Under has few traces of anything Aussie to it. There is a mural of Ayers Rock and the Olgas along most of the walk, with some roos and an aboriginal included. There is a small Fosters Lager sign.
And a large Fosters Lager poster of a woman in a bikini, with the slogan ‘Australian for beer. Australian for life saver’ on it.
[To be honest, even someone as politically incorrect as I am finds such posters rather inappropriate these days.]
But there is no Fosters Lager. Or any other Australian beverage on offer.
The TV screens were not showing AFL either. They were all playing some Italian soccer match.
And I was the closest thing to an Aussie in the whole bar. Everyone else was jabbering away in Italian, and I can tell by the accent that it was not the Australian accented Italian that I speak, but real motherland Italian.
The Italian word which comes to mind when I think of this Down Under Bar is ‘fintoneria’ – fakery. That might be an unintentionally ironic comment when I reflect that I am talking about an Australian themed bar in Europe….
Perhaps the owners of Fosters should demand this bar remove all the Fosters Lager branding in disgust. Oh – I forgot – the owners of Fosters and Carlton United Breweries these days happen to be Japanese.