We’re not in Kansas, but we keep writing about it

Right now, I am 95% of the way through Dorothy Must Die, the first of a series of dystopian novels about Oz, by Danielle Paige. In short, it imagines what if Dorothy and her trio of henchmen had turned to evil and tyrannised Oz, through the eyes of a modern day Kansas girl the tornado has dropped in Oz to take Dorothy down.

An intriguing premise indeed.

The Land of Oz has captured the imaginations of many creative people since L. Frank Baum wrote the first novel. We have had various movie interpretations (the 1970s Australian one, Oz, with bogan bikers instead of witches, is particularly bad, except for the climatic bit where Dorothy, nude except for her magic shoes, kicks the biker in the goolies instead of melting the witch with a bucket of water), musicals, cartoons, and novelisations.

In 2008, Sydney band Sneaky Sound System did a great song, Kansas City, which had a very Wizard of Oz film clip, starring their lead singer Miss Connie as Dorothy. Check it out sometime.

All this does get me thinking. In Australia, we rarely get so inspired by our own country and our cities to write songs or great novels about our home. Kansas is still an inspiration, as an example, even for us. Paul Kelly, with his song Leaps and Bounds, is one of the few people who seems to wax lyrical about Melbourne. Indie band Camp Cope is, with their song Footscray Station, one of the few recording groups or artists to feel inspired by my particular home town.

Whereas Americans seem to be enormously inspired by their cities. How many songs are about New York? Chicago? LA? Or even Tulsa, wherever that is.

Published by Ernest Zanatta

Narrow minded Italian Catholic Conservative Peasant from Footscray.

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