The first all-Australian Bachelor and Spinster ball to take place in Britain comes to Battersea Park on Saturday. The B&S ball is the latest offering from a nation that spends half its time complaining about being the bum end of the earth, and the other half presenting a primitive culture (in this case, female mudwrestlers, boxing kangaroos and Rolf Harris) as quaint and quirky.
An event with very much its own traditions - the first woman to arrive wearing a white dress is customarily rugby tackled into the dust - this kind of ball was initially a way for lonely hearts in the backblocks (god-forsaken country regions) to meet, match and mate. Now it's a commonplace in urban Australia, celebrated, according to the organisers, for 'historically embodying all the Australian stereotypes that we think of as contemporary'. The events tend to be 'outrageous', though according to Friday's organisers, not that outrageous (see right).
Still interested? Well, for the record, other attractions include the comedian Matthew Hardy, Virgin 1215's Jonathan Coleman, and Tommy Emmanuel ('the Australian Eric Clapton'); plus dodgems, a barbecue and several tanker loads of Tooheys lager. If that appeals, it is time to take the dictionary of Australian slang out of the library and dust off your sheep jokes.
Tooheys Bachelor and Spinster Ball, Sat 16 Jul, Battersea Park. Tickets pounds 25 (all inclusive). (Info: 0891 222444)