Ozzies: What's an Astra Wally?

I found some VB (which I’ve never had the pleasure of trying - tastes like PBR with a hint of white vineagar) at the local beer store, so I’m putting away twelve of 'em and blasting some AC/DC, Cosmic Psychos, and, of course, Rose Tattoo.

The title pretty much sums up my question.

Well, a Wally is a drongo, a bit of a dopey loser but not as harsh. Someone who screws everything up and always gets things wrong. An ad campaign urging us not to waste water because of the drought used the slogan “Don’t be a Wally with water” and starred a guy called Wally.

An Astra is a car. Apparently a rebadged Nissan Pulsar, so not exactly a high-powered vehicle that the cool kids would drive. Probably more of a family car.

So I guess an Astra Wally is a drongo driving a station wagon, thinking he’s tough and cool? I can’t say I’ve ever heard the expression before, and I’m not familiar with the song. I could be waaaay off base.

Hmmm. I originally thought the song was about some kind of mind-altering substance (“It ain’t funky coming down in jail”), but after looking up the lyrics, I thing you’re right: Angry Anderson’s talking about a the typical suburban tough-guy poseur.


Next up: figuring out the lyrics to “Custom Credit” by the Psychos.

That’s a funny name.
I’d’a called it a chizzwuzzer.

A minivan schlemiel?

Hm. Doesn’t have the ring of ‘Astra Wally’.

Am I the only one who never pegged Johnny for an RT fan?

They did a song called Minivan Schlemiel?

It’s pretty obviously a song about the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, who was “a straw ally” to Dorothy.

Kudos to the OP for tackling the Aussie hard rock. Some of the lyrical references are gonna be impossible to get, esp with the Psychos.

Also, don’t feel obliged to like VB. It has a big audience here thanks to aggressive marketing but it doesn’t actually taste good. Don’t drink Fosters either (even worse than VB).

I’m a big fan of Rose Tattoo. I’ve listened to that song hundreds of times, but don’t really get what “Astra Wally” means. It seems kind of like what people are suggesting here; he’s a dork who thinks he’s cool, gets busted.

It is not at all helpful that the lyrics listed at numerous lyrics sites are wrong. Why is it that they’re always wrong, and every.single.one.of.them is wrong the same way? Why is it that they can’t get someone who speaks fcking English to post the lyrics? God, I fcking hate those damn pissant crap lyrics sites!

I haven’t seen VB here since the '80s. (Not that I’ve been looking.) Fosters doesn’t taste near as good as when I was ‘forgetting my ID’ and hoping I could get some anyway. Fosters here is brewed by Molson in Canada.

I had a chance to ask Dr, Knighty about “Custom Credit” when they played here with the Melvins a few (many?) years ago. Unfortunately, I was far too hammered to remember what he said, other than “FUCK! Ya wan us’a play THAT again!”

I don’t know whether you would’ve heard about this:


Very sad. By all accounts, a lovely guy.

The late Dallas ‘Digger’ Royal, drummer with Rose Tattoo, was a friend of mine and we partied around Bondi in the late 70s and early 80s. The Astra Hotel was a huge old hotel on the beachfront of Bondi Beach. It was renowned as the wildest druggiest bar around.

‘Astra Wally’ was also a friend of mine. His real name was Allan, or ‘Cosmic Al’. Lovely guy but crazy. The Astra is a grand 1920s hotel with a huge ballroom with high balconies around 3 sides. It’s now a retirement home but in the 70s and 80s it was a wild rock n roll pub where many famous bands played 7 nights a week, such as Men at Work, AC/DC, The Angels, Rose Tattoo, INXS… you name it they played there.

Cosmic Al and I were often up on the balcony getting up to mischief and sometimes he would just get a crazy urge to climb on the railing and leap down into the ballroom. Sometimes he’d land on people but often he’d hit the floor and break an arm or something. Then he’d be kicked out and banned for a week. Once when he was banned after a balcony leap he tried to come straight back in by climbing the outside wall of the building to get to a small outside balcony way up high. He nearly made it but was so stoned he lost his grip and fell backwards and broke both his legs. We carted him him off and he stayed at my place just behind the Astra in Francis St for a while afterwards.

If you go to the bottom of the photos page of my website you’ll see 3 photos - one of my late 70s telecaster with a photo of Angry Anderson’s arm tattoo under the lacquer, the Astra Hotel in the middle, and then my Coolibah Flats building where ‘Cosmic Al’ often stayed with us. www.skullbug.com

Kiwis refer to VB as Visitors Beer. That is not a positive endorsement. :wink:

Wasn’t Gromit’s owner named “Wallace” in a nod to the term “Wally”? :dubious:

Custom Credit was a sleazy loan company that ran irritating ads on Australian late night TV in the 80s. The song is told from the perspective of someone who fell for their crap and is caught in a spiral of debt.

ETA: Example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqbUV70DRj8

Do Australians still use the word “dag”? I remember the Paul Hogan show and how he did a character called “Super Dag”. That was a long time ago, though, and the word might be extinct.

Yay, my Simpsons reference of eight years ago still makes me smile.

Is “Wally” still in use in Australia, then? It was in very wide use in Britain, in more or less that sense, through the 1970s, but faded away in the '80s. I am pretty confident that it originated in Britain. (In fact, I am fairly confident that I was present at its birth.)