Bluey is a phenomenon that has brought Aussie culture to the world. From having a Bluey balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade, to inspiring my friend’s child on the other side of the world to read (yes, there are Bluey books. There are Bluey everything!) Bluey has crossed barriers that have never been crossed before.
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This month, Bluey inspired Tumblr user magicalnursekomugi to coin the term “Crikeycore” while posting a picture of the Aussie national treasure, fairy bread. They wrote: “UGH this reminds me of bluey s2 e3 so bad… imagine growing up Australian and having fairy bread and pass the parcel at birthday parties 😩 its so crikeycore”. And thus Crikeycore was born!
What is Crikeycore?
While it’s perhaps too early to tell exactly how it will culturally manifest, The Guardian suggests that while Aussiecore (yes, I’d never heard of this either) is an “Australian-on-Australian in-joke”, Crikeycore was not coined by Aussies, and is therefore being projected on us.
This tracks as Aussies don’t really use the word “crikey”. That was Steve Irwin’s special thing (RIP Steve). But I, and now it would seem people all over the world, thanks to Bluey, love fairy bread and pass the parcel. So if these staples of Aussie childhoods are the guiding principles of Crikeycore, I am here for it! Furthermore, it should celebrate all the other many wonders of growing up in Australia!
Beyond Fairy Bread…
To clarify, Fairy Bread in Australia is made with white bread, lots of butter, and 100’s and 1000’s. 100’s and 1000’s are basically round sprinkles with a really fun name. Indeed Fairy Bread itself is a deconstructed sandwich with a really fun name, if you want to get adult about it. Which I don’t, and only went there for the purpose of identifying other things with really fun names in Australia, like…
– are string lights or Christmas lights. Which is the clear winner of the best name?
– are traffic cones. I’m totally serious. You will see the toughest of tradies, um, tradespeople, call them Witches Hats.
– is vomit. I swear I’m not making this up.
— are rice krispies in Oz. They also gave birth to Chocolate Crackles, which are a cocoa flavored rice krispie treat, and a firm friend of fairy bread at an Aussie kid’s party. And no party would be complete without a —
Birthday Cake from the Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book
In perhaps the most concrete proof all of Australia is a big country town, the one cake book has been used to make cakes all over the country, and is still used today.
Published in 1980, kids of multiple generations have now pored over its pages for MONTHS before their Birthdays. All to make the big decision of what cake their parents would have the honor of attempting to make by getting cake into seemingly gravity defying shapes. It almost became a rite of passage to move from the ducky cake covered in potato chips, to the cake with the doll in the center of it or the racing track, then moving up to the swimming pool or piano.
Beyond Pass The Parcel…
Pass The Parcel, for the uninitiated, is a game where music is played, and a big, pre-prepared parcel is passed (surprise!) around the party-goers, who are seated in a circle. When the music is stopped, the child holding the parcel takes off a layer of wrapping paper. In what I can best describe as the equivalent of the “houses with full sized candy on Halloween”, at some parties you had a little present under EVERY LAYER of paper. But the biggest (or only) prize was under the last layer of wrapping paper. This big prize would be something as coveted as a stuffed animal or an imitation super soaker from the $2 Shop (dollar stores are $2 shops in Oz, which figures with the dollar and all).
However Pass the Parcel is not the only legendary Aussie kid’s game…
The Chocolate Game
This one is just fantastic. Again, kids sit in a circle. They pass around dice, and if you land on a 6, you go to the middle of the circle, put on a hat, scarf and oven mitts, and then get to eat from a full block of chocolate with a knife and fork until the next person rolls a 6! This was definitely pre-COVID as it was the same knife and fork for everyone!
Bluey has immortalized the game of Keepy Uppy, but there are many more balloon games to enjoy, from racing with a balloon between your legs, to my personal favorite of balloons being filled with confetti, and hung with ribbons from the ceiling. Each kid stood under a balloon, and a parent would stand on a chair and intentionally burst the balloon over you so you had your own little confetti shower. Loud bangs over your head play out differently in a place with sensible gun laws.
I don’t know if this was just my Primary (everyone 12 and under in the one school!) school, but we would have enormous games of tug-of-war at sports carnivals, where there would be as many kids as could grab hold of the rope pulling on each side, and if you lost you’d all fall on top of each other like a literal cartoon!
Aussie Kids TV
Bluey is part of a great tradition of excellent Aussie children’s television. As Bluey was the creation that kicked off the notion of Crikeycore, it seems only right to expand what Crikeycore could be with these unique and sometimes fantastically wacky series!
— was about a group of kids living in the same building, and had this faceless doll called EC. While EC in recent years has been called creepy, it was really this gentle, magical puppet. It was also just one segment on this show, which had talking backpacks, a plant with a rich inner life, and a documentarian frilled neck lizard.
— was the “man from the moon” who took children’s squiggles and made them into imaginative drawings with his nose. If an Aussie in your life has ever said “upside down, upside down” with a sing-song cadence, this is a reference to when Mr. Squiggle’s drawing would need to be turned around. Also if you’ve heard an Aussie say “Hurry Up!” kind of low and fake grumpy, this is how his blackboard used to rouse on Mr. Squiggle.
I cannot tell you what a Mulligrub is, but I can sing you the theme tune! The show featured a face in space talking to you in a high pitched voice, which is exactly as bizarre as it sounds.
I’m sure I’ve taken Crikeycore to all kinds of places it didn’t know it could go, but such are the boundless wonders of growing up in Australia. Add your favourite Aussie snacks, games or kids’ TV below to really get this Crikeycore party going!