Get Ready for the Big RevealAlthough you would never catch Pearl watching a reality TV series, it seems that every time I flick through the commercial channels I am confronted by trailers announcing ‘The big reveal’, ‘The reveal that will shock Australia’, ‘Bimbo and Bimbette’s stunning bathroom reveal’, ‘Agro twins and loved-up couple go head-to-head in kitchen reveal’.
And since I spend my gin-addled evenings on the sofa hoping that my husband will read me Homer when instead he is wrestling control of the remote, it took the usually astute Pearl a long time to cotton on to what a ‘reveal’ actually is.
I consulted the Webster Dictionary, which defined ‘reveal’ as ‘to make known through divine inspiration’, and since divine inspiration is not usually associated with commercial television I decided that if a reveal could shock Australia it must be something truly vile, like Clive Palmer revealing his stomach in public.
For those as ignorant as Pearl, the reveal is part of Channel Nine’s renovation program, The Block. Apparently The Block and its ilk are
extremely popular with the masses. The Block and its ilk are also part of Australia’s ill-placed obsession and fantasy with all things housing.
Browse through lifestyle magazines such as Vogue Living or Home Beautiful to see the vanities of upper-middle class Australians who love the opportunity to one-up their peers by revealing the ‘must haves’ of pretentious and affluent home ownership – such as the relaxation hub, the wet room and the outdoor room – in full magazine gloss.
Feel the envy as a double-barrelled-surname couple extol the ‘authenticity’ of their Noosa weekender ‘which reflects the family and ticks all the mental boxes’, creating a serendipitous retreat from their harrowed Eastern Suburbs life. You too can attain this level of sophistication central with a $2 million interest-only mortgage or a large inheritance.
The perfect blondes with their perfect homes gazing out of the TV and magazine pages are far from the reality of home owner- ship and housing aesthetics in Australia. Drive through Sydney and view the over-priced concrete cancer version of home ownership imposed on us by greedy property developers in the name of ‘ad- dressing the shortage in affordable housing stock’.
Cringe as statistics show that 85 per cent of these new apartments have defects and 70 per cent have leaks, with owners bearing the cost of shoddy work because developers have weaseled their way out of liability by convincing the state government that any onus will impact on construction industry jobs and the developers’ massive profits.
Become confused when any fall in property prices is bemoaned by economists and the media, rather than being celebrated as a win for first homebuyers.
The Vogue Australia family may have fallen in love with their 1960s beach shack (after looking at five houses in one afternoon), but the truth is that Australia’s short architectural heritage, along with its green space, is being permanently wiped from our streets with no trade union Green Bans to save it from fat developers and greedy real estate agents. That is the true reveal.