Every year since the early 1980s, on Australia Day, Triple J radio (then called Double J…not sure what the story is there) plays the Hottest 100 songs from the year before. Australia Day, for those not in the know, is on January 26, the middle of the Australian summer. For the first 3 weeks of each year listeners around country (and now the world, thanks to the web) vote on their favourite song from the previous year. This year, it was a pretty obvious winner…the country couldn’t get enough of Gotye and Kimbra sniping at each other. And here’s a tip for readers who want to win a really great prize from us in early April: you will need to know what was number 9 this year.
For the past couple of years, The The Crafty Pint website has done a parallel poll of the Hot 100 craft beers in Australia, that they announce throughout the afternoon as JJJ plays its top songs. This year, a couple of Thirsty Crow beers made the list, which is quite astonishing because it, like the music poll, is just a popularity contest. Given that Wagga is a small city and you can’t buy Thirsty Crow beer elsewhere, it means that they rallied the troops (including us) quite well to vote in the poll. As with the Triple J poll, there was a lot of crap on the list; how anything from Coopers beer or even a James Squire can be called a craft beer is beyond comprehension, but there were a lot of beers on the list that were smaller ’boutique’ labels from major companies. For those in Canada, think Rickards…it is owned by Molsons (but then so are Granville Island and Creemore Springs…the line between micro and corporate brewery is very blurry). We like James Squire beers (have a few different ones in the fridge) but they are just a marketing ploy of a major company to sell to more discerning people.
The other summer hot 100 didn’t happen this year; for the first time in more than a decade, the temperature didn’t hit 38 Celsius – which, for those who think in those terms, is 100 Fahrenheit. Highest we got to was something around 37.5 C. What this means is that we didn’t have one of the hot hot hot Wagga summers that people warned us about. Most years it gets up to 40 once or twice, but not this year. People tell us we are being welcomed gently…some year, probably next year, we will get the heat. But this year has been more than tolerable, at around 4 or 5 degrees cooler than normal.
It seems odd to say that summer is over. In Canada, we based seasons on the equinoxes. Summer started on June 21, fall on September 21, winter on December 21, and spring on March 21. Officially…but if you live in Edmonton it was more like fall started in August, winter in October, spring came in May, and summer was some blip in July.
In Australia, the seasons change at the first of the month, six months off of the northern hemisphere month. So, at the first of March, it became autumn (or do they call it fall here? We’ll have to look into that). And it was kind of suitable fall weather, cool and wet (really wet), but now we are back into great weather. The past few days have been sunny and in the high 20s, and the forecast is the same for into next week.
What is really weird is that we are actually almost also experiencing a second spring. Bottlebrush and grevillea bushes, and even some gum trees, are starting to flower again just a few months after their last cycle. It must be that they don’t flower in the heat of summer or cold of winter, but spring and fall are ideal. The moths have also returned, though in smaller numbers. Hopefully the birds that were hanging out in our yard, like the honeyeaters, will return too.
So we don’t really know what season it is, or what it is supposed to be. But compared to the Edmonton climate, it is summer in our minds.