The weather, to put it mildly, has been strange. The rain is black from ash or brown from dust. The fire and floods continue. Hail falls the size of golf balls. The wind feels haunted.
At 8pm, the temperature has just dropped below thirty and there is a strange yellow-purple light being cast into my lounge. I’ve been sat on the couch with my laptop for some time and the room has darkened around me. I am like the frog in the boiling water, not noticing until it is too late. When I stand up to switch the light on I see that the sky is orange-brown. Like a dust storm. Like a brick wall.
A friend on Instagram posts a photo of his dog lolling happily on the grass with the brown sky looming in the background. The caption reads: He’s loving the apocalypse. We all make apocalypse jokes now. We are all the frog in the water.
On TV, Serena Williams plays under the same brown sky. It is not depicted like the one I see from my balcony, a vast expanse of doom. Rather, a small manageable slice is visible between the two halves of the stadium roof. An apocalyptic yet neatly bordered Sistine Chapel, with the escaped Christ casting serve-and-volley judgement on Zidanšek below.
The weeks leading up to the Australian Open were marred by poor air quality and images of players in coughing fits on court. Others complained on social media that they were being forced to play competitive sport on days when dogs were advised to stay indoors. Rumours flew that the tournament might not go ahead, but they were only rumours.
Melbourne Park has three arenas with roofs that can be closed. If it comes to it, the inconvenient weather will be mitigated.
A version of this post was sent by email on the 26th January 2020 as part of Internet Care Package – a weekly memoir project in the form of a newsletter. It also includes links to the best things I’ve found on the internet each week and occasional updates on my theatremaking. This blog is a select archive of those emails. Subscribe to get them right in your inbox.
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