On Friday the Sutherland Shire had a blackout (50,000 homes); on Saturday we all, well some of us, turned our lights off voluntarily for Earth Hour; then today in Sydney’s CBD and inner suburbs another blackout (70,000 homes).
My suburb was not quite “inner” enough to have been affected and so I was oblivious to the latest mishap. Unfortunately, in my case, the trains kept running, which meant I arrived in the city for the talk before a 7pm concert to find it without power. No power, no concerts. The Sydney Opera House cancelled its performances, as eventually did the City Recital Hall, where I was headed to hear Miriam Allan/Ironwood.
It made for an unnecessary trip, but the experience wasn’t unpleasant. It was an early evening concert and still light. So the early arrivals – the talk goers and the pre-concert diners – gathered about chatting. CRH staff brought out chairs, and more than a few people suggested an alfresco performance, which might have been nice but for the traffic noise. Then Mary-Jo Capps demonstrated her proficiency at the piercing whistle (something I envy, since I can “only” whistle tunes), and invited us to come back next week.
I was reminded of the really serious blackout that cut across several states on the eastern United States/Canadian border in the summer of 2003. New York ground to a halt, Detroit, Toronto…Cleveland, where I was living and which was blamed for it all. Despite the inconveniences, it was a blissful two days. It was wonderfully quiet and at night it was wonderfully dark. Families went out walking in the evening to look at the stars. I finally got around to defrosting my fridge and was able to spend a lot of time playing the piano. And oh yes, there was the pleasure of an unexpected holiday.