Hasn’t the shortest day
been Hobart’s nicest winter day thus far? (That’s winter starting in April
which it did this year). We've spent the past week jumping into, or away from
puddles, depending on your age.
At Winter Feast Friday, a
woman at our table said, ‘I had to stop myself from saying this last night
because it’s ridiculous, but I wish Winter Feast was in summer.’
Hobartians have an
equivocal relationship to winter. You’ve got to tolerate it a bit to live in
the country’s most southern capital, but it’s still a shock to the system when
it rolls around again.
It makes for a stylish city
though with lots of heavy coats, swathes of scarves, leather gloves, and knee-high
boots. Wood-heaters are still
preferred for their bone-warming radiant heat. Hobart’s majestic backdrop,
Kunanyi, is covered in snow. There are stews and soups, hot chocolate and coffee,
whisky or a full-bodied red.
But the city exclaims a
collective sigh of relief on winter solstice. It’s one thing to be cold but the
dark can be demoralising. If you’re office bound, you can spend weeks without
sun. You go to work in the dark and you come home in the dark.
I moved here from the
tropics where people socialise outdoors all year around. It seemed in Hobart that
nobody went out in winter, restaurants closed for holidays and there was
nothing much to do.
It’s why I love Dark Mofo
Last night, the Lovely
Deputy and I walked around Tyrone Sheather’s Giidanyba; seven light sculptures
depicting nocturnal Aboriginal spirits. We waited and watched for Anthony McCall's
Night Ship under the Tasman Bridge. We’ve also spent time at Dark Park and
the Winter Feast, and had the privilege of seeing Antony and the Johnsons play
with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.
They paint the town red for
Dark Mofo. Red lighting on Hobart’s iconic landmarks draws disparate parts of
the city together. The Grand Chancellor, the Botanical Gardens, the Tasman
Bridge and others, glow red and connect Hobart. Our red-themed city creates a
special winter identity, making you feel part of something bigger. A smorgasbord of music, art
and food on offer, much of it free, means there’s no reason to stay in. And the many light installations
invite us to embrace winter, and remind us that the days are about to get longer.
Tonight is the last night of Dark Mofo. Why
do you get out into it?
Here's our recent post on one of the Winter Feast stallholders, Captain Bligh's.