Australia Day has different meanings for different people. For indigenous Australians it has always been steeped in unpleasantness, but that’s not what I’m here to discuss. I’m here to tell you that Australia Day for me was never about the arrival or subsequent invasion of the British. For me, Australia Day has, at least from when I was a teenager, been about the Hottest 100.
Because I’m a simple little thing.
You can’t even begin to imagine how excited I was to actually be in Australia for the Hottest 100 for the first time in five years.
To fill you in, the Hottest 100 is a countdown that my favourite Aussie radio station, Triple J undertakes annually, counting down the hottest 100 songs released that year. Triple J is not everyone’s cup of tea, with an at times eclectic mix of music, but it sure is my cup of tea.
So what do us Triple J fans do on Hottest 100 Day, you ask? Well, it’s high summer, so generally we’re outside, we’re in the backyard BBQing, we’re at a pub, or we’re floating down a river, with waterproof radios and drinks and snacks aplenty.
In the past, I had often spent the day with my brother, who’s almost as big a fan as I am, but this time it wasn’t going to work out, so I seconded a friend who has similar music taste to me, and we headed off to a rooftop bar to enjoy a day of tunes. The countdown starts at noon and goes for a good 8-9 hours, so it’s a commitment.
Our day started off with a swim (because any good day should) and then we settled in for the afternoon.
Because Triple J plays a different mix of music, and a lot of it Australian, during the years I’d been in Austria I’d had trouble keeping up with the playlist and hadn’t felt informed enough to vote. But this year, I’d spent the last few months since booking my ticket, dutifully studying, and listening to Triple J whenever possible (which is not easy considering the time change). I was ready. I still didn’t have perhaps the full range of what I used to when I was a die-hard listener, but most tunes I at least recognised.
And my verdict with who took out the top spots? Well, Ocean Alley is great, and they definitely deserved the win, even if Confidence isn’t my favourite song of theirs. Personally I would have felt better if it had started at number 5 with Amy Shark, but you can’t argue with democracy… can we Brexit?
We ended the evening with a trip to my favourite Thai restaurant and crashed early, exhausted. I’m not sure I’ll be able to top that Hottest 100 Day for a long time.