Hot, Hot, Heat

Maybe it was my absurd decision to go out into a midday scorcher to buy tea (real tea) at the Vic markets. Or perhaps I was reflecting on comments made by Brisbane guests about Melbourne weather during their recent stay. It could have been because I enjoyed a good meal and company at Kirks on the Esplanade in Mornington last evening watching the night fold over the bay and thanking all who would listen for daylight saving. Whatever the reason, I got to thinking about how we deal with heat. Not your ordinary 25 – 30 degree heat. No, I’m talking about when the thermometer heads past 35 without blinking. I’m talking hot, hot heat.

So I went to the experts for advice. Our storytellers have been, er, telling stories about heat since Moses was knee high to a bulrush.

For example, take one of Dylan’s more metaphysical lyrics (actually, it’s the entire song):

“All the tired horses in the sun, how I’m supposed to get any riding done”

Meanwhile the great American absurdist comic, Stephen Wright observed, “If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?”

Whereas Keith Carradine brings it back to the personal … “I’ve grown this mustache which saves me from having to glue on one every day in the heat.”

These artists seem to be trying to relate to how extreme weather reflects our inner being or maybe, just how to wear a mo without it falling off.

Perhaps the poets could shed light on the heat by comparing stuff to a summer’s day. They get a bit highfalutin, a bit high on the aroma of their own sentiments yet still they may lead us into the hea(r)t of the moment.

William Carlos Williams opines that in summer, the song sings itself. He may be right but at 39.7 degrees Celsius the song is also dancing on hot (vo)coals.

Keats may imagine himself a Romantic with lines such as “I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days — three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain”. Seriously John K, before three days over 40 degrees is up your days will be filled more by de flames than by delight and you’ll look every day of 50 years old.

The poet’s poet, Billy Wobbledagger must have something insightful to say:

O, how shall summer’s honey breath hold out
Against the wreckful siege of battering days,
When rocks impregnable are not so stout,
Nor gates of steel so strong, but Time decays?

Thanks Bill, man, you really know how to bring a beach party to a screaming halt. Oh, if only he’d learnt how to juggle instead of write.

And still I search for ways to understand this damned heat. Dave Warner is a touchstone, hot weather permeates many of his fine recordings, from Summer ’78 (could you get a more straightforward reference than the opening lines, “C’mon everybody it’s summer and it’s hot”?) to Australian Heat, to African Summer (“I’m stretched out on Scarborough Beach, can’t find my way to the OBH”) to Waiting for the Cyclone to Halftime at the Football (the heat referenced in that song is generated more by lustful young genitals than a great ball of fire).

In conclusion, in days of extreme heat there’s not much more to do than the following:

  1. Put a playlist together (that includes Summer in the City, Hotter than Hell, Heat-Wave, Ring of Fire, Burning Love, Hot Fun in the Summer-time, White Light/White Heat, Hundred and Ten in the Shade and Fever)
  2. Make up a jug of mojitos
  3. Chill man, just chill.


  1. You weak Victorian whinging prick.

    Anyway my favourite summer songs are…

    • Summer Feeling by Jonathan Richman

    • In the Summertime by Mungo Jerry

    • Too Hot To Move by The Triffids (their best song I reckon)

    Kindest regards


  2. Yes, it’s hot.. But I prefer the heat any day compared to the bleeding cold,wind and rain of winter.. Enjoy it while it’s hot, hot, hot! Oh God, I’m talking’ bout the weather..pass the lamington plate Flo…

  3. Thank you Les, for calling it as you see it. I had to resist, with all my might, mentioning Perth weather in my exhaustive thesis about hot days.

    As for The Triffids song, Too Hot To Move, I agree, it is a beauty. However, the best I have heard it performed is by Rob Snarski fronting The Black Eyed Susans. In their version, they lead off with American Sailors (from same Triffids record) and segue into Too Hot, with it’s wonderful chorus:

    And from this window, I can see the street below
    I can hear the hit parade on the radio
    There’s dirty dishes piling up in the sink
    But it’s too hot to move, and it’s too hot to think

    And Paubai, when it gets as hot as it did yesterday in Melbourne, it’s cool to talk about the weather :)

  4. *cough* Billy Idol, ‘Hot in the City’ *cough*

    Seriously though, I do love The Black Eyed Susans, version of ‘Too Hot To Move’ with the ‘American Sailors’ lead-off. WPA did something similar with ‘Ship In The Harbour’.

  5. John Butler says

    Litza, automatic one week suspension for mentioning the Original Idol.

    I am undoubtedly getting old and grumpy, but seems to me we just used to accept that we had hot days in summer. Now, any day that nudges 40 provokes a flood of commentary suggesting civilization will teeter on the brink.

    Good suggestions Slim. Pass me another mojito.

  6. Apologies to Tassie…

    Hugo Race doing The Boss’s ‘I’m on Fire’ .

  7. Mr Butler (it is Harry isn’t it?)

    Even 30 years ago during Summer months, my grumpiness was determined by the intersection of the temperature going up and my proximity to a fridge with beer in it. If you follow the link below I think you’ll find that, as well as getting older and grumpier, the weather is getting hotter :)

    Oh, and I should add, Hot, Hot, Hot by Buster Poindexter

  8. And may I add Summer Rain by Johnny Rivers.

    45 in Kalgoorlie today. If I was there I’d be having a hit in the nets

  9. Basso Divor says

    You know it’s hot when the heat index is somewhere between OMG and WTF!

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