Weihnachten im Sommer

Ich bin ja wie gesagt selten hier gewesen zur Weihnachtszeit, zumindest nicht besuchslos (was dann eh anders ist und nicht gilt). Komische Athmosphäre in der Stadt und ich kann das irgendwie gar nicht in Worte fassen. Der von mir hoch verehrte Schlawiner Dominic Knight allerdings schon, und zwar gestern im Sydney Morning Herald. Bevor wir uns falsch verstehen: ist schon nicht schlecht hier im Sommer, so mit Sonne und Strand, aber trotzdem... Dieses "trotzdem" laß ich jetzt aber Dominic erzählen, der kann das besser:

Sydney is famous for its summers, but the long, hot, lazy days that bring backpackers from around the world to cram onto our beaches like sunburnt sardines get very dull for the locals. Whether it's the holly-decked horror of Christmas or the endless days of TV so bad that we even find ourselves missing Australian Idol, Sydney's summer calendar is looking overly heavy on gaudy Christmas lights, but largely devoid of highlights.

The season couldn't have a more painful start than the overhyped heat exhaustion that is an Australian Christmas. Thanks to the weather, we don't even get to enjoy the few nice, quaint things about everyone's favourite pagan-made-Christian-made-pagan-again holiday. Our carols by candlelight aren't delivered by charming youngsters who knock on our doors while it's snowing picturesquely in the background. They're brought to us by Ray Martin.

It has become the season of tacky excess, of the traditional 12 days of Christmas shopping followed by 12 months of credit card debt. (If only we could give a partridge in a pear tree to our true loves rather than shelling out for an iPod.) The presents are scant compensation for all the weeks of saccharine Christmas crap we have to endure, from appalling movies such as The Polar Express and Christmas with the Kranks to the Queen's Christmas greeting. And if you don't think tinsel and giant Santas are hideous enough, remember that 'tis also the season of that other traditional Christmas party decoration, the photocopied arse. Oh well, at least this year we don't have to sit through Love Actually.

After the agony of Christmas, we'll all need a good rest. And what better time to start than the most disappointing night of the year, New Year's Eve? You'd think we would have learnt after the much-vaunted millennium bug failed to materialise as we headed out of 1999, but the supposed "biggest night of the year" is always a huge anti-climax. Unless you're sufficiently connected to know someone wealthy enough to have a harbour view, the night's a write-off. Everyone sends frantic text messages all evening, desperately searching for a better offer, but somehow we always end up looking at the back of someone's head while we hear the fireworks faintly exploding somewhere in the distance.

It's a bad night if you drink too much, and a worse night if you're one of the few who stay sober. And just when you thought it couldn't get any more painful, Leo Schofield brings about an unholy union of two of my least favourite things - hi-NRG house music and Advance Australia Fair. My first new year's resolution is always to stay at home the following New Year's Eve, and yet I always break it. So I've decided that this time, I'm going to commit to a completely boring night. It'll be the same as ever, but at least I won't get my hopes up.

Things don't improve after New Year's Eve. January in Sydney is only slightly less monotonous than January in Antarctica, which is why everyone flocks to an endless succession of mediocre outdoor events. Every year we come in thousands to sit uncomfortably on rugs in parks, eat flyblown picnics and drink lukewarm grog at events such as Opera in the Park, Symphony Under the Stars, Tropfest and Moonlight Cinema. So many turn out that you have to spend the whole day getting sunburnt to get a spot that's even in the same postcode as the stage. We go because the peer pressure makes us terrified of missing out on a shared experience, like laughing at John Polson's speeches. It's time we remembered there's a reason why cinemas and concert halls generally have comfortable seats, good sight lines and no John Polsons.

Whether it's one Big Day Out too many with lacklustre headliners or too many Sydney Festivals with nothing to distinguish them but the colour of the lights shone on our landmarks, summer in Sydney has grown painfully formulaic. At the time we're most desperate for entertainment, we're forced to settle for the same boring summer events, year after year, with little else to do but watch cricket. It's no wonder a sport that lets you kill five tedious days at once has become Australia's favourite summer pastime.

So please, event promoters, TV networks, Clover Moore, Richie Benaud, anybody - save our summer. We need something new on the summer calendar - something to convince us to get out of the air-conditioning and into the streets. Because given what's on offer over the next six weeks, I'm terrified I'm going to find myself watching that Love Actually DVD commentary. Again.