7/2/89

 “The Night of Madness”

At about 4:30 on Tuesday afternoon it began to rain. And what a rain it was. It absolutely pissed down. In about 45 minutes, nearly an inch of rain fell on parts of Melbourne along with a massive display of thunder and lightening. By about 5:30 it had stopped and I walked up to the station to find that the Sandringham train wasn’t running due to flooding. I caught a packed tram down to Swanson¹ and joined the hundreds of thousands of people trying to get home. The trams were jam packed with people and were caught up in snarled traffic which stretched from Swanson right to Balaclava². I joined the throngs of people who were legging it home, splashing through puddles and listening to On the Beach³ while thousands of pissed off commuters sat in their stalled or jammed cars. It took about 2 hours to walk home and I got there to find Russ† & Linda there with stories of their own to tell. Russ had walked all the way from Fitzroy and still had 2 hours walking left. Linda had been on the last Sandringham train and it had gotten bogged in 2 feet of water and slips coming down from the embankment. They had waited for an hour while the thunder roared and the lightning crashed overhead and then had been evacuated from the train via a plank & up the embankment & she had walked home from Pharham in the pouring rain.  The radio called it the “Night of Madness” & it goes to show what chaos a big city can be thrown into when something like a big storm happens. As Jethro Tull put it in the song Dun Ringill:

LINES JOIN IN FAINT DISCORD
AND THE STORMWATCH BREWS
A CONCERT OF KINGS
AS THE WHITE SEA SNAPS
AT THE HEELS OF A SOFT PRAYER
WHISPERED.

¹ Swanson Street railway station
² The suburb where we lived
³ A Chris Rea album I had on tape.
†Our friend from cherry-picking

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