Surely one of the poignant highlights of the Novak Djokovic imbroglio has been Novak's dad's appeal to Her Majesty the Queen to intervene against the Australian government and on behalf of his son.
Every doting parent will identify with the way in which love of one's children can disturb the balance of the mind and then of course (although it is too big a subject to fit into this little column today) besotted parents of sports-playing children are notoriously in a special behavioural category all of their own.
But one was touched by the childlike naivety of Novak's dad's belief that Her Majesty is the sort of person who might be moved to speak up for Truth and Justice and against callous inhumanity. She never does that, but it is a wistful dream I sometimes entertain myself. I have wondered if, for example, she might stand up for wronged, persecuted Julian Assange, being driven mad in a grim prison just across town from her palace, his plight ignored by her Commonwealth prime ministers of the UK and and of her dominion Australia.
Quite how she can have a conscience so anaesthetised by rank and station and blueness of blood she never, ever, in 70 years of reigning, has felt moved to speak up against of the world's gazillion injustices, is mystifying for all of us who have warm blood and have our hearts in the right place. How would her reign have been different if she had been a robot?
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Meanwhile, with some of the same naivety just confessed to, I find myself entertaining the shy hope she will show enough spirit to politely decline our grovellingly loyalist prime minister's decision to rename Aspen Island in Lake Burley Griffin, calling it Queen Elizabeth II island.
In my mind's ear methought I imagined her saying, perhaps during her Christmas Message, while she appreciated the loyal thought she would prefer the islet either kept its name or was named after a deserving Canberran who has performed selfless humanitarian service on behalf of some branch of suffering mankind.
Another possibility, if it is such a good idea to name Australian places after this royal family, it to have the islet become Prince Andrew Island.
"Mummy, who was Prince Andrew?" generations of little children will ask as they gambol on to the island to play, and generations of mummies will pretend not to know.
And, skipping from the Regal to the Vice-Regal, there is no greater proof of the sheer contagious virulence of Omicron than that it has somehow sought and found and infected so reclusive and forgotten a person as our Governor-General (whose name escapes me for the moment).
How did the virus seek out and find him, given he is so seldom seen or heard publicly doing or saying anything and so presumably is generally sequestered indoors in one of his two palatial manors? If Omicron can penetrate even the GG's expensively secured, chandelier-ceilinged vice-regal ultrabubble what hope of immunity is there for those of us, with no servants to go out and do our shopping for us, who cannot avoid at least some interaction with the wider world?
The mysterious algorithmic witchcraft YouTube uses to recommend to us things we might like to see on our computers has this week sent me a sweet little film, just two minutes and 22 seconds long, Sounding The Foghorn.
YouTube and its algorithms move, like God, in mysterious ways. In this case YouTube's intuitive guess I might delight in something so obscure as a brief film about the restoration of an old mechanical foghorn at a remote Shetland island lighthouse (it is the last foghorn of its kind in Scotland) is an eerily correct, spot-on guess. It is exactly my kind of thing.
Can it be that YouTube's canny algorithms knew that I, living in what is far and away Australia's foggiest city, a city defined by its unique fogginess, am obsessed with fog?
Had the eagle-eyed algorithms, spying on me, noticed me recently going online to read Ruth Madievsky's feisty new poem about fog and thinking as I read it that when, soon, Canberra has its own poet laureate (in the way every worthwhile city in the UK and in the USA has one) he or she is bound to make much of real and especially of metaphorical fog? We are all living now in the fog of the pandemic. Soon the fog (or is it more of a particle-polluted smog?) of the election campaign will surround us.
In her poem Fog, Ms Madievsky finds metaphorical fogs everywhere in her life, including in her cheese sandwich, her underwear drawer and in her lover's mouth. She even finds her mother mistaking her, the poet, "for a spool of fog".
But meanwhile Sounding The Foghorn reminds me of my long-held view our city does not make enough of its foggy uniqueness. The magical little Scottish film climaxes with the restored foghorn delivering its deep, soulful, window-rattling, spine-strumming thunder-bellowings to the foggy sea. It is a sound of unearthly loveliness.
There are several olde foghorns like these rusting, unused now in the UK now that new technologies have made past warnings-to-shipping functions obsolete. Canberra must buy and restore some of them now, fixing then in prominent places to have them sing out (like deep-voiced gods serenading one another) whenever (and we have an average of 47 first-class fogs a year) fog's blessings transform our metropolis into a diaphanous wonderland unique in Australia.
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Ian Warden is a Canberra Times columnist
Ian Warden is a Canberra Times columnist
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