As our perspicacious reader had doubtlessly noticed, we are finishing our first week without any solar light, and there is, to this day, still 94 days to go before our favorite star pops up again from its hibernation.
And like every year, there is a debate about the "Black hours" during which electric and gas lights should be turned down.
As usual, the Arctic Administration leans towards six full hours of darkness from midnight onwards, so as to ensure a little peace for the citizens and avoid power shortages which could have dreary consequences.
On the other hand, the Council of Customs and Commerce pleads for shorter or no "black hours", in the name of our economical activity, for it is well known that New Venetians usually fight the Boreedom of Wintering Weeks by throwing money all around on the Marco Polo Midway and Venustown.
Taking a step further, the Council for Customs and Commerce has even urged the Senate of the Seven Sectors to re-establish and extend the duration of the City Carnival, a tradition which the Council of Seven had practically sentenced to death two years ago when masks were banned in the streets for “security reasons”.
The electricity bill, having a ball
The Regent-Doge has yet to express himself on that matter, but, one of his close advisors, Gabriel d'Allier, Prime-Perceptor for the Dauphin-Doges has accepted to grant us a little interview on these topics:
Q: What about the right amount of black hours ?
A: It is difficult to say. No human life could thrive under these latitudes without a large amount of light. But no human life could survive either without its fair share of silence, sleep and dreams. Beyond that, we all should be aware that city lights are a political subject and that, throughout history, differences in urban lighting have always reflected social divides. What we want to ensure is an equal access to both light and darkness. The Regent-Doge is working on what he calls a chessboard model, alternating dark and lit zones that would change during the "day".
Q:What about the return of City Carnival, then?
A: I have nothing against it, but I see no reason why it should be constantly floodlit. Darkness could even make it more, shall we say... interesting. I am especially impatient to see masks legal again. Their interdiction has been a blow to the anonymity, and hence to the freedom of New Venetians. It is no secret that it was the Gentlemen of the Night who were behind that unfortunate decision. Wearing a mask is always a little like sleepwalking, like carrying a piece of personal night even in the full glare of the city lights. It is too part of these dreams that the citizens need in order to live a fuller, richer, more enchanted life.
Q: Has your taste for masks something to do with the fact that you are often taking our Dauphin-Doges on secret nocturnal rambles through the city?
A: I do not know what you are talking about.
The City Carnival: these were the err.. days.