The Dominion Post

Summer is coming – so’s an uncool ad

- Jane Bowron

The wonderful thing about cold weather is that you can get away with wearing barndance clothes. I mean holey horse blanket jumpers, layers of threadbare leggings, woolly hats whose first life covered a tea pot, and stomping hoedown boots that look like corrective footwear. I call the look ‘‘grunderful’’, a mix of grunge and wonderful.

At the bus stop people clad in these get-ups jog the spot trying to keep warm while moaning about how long the winter seems this year when it’s always like this. As the world warms up we should enjoy the cold because, to riff on a Game of Thrones tag line, Summer is Coming.

After passing the shortest day, every year we get our shivered hopes up imagining spring is just a sprig of blossom around the corner. When an icy blast hits, and hits us again, we turn inward to hibernate. Walled up in our own private hygge home prisons, we scratch round for something to watch on free-to-air TV now that Netflix is having a price hike, and, due to high rental costs, Sky is through the roof in a disconnect­ed dish.

On nightly news bulletins, we watch tourists leap out of hired vans to laugh and biff snow balls at each other. They cease their play-fights and selfie shots to give interviews to TV reporters telling them they’ve never experience­d the like, of snow so white. Suspicious­ly we search the background for tell-tale signs of a yellow or brown alert, hoping the tourists haven’t left their calling cards in our pristine snow.

Other inclement weather trope news stories include hardy farmers feeding out hay to hungry snow-bound livestock. Committed to a stoic rural ethic of working in all kinds of weather, farmers dressed in shorts show a shock of bare leg.

In morning news bulletins, careering cars skid the roads on black ice. Kids with big, silly grins ski and slide the streets against a background of snowcovere­d small-town schools closed till further notice.

Let us enjoy the big cold while we can before the sweltering heat arrives. This year I’ve had offers from friends in Europe wanting to swap houses for the hottest weeks of their summer.

Wait till the airlines catch on. Wellheeled northern hemisphere tourists wishing to winter over and get some sun Down Under might also want some winter getaway to cool off from recordbrea­king sweltering summers.

Yep, we can do both while our weather’s not too extreme. As long as the punters aren’t put off by the cringe of the national carrier’s latest safety briefing video. For a decade Air New Zealand passengers have had to endure 19 videos of ‘‘cool’’ safety instructio­n, the latest a confusing mix of cliched rugby star power and a smattering of socalled celebritie­s flying under the bogus banner of ‘‘Air All Blacks’’.

Informatio­n which is supposed to be brief and direct to save lives is buried in an unfathomab­le twilight zone narrative, which pretends to have a grasp on the national character. Nine months in the making, the cost is probably reflected in the price of tickets as the creatives get to blow out the budget, all in the name of value branding.

These cheesy videos have had their day and are a turn-off and tune-out for passengers irritated and confused by health & safety instructio­n laid siege to by an obsession with making a corny cultural staple. If you want our attention to stay in the upright position, stick to the basics.

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