Random Play by Graham Reid

Snow on the Yelps

Right. That’s it. Too bloody cold. Had enough. We’re off. No. Like, seriously. Like, I’m just like, sooo over this whole weather thing, you know?

Actually it’s true. As of Monday dawn we’re off for a week in Rarotonga. No, it’s not about being miffed by the Sudden Cold Snap, it’s for a much-planned family wedding.

But frankly, it’s also going to be good to get away. Not from the weather itself, but from The Weather as The News.

I’m a bit old school when it comes to the weather. Unless it’s extreme I barely notice it. (It’s the weather! Whaddya gonna do about it?)

For me The Weather is either okay or it’s annoying. Either way life goes on “irregardless” (as Pauly in The Sopranos says).

But don’t you think we seem to have become somewhat obsessed by The Weather? And its ambassadors and forecasters and the lengthy radio and telly reports about “rain over the Yelps” and road closures on the Desert Road . . . .

I’m sorry, but I’m over The Weather.

Every time Toni Marsh stands side-on doing that silly shoulders back/hips thrust thing to me she just looks like she’s about to start singing “Happy Birthday Mr President“.

Anyway, in The Weather stakes I never even got the Cult of Jim Hickey either. It’s the weather. “It ain’t Leno”, as they say in the States.

And since when did The Weather need an “ambassador“? The Yemen needs an ambassador, Paraguay needs an ambassador, and Good God we need an ambassador.

But “The Weather“?

I was disappointed when mainstream media took that self-styled job designation-cum-appellative as seriously as “Weather Ambassador” Bob McDavitt obviously did.

Incidentally Bob McDavitt's site on a Google-search comes with a “standard disclaimer” which reads, “weather is a mix of pattern and chaos“

I WANT that: “Graham is a mixture of pattern and chaos . . .“

So now it‘s my turn: “Hey lookit me, I’m the Ambassador of Elsewhere and so that’s how you should refer to me from now on.” (Cue: Tui billboard)

A question from the Real World: why are weather reports on the telly so long these days?

Do towns about 50 kilometres apart -- I guess that’s about 80 minutes in Auckland traffic and about 22 minutes between the South Island hamlets I am invited to be interested in by Toni and her ilk -- need their own separate forecast?

C’mon, one degree of difference and the same wee graphic of a cloud with raindrops is surely not worth mentioning on the national news channels?

Last night on one of the two 6pm channels they had separate weather information for Auckland, the North Shore, Waitakere and Manukau.

The North Shore was one degree warmer.

If I wasn’t in a hurry today I’d drive over and go check with my thermometer. Or maybe ring my friend Sara in Birkenhead and say, “Hey, hot enough for ya?”

Yes, I know why the “news” mentions every town with an IGA and one Tui-owned or Speights-loyal tavern. It’s because we are obliged to suffer the politics of inclusion under which Everybody deserves to know they are Important.

So we bang them on the telly. I think of it as the Jason Gunn Syndrome.

But really, are some place that Important? Do they deserve to have their special-ness celebrated in a nationally broadcast weather prediction which is about as accurate as sticking your head out the window and sniffing the breeze?

But now The Weather is The News -- bloody near all the news if recent nights’ reports have been anything to go by.

Let’s face it: snow and ice on the Desert Road, Aucklanders in the rain, and Southland farms so isolated that choppers have to fly in with relief news crews is actually cheap television.

The pictures are easy. But I guess we do we get to see a lot of monosyllable folks in increasingly ridiculous woollen hats muttering something about how they can’t remember when it had ever been this bad.

And inarticulate Auckland students saying, “Yeah, it‘s like rilly cold, eh?” while filmed on a wind-whipped Queen St outside Whitcoulls (The most wind-whipped point on the main drag. So that was easy, right?)

Well, I‘m an Old Guy and I can remember when it was this bad and this cold.

It was the last time I saw a young reporter standing in the wind and rain bringing me an update on the sleet or the snow or the rain or the wind . . .

Sweetheart, just stand where its warm and don‘t get cold on my account. Tell your news editor that this is television, the pictures can tell the story. That’s why it has the “vision” bit in the name. Please don’t suffer for your art or future career in The Media on my behalf as a home viewer.

Well, yep okay. That’s all unfair. It’s cold right now. Snow. Bitter. Pictures of cars skidding on ice. Brrrrr. Whitcoulls corner. South Island.

But it’s late June. Shortest day and all that.


Okay, some of the weather is unusual. But is it un-seasonal?

I dunno, but I don’t care to hear The Weather as The News. Never have. There is a Separate Bit on The News (same length every night actually) for The Weather.

I don’t want any more Augie Auer (Yep, he’s back folks! Heard him commenting today. Can Jim Hickey be far away?)

And I don’t want to watch any more young reporters standing in the snow -- unless it’s that Queenstown Winter-cum-Gay Festival and they are all on junkets-cum-holidays.

I don’t want any more of The Weather for its own sake.

So, wedding notwithstanding, I’m glad we are going to Rarotonga -- where it’s warm! I wonder if The Weather is The News there.

When I get back in a week or so -- and no, don’t panic, Music From Elsewhere which is here will continue in my absence -- I promise you this: I won’t tell you how wonderful and warm it was Over There.

Because it will be. Hope it doesn’t melt the ice in my cocktail too fast.

Sorry. But not really

Like Bob McDavitt, it’s part of my job description. I have to go “Elsewhere“.

I’m, like, you know, its “ambassador“.