Wyn Drabble: And now here isn't the news

By Wyn Drabble


Here is a news item I read last week. This is the whole story and I promise I have changed nothing.

The headline: Serious Incident in Bucklands Beach overnight.

The story (and I use the word loosely): Counties-Manukau police are dealing with an incident which ended up in the Bucklands Beach suburb of south-east Auckland early this morning. (Name of news provider) understands three separate crime scenes are now being investigated. The investigation is centred on one person and next of kin are being informed.

That's it! That is the whole news item. My question: Was there any point reporting that especially given that in central Auckland at the same time, a far newsworthier incident was also occurring? Probably.

We interrupt this column to bring you breaking news. Something is happening just north of Taupo. A local police officer confirmed that something was indeed happening when he said to our reporter, "Yes, something is indeed happening." So far, no injuries have been reported but police are continuing their enquiries and it is not yet known whether next of kin will need to be notified.

Now, back to the column.

Another news story also caught my attention last week. Norwegian public television has just broadcast 12 straight hours of a fire burning in a fireplace. People watched it so it might be a developing trend that people enjoy nothing being reported on the news and next-to-nothing being shown on television.

I realise my comments about the Norwegian telecast would be more credible if I could add a diagonal line from time to time when I used the letter O but I can't so you'll just have to accept the content using our own unadorned O. Alternatively, I could put / at the end of relevant sentences and you could transfer it mentally to the O. No, that's silly. Let's just use our O.

I have probably been a little harsh describing this telecast as nothing because I have to admit there was commentary and expert advice from firewood specialists as the fire burned. Okay, there was also advice on stacking firewood and little cultural interludes with music and poems.

Norwegian television is not new to screening programmes about nothing. It holds the world record for the longest continuous show after it showed 134 hours (non-stop) of a cruise ship sailing along the Norwegian coast to the Arctic. You may be surprised to learn that, at one point, 60 per cent of the population was glued to the screen. That's WAY better than Seven Sharp can manage. Earlier they broadcast an eight-hour train journey from Oslo to Bergen. It was so popular they had to repeat it.

The Norwegians may well be leading the way in this exciting new TV trend, but I'm sure New Zealand will be quick to follow. What about 150 hours of boiling mud? Directed by Sir Peter Jackson?

Nothing is also quite popular as a book subject if the finalists in the Oddest Book Title of the Year Award are anything to go by. The shortlist includes How Tea Cosies Changed the World by Loani Prior, How to Sharpen Pencils by David Rees and Goblinproofing One's Chicken Coop by Reginald Bakeley.

Last year, the winner was Cooking with Poo. It's a Thai cookbook written by Saiyuud Diwong who is better known by his nickname, Poo. I'm working on a book that I will enter in next year's awards. It's called The Educational Accomplishments of Hekia Parata.

I would like to close this week's column by bringing you right up to date with the latest from both the Bucklands Beach and Taupo incidents. Here is the very latest: There have been no further developments.

- Northern Advocate

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