The Snacks are Great

Dear Sophia:

I’ve been driving for a famous television production that I can’t say or there will be some sort of legal or medieval punishment. Floggings etc. I can tell you that I’ve been driving cast, crew, producers and whomever.

The locations have been stunning but present all sorts of challenges particularly at the strange times that we drive. 3.30 am call time? 9:00 pm call time?

All the weird times. People get loopy and if you are reporting to work at 4:00 pm and that’s the first shift of the day the meal is: breakfast. You are expected to greet everyone with “Good Morning.”

On this day we were at a stunning location that was unfortunately low and very silty. It had been raining quite a lot and we were having a time of it in the mud with the vans, fishtailing and getting stuck. Everyone was covered in mud and helplessly the word came to cover the seats in plastic, especially for the stunt people, who wore mud like adobe armour.

It was towards the end of the busy times for this production. Being a shuttle driver can be somewhat quiet during the periods that they are shooting. So you surf the net, you snack, you talk shit with the other drivers.

I follow the Instagram and Youtube channel for Jonna Jinton, a talented Swedish artist. She does all sorts of things, but one thing that she puts up is audio of her Kulning. It’s the ancient Swedish call for the cows to come in from the fields to the barns for milking or end of day. It’s quite haunting.

I’d already been talking to the cows a lot at all the locations and decided that I wanted to see if Kulning would work on New Zealand cows. I would be a legend on location if I could get the cows to follow me like they followed Jonna.

So I downloaded some playlists of ancient Swedish Kulning.

The location we were in this day had a three-way intersection with strict traffic controls and lots of staff controlling it.

I had to warm them up first. So, I fired up the Spotify, got the Wiggles on and played the Hokey Pokey really loud. Everyone in the intersection, including me, stopped what we were doing and did the hokey pokey. Masked, and with smiling eyes. I got in my car and drove on to pick up other riders.

Every time I was alone I played the Kulning – high volume out the windows. But the cows were too far away.

Finally I saw the cows had come down the paddock, but had an older fellow in the van. So I said “Look, I’m doing a scientific experiment and want to play this Kulning for the cows are you okay with that?”

He looked at me and said “Sure” and then said not unkindly,

“What are you talking about?”

“Ah” I said “It’s the ancient art of Swedish Cow Calling”

And then apologetically “I’m sorry, I get a little bored during the day I try to entertain myself.”

He looked deep into my eyes and said in an English accent “Medication is not working?”

I laughed. “Clearly”

We played the Kulning to the cows. That were largely uninterested.

“Well” I said “I guess they don’t speak Swedish” He said “Look, I don’t think you’ve worked this out properly – I mean, what was your exit strategy if they DID come to you. Do you have a Kulning to make them go away?”

I stroked my chin thoughtfully “Huh, no, I don’t. Good thing that they didn’t sidle up to us”

I returned the gentleman to Unit Base and as he was getting out some other crew that I knew got on the shuttle.

“Oh” they said “You’ve met one of the producers. A real bigwig”

I pointed “him?”


“Oh shit”

All I could think was that I’d never snack in this town again.