Goths have pierced our airport

The Barbarians are at the gate. The ramparts have been breached and the very entrance to the city is in the hands of the Vandals or, more accurately, the Goths.

Lock up your things of beauty, including your daughters and your Daimler. 

A new Dark Age is upon us. May God have mercy on our souls! Which all goes to alert you to the shock which waits next time you visit the airport.

That ugly Gothic lettering which this column bitterly condemned just three years ago is now plastered all over the place with the blessing of the airport management.

The world of the Goth and the font style bearing the name Gothic are dark, ugly and threatening, a point made in the earlier column.

Most people associate the lettering with that used on the signs at Nazi concentration camps and the style used by some denizens of the pop music underworld called AC/DC who, it seems, are being allowed into the country later this year.

In my student days, we did a paper on the Gothic novel and more depressing, ghoulish and unpleasant stuff I've never read, apart from Bill English's last two Budgets.

To be fair, adopting a font style for a brand is not an easy matter and I remember years ago being involved with the Plunket Society in looking for a suitable design to reflect the work of that organisation.

I really had no ideas to offer as, apart from disliking Gothic and Mongolian Baiti, I could think of no font which suited their needs.

Not long afterwards, they came up with the brilliant multicoloured child's writing version of Plunket now used. Very cheerful and welcoming. Just what was needed.

That my column three years ago did not rid the city of the abominable Gothic lettering style concerned me at the time but I soon realised the talented people who infest the public relations, marketing, company image and graphic design worlds seldom read more than the TV programme insert, the fashion pages and ''Your stars''.

The editorial and opinion pages are a step too far in their busy lives.

And there the matter might have rested, but already I've heard murmurings from those who once looked forward to landing at their ''home'' airport but who now wonder if flying to Queenstown and then motoring to Dunedin is the only way to rid them of the gruesome Gothics.

They are being wildly melodramatic as people of good taste often are. Far easier to simply get rid of the signs.

The blame should not be lumped too heavily on the airport.

There's been a change of management recently and that often leads to change for the sake of change.

Perhaps buying in to ''Brand Dunedin'' (marketing-speak for this Gothic lettering) looked like a good idea.

Not surprisingly, the ultimate culprit appears to be the Dunedin City Council

. In 2010, about the middle years of the decade in which dozens of council cars went missing, the DCC was more focused on this Brand Dunedin nonsense.

The Gothic lettering was splattered about but most citizens thought it was graffiti and that someone would remove it.

However, they soon found it was official and the Gothic ''Dunedin'' began appearing in DCC publications.

Little harm was done as few people read them. Ominously, others became ''brand partners'', including Allied Press, the publishers of the Otago Daily Times.

Thankfully, they have not yet inflicted the Gothic horrors on the paper's front page.

Other ''brand partners'' include the University of Otago, Dunedin Venues Management (can you imagine the stadium scarred with signs in Gothic?) and the Otago Chamber of Commerce. Pretty daunting opposition for a humble newspaper columnist, but public opinion may come to the rescue, so get into it.

While you are at it, you could campaign against the new uniforms being adopted by airport staff.

They are black and seem to be in ''horror movie villainess'' or ''cruel prison warder'' style (with boots)!

The ladies wearing them are, of course, not of those types. New scarves are now being worn with icons like a Rob Roy Dairy ice cream and a guitar.

Perhaps the boring albatrosses and Larnach Castle are there too but it would take a brave man to get close and fumble about with the scarves themselves to find out.

Of course, all this Gothic lettering and funny clothing could well be part of the classic PR ploy of distraction. Such campaigns are mounted to arouse public concern over a relatively trivial matter and while the rowdy protests are being held, a much more far-reaching disaster is quietly sprung upon an unsuspecting public.

Part of the airport branding business has been to drop the word ''international'' from the name.

Have you booked for the last flight to Brisbane?

Jim Sullivan is a Dunedin writer and broadcaster.

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