BEHIND BLONDINI

Why 'Blondini' has nothing to do with being a blonde and everything to do with fast cars and reckless driving.

Other than one short-lived, ‘out-with-the-old’ stint, I’ve always been a blonde.

When I was growing up, that was thanks to my genetics. These days, that’s all thanks to the magical façade that is hair dye. But irrespective of how they came to be, my blonde locks – along with further validation in the form of a few too many ‘blonde moments’ – have provoked most of my nicknames: Blondie, Goldie, Barbie etc etc. So the assumption that ‘Blondini’ is simply another iteration is an assumption that’s as fair as my hair colour.

The truth is, there’s more to the name – and hopefully to moi – than meets the eye. It just helps that my hair colour works so well with the title.

That’s lesson number one. And if you’re not familiar with New Zealand pop culture of the 1980s, then here comes lesson number two.

In my former life in adland, MINI was one of my clients – MINI as in the small pocket rocket on four wheels.

Back in 1981 – eight years before I started terrorising the world – MINI went from tearing up New Zealand streets to taking over the country’s cinema screens, with one little yellow (or 'blonde') MINI in the starring role of, Goodbye Pork Pie, a film that would become one of New Zealand's most iconic

Fast-forward to the end of 2015, and I found myself locked away in an advertising agency meeting room pouring over the 100-page playscript of what was to be the modern-day remake. The very remake - "Pork Pie" - that launches in New Zealand today - February 2, 2017.

Upon reading the script – or more so studying it for work purposes – it was not hard to pick up on the many parallels that were between this version and the well-known, well-loved original, as you would expect. But what I wasn't expecting was to stumble upon another parallel: that the storyline of the film wasn't too far off how my life's next adventure would play out. 

In short, Goodbye Pork Pie starts with one man getting behind the wheel of a yellow MINI (via illegal means), and the film follows the car as its driven from Kaitaia to Invercargill (the top to bottom of New Zealand) with police hot on its tail. The many detours taken along the way lead to new passengers filling the MINI's small seats, passengers that quickly become dubbed “The Blondini Gang” – now you can start to see where I’m going with this..

The story of the Blondini Gang is one of rebellion, recklessness and irreverence; three words that are the exact opposite to how people would describe me. In complete and utter contrast, I’m the type to play things safe, to stick to my comfort zone, to perfect within my limits rather than push the boundaries and risk failure.

So back in 2015, after a lot of anguish, anxiety and advice, taking a risk is exactly what I needed to do – and did – when I handed in my resignation at the very job where I read Pork Pie. This blonde needed to embrace a little Blondini irreverence.

Unlike the Blondini gang, I didn’t leave my job that day and steal a brand-new yellow MINI - I hopped into my own, old VW - and I headed home, not to Invercargill and not with police following me. But, like the Blondini Gang, I had a destination I was headed for, I just didn’t know how I was going to get there, what road I would travel, what detours I would take, or who I would meet along the way.

Taking that first step is always the hardest; having the courage – or the balls – to head into the unknown. But I took it and now I’m following in the footsteps – or rather the tyre tracks of Blondini.

So, Blondini – it’s a nod to my past (and one of my favourite past clients), a nod to the journey I’m on, an ever-present reminder to take that risk and unexpected detour every now and again, and now it’s the name of this blog.

I may not drive a MINI, but I am up for an adventure, I’m building up a great gang along the way, and these are my Blondini chronicles.

It may just mean I have to stay blonde for a while. 

j x

Check out the trailer for Pork Pie here, or better yet, check out the movie in a New Zealand cinema now. 

WEARING | Top from TopShop, Skirt unknown label, Charlie Lace Up Heels from La Tribe

LifeJamie BarrettLife