How to Survive Winter with Hello Zukeen
“Arrgghhhh, winter!” you cry!
“It’s too dark, too cold, black-green mold crawls down the walls, the cat is still missing!” you croon!
There, there poor reader! We feel your pain!
As fate would have it, the three of us at the Zukeen spent something like 15 years combined in an arctic cesspit at the bottom of the South Island called Dunedin. Winter that far south is particularly dull, and we feel qualified to offer a few tips and tricks for winter survival. We have spent many days and nights compiling our best tidbits to help you get through these dark days.
Do some art
Feeling hopeless? Great. Misery and melancholy inspire the best art. The dead of winter is the perfect time to be embrace despair and leap into that creative project you’ve been pondering for months with wild abandon - record an album, write a book or maybe cut off a piece of your ear and paint a self-portrait.
Love the angst. Drink black coffee by day, cheap red by night. Tell your friends how great these short, cold days are for your creative drive. Wear black. Sigh too often. Listen to Joy Division. Make the winter blues your best friend and go create that masterpiece.
Turn the heating on
This one shouldn’t have made this listicle. Asides from being screamingly obvious (heaters warm cold spaces), there always seems to be one person in every flat utterly convinced that heaters are some kind of demonic beast installed to bankrupt the flat. Why?
Back in my first year of flatting in Dunedin, living the proverbial dream of student poverty, my flat made a rule that the first person to turn the heat pump on would buy the flat a keg. We thought it was a great idea. And so, through the dead of winter, we shivered in our high-ceilinged shit box through snow storms and gelid nights, heat pump turned off. Little did we know, late at night, when five of the flatties went to sleep, the other two would stay up, turn the heat pump on and smoke bongs in their undies.
We found out later in the year and were duly outraged. How dare those conspiring bastards! How dare they use the heating! They denied all allegations but bought us a bottle of vodka as a kind of petty truce. We felt silly. Use the heating folks.
If sipping away gelid winter nights is your chosen means of survival, so be it. Red wine goon should be your drink of choice; warms the tum, tingles the liver. At just $20 for 20+ standards, no other drink offers such value.
Take a cask of red wine, two sliced oranges, six cloves of star anise, six cinnamon sticks and a teaspoon of nutmeg and chuck em into a pot to simmer on low heat. Add brandy if you’re feeling boujee, get some jazz on and get one of those youtube videos of a log fire playing on your TV. And use the heater.
Find someone to kip with
This probably speaks for itself. Find someone to keep you warm at night. Like a grizzly bear preparing for hibernation, you too, must find someone to keep you warm during the colder months. Woo them with your heating, mulled wine and art. On a related note, here’s a story:
Back at uni (yup, another uni story - life has gone downhill ever since), some guy in my first-year hostel told me a greasy story. One night, he and his girlfriend were out on the town. They went to Macdonalds, bought a couple of cheeseburgers, pocketed them and decided they’d head home for a bit of hanky panky. They ate the burgers while they shagged. Why? “Having sex gives you as many endorphins as eating a cheese burger” so he claimed.
Food for thought I guess. Otherwise cats or a hot water bottle are good substitutes for a greasy human – keeping you warm that is.
Things are going to get better
If winter is still crushing your little soul, remember comrade, the end is nigh.
John Steinbeck once wrote, “what good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness”.
Things are going to get better. There is light at the end of this tunnel. Keep soldiering on trooper.
Photos by Michael Bollen