I have never been a great fan of New Zealand television, mainly because it never seems real. Even serious drama uses the most ludicrous, exaggerated accents that have always seemed more caricature than character in nature. Many speak like Billy T James did in the early 80s, which at the time I always considered a comedy voice peculiar to just him. Clearly, I now realise, I have led an extremely sheltered life. Now that I travel on the buses, I hear a more and more pronounced kiwi vernacular used by ordinary looking people participating in everyday conversations. They are not trying to sound like amusing yokels, this is their genuine accent. Today there was an animated discussion by two middle-aged women. One was apparently in possession of new Ahh Bras, which she now regretted as she hadn't 'aksed' how the sizing worked. How does this simple word get so butchered? People seem able to say 'mask' and 'task' with no bother - how does 'ask' become 'aks'? The modern child can hear no difference between 'here' and 'hair'. The subtleties of pronunciation are disappearing fast. Apparently language is a living thing which must change over time - I wish it would stop, and go a liitle retro!