Posts Tagged ‘south africa

11
Jun
10

Today we are South Africans

I have a love / hate relationship with this country.

It’s the little things that get to me. It’s the way taxis take to our streets with total abandon and a sense of entitlement that infuriates everyone they cut in front of and crash into.

It’s the way, after all this time, after all the fights we’ve fought, snot-nosed political troublemakers can step into the limelight and set us back twenty years every time they shake their fists in the air and bark their angry, idiotic words, inciting hatred and violence.

 

 

It’s the way a friend of a friend got robbed or stabbed or shot for his cell phone and we all heard the news and said “Thank God it wasn’t worse”.

It’s the way politicians get away with blue murder completely scott free, irrespective of what they’ve done and it’s the way we all bitch and moan about it until we are pulled over for drunk driving and get off on a R50 bribe.

It’s the way I’ve never, not once, wound my window down to give a beggar change. Their faces disappear from my mind the second they vanish in my rear view mirror. An endless parade of ghosts.

It’s the way we can’t forget, no matter how hard we try, that there was a time in this country when our fathers and their fathers before them committed atrocious acts of violence and cruelty because they allowed themselves to be governed by a system based on ignorance and fear.

It’s the way we live in eternal uncertainty, of our government, of our future and of each other.

So why stick around? If there’s nothing left to fight for, why fight at all? There’s a whole world out there full to bursting of greener grass, why not just leave?

I stay in South Africa because underneath everything, I love this country to pieces and I know that I can’t live without it.

Things get bad sometimes and sometimes it feels like we’re backsliding and like the precious balance that we’ve tried so hard to maintain is toppling, but if there’s one thing no one can deny about South Africans, it’s that we are a people who understand more than any other nation on this earth how powerful hope really is.

 

 

From the concrete skyscrapers in Jozi to the open, untouched valleys of the Eastern Cape; from the sugarcane fields of Kwa-Zulu Natal to the baking hot deserts of the Karoo and the proud oceans that wash the shores of this beautiful, haunted country, we are a people who are united by the hardships we’ve suffered and the moments of triumph we’ve shared.

And what better way to celebrate everything we’ve achieved than by inviting the world with open arms to experience what it’s like to live here, under the arching, golden African sun and the endless blue skies that stretch on above us, come summer, autumn, winter or spring.

The beauty of it all is that on some days we might be coloured people, waiting by the bus stop to commute back to Khayalitsha and on others we might be white people from the northern suburbs of Jozi, driving our Audis home after a long day in and out of meetings.

On some days we might be black children, kicking a soccer ball in the streets of Alex and on others we might be Indian women, dressed in brightly coloured saris behind tables of fragrant spices at the Oriental Plaza.

On some days we might be Chinese people and on others we might be Greek. On some days we might be Lebanese and on others we might be Afrikaans or Sotho or Zulu or Venda.

But today, we are all of us South Africans.

 

 

What a great day today is 🙂

-ST

24
Dec
09

Christmas Eve and all is quiet…

The one thing you don’t miss after Christmas passes you by is shopping for and wrapping Christmas presents. There’s a lot of kak you have to go through to get everyone exactly the right present, especially when you’re fighting your way through hordes of zombified Christmas shoppers while R&B remixes of ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’ pump out of every second shop window.

 

 

But the good news is it’s all done and now all there is left to do is enjoy the next two days, eat, drink and boogy on down.

Tonight we’re going to a nice and fancy Christmas Eve party at friends of my parents. My folks assure me it won’t just be fogeys attending and that the food will be excellent so I’m pretty excited about that. I’m just hoping it feels nice and festive for J-Rab, she’s missing her family like crazy and keeps saying that it doesn’t feel like Christmas with them in Boston and us in South Africa.

In other news, I finally got the first couple of paragraphs written for this epic work of fiction I’ve had bubbling in my mind for awhile now and I’m really happy with them. I love those moments when you sit back, admire something you’ve been working on and think to yourself, ‘Fuck, did I just do that?!’

It’s the first step down a road that will take thousands more steps before I get to where I’m going, but when I get there, you’ll hear all about it 😉

I’m belting out a separate post with Christmas wishes cause I’m a big softy like that.

Peace out party people and a meeeeerrrrrryyyyyy Christmas!

-ST

07
Dec
09

Gig review: The Killers

South African audiences suck. We have absolutely no idea how to rock out and you can’t really blame us. Overseas there are hundreds of excellent bands playing every weekend and in places like London they are totally spoilt for choice when it comes to concerts and artists.

Not so all the way down in darkest Africa. Down here we get international acts maybe three times a year if we’re lucky, which is bad because what ends up happening is everyone buys tickets to go see whichever band has decided to grace us with their presence not because they are die hard fans of that band, but just because a big international artist has actually come down here to play.

What ends up happening is you get masses of people paying ridiculous amounts of money to go and watch bands that they don’t know very well.

In the case of The Killers concert that happened in Joburg on Friday night, I’m willing to bet that the majority of the people who went to watch them knew four or five of their songs, mainly the ones that play on 5FM and that was about it.

 

 

They also have no clue how to chill out and enjoy the vibe of a big concert. We arrived about 40 mins before The Killers went on stage, which was just enough time to get some drinks and start missioning through the crowds to find a good spot.

Predictably as we got closer to the centre, the crowds became more and more dense until eventually we came to a dead stop in a group of people who started shitting us out in a really bitchy, horrible way for having the audacity to stand amongst them.

People, this is a fucking rock concert, you cannot reserve a place to stand, what the fuck?!

Eventually we managed to squeeze past the douchebags and find a place to stand and moments later the lights dimmed down, a low, long, grumbling note sounded over the massive speaker system and in an explosion of lights, The Killers launched into their first song, ‘Joyride’.

A bit of a weak song to start with some might argue, but it was a nice and gentle way to ease us all into things and I think it worked.

The exact tracklist they played after that is a little blurry in my mind, but I know ‘Bones’ was in there somewhere in the beginning and that they rocked out for the first three tracks and then played two totally obscure tracks after that and the energy in the crowd dropped instantly.

 

 

To the band’s credit, they played every classic Killers’ track they’ve ever written. ‘For Reasons Unknown’, ‘Spaceman’, ‘Somebody Told Me’, ‘Human’, and ‘Mr Brightside’ were all belted out passionately and executed with such precision, you’d swear you were listening to the CD…

But rest assured, this wasn’t Milli Vanilli we were watching, as perfectly as the band played, I picked up a couple of tiny slip-ups here and there – proof that it wasn’t just a backing track we were listening to.

What quickly became apparent watching them live though is that Brandon Flowers (the lead vocalist and frontman of the band) IS The Killers. Take that man out of the band and all you’ve got is a group of dudes who look like ageing session musicians, the kind of people you’d expect to see on stage playing U2 covers at The Rustic Theatre on a Sunday afternoon.

Mark my words, the next step for ol’ Flowers will be a solo career. He’ll drop the rest of the band, strike out on his own and make an album that, surprise, surprise, sounds exactly like The Killers.

You heard it here first 😉

There were a couple of little touches that I really liked. One of them was when they killed all the lights in The Dome and Flowers and the guitarist Dave Keuning stepped under a single spotlight and sang ‘Falling In Love With You’ (the Elvis track).

 

 

I also liked the bit when Flowers sat down at the end of ‘Spaceman’ and played the last chorous on the piano, just him on his lonesome. The man can sing, that’s for damn sure.

The only song I think they butchered completely was ‘Smile Like You Mean It’, which was really sad, because like I said in my previous post, that song means a lot to me. They opted for an acoustic guitar and piano instead of the electric and synthesized kind and played the song half a click slower than they do on the album.

The result is that it sounded more like a funeral dirge than The Killers’ track we’ve all come to know and love.

Other than that, it was a solid concert, and yes, I feel like I got my money’s worth. As for the rest of the crowd, who knows what they thought of it all. A lot of my friends who went to the concert were surprised by how unenergetic the crowd was, but as I mentioned above, this is fairly typical of South African audiences.

There were people standing next to us that didn’t so much as nod their heads for the entire concert. They just stood there and watched in a kind of silent, catatonic daze.

Nice one guys. No wonder international bands avoid us like the plague.

 

 

However, the real question here is has my faith in the band been restored? After watching them play live are they back in my top ten list? Well, the answer to that question would be ‘no’.

More than anything, I feel a sense of closure. I’ve bought all their albums, listened to nearly everything they’ve ever recorded and seen them play live.

I’m happy to say adios to The Killers. In five year’s time I’ll probably dig out some of my personal favourites again and play them on a lazy afternoon, but the danger of listening to any band too much is that their music loses it’s meaning for you and thanks to the masses of radio play this band has gotten, that’s exactly what’s happened to them.

They killed The Killers. Those music execs out there in dreamland, they killed The Killers.

Those bastards.

-ST




A Word From The Kind Folks At Nokia

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