Thursday, December 31, 2009

Africa 1000 on the Adventure Bus- Part 1

This may well be the most rushed blogpost I ever write, but I felt the need to update you on my most amazing holiday ever [goodness, I can't believe it's only been a few days] and put it all in words before I forget.
Ess arrived on Sunday, and Margs on Monday. Monday was spent sorting out admin- from international driver's licences and third party insurance to malaria medication and board games! It was a tiring day, but good organisation has made this trip run fairly smoothly. We set off on Tuesday morning, not getting started as early as we would have liked [you know how these things go!], and we crossed the border into Botswana. The drive was long, and initially the country looks much like South Africa [as can be expected]. We were told that speeding is a major offense here and stuck to the [sometimes absurd] speed limits, meaning we were going nowhere slowly. Eventually we had to stop short of our goal destination, and managed to hook up a free stay at Nata Lodge. After driving in the rain all night, we passed out and not much else.
The next morning was another early start, and we decided to stay in Chobe. Elephants roam the main road, and we saw [and nearly hit!] plenty. Anyway, one again we had free accomodation! We were taken on a game 'drive' along the river, had some sundowners and saw elephant, hippos, crocodiles and letchwe. That night we had a lovely dinner and went on a game drive. Not 2km from our house, we found ourselves on top of a bakkie, watching a herd of buffalo being stalked by a lone lion, as well as some hyena, a wildcat, crocodiles, a lone hippo, nightjars and stork.
Today we slept in, had a slow breakfast [not on the road], and set off for the border. This took a long time and it was near-unbearably hot, but the ferry ride across the rover was cool. We are staying in a great backpacers in Livingstone called Jollyboys, equipped with bar, restaurant, pool, a 'chill out' zone and a great vibe! Once again, this is free of charge. We just returned from the Victoria Falls and nothing could have prepared me for how awesome they are! Three wows, and too many exclamation marks here. It is something everyone must see!
For now, we're off to have ourselves a jol, and bring in 2010 in the best possible way. Tomorrow we'll stay in Lusaka, and then it's finally off to Malawi. Photos will come soon, and they are worth the wait!
Happy 2010!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Collected Memories: Blood Bank

It's been an interesting year. Many ups, major downs. And as we head in to 2010 [which bodes to be a good year], I can't help but look back one last time at 2009 before I move forward.
I got up at 4.30 every weekday morning this year, to be at studio at 5 and start the Breakfast Show on MFM at 6am. My co-star, SeanO, was amazing to work with and the show was always exciting. Between interviewing anyone our hearts desired [except Barack- he never did get back to me], and getting free stuff, plus all the laughs we had in studio, 4.30 was worth it. Even when I hadn't slept, or had been drinking. I have no idea when I'll be back on air, but I'm hoping it will be soon.
My house burnt down. No, it was not my fault. Yes, I lost a lot of stuff. Thereafter I lived with two psychos, and resultantly I have moves four times this year. I never want to move again! And I think I'll live alone next year.
I was diagnosed with epilepsy. This means no drinking, smoking, driving, drugs, too much time in the sun, very hot baths, caffeine... And the list goes on. Hey, at least it isn't a brain tumour, as they suspected.
I walked down the street in my underwear. This was an on-air dare, thanks must go to my wonderful co-star. I hope this will die with 2009, although it does seem to keep coming up at very random moments, with very random people. This made newspapers across the entire country. I kid you not.
I got a tattoo. I love it. Jimi Hendrix.
I got a boyfriend. He is amazing, and the reason I made it through a lot of the downs. My brother got married. My sister had a baby. My stepmother had another baby.
I made new friends. I got closer to old friends, gave up on others. Some will stick around, some won't, others will come back around. Whatever happened, they were/are/will always be here for a reason. I lost a friend to cancer. A few weeks later I shaved off my hair.
And then I went platinum. Just for a change.
I was a guest presenter on MK Live and Studio1 once a month. I met a bajillion new people. I saw more local bands live than I can count. I went to Oppikoppi, RAMfest and Rocking the Daisies, all of which rocked and were 'the best weekend ever!'
I went to Zimbabwe with the UN. It was an amazing experience which only inspired me more to save the world.
I turned 21. And my birthday party was epic- The Revelators, 3rd World Spectator and Ashtray Electric. Much champagne. Awesome friends, awesome presents.
I went to the zoo. I dressed up like a unicorn for Hallowe'en. Next year, I am living in Pretoria. It is a big change that is both daunting and exciting at the same time: living close to my family [for the first time since 2001]; new people to meet; a new music scene to explore. I'll be doing my honours in Media and Culture Studies at Tuks, and pursuing this career thing of mine.
I know I'll miss the Cape. But Stellenbosch is a bubble, and I was dying to get away. Cape Town is pretty much my favourite place on earth, but unfortunately jobs are scarce and you can hate it all you want- Johannesburg is where it's at. And being close to my family is probably necessary, even if it only to prove that I can't do it. But at the first opportunity I will be back, Cape Town. Make no mistake about that.
Happy Christmas, and may the ups of 2010 exceed the downs. Cheers to the future.
You said "'aint this just like the present,
To be showing up like this?"
As a moon waned to crescent
We started to kiss.
And I said I know it well.
What's that noise up the stairs babe?
Is that Christmas morning creaks?
And I said I know it well.
-Bon Iver: Bloodbank

Friday, December 18, 2009


It's the end of the year and between having to shove your way through over-crowded malls to buy gifts for people out of obligation, being so sick of work you could gnaw off your wrists and that general festive season meltdown, everyone is being even more retarded/douchebaggy than usual.
Our former health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang passed away two days ago. And just hours [in fact, was it even one hour?] Gareth Cliff tweeted the following:
Manto is dead. Good. A selfish and wicked bungler of the lowest order. Rotten attitude and rancid livers - all 3 of them...
And I am quite horrified. I will try express my views in brief, because everyone is up in arms about this and we have all had our say [including me, on Twitter]. I have always thought Gareth annoying. Sometimes I laugh at what he says, an example being his rants about fat people which even I could not express better [although, let's be honest- GC is no supermodel]. But he is offensive not only because he is outspoken about serious matters, taking a stance different from most. He thrives on getting a reaction from people. Reaction [read: pissing people off] should never be the primary reason for expressing anything. It should be because you feel stongly about something, and voicing opinions should stem from a desire to be heard and to make heard that which you believe. It should not be to get your many listeners texting/emailing/tweeting you, enraged at what you express. And Gareth's opinions seem less passion-driven, and more aimed at getting people to respond. It's one thing when your desired reaction is getting a president to change a country's children's rights policy [for example]; it is quite another when you do- and say things for the sake of getting attention from your thousands of [sometimes equally uninformed] listeners and followers.
No supermodel
Furthermore I feel that what Gareth 'said' [tweeted] was the height of insensitivity. I acknowledge that Manto made bad decisions regarding our country's HIV/AIDS policies, and that she was responsible for many deaths in South Africa which, yes, has the highest number of infections worldwide, with 5.7 million. There are things she did and/or said with which I disagreed. But what we must remember is that Manto was a human being. And while her death might cause you no pain, there are loved ones mourning her death. The least one can do is shut up and pay respect not to her, but to her friends and family who are experiencing much pain. The easiest way to explain it is to put yourself in this position. Imagine your parent or sibling or significant other passed away, and moments later a public figure of sorts who has thousands upon thousands of followers states that it is a good thing. It would hurt, and it is disrespectful. I am not saying support her, or her policies. But the least we can do is show respect, and shut the fuck up while her family deals with this. So, please note, I am not saying I am a supporter of hers. And just because she is dead does not suddenly make hre a saint or erase what she did. I am simply saying that basic respect need be shown for now, while the pain is still fresh for those who loved her.
You can feel however you want, but Gareth has, in my opinion, sunk below the very lowest order of humanity with this one. And now he is taken aback by the ANC Youth League's demanding an apology. He also refuses to apologise, and I for one am very interested to see how this all pans out.
Oh, and for those of you whose defense of Gareth was that 'the dead have no rights'- give necrophilia a shot. Turns out the dead do have rights.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Fun Never Stops

Everyone knows Stellenbosch becomes something of a ghost town during holidays. Exams are over, graduation has passed and now I am pretty much the only person left in this town. But thankfully Cape Town is always alive, and there are some worthwhile gigs to attend.
Firstly, tomorrow sees a HUGE party at The Assembly. It is the launch of Supra Familias, the record label of Fokofpolisiekar, aKing and Die Heuwels Fantasties genius Hunter Kennedy as well as Pierre Greeff, also of Die Heuwels Fantasties and formerly of Lukraaketaar. You can catch Die Heuwels Fantasties [their first ever show in Cape Town] as well as Thieve, Jack Parow and The Wedding DJs. This party promises to be epic. Even Seth Rotherham is talking about it. I mean, then you know it's going to be big!
For something a little more long term, be aware that the Rock Summer Tour is underway. The only details you need memorise are Friday, 18 December, Mercury Live: Fire Through The Window, Ashtray Electric and Taxi Violence. You can't really ask for much more.
Lastly, the Kirstenbosch Summer Concerts are happening again! Yes, it is that time of year when we see our favourite bands perform at what is without doubt one of the top venues in South Africa. Leaving our the lame/random ones, your gig guide looks like this:
27 December: Ashtray Electric and The Pretty Blue Guns
31 December: New Year's Eve Concert
17 January: Zebra and Giraffe
24 January: Fokofpolisiekar
31 January: Lira and Friends
7 February: aKing
7 March: Goldfish
14 March: The Dirty Skirts
21 March: The Cape Philharmonic Orchestra
4 April: Gang of Instrumentals, Tidal Waves and Tumi Molekane
Then of course there is some Freshlyground, Just Jinjer and Prime Circle in there. But if you want to go to those instead of my suggestions above, look for the details yourself.
Lastly, do enjoy the new Fire Through The Window video for their track Do Do Do. It will make you happy. It was also used for the new iPod Nano advert.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Don't Talk With Your Mouth Full

With 2010 just days away and next year being the one that marks our hosting the FIFA World Cup, football is quite the trending topic. But we're not just talking about goals and red cards- everything we do is being carefully watched by the world. One such an example is the Ukweshwama ritual, a Zulu tradition whereby a bull is killed at the hands of men. It was suggested that this ritual be done as a sort of inauguration of the football stadiums. This suggestion was contested by animal rights groups, as was expected.
I am big on animal rights. An animal lover and -owner myself, I am a vegetarian and I also take care not to support companies that do animal-testing [see below], as well as showing support to those companies that are animal-friendly. I do the things that are within my [and anyone else's] reach, and anything else I can, be it volunteering at animal shelters or raising funds for them. But I am on Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini's side on this one.
The thing is that this ritual has been done for over 3000 years. Yes, I agree that it is a cruel process because the bull does not die instantly. But consider a few things while you bitch and moan about this process with your mouth stuffed with chicken nuggets.
The number of bulls killed in this way is small. Like, really really small in context. So while you may not physically kill animals, you are probably doing a lot more damage, albeit sans getting blood on your hands.
People eat fast food. It is part of modern living and hardly out of the ordinary. But eating your Big Mac, even if it is only every now and then, has ramifications far beyond a lifetime on your hips.
Firstly, millions of animals are killed to provide you with that juicy greaseball of a burger. And don't think these animals are killed in any more a humane way than these bulls. McDonald's and Kentucky Fried Chicken kill their animals in horrific ways that are far from quick and painless. Then, there are the other repercussions. Deforestation occurs mainly because of the need to provide these millions of animals with grazing. So, trees are cut down, cows graze in the new space after which they are killed en masse by cruel means, and often soil becomes eroded because it has not been properly prepared and it cannot take the strain of all these animals feeding off it. So now we have a bunch of dead cows, no trees and useless soil. This is going well! Next, we need abbatoirs and factories for all of this. More trees are cut down to make room. Moreover, the meat industry is one of our worst environmental disasters around! Cows are transported from farm to abbatoir to factory to factory to butchery to supermarket to your home. This means carbon emissions for processing as well as all of the transport involved and lots of waste from packaging in all the various phases. Finally, you have a whole bunch of fat people who need bigger clothes, more medical treatment, stronger cars, more junkfood and are generally sweating it up in here, pushing us faster down the slippery slope of death by climate change.
So, while you're perching on your high horse about a tradition of one of the many cultures of this country of ours that so values diversity, put down your Kentucky Fried Cruelty burger and think. Doing harm is not necessarily as blatant as the things you criticise. Yes, the bull-killing is cruel. But it is part of a nation's culture that has been alive for thousands of years. But it is not a speck of dust on the disasters we are creating just by continuing our everyday lives.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Who Ever Said Money Can't Buy Happiness...

... clearly didn't know where to shop. And I am not talking about the global human desire to have more and more of the best stuff around.
I spent some time on Peta's website, checking out the animal-friendly companies out there. But there are also the companies not to support. These are the ones who do cruel testing and -experiments on innocent animals; any animals from cats to sheep and even monkeys can be victims. Many of those listed are not available in South Africa, so I have compiled a list of widely used brands in South Africa. Try not to support these, as earning a profit will only give them free rein to continue their inhumane practices. One person taking a stand is a small difference. But a small difference multiplied a million times becomes a big difference.
Giorgio Armani
Head and Shoulders
Iams [as well as Pampers- a cruel irony that pet food causes such pain to their 'clients']
Johnson & Johnson
L'oreal [possibly the guiltiest culprit!]
Max Factor
Ralph Lauren
Veet [shave, or wax. Hair remover is gross.]

Monday, November 30, 2009

MK Awards Nominations Are OUT!

And you can begin voting now. Nominations are listed below, as well as a few comments from me [because it is, after all, MY blog], and who my choice would be, in italics.
Best Video:
aKing feat Khayelitsha Black Mambaso- In The Twilight [better than 'You and I' which was a cool video and whatever but why in the name of all that is good was it necessary to fly all the way to South America to shoot something you could have done on the West Coast?]
Crash Car Burn: Heroes
Fokofpolisiekar: Antibiotika [not quite 'Ek Skyn Heilig' (yeah yeah, call me biased, you bitches) but still good]
Foto Na Dans: Natuurlik Verlig
The Dirty Skirts: Daddy Don’t Disco
The Parlotones: Push Me To The Floor
Best Group:
Die Heuwels Fantasties: Sonrotse
eF-eL: Sing My Net Aan Die Slaap
New Holland: Uhuru
Straatligkinders: Gewonde Standbeeld
The Parlotones: Push Me To The Floor [can we please open our eyes to bands other than The Parlowanks and Knob Circle?]
Van Coke Kartel: Wat Het Van Ons Geword?
Best Solo Artist:
It would appear we cannot find a decent solo artist in this country. Remember last year, when Lianie May beat Dan Patlanksy? Let's not have a repeat of such idiotic voting, please.
Albert de Wet: 3 Jaar
Jax Panik: Hit Or Miss
Jesse Clegg: Today
Josie Field: Law Of Attraction
Vaughan Gardiner: Gooi Jou Arms Om My
Best Special Effects:
Cutout Collective: 8-bit Logic
Dear Reader: Great White Bear [though I find it shameful they were only nominated in this section. Europe laughs at us.]
The Cavalier: Lonely King Of Hearts
The Parlotones: Overexposed
The Sick Leaves: All These Foolish Things I’ve Said
Best Newcomer:
Colour Blind: My Identiteit [WHO]
Die Lewens: Die Soet Revolusie [THE]
Gazelle: Die Verlore Seun
Locnville: Sun In mY Pocket
Macgyver Knife: What Do You Mean? [HELL?]
Best Colab:
aKING ft Khayelitsha Black Mambaso: In the twilight
Die Heuwels Fantasties ft Soweto Gospel Choir, HHP & JR: Our heritage
Koldproduk & Straatligkinders: Desvalido
Martin Rocka ft Tamara Dey: Knock knock
Winterstasie ft Bouwer Bosch: Outokrasie van die hart
Neon: [I am not exactly sure what 'neon' means, though I assume something along the lines of electro?]
Flash Republic: Twister
Goldfish: Soundtracks and comebacks
Haezer ft Jax Panik: Sirens in the night
Kidofdoom: Gotham city
Yesterday's Pupil: Lines and colours
Best International Hit:Bold[not that this has much to do with MK. Maybe Lady Ga[g]Ga[g] or the B.E.P will grace us with their presence...]
Black Eyed Peas: I got a feeling
Green Day: 21 Guns
Kings of Leon: Sex on fire [not my favourite Kings Of Leon track by FAR, but while I recognise her music is cool and unique, Lady Gaga scares me and it only the most overplayed artist of the year. Second is The Black Eyed Peas.]
Lady Gaga: Poker face
Linkin Park: New divide
Campus Hit:
Colour Blind: My identiteit [Why have an English band name when a. there is the Afrikaans version of it and b. YOUR SONGS ARE AFRIKAANS? Explain to me, please.]
Die Heuwels Fantasties: Pille vir kersfees
Koldproduk & Straatligkinders: Desvalido
eF-eL: Sindikaat
Cutout Collective: 8-bit logic
Skinny Jeans Tune: [again, why not just say 'Indie', or whatever category you wish to convey with your kak wording?]
Ashtray Electric: Quite overstared [Why are they only in ONE category? Nevertheless, you may remember they beat Zebra and Giraffe last year. Yes, yes they did.]
eF-eL: Sindikaat
Pretty Blue Guns: Bad liver blues
Taxi Violence: Devil 'n pistol
Zebra & Giraffe: Oxymoron
Sexy: [I am quite sure sexy should have inverted commas. Have you heard the Jizz In My Pants 'reply' song, Puke In My Mouth? That is what this category makes me do.]
Diesel en die Dats: Super sexy
Kurt Darren: Kaptein
Robbie Wessels: Player 23
Snotkop: Katrien
Wicus van der Merwe: Spietkop
[I refuse to put 'my choice' here. My choice would be to scrap this category. Sies!]
Best Pop Artist:
Eden: Kniee lam
Elizma Theron: Ek soek jou
Izak Davel: Is jy in of is jy uit?
Kurt Darren: Kaptein
Nicholis Louw: Generaal
[No comment, although I think the above a no-brainer as to who might win.]
So, go on. Think, and then vote.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Party With A Purpose, But You May As Well Rock Out Proper

Another 48-hours with no sleep. I was nearing the third all-nighter, and this time of year does not really allow for afternoon naps. But I was more involved with this party than usual, this time we were partying for a cause. Read the rest at Mahala.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Wrestlerish's Werner Olckers at Shack

With two exams happening the following day [Mandarin exams, I might add], plus the fact that I get up at 4.30am for work every day, I should really have stayed home, studied, and gotten a good night’s sleep on this day. But, I mean, a big fat F would be a small price to pay to see this gig.
First up was Paul Melis of Yes Sir! Mister Machine. If you have seen this band live, you will know that they are really, really good, but also that they are pretty hardcore. So seeing Paul going solo, with but one guitar and a totally laid-back vibe was quite a surprise. Though they are difficult to make out, Yes Sir! Mister Machine’s tracks have beautiful lyrics, and it comes as no surprise that Paul writes most of their music. He played a short set of acoustic songs that made me sit up and really notice this musician.
We busied ourselves with consuming much alcohol [R5 shooters? It would be rude to say no!] until Werner Olckers finally sat down in front of the microphone. The crowd congregated around him with palpable eagerness, visibly eager for him to start. The set was short, and though one or two of our favourite tracks were excluded due to his being unable to do it justice sans the rest of the merry Wrestlerish men, it was a gig that will quietly stay in everyone’s minds for a long time. Werner has a clear voice that is exquisite without being too much to handle. His songs are equally superb, and just by looking around at the faces of his fans it was quite obvious his music touched every one of us. Most present knew the words to every song, a great thing to see considering the band is still fairly new, and not even from Cape Town. And if Cape Town welcomes anyone with open arms, you know it’s got to be good. Watch this space, and learn the words to their songs. Trust me.
From there on, the night got horribly out of hand. I remember many a purple shooter, beers, cheers and eventually losing count. I remember driving back with Wrestlerish blaring, because one could never get enough, nor grow tired of it.
PS. By some miracle or fluke, I passed my exam. I think I’ll arrange for Wrestlerish to play before all of my exams, and I have a feeling nobody would protest.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Collected Memories: Growing Old

This is a story about my people- family, friends, acquaintances, enemies. Everything is a story of the people in it.
At the end of this year, I am moving from the Cape to Johannesburg or Pretoria [my plans are still a little vague], and in the future I plan to spend some time living in China, France, Germany and England before heading to Russia to explain to them that I was a Russian princess in my former life. I am mooi emotional about the immediate move, though I have put the tears on hold while I deal with my final exams.
Most people who were at school with me ended up studying at Stellenbosch University, UCT or some or other college in either one of these towns. I lost contact with most of them, whether by choice or circumstance. But every so often I stop and think of our days at school. Hilton vs Michaelhouse, stargazing on front lawn, midis, horseriding, boyfriends and breakups- the myriad of things we went through together in our five years at boarding school.
Similarly, I think of the past three years at university. I remember living in res, making new friends. JOOL, drinking too much, making the mistakes we were supposed to make but wish we didn't. I remember gigs, festivals, drugs, coffee dates and cramming for exams. Wine tours, rainy weekends at the beach, changing our opinion of one another unexpectedly. Sickness, paranoia, reconnections and midnight texts when we are feeling at our most honest.
I also remember a handful of deaths, and the realisation each will not be the last one. No longer being a teenager, and ignoring the realities of the future, something we convince ourselves is a faraway thing, possibly even a myth.
Tomorrow night I will attend my first farewell, for someone else moving from here, going on to bigger places and other things. There are many people who live in the same area as I, who I don't see nearly often enough. There are many people I may never see again, as we leave this bubble and start a new chapter in what has, unitl now, been a fairly sheltered life. It saddens me that it takes a departure to realise the importance of a person. It saddens me that it takes death to realise you have no idea what your last words were to a friend, that you beat yourself up as you try recall the reply you received when you carelessly waved a rushed goodbye, never knowing it would be the last. But it turns out we sometimes realise things too late.
So I would like to spend the last few weeks making time for every person who has, in any way, been a part of these three years. I may call you, or contact you in whatever way. I may have lost your number, I may be too scared to call. I may be waiting for you to call me. I may take a while to formulate the perfect day to create the perfect memory of you. Call me, and let us have our last cup of coffee, that last cocktail at sunset, the last afternoon of swopping music and watching illegal DVDs. Send me a message, and let's get drunk, eat dodgy pub food, eat junk food at three in the morning as we walk down the street singing songs from Moulin Rouge, and laugh when we get the words horribly wrong. Let's dare one another to eat something we would never dream to eat. Call me, and tell me what you may remember, what you always hated, my most annoying habit. Let's discuss what we have in common, how complementary our differences are. Let's make plans to meet up again in five years, on Table Mountain or Jammie Stairs, with a bottle of vodka and five years' worth of catching up.
More importantly, do this with other people. Old friends, new friends, family friends, ex-friends, morethanfriends. In the end the memories will be all we have, so we may as well make them great ones.

A life of glory,

a little taste of fun.

But beware it's only just begun,

Begun to take you away.

Let's be gone,

away from here.

-Thieve: Getting Old

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Flesh You So Fancifully Fry

I have been meaning to blog about this for two weeks now, but I haven’t quite gotten around to sitting down and actually doing a decent, all-encompassing write-up. Once again, I am pulling the final exams card.
I recently undertook a three-week mission to follow a strictly vegan diet. I am a vegetarian [well, a pescatarian- I do have fish once every two weeks or so], but I wanted to take things a step further for the sake of finding out a few things about veganism. Is it doable, and more importantly; is it doable in South Africa? Do I feel better or worse, regarding general health? Do I lose or gain weight? Do I feel like I have more energy, or I am fatigued? Yes, these things are all affected by diet, as well as things like muscle tone, what your skin looks like [your acne has more to do with what’s going on inside than out, so those expensive products aren’t going to solve the problem on their own] and the state ofn your hair and nails. I stumbled across this website, which sends you daily tips and recipes for the three weeks.
Now, some people aren’t exactly sure what veganism entails. Basically, it means NO animal products. In other words, no dairy, eggs, meat [duh], gelatin or honey. Now, it is easy enough at a restaurant to order your meal ‘without the cheese’, for example, but the difficulty is knowing what products were made from any of the above. Things like breads, pastas, biscuits, crackers, pastries, dressings and sauces often contain animal products. And while some things are obvious, other ingredient lists have to be carefully studied. Imagine my surprise upon discovering my basil pesto had dairy in it! And besides for the fact that it cuts out the entire chocolate section, many chewy sweets have gelatin in them. Gelatin is made from collagen derived from animals’ bones and organs. Pretty gross, isn’t it? Another difficulty is that people will mock you, they will argue your decision and they will not listen to what you have to say. My father, an Afrikaner to the bone, threatened to disown me for a while when he discovered I was a vegetarian. He also arranged a braai for my birthday, combined with my vegetarian sister’s birthday. Nice one, dad.
So, what this meant is I had to carefully check everything I bought. Restaurants were difficult to eat at. Asking ‘Is your bread vegan?’ usually generates a blank stare. And I, being as busy and popular as I am, have many a lunch date. Luckily there are French fries, but of course veganism is a very unhealthy lifestyle if substitutes are badly chosen. But most bread is vegan, as well as pastas. And of course there are things like rice noodles, spinach noodles and wholewheat pasta too.
Secondly, it meant finding substitutes for what I no longer ate. The human body needs approximately 30 grams of protein per day. Things like pumpkin seeds actually have a greater percentage of protein in them than meat. Then again, 100 grams of nuts and seeds is a lot, not to mention expensive! But then of course there are other things like hummus, beans and green leafy vegetables. The thing is that people simply do not believe that there are sources of protein other than animal products.
So, I learnt a few things. Veganism is doable, but it isn’t easy. Especially when eating out [be it at a restaurant or at someone’s house], things get tricky and your options are generally very limited. I mean, even Greek salads have feta in them! Most soups [even tomato and minestrone] have milk or cream in them. You have to check everything you want to buy, because hooves and eggs can pop up in anything, as it turns out. But personally, veganism is not for me. I feel I am doing my part by being vegetarian, and I missed the following too much: milky coffee; cupcakes; croissants; Romany Creams; cheese; yoghurt [a great source of probiotics] and those Yikes! Dinosaurs! sweets. Now, these are mostly unhealthy things, but every now and then one needs a small indulgence. And many people will end up satisfying these craving with vegan-friendly junk food, like crisps and fries. So, vegetarianism and veganism are not necessarily healthier, skinnier diets. While the heart disease and cholesterol platter that is red meat is no longer a risk, things like cheese have all the wrong fats in them and can be very unhealthy. So the trick is to find healthy alternatives. Even if you do eat meat, you can try get your protein from other sources, not only meat.
The other problem is, of course, medication. Most capsules contain gelatin, and while I believe in going natural as far as possible, some of us are epileptic and such. You don't want to be skipping your meds.
It is no secret that animals suffer severely to satisfy our glutinous, capitalistic wants. Back in the day when we were Neanderthals and our baby toes were still useful, we killed only as much as was essential. Animals are subjected to inhumane living conditions and are killed with cruel, primitive methods. Calves are put in tiny cages so as not to move, keeping their muscles undeveloped and resultantly producing more tender veal. Chickens are often scalded alive in de-feathering machines. Horses are transported in trucks three times as full as they should be, trampling each other to death. Some animals never see the light of day, never graze outside and many animal feeds contain ground animal bones. Moreover, this industry is very harmful to the environment. Forests are destroyed to create grazing [killing many animals living there], and often the soil erosion caused by these grazing animals leaves that ground completely useless. Meat is transported from farm to abattoir to factory to store to smaller store to homes, and between the processes, packaging and enormous fuel emissions just transporting the meat, it is one of the most harmful industries around. You only need to see a few websites to realisejust what goes on behind the scenes of your Big Mac. But these websites also show what you can do to help, which companies you should support. I now have a great excuse to support M.A.C cosmetics. People eat too much meat. They are also generally not man enough to watch the videos that show what really happens to the animals we eat. I am Afrikaans [says she, writing in English], and Afrikaners can manage to include two types of meat in every meal! And with the hormones pumped into animals [this includes dairy cows], we are seeing a rapid rise in moobs [men developing breasts], breast cancer in men [it happens], and girls beginning to menstruate at abnormally young ages. So, what I do ask, plead, suggest is that we eat less meat. The Breakfast Show on MFM recently started a feature called Meat-Free Mondays. I think it fairly self-explanatory. If everyone went meat-free for one day every week, we could reduce cruelty and environmental harm by over 14%!
Wen you do eat meat or other animal products, try opt for that which is free-range, organic [for your sake], and locally produced. Try not to support the mass corporations like McDonald’s [I’m hating it] and Kentucky Fried Cruelty. Open your eyes, be informed and try make a small difference. Because if everyone make a small difference, it ends up being a big difference.
This song is perhaps a little extreme, but I heart Morrisey.
Heifer whines could be human cries
Closer comes the screaming knife
This beautiful creature must die
This beautiful creature must die
A death for no reason
And death for no reason is MURDER
And the flesh you so fancifully fry
Is not succulent, tasty or kind
It's death for no reason And death for no reason is MURDER
And the calf that you carve with a smile
It is MURDER And the turkey you festively slice
Do you know how animals die?
Kitchen aromas aren't very homely
It's not "comforting", cheery or kind
It's sizzling blood and the unholy stench
It's not "natural", "normal" or kind
The flesh you so fancifully fry
The meat in your mouth
As you savour the flavour
Oh ... and who cares about an animals life?

They're Singing Deck The Halls, But It's Not Like Christmas At All

As I mentioned, shops are already littered with kitsch Christmas [sorry, I believe they call is X-mas] decorations.
I don't like Christmas much, but I do like gifts [giving and receiving], so I have started on my Christmas list.
And around this time every year I attempt to make a Christmas CD. Now, after cutting out Jessica Simpson's Jingle Bell Rock and the rest of its godawful family, I am left only with Christmas [Baby, Please Come Home] by Death Cab For Cutie. Of course there are many classics, but by the time the 'adults' are sokkie-ing, brandy-soaked, to Cliff Richards and Nat King Cole for the millionth consecutive hour, there is much appeal in the idea of heading to bed, and putting on something to take your mind off the million "You've gotten so big"s and "When are YOU getting married?"s.
Well, it's Christmas come early [literally], thanks to Julian Casablancas. For those of you who watch Saturday Night Live [SNL], you will be familiar with the classic I Wish It Was Christmas Today. I think it is supposed to be I Wish It WERE Christmas Today, but that is not the point. Julian Casablancas has covered the track! So while your family is torturing you, remember that you do secretly love them very much. You can do this while listening to cool music, and you might want to imagine Julz [yup, with a Z. Because that is how we rollz] serenading you. He is, after all, quite pretty: Listen to the track here.

But before The Killers step up on stage...

... we'll have Zebra and Giraffe opening for them. Not really much of a surprise, if you think about it. And how many other bands can boast their first ever live performance to have been at Oppikoppi August, AND on Lize Kay's birthday? Not many, I don't think.
I'm just glad it's not Knob Circle or Wank Jinjer. Sorry, it's just high time the country sees there are great bands other than Prime Circle, Just Jinjer and The Parlotones.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I've Never Lied To You Before

so believe me when I say, go to this gig:

Some Non-Local Music News

I am a fan of Death Cab for Cutie, and not only since their 2005 album 'Plans' that made the whole world sit up and listen to a band that has actually been around for many years, producing stunning music all along. Then of course there is Postal Service, a band whose debut album was wonderful from start to finish. So I am a big fan of Ben Gibbard. I admit I shed a tiny tear upon hearing of his engagement to Zooey Deschanel. But the girl is lovely, so I [somewhat begrudgingly] wish them much happiness.
But here's some exciting news for all fellow fans of Mr Gibbard:
Ben [yup, first-name basis we are on] is teaming up with Jay Farrar [about whom I know very little, I confess] to produce an album the soundtrack for the documentary about Jack Kerouac, called One Fast Move or I'm Gone: Kerouac's Big Sur. By the sounds of things a lot of the lyrics are taken from Kerouac's works, and this album has been 'in the making' for about three years.
I have a feeling 2010 is going to be a GREAT year.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Maybe It's All Going Too Far...

I said I would never blog about Miley Cyrus again. Alas, I have just watched 'Breakfast at Tiffany's', and Cat made me think of a story I heard just this morning.

For those of you on Twitter, you may know that Miley Cyrus not only had an account, she was a tweetwhore! Worse, even, than I am. I kid you not. But recently, Miley decided to delete her account. No one is sure exactly why, but many a tweeting fan's heart was broken. And one such a brokenhearted tween has decided to take extreme measures to get Miley back on Twitter.

You know that phrase 'I'll eat my hat'? Well, this person says he/she [though I am fairly sure it is a chick, so from here on we will refer to 'her'] is going to eat her cat.

Basically, she set Miley a deadline of 16 November. If she has not begun tweeting again by then, Fuzzy [the cat] will be made into a cat dish of sorts. Cat stew? Braised cat? The website has recipes, photos and a description of this bizarre endeavour.

Will Miley save Fuzzy?

It's all a bit much. I mean, what next? A sparkly, cold, Twilight-inspired dildo a la Edward Adonis Veggie [read: fag] Vampire Cullen? Oh, wait. It's already been done.

Dear Reader at WITS Theatre

This is way overdue. In my defense, I am writing my final year exams, and as wonderful a daughter as I am, my father is bound to react badly to my failing this degree thing of mine.
Many of us have convinced ourselves that Cape Town, as far as South Africa is concerned, is the hub of music and art. But every time I head up north for work or pleasure, there are gigs I cannot bear to miss. This time it was Dear Reader at the Wits Theatre. A venue I had never been to, and a band listed in my personal top ten but which I [shock shock, horror horror] had never seen live before. It could have gone one of two ways, I guess, but not with this band. They love Europe, and Europe loves them too. But having just returned from the north [or do we say the ’west’?], Dear Reader made it quite clear that they love us, and home, too.
The Wits Theatre is an impressive venue and for those of us who usually see bands at dingy clubs filled with smoke and skinny-jeaned scenesters, this was a wonderful change. The theatre is large, the stage was draped in white and adorned with swans, hot air balloons and cellophane in bright blue and sunshine yellow. What is more, Dear Reader had their very own choir, dressed in white and and rocking from side to side with cardboard cloud cutouts in hand. It was harmonising brought to life, with some extraordinary voices that complemented Dear Reader without detracting from the music.
You will see an array of instruments at a Dear Reader gig. Above the usual drums, keyboard and guitars, the band also makes use of a cello, violin and even a banjo! The looping station man created some interesting vocal effects with vocalist Cherilyn MacNeil, and all-round the setup makes for an interesting change from your usual four-piece rock band. All members of the band ooze casual talent, evident by one member playing the banjo, violin and guitar all in one song. Cherilyn has a carefree air about her being on stage, and when addressing the audience she is almost awkward in her untailored casualness. But once the first notes of any song resound into the venue, it is a stark transition into an act that is so polished, so professional, one cannot help but utter the hated phrase that ‘They don’t even sound South African’. The only thing more beautiful than their lyrics is their music, and with dramatic build-ups set against moments so quiet you could barely hear the whispers of music, they had the crowd spellbound from start to finish. Dear Reader sets a new standard for local music, one which very few musicians are meeting. I am inch away from saying Dear Reader is the best band in the country.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

You Know You Love Me

Seeing as every shop and advert is sporting Christmas decorations [already], I figured I had better get started!
You may know that I really, really love The Clash.

And The Clash loves me too

Now, besides for a unicorn, there is something else I quite simply have to have. I know there is someone out there who loves me enough to hook me up with a pair of these. I am usually all about heels and prettiness, but hawt dayyum, I would quite simply never take these off. No, never.
Pretty please?

Monday, October 26, 2009

We Are GOLDen

It seems having album launches at out-of-the-ordinary venues is the latest trend in Bellville. This time we left the northern suburbs and headed to Camps Bay Bowls Club. We arrived on time [read: early] and the crowd was made up of old ballies watching sport and drinking whiskey. But that was soon to change… Read the rest at Life After 5.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Top 10 Local Albums of 2009

In case you did not tune in to yesterday between 12 and 9pm for the annual MFM Top 100 show, here are the Top Ten Local Albums for 2009:
10. Isochronous- Isochronous
9. Taxi Violence- The Turn
8. Stealing Love Jones- Bleed to Bloom
7. Louise Carver- The Home Tour Live
6. Straatligkinders- Sweef Soos 'n Vuishou
5. New Holland- Exploded Views
4. Cassette- Who Do You Trust?
3. Ashtray Electric- Bonjour
2. Jax Panik- Cigarettes and Cinnamon
1. aKing- Against All Odds
1. Die Heuwels Fantasties- Die Heuwels Fantasties
Now you know.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ons Are Awesome

At gigs, I am generally taking photos myself so I tend not to appear in them all too often. But now and then I do, and sometimes [when we have had a couple of drinks], I am incapable of simply smiling for the camera. is like the cool version of Thunda for all the Cape Town indie scenesters. Swing on by, check it out. You might even find yourself on there unexpectedly.
This stunner is without a doubt one of my favourite photos of me, ever. Quite spectacular, don't you agree?

All the better to eat you with, my dear.


I am currently in Pretoria for work [which happens to make for Irish time too], but there are some fun things happening all over the place. Even the Cape should be fun, depsite the fact that I'm not there.

I have never done this before, but I thought I would just throw it out there that I am co-hosting MK Live tonight. It runs from 8-9pm on channel 324, and Jan Blohm will be in studio, as well as my co-host Ivan Botha [you may remember him from Bakgat] and some cool DJs. Ivan [or rather, Wimpie] even has a fan group. Don't believe me? Check it.

Jan Blohm

I will be attending a Dear Reader gig at Wits theatre. Without doubt one of my top local bands, I cannot believe this will be my first time seeing them live. Excitement reigns.

Dear Reader

If you are in Cape Town, you would do well to check out Isochronous and 3rd World Spectator at Mercury Live. Cover is R40, and this gig will change your life. Promise.

3rd World Spectator frontman Peter Crafford

The annual Mystic 'Nightmare Before Christmas' party happens tonight. You could win cash prizes for being the best-dressed there, and in general it's not only quite the spectacle, but also a kickass party.

That's all. Behave yourself, kids.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

There Are Only Two Things... need consider doing tonight, if you live somewhere between Stellenbosch and Cape Town. 1. Thieve will be launching the debut album, Gold, tonight at Camps Bay Bowl's Club. If everyone keeps telling you that 'it's near Dizzy's' and you, like me, have a tendency to get horribly lost, the address is 41 The Drive, Camps Bay, Cape Town, 8005. You can thank me later. I think this event is pretty much invite-only, but if you do have one of these then I will see you there. Are we wearing tennis skirts, argyle cardigans and bobby socks? Yes? No? Maybe. But the fact that there is a big bad wolf outside our house trying to blow Table Mountain down means short skirts might not be such a great idea... 2. Isochronous and 3rd World Spectator are hitting Klein Libertas Theatre. The Isochronous boys are from Pretoria and so worth seeing, so do grab this opportunity to see them. Firmly. With both hands. There you go. This is going to beautiful and between me and my clone [what, you thought it was ONE person juggling everything?!], 'I' will see you at both.
Tomorrow night I am urging you to head over to a slightly different vibe, but for a good cause. Next month I will be heading to Zimbabwe with 19 others as part of a UN group going there to do some aid work [more on that later], and we need R90 000 to go. So we will be hosting a party at Springboks [or Upper Level or Rhodesian Arms or whatever. I mean, it's not like anyone ever goes there sober enought to know the place's real name!]. There are drinks specials and all sorts from 9-2pm. Check out the Facebook event. Do it. It's the one time we can say 'Zimbabwe' and 'party' in the same sentence and have it being totally apolitical.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Dirty Skirts, Ashtray Electric and kiff DJs at Assembly

Saturdays at Assembly are normally a safe bet. Whether you go to see or be seen, you will generally find a party there. Driving home the next morning at 5am, with three cans of Red Bull working their way through my system and singing loudly to myself so as to stay awake, I concluded that this Saturday was no different. Then again, The Dirty Skirts, Ashtray Electric and a number of fine DJs on offer- the dice were loaded from the start...
Read the rest here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Next Few Days

... are jam-packed with giggage! If you're in Stellenbosch, Cape Town or anywhere in between, do catch some of these:

Wednesday 14 October:
The New Holland boys have returned from their tour and will give us a chance to check out the new stuff. If you missed the launch at House of Rasputin, do catch this one at Klein Libertas Theatre. Entrance is R30 and the new album is stellar!
Thursday, 15 October:
Thieve is a fairly new act, and with the recent completion of the album there is a considerable buzz around this band, and for good reason! They hit our little town as part of the Beyerskloof 'Rock 'Til You Doof' gigs. And as if it isn't cool enough having the opportunity to see them, the show is FREE. Yes, gratis. Head over to Bohemia for this one. Alternatively find Stonewall farm in Stellenbosch for the launch of the much-anticipated new Zinkplaat album, Mooi Besoedeling. So far, we have been hearing good things...
Friday 16 October:
Regardless of what is going on on this night, anywhere else, there is only one gig to attend on Friday: Vrede Fest. The line-up includes Fokofpolisiekar, Foto Na Dans, The Dirty Skirts, aKing and acapello outfit D7. Entrance is R60 and all funds go towards the Vrede Foundation. If you are not yet familiar with Herman's story, check out the Vrede Foundation website.

Saturday 17 October:

Finally you can catch The Dirty SKirts, Ashtray Electric, Bruce Willis, Slash (dot) Millionaire and Blush n Bass at Assembly. Five bands for R60- not bad!
And then you might want to take Sunday off to recover.