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.