Wednesday, 12 December 2012

HOLY DAZE - l'été

I'm not here right now
Some sure signs...
I can barely inhale without sneezing
My eyes are red
And they took my bicycle away

So it is HERE! jurrrrrr hello, I've waited for a year. A full blown, heat blazing, skin drying, mouth watering, quiet-as-it's-kept wave of rippled air.  Hello Stellenbosch on a December afternoon. Why on earth am I still here. RANTING, I love to rant and I placed myself in the perfect situation to do just that. Staying FAT in this godless town.

I'm dead sure you'd love to hear all about my small town issues.

So recently I’ve been a lone wolf, dealing without the constant rush of external voices and influences, and it is in such a state that contact with the outside world becomes a contemplative struggle, especially after a night out when one’s ears are still ringing from the long lost drum and bass mosquito postmortemly sighing it's last sigh from half an hour’s smoke filled dance floor ago.  Anyway, so after three years of reading and writing [yep, I’m a qualified reader, Stellenbosch University Alumnaaai(er)]

The GRADUATE floating in a pool. this is exactly what I'm not doing
it is interesting to encounter the people relations you’ve had for your entire life, whether it be with your siblings, parents, that best friend who always sticks around or that slightly red-eyed ‘friend’ you’ve made every other night out with whom you feel inclined to share your entire life story with and on top of that, feel comfortable enough to delve into an in-depth discussion concerning RELIGION AND GOD, THE MOST DANGEROUS TOPICS IN ANY CONVERSATION. And then at 2am, on a sticky night, one contemplates relations, to other people and to oneself. How is it possible that most people know and enjoy the sensation of taking one’s waaay to small shoes off at the end of a stuffy summer’s day and totally get off on the delight of walking bearfoot on that sweet sweet heavenly damp luminous green grass?

 That description probably got you thinking back to the last time you felt that exact same sensation, right? And now that I’ve jogged your memory, think back to time you met your oldest friend, oops, you can’t right, because you were probably snot-nosed and still easily pleased by the magic of a light switch. So as social beings, right from the start you are assigned to - and acquainted with a number of people who have ‘walked your path’ with you, most steps of the way (Oprah quote, don’t hate) and somehow, no matter how bad they get or how damn bored or annoyed you are with those specific people, you can’t help but admit that they probably know you inside and out the best. You are the most comfortable to be the worst of yourself in front of them and vice and sometimes it gets real and real ugly. But those people become the barnacles to your whale ass, even if you don’t see them for the next 20 years, you’ll still have that connection, those memories tied and bonded so tight, that nothing remains hidden in the attempt at an elusive expression.

we're still exactly the same people
Yeah, right now you might hate your parents for being those backwards fools who raised you in that small town in god-knows-oh-wait-he-doesn’t-care. But despite your intolerance, those ‘fools’ raised you, somehow, at the most crucial stages of your existence and look at yourself now, you think, you read, you criticise to the extent that you comfortably criticise your own genetic ancestry. And then you meet the new and exciting folks you have shaped your sense of humour, your taste in music, in fashion, books, films, sports, hobbies and your skills in kak-praat. F-R-I-E-N-D-S. and damn they can be the best, the most golden, the most sublime time-wasters to hang out with and then it all flip-flops and they turn into trickass losers who forget and bullshit and ignore and carry on (you and I do exactly the same)

 The success of all relations depends on the timing and the extent to which you can be okay with yourself, okay with doing your own thing and really digging time spent “ALL BY MYSELF” but in a less self-pitying tone than that song. 

Jurr, where am I heading? Ramble amble bamble, yes oh yess.

And then you meet the IT, the person, the bestest, most brand new HELLO you’ve been secretly expecting all this time. No not your new boifrend or guuulfrend, but simply that storm trooper motherfucker who understands everything, with whom every silence is holy and the comfort, OH THE COMFORT. Where have you been, huh? It’s lovely to think of all the people like that you have yet to meet, so many of them.
AND PLEASE DON'T EVER REFERENCE THE CURSED "The compatibility test" LOLWHUD? Sorry COSMOgirl, but I don’t think a magazine popquizzzz (jizzz) will salvage that which wasn’t there in the first place. If he or she sucks and gives you a complex, a self-pitying-denying-loathing-obsessed outlook, drop them like Snoop Dogg (now Lion) would.

 Honestly, stop kidding yourself and realise that life is way too precious, every second too quick to waste upon ‘fixing’ yourself, someone else or that connection that was broken from the start.

 woah, who da thunk I could possible sound so much like my mom with a slightly more colloquial diction

So more importantly, if you're going to Mozambique this December, please contact me, I'm a great beacher

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Fifty Pigments of Saturday Blues

I want to complain. About the weather, about my snail-pace work efforts, about ‘missing out’ and about nostalgia. And I’m pretty sure you are super keen to read all about my self-involved rants. So in order to make myself feel better and to keep you entertained, I will shift my topic of concern to something a little more interesting. 


First off, let me introduce you to my all time favourite movie of all time. EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED 

Starring the quintessential Slavic hottie and my personal favourite Ukranian – Eugene Hutz

(tres vital bit of information: he is also the leadsinger of Gogol Bordello – the band categorised as ‘Gypsy Punk’ music , a self-entitled genre which utterly suits their reckless, fast paced and ultimately HILARIOUS music.) 

This Gogol song recurrently features on the films score. HOPAH

Which make the film even better is the brilliant acting of star, hero, demi-god Elijah Wood. 

Noted, I have had a long standing crush on this blue-eyed deity ever since falling for his entrancing performance in Huckleberry Finn. I must be the biggest creep in the world. 

whadda cutie
This is so out of context, but everytime anyone says the utters the word ‘creep’, my squint-eyed loves' lament comes to mind, and to supplement it for some added exquisiteness, check this video. Oh Charlotte, Oh Johnny. OH LIFE.


So if you have not seen Everything is Illuminated, stop reading this now, get in your car, on your bike, use whichever mode of transport available and take it out at the nearest deeveedee store. Or y’know, if you find yourself in a first world country with the convenience of ‘real’ internet, watch it online or something fancy like that. 

So this film is about collecting, the Holocaust, Jewish family life, nostalgia, the importance of maintaining cross-generational bonds between family members, etc, etc, ad nauseum (noted: this is also a brilliant book by Jonathan S. Foer, a favourite author of mine. So if you find the time, read that as well)

It is incredible how one film (okay, admittingly repeatedly watched) can have such a strong influence on one’s psyche and perception of the world. By firstly naming the practice of collecting (Jonfen/Jonathan – Wood’s character -  when asked about his profession, states that he is a collector of ‘things’) and secondly by placing emphasis on his practice of collecting throughout the film, I was made aware that there is a given space in which one could accentuate the importance of this practice in one’s personal and interpersonal life. 

Of course, the notion of collecting isn’t a foreign concept. Most people strive to collect and maintain a good amount of cash money, but as the wise prophets of Wu Tang Clan have taught us, “Cash Ruins Everything Around Me”, in their hit song C.R.E.A.M. Don't you just love a witty acronym? Besides the collection of wealth in the form of dollar dollar bills, we all collect SOMETHING. Whether it is art, clothing, books, music, films, photographs, shoes, sunglasses, etc. and these are arranged in a hierarchal form, I guess depending on the ‘replacability’ of the items in question. 

In my opinion, having iTunes wipe all my music in one great tsunami of “Disk Clean-Up” is pretty bad, but not entirely as devastating as losing the collection of photographs I have taken and accumulated over my adolescent and post-high school years. It’s nerve-shattering to realise how easy all our virtual collections can be depleted. Irreplaceable data lost forever in a mess of zeros and ones. Not even this guy with his manifold facial expressions would be able to help you in some dire technological crisis. 

zoom zoom Keanu

What am I talking about? 

I find myself anxiously gathering numerous, seemingly insignificant and useless items in order to remember the small details of that one golden day or that one sublime experience shared with someone which seems to have happened in a different lifetime altogether. Just a minor warning, I get tediously sentimental and nostalgic about almost everything on a day like today. I guess this is still a rant, or some means to channel my frustration and anxiety. 
There is snow on the mountains and it’s nearly November in the Southern hemisphere, so now I miss summer. I’m confined to my room, writing a tiresome essay on political liberalism, so now I miss any action in life which does not remotely relate to academic word-vomit. 
As a feeble attempt at a ‘pick-me-up’ I have given in two rolls of film, from my time abroad.
And through all this irksome ranting, I have realised that I have my collections of memorabilia and photographs and little scraps of meaningful weathered-away paper which serve fuel and satisfy my melancholia.

Sad, ne.  

But in order to share, which I believe is a crucial part of collecting


Looky here

These are some visual representations of those golden times past 

Koeelbay with Amber and Josh - a beach which I haven't visited since January

swellendam - Kirstin and Amber

Hehe - O.R.Tambo

Little Asia in Jonkershoek





Cape Town City



Quiet heat on a Stellenbosch December morning

Hermanus reservoir

My gurl

At the edge of the Atlantic seaboard

koshuis post-party urting

pre-outride photo - a Karoo december

new years at the local Carnarvon petrol station

sublime times in Genadendal

new years roadtrip pitstop in Matjiesfontein
we sure get around to exploring small town South Africa

Good times await, I'm sure...Stupid melancholia

All in all, I blame the wind.


Thursday, 11 October 2012

The Roskilde Experience





So this is his first post for our blog
he writes like a boss
for realz

but enough talk
go read for yourself


When I first arrived at the camp site that was to become the largest music festival in the European North, it was little more than a great, empty field of battle waiting to happen. I felt like Caesar as I surveyed this foreign land where I would stay for the next ten days and make my stand against the forces this world had arrayed against me. The gates to the festival and camping site had yet to open and before me thousands upon thousands of hopeful, drunken youth, dedicated heads of families with their children in tow, and people of all ages in shorts, shirts, bear suits, princess costumes and all manners of different clothing were grouped in a tight formation, leaning, pushing and sitting on each other. The cumbersome packs slung on backs, towering above their heads like ornate headpieces, were loaded with everything and anything they would need and wouldn’t in the coming campaign. I too, was ready for the fight after harrowing months of school and work, stress and deadlines, and felt like nothing could stop me.
The gates opened, and the flood was released, washing across the battlefield with merciless abandon, an apocalyptic force that would for the next ten days dance, trample, spill, piss, plant, ash and vomit on, in and around every uninhabited spot of the field, as well as several of their comrades’ tents. Camps were quickly established, flags raised to declare tenuous groupings and all manners of decorations and adornments hung from poles and pavilions, colouring the field with a blossoming, bursting life. Cowboys, knights and Mario and Luigi walked around hand in hand, followed by Pikachu, bears and witches, hippies, business suits and tennis players; an amalgamation of everything and anything that can and should exist.
When the camps were set up, and the flags raised, and the first rag-tag band of merry men and women were settled, the festival began in earnest, joined continuously by a trickle of new arrivals, brought by bus or car, and herded in through gaps in the massive fence system that kept that band of brothers and sisters separate from the non-existent outside world. The first five days of the festival are officially known as the Warm-Up, where entertainment is more or less left up to those with the inspiration and creativity to get it started. Sound systems, dragged in on carts or pushed in wheelbarrows, sat squat and dominatingly loud along the dirt paths that served as a road system in the great shanty town of Roskilde. Already surrounded by merry dancers, unwilling to wait for the festival true, each sound system was a locus of activity, drinking, and nudity, as a constant spray of beer kept the participants well fuelled for the endless party. They jumped and kicked, fists punching the air and hugging each other restlessly, sun glasses bouncing, beach balls hopping from head to head as the sun overhead began its patient wait for our inevitable breakdown the following day under its incandescent rays and our aching stupor.
Between the dancing and the relentless rhythms of repetitive and demanding summer hits, there were the camps already filled with collapsed and resting people. Under great tarps and virgin white pavilions they sat, slumped and moaning quietly, or speaking to their campmates on the great topics of life and philosophy, love and morality as the lives of their warm beer fizzled out, leaving stagnant cans for later use as a bowling ball, in the Roskilde game of beer-bowling, the rules of which are too numerous and complicated to describe here.
After a few days, the weather had become hot in earnest, and the pristine and multicoloured tent city had begun to look crestfallen, graffiti marking most neighbourhoods and the ever present stink of sweat, hash, and piss that pervaded the festival had grown to near unbearable levels. But bear it we did, as the heat evaporated the veritable river of urine that ran along the less populated roads and created a jaundiced haze that hung over us like a punishment from above. The port-a-potties functioned as greenhouses and created smells in that cramped space that were worthy of remembrance. Whether or not an odour actually can damage you lungs is beyond my basic knowledge of biology but if it could, those toilets would have been shut down by the local board of health.
In the southern quadrant of the camping site a lake lay, promising cool respite from the days’ rising temperatures, and the festival-goers flocked to it like Anabaptists in dusty bathrobes, stolen from a mother’s wardrobe, or, failing that, naked as the day they were born. This continued daily, beers and joints shared on the beach among the thickets, until the official decree came that declared the water too dirty, too corrupted from the filth of thousands of dirty bodies daily, spitting, spilling, and urinating to their heart’s content.
Finally, the music area opened, and the grime-encrusted population of Roskildefestivalen was let into its welcoming space, lined always with beer tents, food tents, merchandise tents, tobacco tents, urinals, graffiti, minibanks, and rows of men and a few daring or desperate women, relieving themselves against the plywood walls, shouting back to their friends and greeting those next to them. There was a rum and cigar bar where I shared a ‘nice’ cigar with a few of my campmates (by which I mean it was not the cheapest), a greenhouse, a silent disco, a hairdresser’s, an orange bar; all types of food (“Mama’s Southern Burgers,” “Gringo Nachos with Chicken Wings,” “Mummmbai Samosas,” the infamous “Skiburger,” “Fridtjof’s Meatballs,” and other such delectable treats) were available for a connoisseur such as myself and I ate until I burst, almost literally. At the concerts, heads bobbed in the smoke, collected standards waved, and feet moved, sluggish at first, but soon stamped and jumped to the beat of the music, were it psychedelic electronica, upbeat Americana folk, or orderly but raucous heavy death metal.
The nights became one. An excited girl at Bon Iver cheered me up with tears of joy and whoops of happiness; crying, drunken dramatics came crashing through our camp one night, leaving behind a broken chair and several ringing ears; roving sound systems, loaded on carts, pushed by tireless, spectacled and topless boys and girls in the bright Northern nights; gin, Jägermeister, vodka, cocktails, rum, beer, and endless cigarettes smoked by every bushy-haired or costumed festivalgoer, resulted in muddy one-night stands. The rain began, a slow pitter-patter, deceptively soothing despite its threatening potential to drown the festival, but no such disaster struck, and Roskilde continued unhindered, its participants now mud-soaked and naked, rolling and laughing and singing and roaring. Three Icelandic Pikachu girls danced on the mobile music station and a beautiful fog descended on the final night, hanging over the lake, grey, black, and brown. Our last stand came in a ditch now water-logged and brown-green, where we spent the night dancing and stamping our feet around the three Pikachus, venerating the goddesses of the Roskilde spirit, supplicant in our reverence to those great deities. We danced until our legs were spattered. We danced until our stomachs turned. We danced until the flags waved no more. One girl fell off the wagon, and puked and proclaimed to the rising sun “I’m dying, I’m dying!”
The night was over, and our goddesses had fallen. The battle was over, and we had put up a mighty fight, but the real world persists, and Roskilde takes no one with her, so we went to sleep for the final two hours before our last march down the festival avenues.
The final morning arrives and a bleary-eyed young man emerges, first with his head, tasting the air, then the rest of him appears and he sits down in front of his tent opening. He manages to produce a cigarette, from where is unclear, and rests it between his fingers, staring into the intensely hot but gloomy morning. His red eyes are infused with a shell-shocked look as they fix on a point just outside of space and time.
Another man appears up the road, with a moaning cry like some primordial, sloth-like, rumbling creature, and walks about, seemingly at random. His eyes are two round, red orbs, searching the ground. He finds what he’s looking for and urinates against an abandoned tent. Soon the campsite is awash with dirty coughs, spits, packing, mumbling, and a lonesome ranger with a guitar, rendering a melancholy tune as the sun, too, is overwhelmed and subsumed by hazy grey clouds that bring with them a light, trickling rain, as if too exhausted to bring its full, biblical potential to bear against the garbage wasteland that Roskildefestivalen has become.
It was a melancholy feeling that day as I sat with my camp members, incapacitated by the drink and the sun that had deigned to return after the cleansing showers, looking over the dirt path by our camp, at the people on their way home. The sad, last march of the Roskilde festival-goers. A downcast look in their eyes, they trudged with carts and bags, loaded with matrasses, sleeping bags, disheveled clothes, carts with beer, sound systems, footballs, hats, a friend passed out, enjoying a ride through the shanty town of tents and pavilions, and piles and piles of garbage.
We smoked our last cigarettes and squinted under the sun, defeated, finally, by the Orange Feeling (the name given to the pseudo-mystical effect of attending Roskilde Festival; it is the vomit in the clear plastic bag; it is the sun rising in the fog; it is the croak one develops after a day of battle; it exists outside of judgment; it simply is). Beside me lay a half-eaten chicken sandwich, on its way to decomposition and martyrdom. Days of glory were past as the sinful returned home in a slow trickle, yet we could not cast stones, for we too would be on our way. Roskilde was over, for now, and the bubble had burst.
Soon we were making our way through the trash carpet, avoiding ripped and shredded tents, empty crates of beer, matrasses, cans, bags and boxes of bread, vegetables, jam, and fruit, balloons, signs, clothes, abandoned lives of a hardy, alcoholic folk. Broken pavilions and tent poles littered the ground and stuck out like the legs of large insects, on their backs, confused and dying, scrabbling at the air for relief. We smoked our second round of last cigarettes. I came, I saw, I partook, but lo I did not conquer, for Roskilde forges her own path, and none can stand in her way. We can only follow along for a short while before being shaken off, and forced to return home, tails tucked between our mud-spattered legs. What we had fought for – I’m sure it was different for each and every one of us – but I like to believe that there was some commonality shared in our collective rejection of the outside world, for just that while, those ten short days of love and destruction, bacchanalian festivities and veneration of humanity.
And then we sat, having bid farewell to Maya and Louise, and Mark and Mikkel with a last beer, on the bus, an 8 hour journey to Oslo, and home. Isolated behind tinted windows, we sat and looked out the windows at the Swedish countryside, as it swept past, quiet and green and rolling, with pine-trees and boulders, punctuated with red or blue houses dotted on the landscape. The AC’d cabin of the bus was the only sound I heard, the faint murmur from other passengers creating the backdrop for the truly beautiful Scandinavian nature rolling by. The clouds, highlighted now by the high evening sun, pointed our way home, shaped like the breaking waves in a Hokusai print, their frothing crests rounded off by the guiding winds. Though occasionally covered by a cloud, and shaded by the bus’ tinted windows, the westering sun was a white light orb, now followed by a ghost trailing on the ground below, because what now sat in the bus back to Oslo was but a fragment of what we left behind at Roskilde. 

sublime light - this is Gus at Roskilde 2012 - whadda cutie

and some people take 'roughing it' to the next level - Roskilde 2011

casual Gus - 2011

"The heterotopia turned dystopic", as I'm assuming Foucault would describe this.

I would too

Beer Bomb!

The liminal sublimity of it all. AAAAH CAMPING LIFE FOR LIFE
So that was Gus and his account of the sixth largest music festival in Europe.
Just for those of you who don't know and are too lazy to google it, Roskilde is an annual live music festival held in Southern Denmark, established by two high school students in 1971.  These kids obviously had the right idea in mind.
After reading this, I'm sure ya'll join me for the pilgrimage to the North. Roskilde 2013. It has to be done