Inaudible Versification

"There are a thousand thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up a pen to write." -William Makepeace Thackeray

Monday, September 05, 2005

Music: More Then Just A Pretty Punk Rhyme

Although I suppport South African music, these days I have a Love\Hate relationship with it. Every new band since Tweak (AKA-the next best thing since sliced bread (insert sarcasm here) ) thinks that they to now have to play over the top happy punk songs.

I'm not complaining about punk music in general or that finally bands are being played on radio stations that would normally shun South African music. My complaint is that these bands seem more concerned with what they can get out of the deal, then what and why they play music.

It seems to me that the influx in bad punk bands mean that the good bands, that aren't so eager to get noticed and signed at a major label, are being over shadowed, by their weaker counter parts.

To be fair to all parties though, it does depend on what one defines as a good punk band and everyone has different taste, but lets face if we want South African music to keep going strong, we need to start separating the weak bands in the pack, so that the South African Music industry is built on strong foundations.

Friday, August 26, 2005

A or E?

On the back of protest about language equality at our dear university, by Afrikaans students who claim they are being marginalised, I’ve noticed that there is some complaining going on amongst English students as well.

Many of my English friends complain that campus newspapers, such as the Perdeby and Kampus Bleed, are solely published for Afrikaans crowd, leaving them without a platform to express their views and feelings. They claim that even though there are English articles in the Perdeby, these are usually fashion or movie reviews, and not the need-to-know university news which affects the lives of every student on campus.

As always I find myself stuck on the fence when it come to the language debate, since being bilingual means I don’t much care about the language something is written in, as long as it is well written and spellchecked. To me it has never matter whether the class was in Afrikaans or English, or whether the sports report was presented more often in the one then the other.

But what I realised last week was, that while I was swimming around in my tiny pond of bilingual tranquillity, the rest of the campus was divided, not between the so often spoken about racial lines, but rather, dialectic ones.

Forget the black/white struggle, there is a something new and ugly about to boil over at the university and if it not addressed soon, the next protests we have about language equality might not have such peaceful endings.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Rubik's Cube nightmare.

Did you ever have that one THING that everyone could do at school, only you could never seem to come to grips with? Maybe you had difficulties flicking your marbles in the hole during break. Or maybe you couldn't walk the dog (or any other animal for that matter) with your Yo-Yo.

My THING however was the infamous Rubik's Cube. It is inconceivable to me now that as a mere eight year old, my social standing in school was defined by whether I could line up all the colors nice and cube like.

Luckily for me, the craze did pass, and the next big THING turned out to be silkworm farming. (To be honest I wasn't much better at that, but I did find that if you arranged your silkworms in a certain way on the leaves, no one could tell that they were in the final stages of decomposing )

The only reason I have been able to live with my cubing baggage from childhood, is because somewhere in the back of my mind, it seemed impossible to imagine that this hobby would surface ever again. With the popularity of PC Games and consoles in South Africa, I never imagined that anyone would want to reinvent this square hobby.

I was wrong.

Walking by the toy section of the supermarket today, my worst nightmare came true! There on a shelf, looking all innocent, sat the Rubik's army.

The old cubes didn't come alone this time. They had brought reinforcements: spheres, pyramids, and even 16 sided mutations that should have never seen the light of day, all waiting for new young victims to enslave.

My prayers are with every young person out there tonight that are not net enabled, and cannot download the solution to this puzzle nightmare.

By the way...I still have my rubics cube. It is lock away in the attic. In a lead chest. With a huge freaking lock on it!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Rural Mellow Country Crooning

After spending two not-so-glorious days in the tiny Mpumalanga burgh of Kriel last week, I've decided that small towns seem to have an unexplainable need to express the sorrows of their rural lives in the form of cheap, reproduced country music.

From 7am to 7pm Kriel Info Radio, the local community radio station, played non-stop country hits. And I mean non-stop. Most of which were not even by the original artists, but by some lowly South African troubadours who failed to get placed in the top 1000 during the last Idols competition.

Does this insipidly mellow crooning really relieve the agony of daily rural living, people? I doubt it! After one hour I was ready to slice my own wrists with the nearest butcher knife! How can a song about some cowboy that was "born beside a cornfield" inspire anything else but the urge to drown ones sorrows in a dirty glass of cheap alcohol?

I'm not surprised to hear the locals muse about the lack of economic growth in their town. I'm sure the awful music is scaring off any potential investors. Who wants to put their money in a town where the most popular radio station plays hick rubbish from dawn to dusk.

I hate to break the next two painful truths to you people, but a) you're not living the southern American dream so stop pretending you are, and b) cheap country music was never groovy, hip or funky, and never will be.

Live8: Alive Or Dead

I could not agree more with the points MacDara brought up this week in his post: Learning a Lesson from Live8 .

He has an amazingly accurate understanding about how many Africans view and feel about the concert.

In truth a bunch of well meaning celebrities jumping up and down, pronouncing their support, does little to get aid to where its is really needed in Africa. This is a continent where some (not all) leaders, care more about their own pockets, then the state of their countries economic or social shape. No matter what policies are instituted by the G8, these leaders will not be persuaded to change their ways.

Neither me or MacDara, I believe, are saying that raising awareness about the needs of so many African countries is a futile endeavourer. We just believe that the millions spent on organizing these concerts could have been better spent on providing aid in other forms; like for example teaching starving people how to farm and how to rotate corps properly. Trust me, the proud people of Africa would rather prefer to learn ways to help themselves, then to have to accept aid from others.

This post is not about stopping all aid to Africa, but rather about giving people the chance to take care of their own, before we accept that they can not do so without any aid from the West.

This is about not being patronizing to those that are in need of aid.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Cliche Hollywood Recipes

Wondering what to cook this weekend? Try this age old Hollywood recipe. There are many variations of this recipe you may want to try, so feel free to experiment. My favourite is to add a dash of well known action hero to the mix. Please note that this dish is an acquired taste and you might find that there are some critics that will send it back to the kitchen.

1 Adult in a moral, religious or identity crisis
1 Child, or many children, (lovable or rebel or mixture of both)
1 Moral heart warming plot with or without hilarious gags
1 Happy, thoughtful or tragic ending

Mixed together adult in crisis with child or children of your choice. Add one touch of deep moral heart warming plot or spice up with hilarious gags. Garnish with choice of happy, thoughtful or tragic ending. Over cook for at least 2 to 3 hours.

And here are some suggestions on what you may want to call your treat.
Mighty Ducks
Pay It Forward
Kindergarten Cop
Music of the Heart
Daddy Day Care
Dangerous Minds
Big Daddy
Six Sense
The Kid
Lair Lair
The Pacifier
Man on Fire
I Am Sam
Pretty Baby
Step mom
Mercury Rising
Robocop (the last movie)
School of Rock
Where the Heart Is
About a Boy
Uptown Girls

Monday, May 16, 2005

UN Seats: Just Another Adjective?

Have you ever wondered what makes a superpower? Why do some states only qualify to be called great powers? And why do some fall completely off the radar and never get a positive adjective in front of their names?

There is no set list of characteristics that a state must adhere to in order to be classified as Super or Great. Academics have been arguing over a set list for a number of years. It mostly seems to depend on people's perceptions of that country and one other factor; whether those countries were blessed with a seat on the UN Security Counsel.

If a seat on the security dictates your standing in the political world, it is not surprising that so many African countries are having bitter arguments over whether they might get the two seats that might be available at some point in the future.

The above statement is riddled with might's and some's, because at this point no one is really sure what is going to happen. It would seem that the UN is dangling the proverbial carrot. It still seemed that although the UN has promised that they will institute reforms, they are not really sure whether these will be on the Security Council.

In the end the question has to be whether any of the five major powers would like any other country to join their ranks, and this seems unlikely, since people in power don't usually feel the need to share it with others.

I personally might not agree with the current members of the counsel, but that does not mean that I think adding more members will make it any better.

Secondly I believe that Africa has not yet earned the right to a seat on the council. Yes, Africa is trying to clean up its act, but do we really need to reward this behavior with such an important seat as this? If we go down the list of countries that have earned seats, it would seem that the greater parts of Latin America is first on the list, followed by other smaller island states of the world, like Japan.

And before any country goes off to garner support for their UN Security Counsel bid, I think they should first ask themselves what they have to offer the world.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

To Bid Or Not to Bid?

There has been a bit of moaning and groaning about the Rugby World Cup bid as of late. People pointing out that is will cost millions to host it, while that money might be better spend on providing save water and housings.

Now I'm not arguing that we are in desperate need for the above mentioned, but I think these moaners are missing out on one vital point.

The Rugby World Cup is more then just a sporting event. Not only will it provide jobs and much needed investment, but it also seems to be the only thing that has ever bound this nation together as one.

This is about nation building, about working together and putting out difference aside, or using those differences to enrich each other.