Thursday, March 26, 2009

Inge, naked

See? You read “Inge, naked” and you come right here, don’t you? But this one’s not for you.

It’s for our milky-skinned diva of darkness who doesn’t need to remove one thread to reveal herself. Unfortunately the likes of Josie, Sannie, Tasha, Thandiswa and Simphiwe are not necessarily going to applaud her latest contribution to the media’s perception of women in the music industry.

Uh uh, Inge

Yes, we love your aloof yet pointed stare. Yes, your eyes flare. Yes, you are a diva we can’t quite believe is ours (so much so, perhaps, that we didn’t support you and Paul and Fuzzy and Sean enough. And that’s our loss. And we know it. And some of us are doing what we can to re-design the rules.) But

This. Is unnecessary.

Because. This is not Hollywood.

(this is my adulterated version of the cover shot of Cape Town's Myweek mag - April edition. It appears without my desultroy enquiry in its original form)

And the media is not a pimp, even though it punts itself as one. It’s a platform for information. And your body is not a product, even though it’s young and healthy enough to stand for everything that consumerism bases itself on – vanity, greed, beauty. You represent music, and you represent women. I don’t care if you didn’t ask for the latter role – your very presence and potency in an industry dominated (at least on stage) by men makes it part of the deal you didn’t make when you put yourself on public display. And that deal, baby, can make or break you as a self respecting artiste.

Lathering yourself, half-dressed, all over the cover of another free magazine (that nobody asked for) which (mistakenly) posits itself as some kind of reference of Cape Town cool is crummy. As if cool can be snapped and slapped onto a page and dubbed with words that are shallower than shamelessness and half-conscious to boot in the first place. It’s a misconception. As is thinking that your body is going to sell your voice.

You have intellectual property rights. You are the business. You make the decisions. (that's what independent means, it isn't just a
synonym for South African über cool.) There are more than enough photographers willing to do a shoot that will do you justice, give imagery of you the gravity your gifts deserve, give it your edgy glamour without you having to show the world what you only show a few people. You’re not an almost-famous, schizophrenic soap star, you’re not a bimbette trying to get your pop schlock seen and not (really) heard. You’re an undeniably able singer and performer who has garnered enough respect on the scene to be seen for her talent rather than her twat. So what the fuck are you doing on the cover in your granny’s bathing suit?

Do us a favour, and stop selling your skin.

Disclaimer. This is not some kind of masked nastiness. I love Inge’s work (though the sounds coming from the Inge Beckman trio need another few months in the practise room). It was Inge who originally inspired me to write about SA music. I bumped into lark one dark long street festival night and was riveted and reborn by her world class talent. I’d been roving that world for years, and the only time I had for SA music was when BOO! graced the stage. This was the beginning of the second wave of music that we are now seeing flourish (and perhaps phade if we don’t pull together). Inge stopped me dead in my tracks with her life threatening bjorkgonemadesque motions and her sirenhowl and changed my world. Well, Inge and Paul. Such a brilliant union.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

lua who?

It’s a bleary summer tour morning, somewhere in Morsel Bray (we never did find out where we were actually camped; and the tee totalling bus drivers’ patience was so tried by our state of immaculate inebriation every night that they probably wouldn’t have told us if we’d asked. just to get us back). We are stumbling around the campsite softly cursing people that supposedly died bleeding for idiots like us.

There’s Alex brushing his teeth with what looks like a twig (hey, there’s a photo on vleispoep, ok? ). There’s Tee Jay in his trademark tights (unarmed. The straightener, like general merriment and righteous lyrics, comes out after dark). There’s a Captain Stu of sorts, doing something naughty, no doubt. Even at something unearthly early like seven a.m. (we have a bus to catch, otherwise we wouldn’t be awake. At ALL). There’s mmff – there’s Liam and thingy, passed out next to the fire which has now become the early bird breakfast centre that doubles as our daily diary, the date only known because our ontbyt tickets tell us [like we care – it’s summer, and we mark the days by the ways we get blown away (or just blown) the night before]. the blissfully unaware pair are obliging the puff-eyed, popeye coffee hunters to pussyfoot around their snorks and snuffles while they catch the last fading whippets of their doggone dreams.

ANYway. The bus is not leaving as early as we thought. The bus is in fact not leaving. It is an Avontoer bus, so manicures must. This time it is apparently being Fixed. Which is something drivers of large horse-powered beasts tend to do a lot of. Radiator, fuel pump, who knows; polish the dashboard and off she goes. Them gentle men otherwise known as the macho mafia that move with us and make fun of us when we’re too stoned or drunk to make fun of ourselves anymore often seem to have their heads in its bowels. They sleep in its belly too, and then when we’re all on board, they play strange, sucky house choons, or R&B shmooz and sometimes we even find ourselves singing along. I swear. I have a picture.. somewhere... God knows they got sick of us having Muse on repeat at their expense, and those of their contingent who act as the dronkie patrol at gigs every night get an earful of rock they really didn’t ask for (except they agreed to come on ‘toer for the third year running), so on the subject of playlists, they just um… remind us that god isn’t a dj, actually, the bus driver is god. End of discussion. Even friendly, flirty journalists couldn’t quite loose their grip on that DVD player. Though she was invited to get to grips with other things. Which she professionally declined. Duh.

[this photo by elandre vermeulan, all others by jezebel]

And so we sit, (here, I’m back at the campsite, stop thinking about the blerry bus) with full tummies (if a tummy is full from a Kreef burger which is really cat food and chutney in disguise but so what coz it’s yummy and we’re thirsty for love I mean hungry), waiting for the day, lost in the avante garden route somewhere on the east coast of a so-called Africa(no zebras. No giraffes. But a cat and a jackal or two. Or three. Or five. On and off. When they’re not spilling anchovies or sleeping on beaches). The floating island that is Avontoer, however, is a world unto its own, so actually we aren’t waiting, we’re just (like cows) ruminating. And (like cows) we have many stomachs. Which is why we’re hanging by the kitchen in hopes of. MORE. And more do we get, though it’s something you digest with your soul not your stomach.

There is long grass, and dry grass burning its sweet shitty smell; there are blue skies and bluer (bored looking but then she’s not very rock ‘n roll is she) eyes and every now and then a half-clad creature emerges from the rentashower. And we’re always wishing someone would drop their towel (or is that just me) like some people drop names, and others drop their pants, but strangely priorities of politesse are in place in this part of the campsite, and nobody ever does. Except me, but it was waaaay too early for anyone to see. Except maybe .. o shit. Moving along.

We’re seated and sucking clean Mossel Bay air (that’s called a “contradiction”, kitlings, and it is no replacement for real wit) There are hangovers and leftovers and stopovers from friends of friends (some of whom nobody knows the name of, and who end up on Lucas’s lap just when he thought he’d had enough of weight of the feminine…) and the vibe is mellow like a mellow fellow an ol.

It’s funny that the kitchen draws people. At a party. Or not. Ours is a 24 hour party, but we aren’t always dancing. Erm. Well, most of us. For me, the camera is a constant. (hence, PROOF) And thank god. Or none of you would believe that one of the best gigs on ‘toer happened under the trees, one and a half farts from the portaloos. And it was by no means kak. No means at all. Wipe that smile off your face –you’ve no idea your heart is about to be stolen. Again. Damn [these] musicians.

The Lua Union they later named themselves. Lucas and Deane (which for some reason I feel the need to write with a second e) and I pondered many long and short words in the search for a band name in between many long and short conversations about many strong and taut subjects like where can we get a decent curry in this town do they even know what dhanja is and will Zuma get his donder in his gat (you can read this in other languages, it is more amusing). Or some such. early on in the selection process, one of the proposed names had something about peaches in it. Sies I thought, but didn’t say it. (Come on Luca – this one’s for you! what is peach a euphemism for?) . Lua Union. Is no euphemism. Something about the moon. Something about their sound. Something esoteric and instant and essential.

Listen, we had an earful of allsorts of sounds on ‘toer, so it’s not like anyone was starved for variety. We bent our faith on the metalesque melodies of Straatligkinders. We bent our knees and then our heads to the epic , creative fusion that is The Tidal Waves’ rooted rock reggae. We danced like demons to the effusive expulsions of Foto Na Dans and wiped our souls on the soles of their sound. And éF-éL- the princes of pop rock – who could show our biggest acts a thing or two about putting out on stage. Zinkplaat, New Holland, Pretty Blue Guns, shall I go on? Google them. You’ll see what I mean. (or read the vodka chronicles
here ) So there was more than enough to please the aurally literate. But then two of the Union pulled out their guitars, and our assumptions were educated anew.

Well, no, actually Lucas did. We didn’t know he fiddled strings as well as kicking and hitting things. Typical child prodigy.
Probably picked up his dad’s sticks at six years old or something obscene. I mean, give us a break, first he gets the groove on behind the snare and stuff, and then he whips out a guitar? Next thing you know he’s going to let loose a string of valiant vowels that stitch together like summer and river and chocolate and change. Just watch.

Anyway, moving quickly on to the past again. There they go. The Lua Union. Deane (ja. Sorry man, I think the extra vowel wants in, hey) and Lucas presiding, (Jonathan and Francious opted out because, I think, they weren’t actually there), driving those strings like there’s no sorrow in tomorrow, flooding our campsite’s post-binge silence with the sweetest swells and hugely melodic crashes and a certain synergy that is borne of two boys who believe in something they can’t see. I’m feeling seasons spin into each other; it’s ear opening stuff. We’re quietly in awe, awe-fully still, and we are so not moving. Not even for Gammie. But what comes out of their fingers (their tongues are tied) is more suited to veterans than ‘toer virgins. After five minutes there are ten people sitting around them. After fifteen, there are thirty. And then they break the news. We’ll have to wait till March to see them live and fully fledged. And singing.

And guess what?

It’s March.

The Lua Union begin their very own moon calendar tomorrow Friday the 13th, which is a wicked date to start anything, let alone the next movement in acoustic driven heaven. No bleeding required.

Get to

The Hidden Cellar


where cover is something you do to your bits, not something you pull from your pocket. (it’s free, I mean.)


where the cynics will be surprised to discover that lots of other world-shifting things besides bad philosophies start. Though they won’t show it.

P.S. some events may be mixed (though people did still pick their way around liam and thingy, just maybe not the same morning). Thing is, it’s not the time that is counted on ‘toer, it’s the moments. And they matter. All of them.