26 Jun 2013

The devil is in the internet, and we are all to blame.

The world we live in is driven by information and technology. It’s never been more accessible, and finding information has never, ever, been easier. However, with all of this information out there, being digested, recycled and reshared, can you tell the difference between the noise and the really valuable titbits online? I think the internet is becoming too much of a real entity, and less fun, mostly because of the big ol’ grey cloud which continues to grow, every day.
Deciphering the grey cloud (areas), or the “details” as I like to the refer to them on social media, and the internet in general, takes up so much of our time, that more often than not we forget what really matters. What, when, who, why and how are the cornerstone questions of any event, but none of them change the fact that said event already happened.
This is where I think we can all be better people, and for the better of humanity as whole. The details of stories are the juicy bits of the story, they’re the parts that are retold, debated, and analysed to death after an event, or post some newsworthy tragedy. This is where the problem starts. Everyone has an opinion and because social media has taken on the role of a soapbox, we all feel inclined to share our opinions, whether they add value to the conversation or not. This is the main grey area I am referring to, the self-importance we as humans have extended to our online personas.
These details evoke all kinds of emotions, and with the voice given to users of social media, everyone tries to scream the loudest, to tell the world their view. I know many people will think this is a good thing, when in actuality, I think it just adds to the noise. It fills the world with more useless information, more grey, and another step away from the real issues behind said matters.
This grey area has become such a massive part of your life, that you may not even know it. How often have you read something online where someone reacted like a fool, then gone home to tell someone what you think about that person’s reaction as if that was the news story? I know I have, even though I know that it’s completely futile and doesn’t matter at all in the bigger scheme of things.
We’re filling the world up with so many details and useless things, that our really important values are forgotten. It’s up to us, to be responsible citizens, and compassionate human beings when it comes to the sharing of news and the forming of opinions. I want to appeal to people to be stronger, more opinionated and to not get caught up in the hype, but to see whatever the flavour of the week is, for what it really is.
Let’s look at Oscar Pistorius’ situation. Actually, that’s the wrong way to put it; it’s the murder of Reeva Steenkamp situation, because THAT is the real story here. That is what is important; an innocent person was shot, and killed. Who, what, why, when and how are the crux of each news report; however they’re only a means to an end, that end being a story readers want to see. I want us all to be bigger and better than that. I want us to see past the grey mist which hides the black and white nature of the modern world.
Stop fretting about things you can’t change, and take an actual stand against or for the things you can. Think about what you post, how you say things and about the way in which you react. If your opinion only adds another opinion, is it really worth sharing? I know you want your voice to be heard, but you should also be acutely aware of where you are sharing what, and why.
As a final thought though, I present you this. In this story I’ve gotten too involved in the grey areas myself, talking about social media, people’s opinions, and Oscar, but when it comes down to it, none of that even matters.
Social media is not a substitute for real human interaction, and it can’t solve the world’s problems. Remember that it’s not the real thing; it’s not a tangible entity. It’s just a platform for communications and information. That is all it is. It’s not the saviour of the third world, or the jury for the first; it’s a tool to enhance our lives.
It’s just the internet. It’s the biggest cloud in the world, and it’s so distinctly grey that you need a really sound compass to navigate all of its treacherous corners.

21 Jun 2013

...Like Clockwork? ...more like killer opening lines.

I've been killing the new Queens of the Stone Age record, and the one thing I really love about the album is the lyrics. Then I noticed that the opening line of each track is fantastic. Check it out.

1. Don’t look, just keep your eyes peeled.

2. I sat by the ocean, and drank a potion baby to erase you.

3. I want God to come and take me home, 'cause I'm all alone in this crowd.

4. Gitchy, gitchy, Ooh la la, do run run, you won't get far.

5. Far beyond the desert road, where everything ends up.

6. I never lied, to myself, tonight.

7. Is there anyone out there? Or am I walking alone?

8. It's all in motion, no stoppin' now.

9. Calling all comas, prisoner on the loose.

10. Everyone it seems, has somewhere to go.

They're like little one line poems. I like. A lot.

19 Jun 2013

Don't sink, swim, V2.0

So I am going to revive my blog. Yes, I have said this on numerous occasions, but no, it's not what you might think. I'm sick of reading blogs pushing competitions in my face, resharing videos that are perfectly viewable on YouTube, and linking me to shit I can find on the intertubes.

Basically, I want to use this as my notepad. I want to use this to try new things with words, rearrange letters in a different way, I want to use my blog the way I think blogs were originally intended.

I don't want to tell you which bands to listen to, which tv shows to watch or to make money from advertising or get free shit from brands. I know, the last two are very assumptive and slightly egotistical, thinking that this stupid blog could be monetised. Luckily, I give not a care in the world, I am doing this for me, not you.

But like a good bro, I'll share. Maybe you like the way I structure my sentences, perhaps you fancy the way I don't use too many hyperboles or adjectives, or maybe, you just like my writing. That's all I can ask for as a writer, so if you are reading this, thank you.

I am very inspired and keen to get this going properly, because I want the end result to be a book of some sort, who knows, but that is what this is about, finding out where to go next. Expect some photographs, ideas, both short and long, as well as some insight, thoughts and more of me than I'm accustomed to sharing.

Welcome to my world.

14 Jun 2013

Music, and how we relate to it

As you may know, I listen to a lot of music, and as someone who listens to a lot of music, I think a lot about the kinds of music I listen to. As I've grown older, my music taste hasn't really changed, and even though I've explored and listened to some new stuff, I am increasingly finding myself completely unphased by "new" bands. I have a bunch of favourite bands that make up my normal listening, and these bands are punctuated by the occasional exploration of some random acts, but in the end, I always end up in my safe place. In my familiar zone, if you will.

This got me thinking, is it because most new music is shit (a completely feasible point of view if you asked me three years ago) or is it perhaps because I am getting older? My answer to this question is what got me writing this post you see, it's because I am getting older. 

A really great example is Brand New. I feel like I went through the first-love heartache with Jesse Lacey (Deja Entendu), followed by the first serious girlfriend and the disintegration of whatever the fuck that turned out to be on The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me. Once Jesse and I got over the stupid women we were involved with as younger men, we both obviously found love and started hating other, more worldly things, as can be heard very clearly on Daisy. 

That really is the way I see it. I get it now, I get when my dad used to tell me "you kids and your music", and "when you're older, you'll understand." I do understand, I understand that ageing with a band obviously means that you will be ageing with the material and their inspirations as well, but as you grow with some bands, you will distance yourself from others. 

It's not a case of older music being better, see the new Queens of the Stone Age if you want proof that rock and roll is far from dead, it's just a case of being able to relate to it. That bond is the result of your age and the age of the musician whose music you're listening to being similar. It makes sense that you would identify to music made by someone at a similar stage in their life, rather than with someone who is 10 years your junior and still hasn't had his heart ripped out through his face by a first, or young, love. 

I am not saying you should avoid all bands of which the members are younger, or older, that you are, at all. What I am saying is that if you go and look at your favourite artists of all time, you will likely find some similarities between their stories and yours. 

I think that's how we choose our favourite bands, and the fact that I believe it doesn't have that much to do with the actual music might make me sound a tad nuts, but you know me better than that.


25 Jun 2012

Sometimes a little is all you need.

A lot of the internet has become rather repetitive and I want to avoid that here.  I know I'm the worst blogger in the world,  but hopefully I can grab your attention once more. 

I'm not promising massive investigative posts, or constant bombardment of what you should be listening to. Instead, I'll try do what bloggers used to, I'll kick it old school and use this as an internet based account of what I am and believe.

Hopefully you like reading it. 


23 Apr 2012

When the world surprises you…

I will be the first to admit, I’m a bit of a hater. I don’t like the idea of agreeing with something, “just because.” I like thinking for myself, I like calling things I don’t like “shit” and so on, and so forth. However, this post is not about anything I don’t like, in fact, it’s a happy post. A post about six things which have surprised me in 2012, now remember, I choose to focus on the simple things.

We take too many things for granted, so here (without any promise of a little hating in there somewhere) are my six biggest surprises of 2012.

My first Cape Town autumn. Bizarrely during the five years I’ve lived in Cape Town, I’ve experienced two seasons. Scorching summers, and cold, wet, stormy winters, but this year is different. There’s sunshine to keep the cold away just long enough for me to appreciate the gentle autumn chill in the air.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah played for us, in Wynberg. As if one of my favourite indie acts touring SA isn’t enough, we went to watch them in Wynberg. We were followed by bergies, strolled through the Southern Suburbs and got to see a world class live show. Epic night, epic show, and considering how short the notice was, it was a very pleasant surprise.

VETO. Now I am sure if you follow me on Twitter you would’ve read something about these guys during the past few months. They’ve released a few albums and an EP, and every single song is awesome. I’m not kidding, it’s been a long time since a band had me hooked so quickly. Thanks Alex, I owe you one.

WebAfrica – Once again I have Alex (and Dale) to thank for this one. I was with another service provider and thinking all is well, until I heard of WebAfrica. Not only is my internet connection faster now, but I can also monitor my usage and in so doing avoid be shaped on my uncapped line. Oh, and did I mention that it’s a R100 cheaper than the exact same package I had with my original ISP? They’re a local company, and if you’re looking for an ISP to get you connected quickly, easily and cheaply, I can’t speak highly enough of these guys. Thanks fellas.

How much I’ve learnt about fashion. This is quite a strange surprise, but considering my designer girlfriend and much of my professional work being about fashion, I’ve picked things up. I know the differences between fabrics, I know why melange is all weird looking and what a high-low dress is. Not particularly useful on boys nights, but as I said, SURPRISE!

Finally, our flat. If you've been to our place, you will know that it's old, and cold and awesome. We love our home and that's quite surprising for us, because we've been moving every year since moving to Cape Town. I'm surprised we won't be moving again this year, and the thought of another winter with a fireplace makes me very, very happy. 

So those are my six biggest surprises so far of 2012. I hope the following eight months will be equally surprising and rewarding. I’m definitely not used to such positive posting, but I think I like. I hope you like reading it, and if you did, I may even be able to add a number seven to the list. Not bad at all, considering I don’t like surprises. 

19 Mar 2012

Heaven on earth, Hell on Wheels.

Hell on Wheels - One Ros
As far as music I listen to goes, most of it isn’t exceptionally rare, however, the band I have for you today most certainly is. If you like your indie with a hint of pop, then keep on reading. Hell on Wheels are a four piece outfit from Sweden who make some of the poppiest, whilst edgy, albums I’ve heard.

I first got into them in the UK when a mate handed me their album “Oh My God! What Have I Done?” I was instantly hooked and immediately set about acquiring the other two albums which they had released at the time. 

“The Odd Church” and “There Is A Generation Of Handicapped People To Carry On” are as good as the first and because they’re so damn obscure, I often forget about the band, but upon their rediscovery this weekend, it’s as if they never left. (I also remember we emailed them asking them to come play in London for us, and I think that they only wanted us to pay for their travel and accommodation for a show in a mate's lounge in Bermondsey, what a great band.)

They make happy, infectious pop rock reminiscent of Guided By Voices, Superchunk and the like. Their lyrics, which are in English, albeit bizarrely structured on occasion, always resonate and with lines like “discussing the way I kiss is, none of your fucking business,” they will continue to enjoy my attention.

They’re my happy band, they provide me with a smile, and a spring in my step. The sun’s out, there’s no wind and Hell on Wheels certainly provides a wonderful soundtrack to these summer days. The only problem with their music is actually finding it. And I’m not joking, this shit is more elusive than a parking spot in Cape Town’s CBD.

Here are a couple of tracks I could find for you, I hope you like them, because I sure do.
They’re all from their MySpace page, so have a listen, if you’re into American indie rock from the 90s, I am pretty sure you’ll enjoy this.

I will leave you with one of my favourite lyrics of theirs…

“Well if I got a dollar to spit in your eye, I would take that dollar bill and I would drink so much that it could kill me, because it’s sin, because it’s my nature” – The Soda.

Check our their MySpace page, it has all their tracks, here are some, you know, just to taste...


21 Feb 2012

The solution to everything

Now, I realise that it's a massive statement to make, but considering the size and irrelevance of this here blog, I find the scale of my sweeping statements severely declined, almost palatable. The solution to the world's problems is hate. Now hear me out, not just general disregard and hatred for everything, but I believe that loathing for the right things will help.

If everyone starts disliking crap films, television shows, and movies, the overall standard of entertainment will surely increase. It's science, I don't make the rules. Humanity is extremely stupid and mediocrity is celebrated far too often for my liking. Now I am not saying I'm above all of this, some of my guilty pleasures include some of the worst television shows and films, possibly ever made. I perpetuate the problem, to an extent.

I look around me and I think I am correct when I say that the most celebrated thing on the planet is, in fact, mediocrity. It makes me sad, it fills me with rage, at the same time. I am not claiming for a single second that I am the authority on what is mediocre and what isn't, I am merely pointing out that it should not be celebrated.

When did it become okay to just "get by"? When did we all decide that supporting the bullshit is worth our time and effort? Don't conform simply because it's "there." Grow a spine, take a stand, hate what you can.  It's what the world needs.

We're not only filling the planet with our waste, and babies, but we're losing sight of the good stuff at the same time. Supply is directly related to demand and if the world demands more stupid, it's what we'll get. So even if you only avoid one piece of stupid today, you'll have done a good thing. Then tomorrow, avoid another bit of idiocy, and hopefully it will snowball into a massive ball of hate, for the right things.

That ball of hate will spread across the globe and we can all dislike stupidity and mediocrity in unison, and I am positive that it would result in everyone being really happy, and everything being good. Who says hate is bad? Fools, that's who.


29 Nov 2011

Synergy Live 2011. Done.

So I’ve tried writing this post a few times this morning and I get stuck at the same point every time. It’s the point where what I write becomes so long that I lose your interest halfway, and I fucking hate that, so I will try to avoid doing the same. So here is my take on one of the best festivals I’ve been to.

Friday. It wasn’t the greatest day, but once we arrived, all was better. I had a shady parking (something which become even more important 15 minutes later), we hooked up with the mates and proceeded to pitch tents in the parking lot. In the parking lot? Yes. Because the camp site was far, and we weren’t there to play camp, we were there for rock and roll.

I realised I had not taken our massive tent’s poles along, so my trusted grey spidermonkey served as our camp for the weekend. And let me tell you, as a tall guy, my little i10 is actually super comfortable. I’ve never slept as late at a festival, until 9AM on Sat morning, and my body felt less broken than usual upon our return home.

And that is surprising, because as was discussed many times throughout the weekend, “we didn’t feel that wasted, but we think we’d had quite a lot to drink”. And I think we did, I don’t remember, and I don’t remember because I was too busy hanging out with quality people, watching quality music. Friday night was stolen, for me at least, by Ashtray Electric.

There was a sense of occasion while they were playing, and we all noticed. Goeie werk ouens, ek het julle gese daai album is spesiaal.

My second favourite act was Shadowclub who didn’t care about a few unturned strings, a couple of missed notes or keeping it down. All of these things made it more fucking fantastic. Guys, I like your style, and will certainly be seeing you at many more gigs.

Then Saturday arrived and we were all hungover as hell. It was bright; we crashed around, watched some comedy, ate some greasy goods and sipped on fresh cappuccinos. You know, the typical Cape Town festival way.

(this paragraph has been removed to make space for what’s about to follow)

Then a few bands played, and for the most part they were good, and then Black Rebel Motorcycle Club took the stage. And that’s when Synergy peaked, at the perfect time, before the weekend’s wave would crash and retreat back into Monday.

Primal in its assault, simple in its complexity and unrelenting in its execution, BRMC’s set took all of us on an unparalleled musical journey. It flowed, it was alive, and those who were there, we all felt it. I’m rarely quiet when it comes to my opinion on music, however, all I remember is Dan standing next to me saying “rickbosch is smiling, he’s just smiling. Fuck, so is Rudi!” And that sums it up perfectly.

I had nothing to say, I couldn’t find the words, it was unusual for me. In those two hours from when they started to when the encore finished, it was completely heartfelt. From their renditions of the tracks we all wanted to hear, to their appreciation of the crowd and being invited to South Africa, it was real. We were there. It was great to be a part of the crowd and to still be glowing about it on Tuesday, that doesn’t happen often.

So you see? Details aren’t what matter when it comes to festival reports, only two things do. Did you make it home and did you see music that moved you? I can happily answer yes to both of those, we even made some new friends, got smashed with some old ones, and generally just had a great time.

This was all just topped off with BRMC killer set, and as you can see, I find it hard to let it go. I want to hold onto that feeling for just a little longer, they howled and they crooned, they persuaded us to keep watching, as Robert jumped to the front of the stage smashing his hand onto his heart while asking “what ever happened to our rock and roll?” and for once, we could all look around and drink it in, because it was there. It was them, and it was us and all I could hear was rock and roll.

30 Sep 2011

Debut albums - The oft too easy first album

I've noticed a trend in my listening habits and I think I may be onto something. I love most of my favourite bands' debut albums, it's as if they all have a thread that magically links them together. And I think I've found it.

Bands generally draw heavily from their inspirations on their first albums, I am not going to list all of them here though, because that would just be silly, and it's Friday. Anyway, I think that because those albums are by their definition retrospective, they really do strike a chord with me. If only because it's the same way I look at music.

It's all from somewhere, and I find it more apparent in debut albums. Then comes the "difficult" second album, where the band needs to find its own voice, to drop the comparisons, and I will admit, many pull it off. Then comes the test of longevity, which so many bands fail, hopelessly.

Third albums are killers, they're very difficult to get right and if you don't, then what? My take is just that as musicians these bands grow and the more you grow, the more you want to try new things, it's evolution, but that's also when many bands start losing the plot.

I probably didn't teach you anything, but this train of thought has me going back through all of my favourite bands' debut offerings to see if I spot more of their influences, or themselves (having listened to all their records) on their debut.

And on that note, I will leave you with one question, what do you consider to be the best debut album ever?