7 weeks

It’s just seven weeks until The Killers play “Cape Town” and that might explain why my whole family was dancing around the new study to the dulcet sounds of Brandon Flowers this evening before bathtime. We were both Human and Dancer, before you ask.

But it’s the brilliant cover they did of Dire Straits’ Romeo & Juliet that I’ve decided to share with you this evening. This was an amazing song to begin with and they have more than done it justice.
I know that the band are regular readers of this blog (who isn’t?), so guys, please can you play this one just as the sun is setting over the Franschhoek mountains, please?

This may or may not mark the beginning of a regular Killers-related Sunday blog post feature leading up the the concert.

Choked

I’m in shock. Mildly, anyway. I just got this in my email from a-ha’s official website:

With the current album ‘Foot of The Mountain’ enjoying both commercial success and critical acclaim, A-ha has decided to call it a day.

As a consequence, A-ha will not be releasing any further albums in the future.

The band would like to thank their fans and everyone who has contributed to their amazing journey, and say:
‘We’ve literally lived the ultimate boy’s adventure tale, through a longer, more rewarding career than anyone could hope for.
Doing this now will give us a chance to get more involved in other meaningful aspects of life, be it humanitarian work, politics, or whatever else – and of course through new constellations in the field of art and music. We are retiring as a band, not as individuals.
Change is always difficult and it is easy to get set in one’s ways. Now it is time to move on.’

Wow. We shared a quarter of a century together.
You were my first compact disc, you came to my school discos, you kept me sane on wet Lake District holidays.
You popped in while I was at University, you played at my wedding (on CD, because we couldn’t afford to fly you to Cape Town and still have the lamb on the menu) and at the birth of my child (as an mp3 file, for obvious reasons); a child that I then named after your lead singer. 
You are my most played band on iTunes. By a country mile.

And now you leave me for humanitarian work and politics? Politics??

Gutted.

Not always what it seems…

Look, I know that you’re all ready and waiting for something big after my refreshing break at Fancourt, but I need to let you in on a long-held secret here. The lifestyle of a top blogger isn’t always as exciting as you might imagine.
Sure, there’s the jet-setting up and down the country, the trips abroad, the glamorous wife and the copious volumes of red wine, but to balance that out, there has to be a certain degree of mundanitude as well.
For example, tonight, I’m going to be moving some furniture around so that my carpets can be cleaned tomorrow. And no, there are no euphemisms in there at all. Literally, I am moving a couple of couches so the guys can wash the floor covering underneath them. With two small kids and a whole heap of building work, they certainly need the attention.

But every cloud has its silver lining. On the plus side, I get to move into my new study too. The walls are up, the ceiling is done and the desk is there. In an amazing show of foresight, Mrs 6000 even managed to organise some of those special holes with the plastic edges so you don’t have wires hanging everywhere. True, I’d have preferred them in the desk, but it’s surely the thought that counts.

Once the “plumbing in” of all the electronica is completed, I can then get round to listening to some loud music and tonight’s offering may well be the bizarre – yet brilliant – sounds of Werk 80 II by German Goth legends, Atrocity. There’s something strangely captivating about Alexander Krull’s voice doing their industrial metal-style cover of Bronski Beat’s Smalltown Boy.

atrocity

Rumour has it that Alexander is rather proud of his luxurious mane – and checking it out – who wouldn’t be? In the image above, he has even had a couple of saucily-clad minxes super-imposed on the picture, but you were so busy looking at his hair, you never even noticed, right?
That’s how confident he is of the enchanting, mesmerising, hypnotising effect of his hair. It’s powerful stuff.
Strong, lengthy, well-maintained Teutonic hair. Big hair.

[Hint: one of them has a bare bottom. A slightly greased bare bottom. On the left. Got it yet?]

Regular readers will probably just suggest that I threw that picture in precisely because of the saucily-clad minxes. Apparently, I have a record of occasionally publishing gratuitous saucily-clad minx pictures.

Do you have a problem with that?

183 days late…

I was delighted to see that cover article of this week’s Sunday Times Magazine was about the Pet Shop Boys and even more delighted to read that they have a new album “out now at selected retail outlets”.
And that’s great stuff, because there will always be a place for cheesy electronica.

Imagine then, my disappointment as I read that this new album was called Yes. Disappointment because Yes came out back in March. Six months ago. So why are the Sunday Times telling us about it now? What’s the story?

The copyright for the article showed that it was from The Guardian, so I had a quick google (behind closed doors) and found that the original article was published on the 14th March 2009. A full 183 days before the local rag got round to publishing it.

How emboeresing.

I don’t mind the local newspapers publishing articles from the international press. Not at all.
But please, keep it relevant. This is just outdated nonsense.

One further irony in Alex Petridis’ article was this paragraph: 

The Pet Shop Boys occupy a unique place in the public affections, long after most of their ’80s pop peers have vanished: it’s perhaps worth noting that when their first hit, West End Girls, reached number one in 1986, it was fighting off stiff competition from a-ha.

Of course, in the intervening period between this article about the Pet Shop Boy’s tenth studio album being published in the UK and over here, a-ha released their ninth studio album (even the Daily Mail knew that!). 
All of which – reading in September – makes the paragraph completely nonsensical, as any half-decent music journalist would have noted.

Maybe the Sunday Times should get one of those.

Morne Harmse – sentence is passed

And the recriminations can now begin.

Morne Harmse, the schoolboy with the masks and the Samurai sword who killed a fellow pupil at his Krugersdorp School last year, was this week sentenced to an effective 20 years in prison.
And of course, there are those who think this is too lenient and those who think it is too harsh. Aren’t there always?

In sentencing someone for these sort of crimes, I believe, a number of different factors have to be taken into consideration by the judge: the degree of premeditation, the effects of the crime and perhaps most importantly, the underlying reasons that the incident took place. And on that, there is also considerable disagreement. The sensationalists went with Satanism and Slipknot, the more rational minds with the sorry mental state of a confused and misunderstood teenage boy.

The State – pandering to the masses – wheeled out Kobus Jonker, self-styled “expert” on “the occult”, who interviewed Harmse and gave testimony that although he (Harmse) had dabbled in “the occult”, there was little evidence to suggest that this was the cause of Harmse’s attack. Wrong coloured candles, apparently. Helpful stuff.

Jonker has a dubious reputation in South Africa, as Jacques Rousseau points out in The Star today and one can only hope that in sentencing, the judge completely disregarded the nonsense this “expert” gave the court.

Perhaps there would be more value in following the advice of The Times commenter ‘RSinangola’ on this issue:

Bring back corporal punishment at school and at home and there will be a more than 50% chance that this won’t happen again.

RSinangola  explains neither the  background nor the mathematical workings behind his theory, but since he has submitted them for publication in a national newspaper, I think we can rest assured that he has thoroughly tested his hypothesis.
And until someone comes up with a better plan, which may give us, say, “a more than 75% chance that this won’t happen again”, maybe we should take his comment on board and reinstitute corporal punishment forthwith.
Well done, that man.