Shakira Drowned

I’ve always admired Shakira. Anyone who can come out with the lines

Lucky that my breasts are small and humble
So you don’t confuse them with mountains
Lucky I have strong legs like my mother

and manage to keep a straight face deserves some modicum of respect.
Especially if you’ve seen her mum’s legs.

However, as VH1 played her 2005 hit La Tortura this morning, my son decided that it was time to play with his latest favourite toy: the vacuum cleaner. Thus, with 1400W of Hoover belting away barely 2 feet in front of the telly drowning out her vocal efforts, I was treated to a solely visual performance of the La Tortura video, during which Ms Shakira spills a fair amount of oil over herself (something she probably couldn’t afford to do these days), chops some onions up for a nice casserole and demonstrates the six principles of pilates. Several times over.

I advise you to watch the following video with the sound muted. If you’re from New Zealand, you will particularly appreciate the moment at around 2:17 when she starts doing the Haka.
If you’re from anywhere else, there are still several other humble mountain moments to admire.

Bugger. My wife’s home. You ain’t seen me, right?

More diary entries please

Actually, there wasn’t a “please”.

I may be 34 years old, but despite my distance (both physical and chronological) from the family nest, the voice of my mum (now often experienced via email) still carries that air of authority. Apparently, there aren’t enough “diary entries” on 6000 miles… Nor should I be drinking beer during Lent. This despite the fact that both my mother and I are committed atheists and drunkards.

So. Diary entries.
Well, this evening, we attended the Summer Sunset Concert at Kirstenbosch Gardens under threatening, but lenient skies. Arno Carstens was performing, and any South African will tell you that you can’t miss Arno.
Once again, he performed some of his great music and totally failed to connect with the audience. Except for that expletive when he got a blast of feedback, which sent several old people home in disgust. Probably mostly retired mixing desk technicians.

I’ve uploaded a few pics from the concert. I’ve got to be honest: once again, it was primarily about the people watching and less about the music. Don’t get me wrong – the music was excellent – but the opportunity to gaze at and comment upon the population of Cape Town’s southern suburbs is not one that can easily be passed up.

   
Click for bigger versions of each pic

First up, we have a lady who we know, but we don’t. Yes, that friend of a friend thing strikes again. If the wife wasn’t pregnant and had a brain consisting mainly of freshly boiled porridge oats and if I hadn’t had a skinful of Castle Milk Stout, we would remember you. Sorry. I feel that I should offer some sort of reward for your name. I’m thinking “Dave”, but that just doesn’t sound right.

Secondly, an aggravating old bloke who wanted to stalk watch Arno with binoculars the whole time. Creepy. He kept getting irritated with people for standing up and blocking his perving.
Fancy. Standing up at a music concert. Whatever next?
His lady* friend went on to ignore the no smoking signs and exhaled her fumes all over my pregnant wife. Bitch.

Lastly, a shot of Arno on stage, doing his thing. I may have got a bit of my beer bottle in shot. Sorry about that. Photography isn’t my strong point. Drinking is though and one out of two ain’t bad.

So, Mum; I hope this pacifies you a little. I sat next to a really iritating bloke and his filthy missus just so that I had some stuff to tell the world about.
It was worth it though: as I lay back with my 5th bottle of beer and gazed up at the lack of mountain, Arno did his best to sum it all up:

Can you feel it?
Can you feel it?
It is heaven on earth

Well, Arno – perhaps for you.
Personally, I was missing the naked dancing girls, the masseuse, a Debonairs pizza and some sunshine.
I guess you just set your standards a little lower than I do.
I’m surprised. You always struck me as the naked dancing girl type as well.

* It might have been female, anyway.

Equine sign

In the week that Canadian diva, Celine “Ole Horse Face” Dion arrived in Cape Town to perform two concerts at Vergelegen Wine Estate as part of her Taking Chances tour , the Western Province Horse Society chose to release the following reminder to horse owners across the province:

African Horse Sickness
Link

Coincidence? I think not.

If only Canada had enforced some sort of export ban, we’d be feeling a lot happier in Cape Town right now.

I’m sure that I’m not alone in this city as I pray for hoarse of a different kind.
Won’t somebody please think of the children?

How did I miss Richard Hawley?

One of the most difficult things about emigrating is keeping up with things back home. Sure, you want to embrace the new lifestyle and the culture of your new home, but that doesn’t mean that you should completely lose touch with the land of your birth.

And thus, when I find myself watching Sky News and finding out about a musician I’ve never heard of – the surprise nominee for the Best Solo Male at the upcoming BRIT Awards – and he’s from Sheffield, I know I’m letting it slip a bit.

Richard Hawley is 41 years old* and has been working in music for years as a session musician for the likes of REM, Gwen Stafani, Nancy Sinatra, All Saints and Arctic Monkeys.
His first solo album came out in 2000 – long before I left the UK, but he’s achieved little commercial success. His albums to date have all had a Sheffield reference to them, including his 2007 offering Lady’s Bridge, promoted by the release of special edition Henderson’s Relish bottles. Too cool.

But it was his comments on Sheffield’s steel industry that made me laugh. He, like me, gets a little depressed and nostalgic when he goes to Kelham Island Museum. As he points out:

Working in Sheffield’s steel industry was a job that had dignity.
Can you see there being Call Centre Museums in 30 years time?

“Look, that’s where your dad plugged ‘is phone in”
“I can remember, me laptop used t’ sit rate ‘ere”

No, because those jobs don’t have dignity. No-one wants to remember them.  

As for the music – Roy Orbison meets Jarvis Cocker, Morrissey and Nick Cave. Perhaps a little Country/Folky/Pub Crooner for some, but it’s worth a listen anyway. Plenty to watch and listen to on YouTube.

I won’t mention his taste in football clubs. He has none.

* so getting on a bit… (P.S. Hi Ant! *grin*)

Muse in Cape Town

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while now.

Are you going to see Muse in Cape Town on 24th March?
You’re not?
Oh, it must be me then.

So goes a variation on a very old Dale Collins joke. And no, it wasn’t really very funny when he did it either.

I can’t recall being more excited about a concert since Glastonbury 2003. And I might not even have been this excited then. I am literally quivering with mounting anticipation. TTypingg iss a problemm.
I think that Muse* are probably the last big band in my “want to see them, but haven’t yet” category. Well, them and the Arctic Monkeys, but Arctic Monkeyism only really took off long after I left the UK. I’ve been wanting to see Muse for ~10 years now, but we (Muse and I) never got together. In leaving the UK, I thought I’d probably blown any chance of ever seeing them (or anyone even half decent).

In truth, Muse aren’t even topping the bill at the My Coke Fest concert.
In truth, there’s a whole lot of detritus to sit through before they come on, but I guess that I can tick a few more bands off the list (and I am looking forward to seeing Kaiser Chiefs).
In truth, although you are probably envisioning a backdrop of Table Mountain with Matt Bellamy giving it some welly up front on Hysteria, it’s more likely to be power cuts and the slightly less romantic backdrop of Rondebosch East, (which will also have a power cut).  
And in truth, although “Muse in Cape Town” sounds like the title of one of those ads for outlandishly expensive concert trips in the back of Melody Maker or Q magazine, it’s actually more a case of “Muse just at the end of our road”.
But that doesn’t sound nearly as cool.

So if you’ll forgive me – I’m going to milk this one for all its worth.
Right back at you, Ms Perry. *wink*

* Some great live downloads available here.