Music in Politics

Those of you in South Africa will be well accustomed to the use of music in politics. So much of the African culture revolves around music and dance, that no decent South African political rally is complete without the obligatory traditional songs and dancing.
But music has also been used in politics in the UK too. Remember back in 1997, when Labour swept to power, D:Ream’s Things Can Only Get Better was their victory song. 12 years on, some might disagree with that sentiment.

The big difference of course, is that here, the politicians join in with the singing.
In fact, Jacob Zuma (our President-in-waiting) even has his own much-discussed theme song, Umshini wami. And he’s got quite a voice on him:

But things are changing. Perhaps having seen the success of JZ and eager to have about 30 million voters giving him their X, North Hertfordshire Council hopeful, the Liberal Democrats’ Allan Witherick has come up with his rap “Six to Fix”, malaigning the shortfalls of the current Conservative council.

I would ask you to compare the passion, the performance and the personalities of JZ and Allan. I would also ask you to ensure that you don’t have anything in your mouth as you click on the video below, as you may be in danger of
choking.

UPDATE: Allan has made his video private. If you’re watching it, you’re a friend of Allan. Just saying.
Fortunately, I’ve found a copy for you here.

Yes, “that, my friends is our six to fix in a funky mix with a little bit of flair”.

I’m glad he finished off by telling us that. I had completely missed the funk and the flair was sadly drowned out by he sound of my sides splitting.
Probably best we leave the music to JZ, hey?

They’re building my rocket

Here’s a picture I snapped in the traffic on the way to work yesterday.

Many of you will be thinking that I was trying to catch the slightly spooky mammatus clouds over Koeberg Interchange, juxtaposed against the startlingly bright peachy morning sky to the north.
But you’d only be partially correct.

No – this is to show readers that as part of the ongoing Koeberg Interchange revamp, the Province has finally bowed to my demands for a rocket in order that I don’t have to spend hours each day sitting in the traffic.
While the plebs will be stuck on the new bridge to the N1 (you can see one of the supports on the left), I will be launched in my rocket (under construction, right) to (hopefully) land near my destination in record time.

The only flaw in my otherwise brilliant plan is the election next week, at which it is widely expected that Helen Zille and the DA will capture the Western Cape. Their Transport, Public Works and Public Accounts bloke, Robin Carlisle, was on the radio last night saying that if the DA did win the Province, he would cut back on wasteful expenditure in roads and road-building projects.
I think some may feel that my rocket falls into that bracket.

Thus, I have instructed my workers to get a move on and finish it before next Wednesday. Blast off!

Voting abroad – a good idea?

No.

With Election Day less than a week away, yesterday was the day on which South Africans living, working or visiting overseas were able to make their vote count.
It’s been a contentious issue, with the DA and VF+ camapigning vigourously for the right of overseas Saffas to vote, then having to suffer the indignity of a tiny number that actually bothered to register to do so (7,472 out the approximately 600,000 in the UK).

While I respect that it is the Constitutional right of those overseas to have their say, I don’t agree with it. The information that is disseminated out from SA is often overly negative, incorrect and highly subjective and unless you are willing to really dig deep to find out the facts, I can’t see how you can make an informed, valid choice on the issues at hand. However, when I tried to point this out, I was told in no uncertain terms by commentors that of course they knew exactly what was going on in SA and they couldn’t wait to have their say. I was wrong, apparently. Ha!

To cut a long story short, a great fanfare was made (especially in London) about the “massive numbers” of those knowledgable people who turned out to make their democratic mark. And here’s the front page photo from The Times this morning showing just a few of those people (who know all about South Africa), queuing to vote:

20090415175041expats_matt_dunham_ap
Knowledgable voters wait to vote

Erm… ladies, I know you know all there is to know about SA and everything, but isn’t that flag a bit… upside down?

NPA-like, I rest my case.

Take courage, my friend

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the UK has come under fire for banning an advertisement for Courage Beer which it has deemed “unacceptable”:

A beer advert that suggested a man needed a drink before gaining enough “Dutch courage” to tell a woman that a new dress made her bottom look big, is unacceptable, the advertising watchdog said on Wednesday.
The poster ad for Courage beers showed a nervous man sitting on a sofa next to a can of beer with a woman standing with her back to him wearing a figure-hugging dress with its sales label still attached. [link]

The Tall Accountant has his opinion on the whole affair:

See the link for the latest from the nanny state.
I am not quite sure what the ASA’s issue is given that the whole issue is rooted in fact.

I can see where he’s coming from, but of course, I disagree.   

 

courage

A can of bitter is not going to be enough to assist the young gentleman on the sofa in expressing his opinion vis a vis the size of his girlfriend’s arse clearly and concisely to her. Believing that would be folly and would put him – and countless other blokes across the UK who regularly find themselves in the same difficult situation and think that a quick beer will save them – in great danger: No – you’re going to need at least a couple of four-packs for that. 

Drinking heavily before taking on the mission of answering the “does my bum look big in this?” question helps by allowing you to describe the potential problem(s) with the new outfit in detail, and also goes some way towards dulling the immediate pain caused by being struck with the iron, her shoe or your beer glass. It also has the added advantage of also relaxing your body so that your fall to the floor is less likely to do you permanent harm.
Of course, in a best case scenario, you would get so drunk that your other half actually looked attractive despite her massive arse being squeezed into a dress two sizes too small.

Of course, the ASA is unable to cite these genuine dangers as their reason for pulling the ad, because women just wouldn’t understand. This would lead to troubling debate during the ad break on Coronation Street regarding the ASA decision which in turn might lead to that horrible question about the new dress she bought last weekend at Meadowhell. Danger, Will Robinson!!
Better then to say that it might be construed as “offensive” and leave it at that.

Anyway, once again, the ASA decision to ban the advert has led to it becoming a global news story. The Wells & Youngs Brewing Company – who brew Courage Ales – must be gutted.

CokeZeroFest 2009 – Review

COKE ZERO FEST 2009 PHOTOS AND VIDEOS HERE!

Having survived the nightmarish drive out of the otherwise stunning Lourensford Wine Estate and the 60km back to Cape Town late yesterday evening, I feel I am now in a position to let you know if the 2009 CokeZeroFest was a hit or a miss.
And I’m going “hit”.

From the time we drove into the venue, surrounded on three sides by mountains, with sweeping views down to False Bay on the fourth, it was obvious that this was going to be a chilled day in the sun with some (hopefully) decent music to listen to while we were at it. And we didn’t have long to wait – diving from the beer tent through into the Golden Circle to see Die Heuwels Fantasties, and their unique brand of Afrikaans rock. I’m not a great Afrikaans speaker, but the music was pretty good – and made last year’s Van Coke Kartel look as amateurish as a first round Idols failure.
They were followed up by more Afrikaans rock in the shape of Foto na Dans, who have a lead singer bearing a worrying resemblance to Leo Sayer. That concern aside though, choral tones over the heavy nu-metal background made for an interesting and (perhaps surprisingly) functional combination. Great stuff and certainly worth a listen.
It should be noted that this genre of music is supported by a fanatical following and they were out in force up front for the first two acts.

Time for some English now though, please and Cassette obliged after a slightly shaky start with the bearded Jon Savage striding around the stage and giving us his no-holds-barred opinions of the last minute cancellations. Pushing their new album Who do You Trust?with the title track accompanied by a cartoon of Jacob Zuma on the big screens was topical and popular. The Boomtown Rats’ Tell me why (I don’t like Mondays) cover was a big hit, as was Useless Confusion.

Now, my most eagerly anticipated act: Zebra & Giraffe. Widely tipped to be the next “big” SA band, they blew me away with their New Order vs The Cure mildly melancholic electronica. It amazes me that there are some bands that are still able to find a niche in the music market which no-one has previously exploited. While others are producing decent, enjoyable but somewhat “samey” tracks, Z&G are novel, refreshing and exciting. And eminently listenable. The performance was tight and professional, the audience interaction not too full-on, but enough to let us know they knew we were there. Very impressive and definitely the best SA band of the day. Questions do need to be asked about Greg Carlin’s choice of shirt, however.

Cape Town’s Dirty Skirts were up next and provided us with a decent, if unspectacular, set – probably their best offering being Daddy Don’t Disco. There was no huge audience connection though, which rather let them down. I have to admit to being a little disappointed. I’ve missed a couple of gigs and was told I was missing out, but it just didn’t click. That said, I like their stuff enough to give them another chance. Soon.
And there was more disappointment on the way with aKING. I’ve heard a fair amount of their stuff and I think they are hugely over-rated and their lukewarm performance did nothing to change my opinion. It was heavy, stodgy, dull. The crowd was enthusiastic though, despite the rather bland set. Time for a burger and (another) beer.

And then, the international acts, led by Panic at the Disco, who were friendly, funny and fun. Once again, an overseas act seemed bemused by a less-than-eager South African crowd, but they got through their hits and there was fun and rather too much audience participation to be had as they rounded off their set with a cover of Lulu’s enduring hit Shout. Energetic it was, and a really tight, well-rehearsed set. Impressive, if not unexpected.

Snow Patrol were next up and (for me) stole the show. They had the crowd eating out of their hands before they even came on stage with their “All of these places feel like home” display on the big screen. The power of words is incredible (if you have several thousand drunk teenagers in front of you).

It’s obvious that Gary Lightbody loves performing and loves to see his songs being enjoyed. And it was an emotional set, with the powerful Run and Chasing Cars thrown in between faster harder numbers like Eyes Open and Take Back the City. Gary couldn’t help but enthuse over the beautiful scenery, gorgeous people and wonderful country. But it was spontaneous and from the heart. You could just see that he was loving every minute of where he was and what he was doing. You can’t fake that sort of honesty.

And then, the finale: Oasis. They look old not just because of the drink and the drugs, but because they are old. But boy – they’ve still got it. Liam strutted around like he owned the place, barking orders at the sound desk and striking a bully-boy pose between lyrics. Attitude personified.

Noel looked older still, wandering around sloth-like and seemingly confused. But when it came to that voice… Wow. Every note, perfect; every chord, perfect. The brothers are well known for their “don’t give a toss” attitude, but it works so well on stage and it was a remarkable experience to see them live at long last. Love them or hate them, you have to admire their longevity against all the odds, and dare I say that their new stuff is sounding like it will stand alongside the classics like Wonderwall and Slide Away.
For me, Noel’s performance of Don’t Look Back in Anger was arguably the most spectacular moment of the entire day. And when you remember that it was up against those powerful modern classics from Snow Patrol, that’s saying something.

All in all, money well spent and an utterly superb day out.
Wonderful venue, great organisation, nice beer, great crowd, good music, perfect weather.

See you next year. And don’t forget those photos and videos!