Blog Archive

Thursday, November 16, 2017

bad blue boy


Last week I discovered a delightful local radio station by chance in the work's delivery vehicle when a convoluted delivery was forced on me. The station is named "Bosveld Stereo" and the large Levina's radio was loudly tuned to it at 107.5 FM when I turned the key in the ignition.

Pleasantly surprised, I rediscovered long-forgotten songs from my early childhood and the trip was made that much more bearable. Who remembers "Sorry, I'm a Lady" from Baccara? How about "Endless Road" from the Time Bandits? And "Take Me Back" by Geraldine?

*

Over the weekend I tuned into the same station for some background music (on our much appreciated superb quality hand-me-down home stereo) and on Sunday night while slouching on the couch after a long, hot day in the garden, heard one of my high school favourites - "I Totally Miss You" by Bad Boys Blue.

I am still fascinated by the power music has to transport my mind to a specific time in my life.

Now I guess it's a sad thing that those bad boys were one of my favourites during high school but there is just something about their music that still controls an emotional flood switch in my mind. I was reminded of my matric year, 1992, and another one of their songs that is contained in the soundtrack of a very blue time in my life.

You see, there was this boy I knew in high school. His name was Paul Coetzee and from the very first time I laid eyes on him I was consumed by the most enormous crush. My school divided pupils into classes alphabetically according to the first letter of their surname. Since his surname started with the letter before mine, we always ended up in the same class. He was also in the school choir and his position was right behind me in the bass section. I remember always leaning back slightly so that I could feel him touch my back throughout the course of choir practices... and even performances.

We were never friends and during a casual group conversation once he made it pretty clear what the thought of "faggots" and the things he would do to one of those if they ever made a pass at him.

Still, the heart wants what it wants.

Close to the conclusion of my school career and throughout final exams, I sensed that the end was nigh and I started listening obsessively to a specific Bad Boys Blue song. Over and over I played it on my Walkman, rewinding the tape when the song was over for just one more listen.

Bad Boys Blue - Save Your Love

It started one night in Milano
A candle-light dinner, Italian style
We danced - she whispered "Ti amo" 
A morning came, and we had to say:
Good-bye - so hold me once more
Good bye - and kiss me one more time
Just one more time

Save your love
Until I will return
Let the flames of fire burn
In your heart forever
Save your love
Don´t give it someone new
Everything is up to you
Till I'm back forever

She gave me one night of devotion
A fire of love was burning inside
I couldn't escape my emotions
And I nearly died when we had to say:
Good-bye - I want you to stay
Good-bye - so please, come back one day
Come back some day

Save your love
Until I will return
Let the flames of fire burn
In your heart forever
Save your love
Don´t give it someone new
Everything is up to you
Till I'm back forever

I´m so in love with you
The first time I feel this way
I promise - I´ll wait for you

Such anguish! After five years of almost daily contact, the thought of never seeing Paul again crushed me into the ground and I am still not sure how I survived that blow. I guess reading this excellent book helped a lot.

*

Watching the rediscovered music video now, though extremely cheesy, still takes me right back to that teenage anguish.


Luckily The One will be home soon to nurture and calm me the way he does.

Written by I

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

perspective


Last night my phone's video player randomly selected one of my favourite ABBA songs and I was instantly transported back to 1981 when I was seven.

I gustily mouthed the lyrics which, like all of the band's songs, I know off by heart. My silly mind made some silly notes and I thought I might share them here... see turquoise annotations in italic below.

The Day Before You Came - ABBA

I must have left my house at eight, because I always do
5AM for me so I miss traffic
My train, I'm certain, left the station just when it was due
Swedes would die here waiting for public transport
I must have read the morning paper going into town
And having gotten through the editorial, no doubt I must have frowned
Reading about Zuma's latest antics on Google News does the same for me
I must have made my desk around a quarter after nine
Wow. I make mine at 5:30AM.
With letters to be read, and heaps of papers waiting to be signed
Sounds about right if you add responding to sottish and demanding emails
I must have gone to lunch at half past twelve or so
The usual place, the usual bunch
Lunch? What's that? Sounds like fun.
And still on top of this I'm pretty sure it must have rained
The day before you came
I can't remember anymore how my days were before The One came

I must have lit my seventh cigarette at half past two
Rarely smoke at work. No time.
And at the time I never even noticed I was blue
I must have kept on dragging through the business of the day
Without really knowing anything, I hid a part of me away
Sing it, sister.
At five I must have left, there's no exception to the rule
A matter of routine, I've done it ever since I finished school
I made it my rule recently... to beat traffic
The train back home again
Undoubtedly I must have read the evening paper then
Oh yes, I'm sure my life was well within its usual frame
The day before you came

I must have opened my front door at eight o'clock or so
How far away does she work?? Takes me 40 minutes to get home by car.
And stopped along the way to buy some Chinese food to go
Ohk. Chinese place must have been busy.
I'm sure I had my dinner watching something on TV
There's not, I think, a single episode of Dallas that I didn't see
I always thought she said "Yes, now that I think a single episode..." See mondegreen.
Also, I used to crawl under my parents' bed and illegally peep-watch Dallas from there.
I must have gone to bed around a quarter after ten
I need a lot of sleep, and so I like to be in bed by then
11PM for me
I must have read a while
The latest one by Marilyn French or something in that style
I'm still trudging through Dostoevsky, page by dreary page. Beats sleeping pills every time.
It's funny, but I had no sense of living without aim
What.
Oh. Yeah . Yes. That'ts me before The One.
The day before you came

And turning out the light
I must have yawned and cuddled up for yet another night
Every night I cuddle up to a purry cat, a nervous Maltese, a farty Pug, a pushy and licky Rottweiler.
And my beautiful husband.
And rattling on the roof I must have heard the sound of rain
Really nice music
The day before you came

*

As a bonus, here's the video so you can watch and feel nostalgic with me:


Written by I



Thursday, September 21, 2017

three little birds


On Sunday afternoon we had the season's first hint of a highveld thunderstorm. Ominous clouds gathered and bolts of lightning sent shivers of delight down my spine. Sadly, high winds swept the clouds and thunder away and we only had a smidgen of rain. 

*

I hadn't washed the car the night before because of the threatening storm and I had to use the wiper to clean the grimy windscreen on my way to work because I couldn't see a thing. Going to work on a Monday is never pleasant; I was still in a daze when I opened the shop at twilight and stumbled in, switching on lights, computers and printers on the way to my desk.

I scanned my e-mails and started printing some of the more urgent jobs. By 6:30 I'd managed to wake up and had even made myself a coffee. I slipped outside for a quick morning fag before the day began in earnest.

I'd missed it on my way in but on the paving in front of the shop there was a pitiful little bundle of down, shivering in the cool morning breeze. My gut wrenched as I went to have a closer look. The wind must have blown the tiny sparrow out of its warm nest under the eaves and smashed it onto the cold, hard ground. Cowardly I turned away and had my smoke, shaking like a leaf. On the way back inside my gut wrenched once more. It was still breathing. Cruelly I reminded myself that I'd tried and failed to save little ones like these many times before. Maybe I needed to accept that nature had to take it's course.

Even though the day was insanely hectic I could not stop thinking about the quivering, dying chick outside. Sobs were simmering just under the surface but I managed to keep a straight face while praying for a quick end to the tiny thing's short life. 

By 12:00 I felt that I'd waited long enough and that the worst would surely be over. I grabbed some serviettes from the stash I keep in my desk drawer and headed outside. My calculations had been correct. I carefully folded the minute body into a soft serviette to put it away. It was surprisingly cold and limp in my hand.

Turning around, I spotted two more chicks that had been plunged to their tiny deaths from the disheveled nest. My heart broke again... it was a good thing I had those extra serviettes.

Three little birds lay side by side in their green funereal shrouds as I wished them a fortuitous journey.

Written by I

Sunday, August 27, 2017

resurrection


What a macabre way to resurrect the blog...



No, those are not satanist altars in our back yard. Those are the remains of the once mighty white stinkwood and jacaranda trees after they were hacked down because they were in danger of damaging our little house as well as the precious boundary wall that separates us from the boozing gangster at Egoli Villas, the fancifully named flats next door.

It happened on Saturday the 8th of July - the day after The One's birthday. I suppose in a sense it was his birthday present.

The tree felling team I had selected after careful consideration (they were the cheapest) arrived at 7:00am as arranged. The driver had a spot of bother to reverse the vehicle and trailer up our narrow driveway but he succeeded after a few attempts. The team went about their grisly task, unloading a frightening array of various sized chainsaws, hacksaws, axes, hatchets, machetes and other murderous tools.


They started with the white stinkwood (celtis africana). One of the guys scampered to the very top like a squirrel, chainsaw dangling from a strap around his neck. He knew exactly which branches would bear his weight even though some of them looked too flimsy from where I stood. From his precarious perch he started cutting down branches, beginning with sprigs and methodically moving on to large boughs. He handed manageable chunks to another guy who had climbed onto the roof. The second guy carefully chucked the limbs onto the paving below; another two guys chopped large branches into smaller pieces and dragged them off to the trailer waiting in the driveway. The team leader gave instructions and assisted where needed.

It was fascinating to watch and even though it was awkward I could not stop staring. I wanted to photograph the process but then I felt like a tourist, running around and clicking like a fool.

When the tree was hafway gone, a woman from the flats screamed from the other side of the wall, complaining about the early morning noise. The team paused but I instructed them to ignore her. We are extremely quiet neighbours; however, we often have to put up with the deafening drunkery at the flats so I did not feel guilty in the least. Other residents quietly watched from their windows while the chainsaws continued hacking.

It was like watching a well rehearsed acrobatic performance and in less than an hour the tree was reduced to a glum stub.

The jacaranda (jacaranda mimosifolia) was next. Having fallen over before, there were many branches that extended far over the wall and the guy with the chainsaw had to contort into odd positions to reach them. Still, not one branch fell over and it took even less time to finish the tree off.

By 9:00am the team were blowing the last debris down the driveway with a leaf blower. The One had slept throughout all of it even though the action happened right by the bedroom windows.

*


It was up to me to get rid of the stumps before they started growing again and after a bit of research I found that I simply had to drill some holes into the wood, fill them with Epsom salts and seal them with candle wax. Apparently you can use weedkiller as well; however, I'm sure that would poison the entire area around the stump so I went the more environmentally friendly route.

My drill wasn't really up to it and drilling simple holes into the wood proved extremely arduous as the drill bit kept seizing in the damp, dense wood. I damn near burned the thing out. Anyway, after taking longer to drill 30 holes than the experts had taken to hew down both trees, I finally filled and sealed them.

I never considered how much privacy the trees actually afforded us... the boozers and their hellions can see much more into our yard now than I like.

*



With spring around the corner, our garden will be a dismal place without the wind whispering through the bright green stinkwood leaves. Flocks of birds cheerfully chirping will find other roosts at dusk.

Without gentle cascades of purple jacaranda flowers there will be no bees industriously zipping around, no delicate fragrance on the evening breeze.



Written by I

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

transparent


Long time.

I must have filled a shit tonne of hours watching Top Gear UK, all illegally downloaded episodes of the almost-recent series which I received from a friend. Having been born a petrol-head, when the Clarkson-Hammond-May trinity ended on BBC I switched to watching them on Amazon. I'm sorry...the latest Top Gear guys, though some of them are nice to look at, just don't cut it technically. 

*

More recently I discovered a small series by virtue of surfing and I've been hungrily gorging myself on the surprisingly fulfilling 30 minute episodes. The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead remain firm favorites for pumping up adrenaline while Gravity Falls and Adventure Time fill my every whimsy. American Horror Story still horrifies me while Westworld fascinates and titillates my mind.

Meanwhile, Emerald City and countless others are winking in the distance...

Even so, it's been absolute ages since a single scene has had the presence to make me ache to express its poignancy poetically. It is refreshing that this simple story offers those scenes without end.


Written by I

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

best in b&w


Why not? Still home alone, I'm doing a best 7 Black & White music videos:

No. 7: 1812 Overture - Tchaikovsky


I've always maintained that the best performances of this monumental work features the largest cannons. This version does not disappoint.

No. 6: Toya Delazy - Pump It On


Yeah. Go, South Africa!

No.5: Depeche Mode - Strangelove


Shunned worldwide, but so brilliant.

No.4: Adele - Someone Like You


Just wow.

No. 3: Madonna - Girl Gone Wild


This video is so irreverent. And desirable.

No.2: Monarchy - Living Without You


Best played at 12:00AM on 1 January upon your indoor hi-fi system at 150%+ to ensure your pets remain unaware of the yobbos firing cheap but immensely loud firecrackers outside. Repeat until 3:00AM on the same day and as many times after that as needed to maintain a reasonable level of sanity.

No.1: Woodkid - I Love You (Quintet Version)


I'm afraid this one still wins. I love you, Mr van Rooyen.

Written by I

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

worries


As a bona fide Arian, I am supposed to be a fiery warrior, protected by the ancient god of war.

Sadly, I find that I have become a worrier instead. I just worry about everything.

For example, this morning I was up at 7am (I'd set an alarm clock as well as my phone to make sure I got up) to drag our reeking municipal bin into the street to be emptied. Filled to the point of overflowing with grass clippings, green ham and mouldy bread, it was imperative that it got emptied no later than today. 

I stumbled back into a bed scattered with bleary-eyed pets; however I couldn't go back to sleep right away... I was worrying that I hadn't seen anyone else's bins out. 

Had I got it all wrong? Did everyone in our street know something I didn't? I checked the municipal bin collection schedule online and it confirmed that our bin would be collected Mondays, come hell or high water. Calmed somewhat, I drifted off into a feverish slumber for some hours.

At 10am I was outside again, checking the status of the rancid bin. I'd parked it in the centre of the driveway but someone had dragged it off to one side. Even more worrying, it remained the only bin outside.

Judging by the swarm of flies hovering about just outside the gate, I assumed the bin had still not been emptied. I spent exactly 58 minutes agonising about my dilemma before mustering enough courage to get dressed, admit defeat and drag the bally thing back in.

To my stupefecation, I discovered that it had been emptied by our diligent city council. 

Bottom line - do I worry unnecessarily? It would seem so.

A simple list of other things I worry about:

The stinkwood tree in the back yard slowly toppling over our back wall
The dogs furiously barking at the incessant crackers
The cabbage tree falling over onto the neighbour's house
Someone poisoning our dogs and cats
The One
Our car
Our house
Being noticed 

What a lot of worries! It would be so good to let go of them and to just let shit happen.

Written by I