Archive for May, 2009

The Incident of the Broken Mug

Oddities 1 Comment »

There it lay; in pieces and scattered across the sidewalk. A normal caffeine bearing white mug mutilated and vulnerable: pedestrians oblivious to the story. Cars also cruise by in the busy Merriman Avenue. The origin of this mug seemed to have no immediate explanation. Thus, my mind went on an exploration to find the answer to this broken mug.

It was on a sidewalk next to one of the busiest streets in Stellenbosch. Students traverse this sidewalk many nights while in a stupor from a crazy night on the town. It’s just past the BP garage and McDonalds, whom many students claim as their final waterhole for the night. The past few nights were surprisingly cold, thus it could mean that a coffee addict could not let their cup go while on a mission to BP. Thus, in an attempt to perhaps greet someone, the mug slipped and died on the tar.

The building next to sidewalk was a block of flats. There were no big windows close to the mug, but only a small bathroom window a few feet away behind a cement wall. Why would someone throw a mug out of a small bathroom window? Was it perhaps to knock out a nemesis on the pavement? Whatever the reason, the eventuality of a mug flying out of an odour release latch seemed odd, yet entertaining.

Cars regularly cruise by in Merriman. There are rumours of drag races taking part in this straight long road. I’ve not yet witnessed this as it might be a myth or tradition of the past, however to stress the importance of cars in Merriman, it seems fitting. Perhaps on a late night drive home someone boozed up on office coffee struggled their way home in a Honda. In an act of apathy and sleep-induced confusion the overtime office worker slipped the coffee out the window. Perhaps it is even more far-fetched than the bathroom throwing incident, but much more realistic, in a working-class-late-night kind of way.

The easiest explanation is often the best explanation; however none of these thought experiments are very likely. The incident of the broken mug needs something much more fitting. A small part of me wants to accept the ludicrous and highly entertaining concept of someone deliberately breaking the mug on a strange spot to egg out creative lateral thinkers. Sometimes we miss all these details. I like making up stories for why things happen the way they do. Sometimes late at night when walking through the streets of Stellenbosch I witness many strange things and sometimes very normal things: people running across the street with big smiles, flowing hair and a sign of purpose and a goal – whatever it may be, perhaps meeting up with a good friend in the pub or the chance meeting of a crush. It makes me happy to know the world is alive and not stagnating.

The broken mug is a perfect example of this. If things were just normal and nothing broke, nothing got lazy, nothing got horny, nothing cried, nothing took vengeance, nothing made music, then the world would be a truly boring place. The inconsistency in human life is what makes life worth living for. Perhaps it’s just me, but when I see a flickering light in a corridor it makes me so happy, just like the mug, it is broken, but it shows character. Whatever the reason for the destruction of the mug, it served another purpose other than the brief eye-opener for the caffeine craver. It also opened my eyes.

SAMA’s 2009 – A shocker

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I spent my lazy Saturday night studying Mandarin while the SAMA’s were presented on SABC1. I didn’t get much too study though, because I was soon turned into a sponge to soak up the “real” South African Music Industry. Here I was thinking I “knew” the industry and its artists, but boy was I surprised.

I keep forgetting that I’m a minority in this country and my general market or music knowledge of South African music only stretches to rock and alternative music. A brilliant example of the shock I experienced was with the Best English Pop Album. I only knew about Jody, last year’s Idols winner. The rest was totally unknown: and yes, that’s the “POP” album, the one’s everyone’s supposed know about and despise in public and guiltily listen to in private.

The presenter, who did a great job, Trevor Noah, spoke in an African language that I didn’t know of, and I strangely felt disconnected from my own country. The crowd were laughing their asses off, and I was just bluntly staring at the screen, perhaps hoping to catch a glimpse of physical comedy so I can join in on the laughs.

I’m very much happy that Foto na Dans won Best Alternative Album: Afrikaans, Zebra and Giraffe won Best Rock Album: English and Goldfish won Best Dance Album as well as Best Producer. I was hoping for Goldfish to bag more awards though, especially Best Album of the Year.

Despite my sheer shock at the vast music industry that I’ve never even heard of, also made me excited. I really like music and I’m definitely going to go through those nominee lists now and try to listen to most of them. This country is diverse in its music, but I’ve only even began to scratch the surface. I feel like a kid in a candy store.

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