Hyperballad by Bjork

In 1995, on my first visit to Toronto, Canada I remember my cousin Anusha introducing me to an alternative rock band known as the Sugarcubes. By then, the band had already split up, but the lead singer sounded familiar; I had already heard that amazing voice before, on songs such as Venus as a Boy and Big Time Sensuality.

I believe Bjork’s incredible vocal abilities across multiple musical genres, became apparent when she went solo, and likewise, her gifted song-writing skills. Over the years Bjork has produced a string of hits and memorable songs; everyone seems to have their own personal favorite, but I think it would be damned hard for anyone to deny that my personal favorite, Hyperballad, features prominently among them.

Recently I came upon the song Hyperballad on YouTube which prompted me to find those hauntingly beautiful lyrics as well. I hope you’re as captivated as I am.


 We live on a mountain
Right at the top
There’s a beautiful view
From the top of the mountain
Every morning I walk towards the edge
And throw little things off
Like car-parts, bottles and cutlery
Or whatever I find lying around
It’s become a habit
A way to start the day

I go through all this
Before you wake up
So I can feel happier
To be safe up here with you

I go through all this
Before you wake up
So I can feel happier
To be safe up here with you

It’s real early morning
No-one is awake
I’m back at my cliff
Still throwing things off
I listen to the sounds they make
On their way down
I follow with my eyes ’til they crash
I wonder what my body would sound like
Slamming against those rocks
When it lands
Will my eyes
Be closed or open?

I go through all this
Before you wake up
So I can feel happier
To be safe up here with you

I go through all this
Before you wake up
So I can feel happier
To be safe up here with you

I go through all this
Before you wake up
So I can feel happier
To be safe up here with you 

I’ve heard some versions of the song with the words “I imagine what my body would sound like,” instead of  “I wonder what my body would sound like” in the fourth verse.

And in other news, last night Bjork shared the Royal Swedish Academy of Music’s top music honour, the Polar Music Prize with composer Ennio Morricone, at a function in Sweden. At the event, pop artist Robyn, best known for the 90’s dance hit Show Me Love, bravely attempted a rendition of Hyperballad, which was not to everyone’s liking, but personally I think she did okay, considering the challenges that particular song poses. You can make up your own mind by accessing the YouTube post here.

Hitting the bars tonight…

Nightlife & BarExpo

 I’m really looking forward to getting pissed tonight. Actually that’s an exaggeration; not exactly pissed, but it’s entirely possible. You see, I’m attending the Nightlife and Bar Expo at the Emperor’s Palace Casino in Johannesburg, and they’ve promised loads of free sampling. 

As a wannabe mixicologist, I’m always interested in learning somethimg new about the art of cocktail mixing, and this event promises to reveal plenty of new ideas and tricks. There’s also the opportunity of picking up some new bar equipment at a steal. And according to the promoters there will be a treat for the eyes as well, in the form of dancers, flame-throwers (near alcohol? hmm!) and a laser light show. And off course, there’s the free drinks!!! 

I’m told that the VIP tickets I have, entitles me access to an Exclusive Bar and VIP Lounge serving free drinks and snacks, and possibly other special treats. I think I’m going to be in heaven tonight. 

I have however not forgotten about that little issue of drinking and driving, and being the responsible person I am (to others, not to my body), I have booked into the casino’s hotel for the night. So, let’s hope I can still remember the tastes, sights and sounds come tomorrow…

A note to the eedyerts in power

Recently I’ve heard South Africa’s political form of government being referred to as a kleptocracy and even an idiocracy. But as the treasury is being raided to enrich a small minority who hold the reins of power, while proposing idiotic laws which are meant to curtail freedom of speech, these two terms will remain pertinent.

It’s therefore time to remind the klepto-idiots in power what DEMOCRACY really means. The simplest definition I can find is as follows:

government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system

However it goes beyond that.  A few other characteristics of democracy are:

  • All citizens are equal before the law [those who are politically connected are not more equal than others, as is currently the case]
  • The freedom of all citizens are protected by a constitution [whatever happened to ours which was described as a model constitution?]
  • The use of checks and balances through legislation ensures that there is no accumulation of power [why are those in power not satisfied with even a two-thirds majority?]
  • Freedom of political expression, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press are essential so that everyone is informed [why are those in power proposing laws that will curtail these freedoms?]
  • It goes without saying that civil liberties and human rights are sacrosanct [is this really the case in South Africa where certain individuals in power, not only are more right than others, but enjoy more rights than others]

It’s really simple; you just have to go back to the basics, which you seem to have abandoned in the mad rush to pig out at the trough. Try it; it will be good to feel human again.

While putting this piece together, I stumbled upon a marvellous blog called By The People at America.gov. Please take the time to watch some short videos  by young people from countries such as Nepal, Ethiopia, Spain, Indonesia and Colombia, which convey their idea of democracy, on the blog post titled What Do You Think Democracy Is? The one from Farbod Khoshtinat from Iran is particularly good and relevent to my message above.

My Latest Road Trip: Part 3

Once again, I’ll attempt to relate my impressions on the final (return) leg of my journey into the East Coast region of South Africa, hopefully with the aid of some photographs.

Having left Storms River Village behind (with a degree of sadness), I headed up to Port Elizabeth. Nothing much to report here. Just another coastal city. I did however stop briefly to admire the new Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium that was built for the Football World Cup that came to an end only recently. I did also stop at the Greenacres shopping mall; it looked quite different from the last time I shopped there many years ago.

I had booked a one-nighter in Grahamstown, being convinced that there would not be much to see, what with the National Arts Festival having concluded some weeks earlier. It seemed to me that Grahamstown revolved around the famous Rhodes University and the large number of top-notch schools (mostly private) that is dotted around this small town. There are some pretty well-known private schools here, viz. St. Andrews, Graeme and Kingswood Colleges and the Victoria Girl’s High School. This must surely be South Africa’s Education centre.

Rhodes University

Grahamstown is also well-known for the relatively high number of places of worship and religious denominations present for such a small area. Apparently there are 52 churches of every conceivable denomination and places of worship for several other disparate faiths such as Hinduism, Scientology, Quakerism, Mormonism and Islam. At this point you’re probably wondering what an Atheist is doing in such a place? Well, I didn’t come here for the evangelism; just the historical interest, and some of these places of worship do have beautiful architecture, which I admire. If you asked me to settle here with all this religious fervour hanging in the air, I’d point-blank refuse; this is something like my version of hell, even if it’s a picturesque hell.

Cathedral of St. Michael and St. George

I also learned that I had just missed Grahamstown’s first snowfalls in about 34 years, by about two months. Apparently there was quite a dusting around 15 June this year. Now that would have been something to see.

Unless you’re a student, there isn’t much to do in Grahamstown. That evening I had the choice of joining the university brats at one of the sports bars that lined what looked like the main street, or take in a film at the local Art Cinema. I chose to catch the early evening screening of the Coen brother’s film, A Serious Man, get some dinner and a swig or two of a full bottle of Jack Daniels I’d been dragging along since Storms River. I’m glad I did.

I left Grahamstown quite eager to get on with my road trip and my penultimate stop, before heading back home to Johannesburg. Port St. Johns is really a nothing-town. The buildings look dilapidated and the streets consist mostly of potholes. But the scenery is absolutely stunning. There isn’t any night-life to speak off, and from what I could make out there were only two restaurants available. However the food was quite good at the one I visited alongside the river on my first night there.

Port St. Johns

Having basically nothing to do that evening, I experimented with long exposure shots of the magnificent vistas available from my cabin overlooking the sea. I’m quite happy with the two posted below, one of which looks to me like a painting.

Port St. Johns night scene

Port St. Johns night vista

2nd Beach is reminiscent of a South-East Asian Island paradise. The coastline is quite rocky, but very very beautiful. I was quite lucky to find two local lasses who were only too keen to show me around the following day, as the deep-sea fishing excursion I was looking forward to, got cancelled due to strong winds. No matter; we had quite a rollicking time, and that near-full bottle of Jack Daniels I’d been dragging along since Storms River, helped to fill in the evening.

2nd Beach

The Wild Coast

Faith Hill

I was told that in the 70’s or even early 80’s there was no bridge on the main road leading to Port St. Johns, across the Umzimvubu River that squeezes past the town into the sea. Apparently ferries were used to get vehicles and people across. I was pleasantly surprised to find that ferries are still used to carry people and more especially school children across, closer to the river mouth.

The Ferry

The drive back to Durban the following day through Lusikisiki and Port Edward was pretty uneventful, even though the roads leading out of Port St. Johns were quite hair-raising. As I got off the highway to the neighborhood where my parents resided, I noticed that the huge inappropriate signboard near the exit, that I’d noticed there when I left for the Eastern Cape, was gone. It had read “Let Jesus Touch You.” Thank goodness…

“The poor admires the thieves…”

A really simple statement. It’s not supposed to be the way things are done, yet it applies to two countries I know of, and could apply to possibly many more.

I received this statement as part of a longer comment made by someone living in the Philippines, as a response to one of my blog posts, Why do so many religious people hate themselves so much. Here’s the full comment:

Philippines, it’s in South-East Asia. The most corrupt, poor and only Christian country in Asia. I love my country and people but this is our reality. The poor admires the thieves, the thieves get money from the poor, the church demands money from the thieves and then the church comforts the poor with the promise of richness in heaven. It’s a cycle most of us refuse to see.

It’s essentially a comment about religion, but when I look at the South African political situation, it fits just perfectly. The poor people of this country, who are in the vast majority, voted into power a corrupt government, which already had a poor track record from their previous term of office. It means only one thing; they’re mesmerized by the thievery and incompetence. It’s just like religion!!!

Off course one could offer reasons why the poor still won’t trust anyone else but the current crop of thieves to run their government; one of which would be that it was a legacy of apartheid. In other words, they still don’t trust the white folk to govern them, because of apartheid. But that’s utter hogwash. Apartheid was in place more than 15 years ago; it’s time to move on. Also, there are believe it or not, still some decent non-white public figures around who could do a fine job, if given the chance (and I don’t mean the Indians – they can’t be trusted anywhere near politicians).

The thing is, the ruling government does not want people to ever forget apartheid. It’s far too useful to them. It’s an easy scapegoat to use, each and every time they fuck up, and it’s a pretty handy tool to keep the people afraid of ever trusting the white man again. Yep, apartheid will never die, because the ruling regime is keeping it on life support, and milking it for all its worth, to boot.

And the most damning thing about this regime, is that they need the poor, quite desperately in fact, to keep themselves in power.

My Latest Road Trip: Part Deux

It’s been a week since the end of my road trip, but I’ve been somewhat lethargic to write about it. It’s not that it was not good; it’s just that I don’t really know what to say about it. So I’ll just give it a shot; maybe some photos will help.

After leaving beautiful Saint Lucia behind, I spent a few days in Durban, and you’ll remember that I was off to the Eastern Cape and the Tsitsikamma Forests. My stop-over in Beacon Bay, East London brings back horrible memories of the err, uncomfortable drive down to the Tsitsikamma area, probably due to some dodgy Sushi I ate there that night, but I won’t forget the wonderful conversation I had with my hostess at the Parrot Peek Inn.

I’ve been almost everywhere in South Africa, and had the privilege to gaze in awe at some of the most stunning scenic beauty that nature provides, but the Tsitsikamma is beyond spectacular. In fact, I’m going to stick my neck out and proclaim that this region in the most beautiful in South Africa; topping even the magnificent Cape Peninsula. It has everything; rich forests with ancient trees, jagged mountain ranges, flowing gorges and a pristine coastline. The early morning mist hanging thick in the air gives the area a surreal and other-worldly look and feel. It’s quite simply, astounding.

Tsitsikamma Mountains

Tstitsikamma Scenic Routes

For my Tsitsikamma adventure, I was based at the Otters Nest in a little village called Storms River. Tsitsikamma is a Khoi-san word meaning place of water (or place of many waters depending on which translation you trust), so I was a little surprised, when my host Jaco informed me that I was to use water sparingly as restrictions were in place. However, this did not prove to be any problem at all.

Natures Valley

Storms River Mouth

Tstitsikamma National Park

Various activity operators offer the adventurous traveller an abundance of adventure-sport such as hiking, zip-lining (The forest Canopy Tour is a firm favorite), abseiling (also known as repelling), boat tours and bungy jumping (the Bloukrans Bridge claims to be the highest commercially operated pure free-fall jump in the world at 216m, but I have since found that the Verzasca Dam in Switzerland is higher, but only just, at 220m). For the less adventurous, gazing at the majestic beauty around you while getting a massage at one of the Spa’s, is a good alternative.

Canopy Tour

I did manage to drive down the East Coast one day, to Knysna which is also quite breathtaking, although there has been far too much development in the Knysna Lagoon area since I was last there many years ago. However, a boat cruise out to the Heads is always a great way to take in the natural beauty of the place. There is also a wonderful upper-floor tapas restaurant at the Knysna Waterfront, the name of which escapes me at the moment.

Knysna Heads

On my way back, to Storms River, I stopped at Plettenburg Bay, and all I can say about this place is that its absolute rubbish. I suppose it was once as stunning as the other locations on the East Coast, but once the developers got their grimy hands on this place at the behest of South Africa’s rich and not-so-famous, it became a shitty little town, just like Margate on Kwa-Zulu Natal’s south coast. Plettenburg bay has been turned into a home-away-from-home for those with too much money; the big inner-city transported to the coast with all its ugly buildings and conveniences.

Ugly Plett

I won’t forget the wonderful evenings dining out at quaint little restaurants, and especially the evening with my host Jaco and his forester-friend Charles, at the backpackers around the corner from the Otters Nest. What a wonderful evening we had, chatting, drinking and shooting pool with the locals and a bunch of German backpackers, with a warm log fire burning in the bar. And afterwards, a drag of Tsitsikamma’s finest – not exactly Durban Poison, but enjoyable all the same, since it’s been such a long time since I indulged.

I found it hard to say goodbye to Storms River, but Port St. Johns and the Wild Coast beckoned. I will definitely come back to Storms River one day; real soon. There was more to see on my way back North, but that’s a story for another day…

The swindlers get bolder

While I’ve been away on my road trip, a monumental struggle has commenced to retain free speech in South Africa, as the ANC-led government seeks to muzzle the press from reporting on, and exposing the self-serving culture of the members of this organization who still have the temerity to call themselves liberators and revolutionaries.

This, our liberators intend to achieve through the introduction of draconian laws which would have made our former tormentors in the apartheid regime, proud. The ANC-proposed Protection of Information Bill, and the call for the setting up of a Media Tribunal is nothing short of a gross violation of, and an insult to the aims of our much vaunted constitution. It is quite evident to all (except government cronies) that these proposals are merely intended to allow our thieving politicians to raid the treasury without having to look over their shoulders.

Off course, all of this has already been revealed over the last few weeks while I was away, but the morons in government are still preaching to all who would bother to listen, that we have it all wrong. It seems these people get bolder with each new immoral act they somehow get away with, while their contempt for the ordinary citizen grows in unison. And so they press on…

But once again, the cartoonist Zapiro has it spot on:

And just in case I’m not able to express myself in this manner again, I say fuck you to all the lying, thieving scumbags who make up our government; to hell with you and your apartheid laws.

My latest road trip: Part 1

I haven’t posted anything in a while, since I’ve been too busy enjoying the road trip I’m currently on.

One week into my road trip, and I’ve left beautiful Saint Lucia behind; one of the last unspoilt stretches of land in South Africa. I’ve concluded a long-held wish to visit about the only place in South Africa, I had not been to before. And I’m glad I did, because it’s well worth visiting.

Kayaking in the Saint Lucia Estuary, getting up real close to the hippos, crocodiles and varied bird species, is a truly magical experience. The experience will leave me forever angry at organized religion which prised heathens away from worshiping nature. This is the only thing worth praising, or worshiping for that matter.

St. Lucia Estuary 1

St. Lucia Estuary 2

St. Lucia 3

But even people can make a place special, and worth visiting again. A special mention therefore to Joyce, a cheerful Dutch woman of Indonesian origin, at the Afrikhaya Guest House whose gracious hospitality added that little extra to the whole experience. [Thanks Joyce]

Some day, I’ll be back at St. Lucia to partake of its many other wonderful delights. But for now, it’s time to push on to the Tstitsikamma forests in the Eastern Cape…