Wish you were here…

It’s unlikely that I’m ever going to get the chance of seeing a live performance by Pink Floyd in South Africa, so the gals and I went to the next best thing – a tribute to them at the Barnyard Theatre last night.

Mel Botes, the local lead guitarist knows his stuff all right. He was simply awesome. The backup artists on rhythm, bass, drums, keyboard and sax were quite accomplished but Mel’s rendition of all the popular Pink Floyd songs since their first album was superb, and the historical information provided as commentary during the set was very informative and at times left me feeling sad at how talented artists have this penchant for destroying themselves.

My favorite Pink Floyd song The Fletcher Memorial Home was disappointingly not performed, but Wish You Were Here more than made up for it.

Lyrics – Wish You Were Here

So, so you think you can tell
Heaven from Hell,
Blue sky’s from pain.
Can you tell a green field
From a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?

And did they get you to trade
Your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
And did you exchange
A walk on part in the war
For a lead role in a cage?

How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We’re just two lost souls
Swimming in a fish bowl,
Year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have we found?
The same old fears.
Wish you were here.

Freshly Played #11: Alison Moyet

There’s something about a woman with a strong blues voice that’s so irresistible.

Mix that with a jazzy tune and you have a winner. Today I’m listening to Alison Moyet, formerly of Yazoo, who had quite a successful solo career.

That Ole Devil Called Love

Originally sung by Billie Holiday in the 40’s, Moyet’s cover released in 1985 is arguably better. Her voice is much more powerful than Holiday’s. That’s not to say that Holiday’s original is not good; it is. But Moyet took the original and made it her own; it’s just so much more authoritative.

I chose a YouTube video of a live version which is just a little different from the studio recording.


The Billie Holiday Original

Keep ’em separated…

You gotta keep’m separated

They’re like the latest fashion
They’re like a spreading disease
The kids are strappin’ on their way to the classroom
Getting weapons with the greatest of ease… COME OUT AND PLAY

Yes, it’s lyrics! Offspring fans will find them instantly recognisable. It comes from the classic hit single Come out and Play released in 1994, off the album Smash. Have a listen:


The Offspring started out as Manic Subsidal way back in 1984. Around 1986, the band changed its name to “The Offspring.” Much nicer, what? And the rest as they say, is history.

Come Out And Play is considered their first major commercial success, and the album Smash holds the record (still, I think) for the most number of copies sold on an independent record label. The Offspring still carry the flag for punk rock to this day, churning out albums at regularish intervals, and don’t look like stopping any time soon.

Come Out And Play, together with Self Esteem from the same album, are not only two of my favorite Offspring songs, but two of my all-time favorite songs.


Wolf of the Plains by Conn Iggulden [Book 1 in the Conqueror Series]

Until recently I had been reading only non-fiction. I had forgotten how one could become so enthralled with a good work of fiction, that one finds it near impossible to put down. Be warned – Wolf of the Plains is such a book. It is utterly relentless in pace and graphic in its descriptions of combat, turmoil, pain and anguish.

Wolf of the Plains is a work of historical fiction, based on the early life of Genghis Khan. Even though Conn Iggulden takes some liberties with the historical facts, it does not deviate so far as to corrupt history. However, Iggulden addresses some of these in the Afterword.

The plot revolves around Temujin, the second son of the Yesugei, Khan of the Wolves, one of the many warrior tribes that inhabit the great plains of Mongolia. After the assassination of his father by the Tartars, Temujin at the age of 11, is betrayed and cruelly abandoned to die, together with his mother Hoelun, brothers Bekter, Khasar, Kachiun, Temuge and baby sister Temulen, by his father’s closest ally and bondsman, Eeluk. He usurps power, appoints himself Khan of the Wolves and moves the tribe away to a new location, leaving Temujin and the family to fend for themselves on the cold steppes with no food, shelter or weapons to defend themselves or hunt with.

Temujin and his family survive and he grows up to become a fierce warrior and leader. After many raids and battles Temujin manages to gather a vast army of warriors, uniting the various warring tribes into the powerful Mongolian nation, under his leadership. At the end of the first book Temujin assumes the title Genghis, khan of the sea of grass.

One of the things that stood out for me was how Conn Iggulden does not bother with detailed descriptions of the landscape as some authors of fiction tend to do; tall grass flapping in the breeze, gurgling streams and lazy animals grazing. He leaves that for you to find in the works of Wordsworth or Yeats. Through his expert narrative of the characters’ emotional and physical trials and tribulations, you get a sense of the harsh Mongolian plains, the bitterly cold winters, and what it must have been like living in the times of these great warrior nations.

Having had my appetite whet, I’ve already dived into Lords of the Bow, the second in this series on the life of Genghis Khan by Conn Iggulden, and will report on it shortly.