Thursday, 5 January 2012

A Journey through Time and Space - Flash back to 2010

I spend a lot of time behind my computer either stalking other peoples blogs or writing my own. I't may seem ridiculous to you, that someone whose barely legal and barely spends any time outside knows anything about the world at large. Believe me I don't. But I like to pretend I live like the people in movies or books about the 80's and 90's do.

I would give every last book on my shelf (and thats a lot of books) to go back, for even just one day and be a kid living in punk rock London.
I love the night, I love the feel of cloth ears after a nights gigging. I love the feeling of the speakers pushing the air against your body. I love the sweaty people pushing up against you as you jump till you cant breath, and you shout and sing till your lungs feel as though they're about to give in. I love the smell of your genes when you peel them off at 2am, smelling like stale Black Label and cigarette smoke. I love the congealed, angle of hair, that I have to struggle through with a comb and bottles of conditioner. I love the memories, the drunken conversations, the random people, and the wonder the next moning, waking up in someone elses bed thinking "What the phuck happened last night?"

As an aspiring photographer, I spend most of the night trying to get a good angle of the gorgeous guitarists or just the right lighting on the screaming fans. Subsequently, I spend most of the night looking through the lens of the camera, but that's just the way I like it. When I'm not filling my memory cards with images of strangers you can bet that I'm right there, in amongst the sweaty crowd screaming, cheering and singing my heart out.

There's nothing like the passion in your favorite bands face or the adoring fans.

That's why I started this blog.

Mostly to recount my experiences with the world, but also to express my adoration for South African musos, being limited in musical talent myself.

When I'm not taking pictures of the band, blogging about them, you can bet your last clean socks for a month that MK is blaring in the background. How else do you think I flunked out of Afrikaans class. My idea of studying is watching Jack Parrow rap on TV.

I attribute my gigging experiences to my friends Vodka and Ganja. Not at the same time though, although this would definitely change after time, and experience. I can split up my first year of gigging into a few momorable nights, each slightly blurred into the last. Nights out were spent oogling bands like Voodoo Child, The Stellas and Cortina Whiplash.

I remember it because that was the tyear I became the worlds biggest groupie and the very first time we went to a little smokey bar called Back2Basix in Westdene, Johannesburg. This is where we would spend a great deal of our young adolescent lives for the next couple of years. That is until we made fake ID's and started going to Cool Runnings and the Boheimian.

A little band called Voodoo Child were playing. I remember this night because that was the night Abby, Michael and I got married. To each other. It was a beautiful ceremony, outside in the cool February rain, 5 minutes before the band was about to start.
She gave me an ominous pink lace glove, which still resides, never worn again for fear of heartbreak, in my sock drawer.
That night, was my Voodoo Child christening.
I was mesmerized.
I sang along like I knew the words.
I didn't.
This too would change.
Photo by: Abby Boulter
School started, and ruined all our fun. Two months later, we would grace the small dingy bar that held such high rank amongst my friends. A band from Pretoria, called Maroc and Apple were playing, and from the first time I saw him, I knew I was in love with the bassist. Don't ask me what their songs were called, or even what they were about, because for the life of me, I wouldn't be able to tell you a single detail.
The night was amazing. They had stickers to promote their band, one which I stuck in the Ladies bathroom still remains in what is now Tipsy Gypsy. Nothing will take away that moment. I was feeling rebelious after three tequillas and we were about to leave.
One quick moment, seemingly fleeting, yet forever remembered.

Photo by: Kathryn Henning
Photo by: Chloe Flaxman
Photo by: Kathryn Henning
Photo by: Chloe Flaxman

As our repetoire of unsigned South African bands grew, so did our passion. This time, rocking out to an emo Rock band with a sassy Lady lead singer, The Monroes, and Man as Machine graced the stage of B2B with their striped socks and loud beats. Voodoo Child would later take the stage much to the delight of Michael.
Photo by: Kathryn Henning
We ended the nights in a ritual, soon grasped by all our friends. Between the bands you would have to drink at least on drink, and a shot. Failing to do this in time to watch the next act, empty handed, enduced a shrill outcry of: "Down it! Down it!" You had to do it. One would simply rock out with a cigarette in ones hand.

I have many a scar from Michaels' lit cigarettes.

A popular occurance in Joburg inlate August or early September is Joburg Burning.
5 Venues, 2 Days and over 30 bands grace the little social hub that is Melville.

This included drunken stumbling from one place to the next, bathroom missions, getting locked behind large iron gates, dancing on stage with Fire Through the Window, busting epic missions to see 340ml, making friends with the shuttle drivers, sitting on randoms laps just so you're not left behind, hanging out on pavements, McDonalds trips at 3am and general stupidity. This year, Abby and I had it all planned out. We had a list of all the bands playing and their prospective venues. We had highlighted the most important ones. The ones we could not miss.
Needless to say that this plan was not stuck to very well after the shots of straw rum. Another ritual developed, mostly because of the "No drinks leave the premisses rule" but also to get hellishly wasted.

Photo by: Whoever had my camera
Joburg Burning was probably the best nights of my life. Anything would go. There technicaly were no rules.
In my short gigging life, I've been to 3 Joburg Burnings. One by accident in late 2009 and two in 2010.

Abby was kind enough to invite me to a The Stellas' gig. From that moment on, I wanted nothing more than to be an underground punk rocker form the 80s.  We danced on stage, got half naked, stole some free shit from Black Pimp'n Jesus, mainly shards of the mint guitar he unfathomably smashed all over the stage, and I convinced my lover at the time to but me a Stellas' T-Shirt.
Photo by: Kathryn Henning
We would go to many more gigs together, including Fokofpolisiekar, aKing, Thornfest and many more. I think this was the epitome of our friendship, although we shared a love for photography, boys and music, it was not to last.
She moved to Cape Town.

Rocking the Gardens was next on the big festival list, wich opened my world to a whole nother level of South African Music.

Thankfully, I spent my birthday weekend surrounded by beautiful people and good music. Along with all the birthday wishes, came a new obsession in the form of Hot Water. Closely followed by an Israeli named Nathanel, who I would proceed to perv over for the whole of 2011, and probably a large part of 2012 as well. Playing at Rocking the Daisies was an Israelie band called the Idan Raichl Project. 
Pure Balkan. 

What with gigging and Joburg Burnig, and all sorts of othre mischief, it was quite a year, and not on I will soon be forgetting. I look forward to sharing my gigging stories of 2011 with you all soon. From one groupie, to another, keep rocking.

We are the product of having sex in the back of a moving vehicle. We are the product of Rock 'n Roll.

With Love, and Reminiscence,
Kathryn What

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