Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Woman in Black

Looking back twenty nine years, a book was written with an eerie atmosphere, which is from the creepy setting that was home to a malevolent ghost, a gross, decayed visage of a woman in black. It’s a quick read and a pleasant one at that. Nothing worse than working ones way through a tedious ghost story, only to fall asleep mid chapters therefore loosing the build up to the real creep out moments. The book is a dreary story, so expect the haunting, the scares and the horror to have a certain undercurrent of pure sadness and tragic inertia pulling it’s way through the story telling. And by the end you will be left wondering if you are in fact creeped out or extremely depressed? Nonetheless it will all be over within a day.

A Quickie:
The story centres on a young solicitor, Arthur Kipps, who is summoned to Crythin Gifford, a small town on the east coast of the United Kingdom to attend to the funeral of Mrs. Alice Drablow, an elderly widow who lived alone in the secluded Eel Marsh House. Some creepy shit happens at the funeral, Mr Kipps tries to be brave. Then some creepy shit happens at Eel Marsh, Mr Kipps tries to be brave. Then some sad revelations occur, Mr Kipps is brave.

Enjoy the pace as it is easy not only to go from page to page but chapter to chapter. It’s a goodie.

The book has been made into a film with the same name starring Daniel Radcliffe. Strange how Harry Potter has made a giant leap from wizard boy to father – I wonder how this will be to watch. But a good British ghost story is a good British ghost story and surely it will transcend from paper to screen if it’s backed by some great British talent.
So grab the book before you watch the film just to see who imagined it better, you or the director.
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A Love Song Like No Other

A review I read summed up the album Born to Die perfectly: “it’s the album equivalent of a faked orgasm” but amongst song after song of more or less the same drab the title track from Lana Del Rey is a true little gem. There are three main reasons I fell in love with this song:
One.
It begins with a frantic set of strings set off with a deep beat, mixing the thrill of falling in love with the sensuality immediately. If you are familiar with Del Rey you will find that her breathy voice will not escape your ear from the moment you hear it. And in the beginning it starts as a whisper followed by that distinctive depth her voice carries.
Two.
The wobble and wavering she puts her voice through, and taking it quite high at points only to bring it down again, sets the space for a romantic ride on a cloud or drifting over gentle swells in the ocean. It’s dream like quality speaks to the love she is talking about.
Three.
The lyrics tell the most beautiful story with a gorgeous honesty to it…

don’t make me sad, don’t make me cry,
Sometimes love is not enough, the road gets tough, I don’t know why
Keep making me laugh, let’s go get hi
The road is long, we carry on, try to have fun in the meantime

Give it a listen.

Born To Die

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the Hunger Games

A great film to hit our screen this past week is Hunger Games, a great little adventure flick jam packed with social commentary, political comparisons and a good old fashioned tale of survival and morality and how the two may clash when they meet.
Now, as the film begins you learn that the land has been stricken with a massive famine that send the outreaches, or twelve districts out of the city, into revolt. There actions are defeated and are forgiven on one condition. That each year each district will “donate” one boy and one girl to partake in a battle to the death with each other. A sort of – twenty four people enter, one person leaves – typed vibe. The concept immediately took me back to the 2000 film “Battle Royale” where all the naughty kids were brought to one island and forced to kill each other. The last one standing survives. The difference in concept is that Hunger Games is so heavily based on the importance or the power of reality television whereas Battle Royale was rather chaotic in it’s depiction of trying to regain order to a generation lacking respect and purpose.
So if what is the film trying to say about reality tv and our passion for watching?
First it speaks to capitalism, and how if something is profitable in a capitalistic world then it must not only be done but exploited to the maximum too. This begs the question, if it were not profitable would it be done at all? If a rhino’s horn was worthless would they still be killed? And at what point does morality out way cash?
Second, it speaks to uncontrollable urge to watch even if we know we shouldn’t. It’s driving past a car accident, hoping no one is hurt but still looking at the ordeal to see if you can spot a lifeless body. We have a desire to look, however in this case our desire to look keeps the game in play and in turn twenty three teenagers will die. So at what point is our urge to watch partly responsible for the demise in societal morality?
Third, the film depicts the game as a sport. Testing the might of the poor districts against each other. So if the game is merely a sport what are the cameras? Why is watching each second any more important than just knowing the outcome?
To spite all the thinking one can do throughout the film about the world, politics, desires, animosity, capitalism and dominance, it is still a very cool film to watch. The action is raw and thrilling. The emotions are baser yet profound. The world in which the story takes place is amazing, like a circus, with wild colours and outlandish costumes. Packed with great performances from Jenniferr Lawrence as Katnis Everdeen, the strong willed, brave and level headed heroin of the story. Backing her up is her mentors Haymitch (Woody Harrelson), Effie (in Elizabeth Banks most unrecognizable role) and Cinna (Lenny Kravitz).
The love story was a total yawn festival, and the ending was completely ridiculous. I mean the idea of making all this commentary about capitalism and then leaving the ending so open ended, begging for a sequel… The whole thing just reeks of capitalism. But for now, enjoy the fun futurist adventure flick Hunger Games before it becomes a sappy teen romance wank, and even hearing the name Hunger Games sends your stomach into a fit.

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It All Starts with Nguni

What does Nguni mean?
Well the question is far more perplexed in the answer I am trying to achieve than merely what is it, as it is a language, the language that makes up almost a third of the South African population. What is particularly important is to look at the two dominating clans that have come from the Nguni – Xhosa and Zulu.
Now one would really have to dig deep to find the disputes that were rife from the beginning of the splitting of the Nguni people between these two tribes and further more the disputes between the Khoi in the south – from the defeated Xhosa’s who trekked down south. Some might even argue that there were no disputes, but then why the split? Mere disagreements on circumcision? I think not. It’s about control, who has it and who is the more dominant and therefore the more powerful people. The Zulu’s bullied the Xhosa who in turn bullied the Khoi… A nasty little train reaction. Yes, in some cases the Khoi and Xhosa found a way to live together and actually marry across the tribe but the Zulu, ever so powerful and strong, never let up that they were the big bosses of the southern tip of Africa. It was not till Europeans arrived that things started to change. But not at first. Xhosa people held up the longest colonial war out of all and were only defeated due to the beliefs in tradition and spirituality – when a little girl called Nongqawuse who came up with the bright idea that purging the land will bring the gods down to earth and the gods will destroy the white man. So they killed their cattle, destroyed their farms and slowly starved to death as the gods never came… Mmm, I wonder why? The Zulus made the fatal mistake of killing a whole bunch of women and children, and that rage fueled the Boers with revenge and the Zulu power was not as impressive as before the battle of Blood River. The poor Khoi… Fighting off Portuguese sailors in the sixteenth century to being crippled by disease they had little option of fleeing and integrated into the European life in the cape, well sort of. The sort of life an indigenous person could get from a colony.
So what is my point to digging up all this history?
It’s still goes on today and it happens in our very own government, and nothing is clearer than the animosity between the ANC and it’s naughty little youth league. Is it as simple as saying that because we have a Zulu president many people are unhappy with it? But why? They have proved to be dominant in the past, strong, willful and smart, so why any cause for doubt? Maybe it’s the inability to distinguish between culture and modern society. I mean the other day I watched a film about apartheid where it depicted a Zulu woman back then and how she is today, and the film was rather blunt in it’s opinion that the only power she has lies between her legs – her virginity and her ability to conceive and give birth – then and today. No more no less. But is this really all that a zulu woman can do? To IDE for her man, accommodate his needs? And if this is a common understanding in their culture then I don’t want it in my democracy, sexism is just not cool and agreeing to it is preposterous.
Xhosa people tend to showcase themselves as respectful of age whereas the Zulu people tend to show respect to those with power to spite the lack of wisdom or compassion in the decision making.
Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.
And in politics today it is all about who is in control. So now we have a Pedi frontman up against a Zulu frontman and we are all watching to see which lion roars the loudest, even if the lions in question are merely doing it for our amusement.
It’s hard to watch a beautiful city turn to shit and Durban is a prime example of that. Where once you could walk down the promenade at night, alone, as a child, now you may not even leave the hotel after sun set. And this is in Zululand, the now shit hole of SouthAfrica.
Never mind the false sense of ownership that is slowly swooping over the land in the north due to one loud mouth politician. Limpopo is sinking more and more, if it weren’t for Paul Kruger and his ingenious idea of creating the reserve to protect the wildlife that province would have sunk by now.
Ok, although it use to be the poorest province in SA now succeeded by the Eastern Cape, that does not mean that it got better actually it’s the E.Cape that just got worse… And how can you blame it when a place like Umtata exists?

I guess my point to this post is this:
I don’t care what the reasons are, when a political party can have such a huge, and very public, disagreement between the two presidents in the party, then there is something wrong with the party. I don’t think it’s a case of merely silencing Malema, as many people incorrectly think like him and nor is it as simple as saying “You must have respect for the President”, why? Because he is the president? Well if he sucks we have the right to say so, and he does. But is it really an argument about policy or is this little dispute really another form of a clash of tribes with the desire to be in control. Africa is drenched in disdain from the words tyrant and dictator… Is south Africa going to become yet another typical African country, where one man gets fat and the others starve to death?
Enough of the blame, let’s find a solution… It’s time for change.

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Chromatics – Lady

I want to start off with this track for the mere fact that it is a rather uniquely Chromatics sounding track but showing some great maturation and development. Ditching the off robotic vocals for Ruth Radelets moaning and yearning voice was the smart choice but the song is still rife with that Italo disco that the group is so influenced by. Italo disco is a sub genre of disco that showed face in the seventies. What Chromatics have done is take that sub genre and place it in today, and it workks beautifully.

Lady is a rather sensually bleak song. The constant pace of the tune is numbing, the synths are electric pulsations through your veins and her voice pines for more and desires so much.

It’s a good little track… But there is more to come from Chromatics latest album – Kill for Love.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbx8qRg6tPE&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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30 Rock in Cape Town

So here is Cape Towns very own 30 Rock. Not in the sense that a television station runs from there, or that funny shenanigans go down behind the walls each and every day. In fact no real big corporation runs from there, the building is mainly residential. So how is it similar… Both buildings are great style of art deco architecture that was so popular on the twenties and thirties. It did start out as a building for business but as time went by the building was slowly converted to cater for residents seeking inner city living at its best. Offering tenants a double volume living space all with a loft.
The penthouse, a three floored apartment at the top of the Mutual Heights that offer a wonderful 360 degree view from mountain to harbor and everything in between.

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OLD MUTUAL: Best example of CT art deco – Cape Granite. Frieze depicting scenes from SA history by Ivan Mitford- Barbeton. Entrance and Banking Hall intact, but rest converted to apartments. One of the most sought-after addresses in the inner city

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Mirror Mirror

Mirror Mirror on the wall… I see a double yawn!

This was my initial response to the idea of making the classic Snow White and the Seven dwarfs into a film with over the top costumes and a childish approach to the story. In fact I was more than pleasantly surprised when I learned that the camp story was pushed to the max in order to bring the ever so subtle satire behind the dialogue to life.

Don’t let this one fool you, it’s a good laugh – and for all the right reasons.

The story starts off with an awesome little animation, to spite Julia Roberts infamous voice that breaks that suspension of disbelief, nonetheless I was hooked. Roberts pulls off a great performance as the deeply sarcastic evil queen, which transcends the tired story of an evil queen into one of a timeless tv show villain we all love to hate.
Nathan lane as the henchman – too good. His camp behavior is a far cry from the scary puppet who bends over backwards to please his evil queen. And again, the story manages to take the idea of the henchman and give him a fresh face.
Snow white – who on first appearance one thinks is this Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs or Frida and the Seven Dwarfs, as her eyebrows are rather distracting – becomes a really wonderful character as she tries to fight back, giving a little bit more strength to that silly damsel in distress look.
One might think that the eye candy in the film will stem from the Prince but oh how wrong one would be for thinking like that. And cue my new little man-crush. One of the seven dwarfs called Wolf is so sexy. Damn that little man made me salivate and that was way before he exposed his beefy chest. Granted, I am a sucker for a beard but this little man is packed with muscle power that you too will find yourself thinking… I wonder what shagging a small he-man would be like? Kinda like having a horny smurf going at your body like a miniature power tool…

All in all, it’s a fun little film packed with great lines that are guaranteed a giggle, outfits that sparkle and amaze, and a cast worth watching till the end. So if you are in the mood for something lite and fun… And if you are one f those peeps that finds Julia Roberts funny, then this one is for you. But remember what film it is, family, so too early a viewing might include too many kids, too late a viewing might have too many adults. So go catch it with a blend of young and old to bring the magic of Mirror Mirror to life.

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