Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Embrace your Inner Zefness

As I’m writing this I’m listening to Die Antwoord, Waddy Jones’ (of Max Normal and Original Evergreen fame) lank hos, holla 7 alterego Ninja rapping about his tik-kop sexual fantasy “"Beat Boy": "Shaking Your Nice Boobs, I Tell You I Like You, You Feel My Piel” over an classic house, zef-rave “build-up”, cringing, shaking my head in disbelief, at the sheer genius of these characters created.

Reports of Die Antwoord being fake are grossly exaggerated. The fact is: It doesn’t matter. Expressing surprise at this “revelation” is like being shocked that David Brent of The Office is only a character and Ricky Gervais is not really the egomaniacal, foot-in-mouth retard of a boss that he plays (well…maybe that wasn’t the best example).

I digress. What I originally wanted to write about how proud I am that Die Antwoord have emerged and how grateful the country, especially its creative arts industry, should be to Waddy and his crew. This light-hearted, yet sarcastically-cutting, piss-take of your own culture is what I love about South Africa and I see the same thing in Australia, in a differing degree. It makes you reflect on the things we’re saturated with in the news every day and all the so-called “serious because the media say so” crap we’re force-fed and  being able to actually see the funny side of life. This is also a lead-on after watching Wil Anderson at the Brisbane Comedy Festival at The Powerhouse Theatre last weekend, which was equally cutting, crude and hard-hitting.

I see multimedia like Die Antwoord evolving from previous kitsch cultural commentary like Orkney Snork Nie (Waddy would probably hate me for comparing Die Antwoord to them), in South Africa, and Kath and Kim and The Castle in Oz, taken to another level, laid-over some over-the-top synth beats (“DJ Hi-Tek – take it to the next level!”, Waddy’s creatively raised consciousness and affie Cape Flats rhymes ala Brasse Vannie Kaap, interjected with a generous ladling of Yo-Landi’ Vi$$er's buttery, child-like ,but disturbingly out-of-place, crudeness. Die Antwoord are the mengelmoes poespap potjiekos opiate for the masses. They’re what fokofpolisiekar is for the angst-ridden and frustrated Afrikaans youth and what kwaito, when it first evolved in the mainstream in the early 1990s was for many suppressed young black South Africans. Personally, I can’t wait for what’s coming out next, and the fact that they’re taking it overseas is great.

We should all be able to laugh at, and embrace, our own zefness every once in a while.

Check out their fantastic Interweb site and wallow in the brilliance of it all.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

South of the border: Part 1

On a day that was so hot the semi-melted, sticky tar of the road clung to the coagulated soles of our flip-flops, we made our way down Nimbin’s, well, only real street. Nimbin, which sounds equally whacky said backwards, is a crazy hippy town in northern New South Wales, which definitely deserves a visit if you’re in the Northern Rivers area.

Strolling down the strip is like stepping into the 1970s’ free-loving, bong-tokin’, hazy daisy era. Groovy tie-dyed remnants of the 1972 Aquarius Festival, leftover revellers who never left, still laze around offering weed or mushrooms to passers-by in-between esoteric discussions on Gaia philosophy, I’d imagine. I got involved in a discussion about conspiracy theories with a middle-aged local, as he brushed his grey-streaked and dirty dreadlocks out of his eyes to squint up and ponder aloud at what looked like a chemical trail left by a plane in the pure blue sky. Shops like Happy High Herbs, Bringabong and Daizy, sit snugly next to each other advertising their wares in UV and bright technicolor that wouldn’t be out of place at a Vortex or Alien Safari trance party. Placards and posters shouting counterculture and political slogans like “Rudd = Treason!” adorn the notice boards and walls.

Step into the Nimbin Museum to learn more about the town’s roots, its age-old problem with the police and notable historical events (which all seem to link to the town’s problem with the police). A gold coin donation gets you well-informed, as well as a mind-bending tour through the cobwebbed museum, sidestepping a stalactite forest of spatulas and eggbeaters hanging from the roof, and a variety of brightly painted paraphernalia. Stop to watch reruns of one of numerous police raids on the museum and, if you’re lucky, get offered a toke by one of the resident free-thinkers who man the in-house coffeeshop. 

This is truly a museum like no other, and is probably one of the focal points of the MardiGrass Festival. MardiGrass is an annual protest rally cum celebration of all things cannabis related. It focuses on the legalisation of the herb, as part of the Global Marijuana March, and raises awareness through fantastic events like the Pot Olympix, which includes bong throwing (and yelling) and joint rolling events. Roll in and roll a fat one on the first weekend in May. 

Although the baser elements that come along with loafing and drug-dealing seem to have permeated the bohemian beatnik spirit of Nimbin, with some unsavoury characters staining the otherwise highly eccentric and colourful rural town, the local backpackers and tourism industry seem to give the local economy a vital boost. Thus, support the locals by taking the Nimbin Road out of Lismore, drop by and buy a bag of sensimilla, some hemp products or even just a hacky sack. If so inclined, rack a bong with the locals, tune in and drop out...

Just remember to leave again some time...