I haven’t published anything in a while. I’ve typed a bunch of open-ended ideas, but haven’t committed to publishing because I don’t feel they’re complete in the thought-process.

The thing is, I always have my complete, well-formed ideas while inebriated (or so I think), and then the next day I don’t recall where I began or what strings I pulled to make sense of whatever I was pondering over… And I’m hungover.

me-and-trish

But what I did take from that, is that the best things come ad lib — which was my original outlook when I started publishing articles, but due to making it a routine, I began over-thinking some topics and that perhaps is my ultimate catch-22 I found myself in.

So I want to just start typing about what I’m currently excogitating over this very moment, and hopefully it flows for both you and I.

Music has always been something I’ve most resonated with. I think we all enjoy music. We all know that music sets a mood and can help you relax, smile, get the girl into your bed, or motivate you to reach for the vodka and set foot on the cool evening’s tar beside your friends, despite better judgement (we all know how vodka nights end) — music can do these wonderful, and sometimes woeful, things to us all. That’s why we have music. Something for us all to have.

But music has always been something personal for me regardless that we all share it. We hear the same song, and it can do the same thing, but basically it’s my ears and soul clinging to the notes on whatever the circumstance, so for all I care, is that it’s my unique moonlight I’m chimed and drummed to waltz through.

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“Without music, life would be a mistake.”
- Friedrich Nietzsche

I want to talk about what music has done for me, where I’ve stood because of it, the people I’ve had conversations with and the friendships I’ve made. Apart from the melodies and audio fuzz beating your ear drums, I like to consider it the foundation to many a circumstance as to who I am, how I think and what I have — the crafted world we make for ourselves best have one kick ass soundtrack. I want to talk about the characters we’ve all met, the moments we’ve all had and the makeup of any night out’s chemistry through loosely one relationship I have.

I have a friend, who never started as one — not an enemy, but how we progressively became close from a position that didn’t lend to the idea, thanks to music in the last days of summer that seem to shine a alchemic glow on people’s lives when leaving the party.

Your first kiss with a girl is always followed by her getting into a car and driving off…

My friend was in a (relatively) big band for South Africa some years ago. I was a coming-of-age teenager when I first heard this band. They were from my local town, so I was luckily entertained by them frequently when curfew permitted.

I was all new to this. He was on stage, and there were people drinking, laughing and dancing in time to his guitar strums. This was the first time I regarded him as a “Rock Star”.

I see young teens out at gigs today and I have a love-hate affirmation toward the clean (but trying to look a rock ‘n roll mess) baby-faced mobs in the front of stage.

It’s bizarre when you’re a novice at almost anything in life, you tend to do too much to appear as though you’re a veteran in the field.

They’re awfully embarrassing on the pretence that they remind you of yourself when you entered the scene that would ultimately define a large portion of your life. A 6-pack of Black Label and partying (is still probably my motto) to whatever the band at the highest of energies (I honestly don’t know where all that Duracell Bunny shit came from, when I can now barely stand longer than 30min without requiring a sit-down and a moan) on a Friday night for a few hours was considered (and ironically was) “a life-changing” time.

The truth albeit, is that I believe most local gigs and shows are for these kids. Enjoy it, kiss a guy/girl, drink alcohol until you puke green glitter and pink Sambuca into a drain somewhere, sweat with your bros at the foot of the frontman while screaming to each others’ faces, and then climb into your friend’s mom’s car at midnight for a nauseating ride home.

Us oldies (I’m only 25, but for most South African’s that means you’ve likely reached a decade of partying, and for that I feel I’m qualified to say, “I’ve been around the block”) have enjoyed it in our day and new experiences await you, which we’re rather jealous of.

Anyway, back to my friend…

I was near the stage, in my early years, when I was enjoying one of his shows, where the drummer threw out (or slipped out) one of his sticks to the shallow crowd. I grabbed it and was super stoked, right?! Some older dude, who is still bumming around, in my opinion, riding the coattails of bands and has-been times (that guy), snatched it from my hands with the intent to return it to the drummer (or something — I don’t care, I toyed with his life in later years as a personal vendetta anyway).

This pissed me off, because this dick associated with the band on a friendship level. This unfortunately meant that by association I thought the band were probably dicks as well — which was absolutely not true.

Relatively unfazed, being a youngster where everything is new and shiny, what does it all mean anyway?

Some years passed, and as anything with enough time and participation, you choose your preferences & moments. A good night or band becomes a personal review based off a mixture of peppered conversations, faces, the sound man’s sobriety, your own, and whatever else. But at this time I was no longer interested in my future friend’s band — I had heard it too many times, I was older, I was discovering new bands and sounds on the internet which shaped my developing taste-buds. Travelling further miles and travelling back in time to hear artists I then focused on. You know? The usual change-over around that time.

Me and my little crew of pirate-looking misfits had some kind of street credibility at this stage (very little, but Durban was a small and friendly town, so you could be recognised pretty easily by just featuring at some popular stomping ground more than once to be honest). And it was common knowledge that we didn’t (or no longer) cared for Durban’s premium rocknrollas. Now this can be potentially problematic, as immaturely as it may seem, some friend circles can be divided over these little squabbles. It somehow spiralled out of control slightly on some particular instance of quart-downing-word-vomit, but nothing really changed other than brief facebook comment fireworks and ergo social-gossip for the next week.

pirates-durban

Now, as I mentioned Durban being a small town and all, me and my soon-to-be pal had obviously hung out in the same circles a few times with mutual friends, and sooner or later we would likely address the elephant. I remember on one occasion he drove past in a humongous, beige 70/80’s Mercedes E-Class (I think, but a sedan none-the-less). It was after 1am in the morning, he glided smoothly (him and his car alike) past me on the pavement at about 5km/h in true, gangster fashion — one lazy arm resting on the steering wheel, wearing a Hawaiian shirt and tinted yellow aviators bridged on his Fear & Loathing hazy stare. Upon next to me he asked,
“What you up to now, cuz? Wanna go hang out?”

old-mercedes

I stupidly declined as it was ridiculous farce, but this was the second time I thought he was a “Rock Star”, and it opened up a window of friendship.

I’m not too familiar with the timeline around this point, but not too many drunken hangouts later he hopped in my car, gunned South, and partied with our humid, coastal neighbours, before witnessing a carpark brawl of hick-town, mid-30 year old women. How’d you hope to end a good night.

However, in the midst of all this clammy seaside activity, he asked me genuinely what I thought of him, his band and what of whatever else around it all. He had taken the time to befriend me, hang out and enjoy the good times and adventure, without an agenda, it seemed I had earned his respect and time, and possibly friendship, for him to ask genuinely. You’ve got to be a mellow guy to confront your critics without a weapon of choice?

He acknowledged my response and we were more on the same page than perhaps we had previously expected. And we carried on. This was the third time I saw him as a “Rock Star”.

“I don’t know anyone actually who does care what a critic says.”
 — Lou Reed

Many years on, and an entire continent separating us today, he is preparing for an adventure of his own. I know he is scared and anxious about leaving the warm, South African soil behind — I said my sad goodbyes to the continent (for now) too, so I know what it’s like.

He is going somewhere far away from his comfort zone, as he tells me it’s time to spread his wings and see things. I love him for that. All this time of weird history and the flakiness of rock n roll friendships, fans and reviews, and he takes time out of his day to tell me he’s scared but excited, and super hyped about his future… And his adventure has nothing to do with his guitar. Well, he will obviously have it with him, so we will see what happens. 🙂

I know I will see him again sometime soon, though we will literally be on other end of the world, so I don’t know when. But his decision, and how we chat regularly about life and and hangovers, makes me believe he is a real Rock Star. He’s a friend.

I wish him all the best, and to not lose his childlike spirit on the way to being an adult.

The point of this story may be a little convoluted. But I think we can relate and pick out the importance of how we mature. Music, in my case beer-sloshing basements with trippy relays and base drums, kind of plays a soundtrack of life direction. The audio playground reared me to develop how I look at people, how I look at myself, how to forgive but not give a shit otherwise.

I aim for goals likely prototyped from Nick Cave & Velvet Underground lyrics (not exactly of course — I’d be terrified of my own existence otherwise), I consider the guy who saw a Zeppelin’s Icarus patch on my school bag at 16 & thought we should be pals, to be one of my best friend to this day & makes me laugh more than anyone else — it has nothing to do with Zeppelin, yet it does somehow.

It’s weird how music is for everybody, but it’s personal how it’s makes me fall asleep to the spiralling ceiling lights, and awake to pressing play again.

Rock on, lovers.
xoxo

friends