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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Don't Do Drugs Kids

We all remember Paris Hilton's sex tape "One night in Paris", where the young Millionairess was seen by millions of people getting down and dirty with her then boyfriend Rick Salomon. The general community simply shrugged it off saying things along the line of "She is allowed to perform oral sex on that man". Paris managed to make headlines once again during the 2010 World Cup in our own backyard, when the former Playboy Playmate was arrested for possession of one "Dagga Cigarette". Paris was fined a hefty R1000 for being so very naughty. I'm sure she was greatly upset by the entire experience and has most likely changed her ways  


I was recently reading through the Rolling Stone website and saw a list of famous Athletes who were either caught in possession or smoking the devil's lettuce. Most of the Athletes mentioned were either professional Baseball or American Football players and honestly I don't care about these sports much. The only culprit I recognized was 14-times Olympic Gold Medal winner Michael Phelps, who won a record 8 Gold medals at the Beijing Olympic Games. Eye witnesses claimed that the American Olympic Swimming Champion had obviously smoked before as he handled the smoking apparatus with experience and skill. However, eye witnesses did claim that Phelps got paranoid and ran away shortly after smoking. Phelps's Olympic team tried bribing "News of the World" into not publishing the photo as it could have lost Phelps his sponsors and possibly ruined his career.However, Phelps has continued swimming and is considered as one of the best in swimming history.

Another pipe smoking bastard who even the world mastermind champion would not guess is Haley Joel Osmet. The young actor who won the heart's of so many young girls and homosexual men, while testing the gag reflex's of everyone els  was caught in 2006 with possession of the evil herb and driving under the influence of alcohol. Osmet drove his car into a brick mail box and over turned his car. The young girlish looking boy who played minor roles in films and series like Touched by an Angel, Walker Texas Ranger(as a child dying of AIDS), Forest Gump, Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, Bogus and blockbuster The Sixth Sense was sentenced to a bunch of humiliating punishments. It should teach this young vegetarian that drugs are the devils work. 

It turns out that Paris Hilton is not the only girl in the world who smokes the dreaded "Dagga Cigarette". The British born star of the hit television series "The OC" Mischa Barton was caught on the 27th of December 2007 driving under the influence of (and I quote) "an alcoholic beverage" and was also found to be in possession of Reefer. It was later found out that this young lass did not have a drivers licence and was going to be in big big trouble. The beautiful lass used all of her sassy and got off with a 3 year suspended sentence. Barton was quoted in saying "I was pulled over... just that. Obviously, I’m 100 percent responsible for my actions in this case and I’m really disappointed in myself... I don’t know what to say about it, except that I’m not perfect and I just don’t ever intend to do something this stupid again".  On January 21, 2010, Barton was sued by her New York landlord for refusing to pay three months of $7000 per month rent on her apartment.

It seems that this trend of Drug abuse is ripe amongst supposed A-list celebrities. In 1970 Billy Murray was arrested for trying to smuggle 9 pounds of marijuana through Chicago's O'Hare Airport. Tim "the tool-man" Taylor has been caught multiple times for possession and in one case for the smuggling of Cannabis and Cocaine. In 2001 Jennifer Aniston was quoted in saying "I enjoy smoking cannabis and see no harm in it".Arnold Schwarzenegger admitted prior to winning the California Governorship that he has smoked cannabis on numerous occasions in his youth and young adulthood. George Washington grew Hemp apparently, how true that is I am not sure. My favorite case of celebrity Drug abuse is Paul Reubens, otherwise known as PeeWee Hermans. PeeWee was arrested in 1971 for possession of Pot, and then famously detained in 1991 for indecent exposure, Poor PeeWee. 

Drugs are bad Kids. As this 1950's video accurately depicts. 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Suicide Girls

For most of you that hang out in places that are reminiscent of the MTV generation of Jersey Shore and The Hills, you will most likely be unfamiliar with the label Suicide Girls. If you are more concerned what time "SuperRock" starts on MTV and are R5000 away from a festival tour to Norway, you will most likely be very familiar with Suicide Girls and possibly own a few posters show casing alternative culture at its finest. For the people that fit somewhere in between and are not about to sacrifice a goat, nor are you about to break the world bench pressing record, Suicide girls could be a new obsession for you.

SuicideGirls.com is a website that was founded in late 2001 by Sean Suhl and Selena Mooney. Sean and Selena started the website "just to see hot punk rock girls get naked".However, their self absorbent website managed to spark a cultural phenomenon. SuicideGirls.com has managed to influence alternative culture all over the globe. South Africa even has its own version of Suicide Girls. www.SuicideGirls.com claimed in 2008 that their website average 1 000 000 hits per week, however domain industry tracking sites paint a slightly more modest picture. Regardless of the websites inflated hit rate it is foolish to deny this new cultural phenomenon.

SuicideGirls.com takes Goth, Punk and Indie styled girls and show cases their "Softer Sides" with 1940's and 1950's pin-up girl styled photo shoots. These photo's have been called soft-core pornography as they don't shy away from showing a little bit of nipple here and there.Saying this, the level of nudity shown in the shoots is up to the preference of the model, as the girls are often scouted in public and then asked if they would like to pose for SuicideGirls.com. SuicideGirls.com has managed to provide the "Alternative Girl" with a platform to showcase her unique femininity. The stereotypical Suicide Girl has tattoo's, dyed hair, body modifications and alot of piercings. The website often uses the term of "Alternative sexual expression" as a luring card for alot of the girls and has been labeled as the "goth playboy" is some circles.


In 2005 the website removed a large amount of images from its pages fearing scrutiny from U.S Justice Department. The website removed images that featured bondage, knives, swords and simulated blood. The U.S Justice Department made it clear that images of this type could be under investigation and might be the subject of obscenity prosecutions. The Website was never mentioned by the U.S Justice Department and no lawsuits were filed, many of the models who featured in the removed images believed that SuicideGirls.com used Justice Departments claims as an excuse to remove the images and were never in breach of any laws. The removed images were made available once again in 2007.

In 2005 in interviews conducted by alternative publication "The Boston Phoenix", many ex-models expressed dissatisfaction with their experience with SuicideGirls.com. The interviewed girls were quoted as saying that owner Sean Suhl was "verbally abusive" and "an active misogynist". They claimed they were lured into posing for the website as they were promised alternative sexual expression, but are now concerned by what they consider indications that contradict professed ideas of empowerment.

SuicideGirls.com is proof that you don't have to be a clone of Paris Hilton or Kate Moss to be beautiful. The girls who have been a part this cultural phenomenon are often unsuspecting candidates who are ignored by the average guy as they don't fit the common mold of what is considered beautiful. It almost always comes as a shock when people see these strange girls who look strikingly beautiful even though most people never took notice. Suicide Girls have associated themselves with the Rock/Metal scene and it is not hard to see why. The Brand of Suicide Girls hire's out some of the girls to be hostesses at gigs and events or to just simply spice up your party. Long Live the Suicide Girls

Monday, July 19, 2010

The South African Dream

Xenophobia has become a word that is synonyms with South Africa. The Xenophobic attacks on May 21st 2008 turned the World's attention towards the violence that so many foreign nationals are experiencing on a daily basis. Xenophobia is not something that is easily explained or that is easily fixed. It is a problem that will plague South Africa for many years to come, seeing that we are one of the strongest economy's in Africa and large groups of impoverished foreign nationals make the journey to the "Rainbow Nation" in an attempt to find a better life. However, upon arrival they only receive threats, cold shoulders and violence.

"According to the Oxford Standard English Dictionary (OED), the word xenophobia consists of two parts: xeno (a combining form meaning "guest, stranger, foreigner") and phobia, ("fear, horror or aversion, especially if morbid"). Definition: A deep antipathy toward foreigners". The 2010 World Cup brought in thousands of foreigners, the majority of these individuals were here to watch the World Cup and to enjoy the rare occasion. However, a large group of foreign nationals came to South Africa with the intention to capitalize on the influx of tourists and to make money, many of these individuals had no intention of returning home. These immigrants often take the role of street vendors, construction workers, domestic workers and other low paying jobs. These individuals "undercut" the local workers as they are willing to work for less pay and often are more motivated to work, seeing that they are fighting to survive. It is because of this that violence has become a common occurrence towards these immigrants.


Many middle class South African citizens are ignorant towards the constant abuse these foreign nationals are experiencing "The public perception of an "outbreak" of xenophobia is somewhat mistaken -- xenophobic attacks have never stopped, and research by the Forced Migration Studies Programme (FMSP) at Wits University shows that in the past two years there has been at least one attack a month on groups of foreign nationals". The influx of foreign labor for the World Cup has not reignited the Xenophobic violence, but instead has brought it back into the public eye. Foreign nationals are faced with discrimination and threats of violence on a daily basis. A study done by the UCT Graduate School of Business has revealed that Xenophobic discrimination is rife in the South African Corporate sector and foreigners are insulted and excluded on a daily basis. Management often turns a blind eye, as to deal with these Xenophobic slurs would lead to drawn out ramifications and creating a divide in their work room. "According to the study, a common theme from the interviews was that there are negative psychological effects which foreign employees experience in South Africa today. The findings suggest xenophobia is not uncommon and that most foreign workers have experienced some level of discrimination at work". Workers have to adopt a victimized state of mind as companies often adopt the attitude that if these foreign workers do not abide to the harsh working environment they will be replaced by the large mass of unemployed individuals, who in some cases are waiting outside the work place gates.


To make matters worse for these foreign nationals, employers are often forced to adopt negative attitude towards employing these foreign individuals "Many report that they have been fired from restaurants and construction sites after their employers were told that hiring foreigners would identify them and their property as "legitimate targets" when attacks begin afresh". The South African work force is undermining these individuals as they have no where to turn, no where to work and no one who cares. Their attempt to give themselves and their families a better life often ends in discrimination, homelessness and in some cases death. There seems to be no end in sight for Xenophobic violence as it is a culmination of different factors, often where individuals are fighting for their lives. The general public is concerned with the way that our local workers and residents are discriminating against the foreign workers. However, we must remember that our local and impoverished worker is also fighting to survive and is willing to fight and even kill if it means that his family can eat.

The problem of Xenophobic violence is something that has many factors and outside contributors. To solve this problem will take many years and a unique policy to changing the attitudes of the local workers towards foreign nationals. Until we can muster up a new and unique way of tackling this problem we will continue to see acts of violence and discrimination.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Drums

So it is Winter in South Africa at the moment, even the British tourists thought it was cold. I stood outside my Sociology lecture today, talking to a fine young lass and it seems that the only things people talk about at the moment is how cold it is or how they miss the World Cup. 

On Monday I found something new to talk about. The Drums are a four piece Beach Pop band that hail from New York City. While I wouldn't call them entirely unique, I find myself hooked on their album like Amy Winehouse is hooked on crack. The band was initially formed by Jonathan Pierce and Jacob Graham, who met at a summer camp as young kids. Jonathan and Adam Kessler reached partial success with their previous band Elkland. Jonathan became disillusioned with the music business and left Elkland in 2005 to take some time off from music

It was in 2008 that Jonathan and Jacob were able to start a band together, something they had been talking about for years. They recruited Adam Kessler on second guitar to accompany Jacob Graham, Connor Hanwick was called in to beat the drums. By the end of 2009 The Drums had managed to earn a loyal following of the coolest of New York music fans. Their easy listening love songs and surf influenced guitar parts will get almost anyone dancing. The Drums have received critical acclaim from British music magazine NME and have been labeled the coolest thing to come out of New York in 2009. Their first single "Lets Go Surfing" has proven to be a hit with Indie DJ's all over the world. The Band defines their subject matter as 2 simple things "We only write about two feelings: one is the first day of summer when you and all of your friends are standing on the edge of a cliff watching the sun set and being overcome with all of your hopes and dreams at once. The other is when you're walking alone in the rain and realize you will be alone forever". 

With underground success and a sound that I would describe as the bastard child of Joy Division and The Beach Boys, The Drums are set to have a great 2010. As Summer Draws nearer, I am secretly learning the words and perfecting my dance moves so that I can be one step ahead when the rest of the country catches on. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Josh Homme - Queens of the Stone Age/Kyuss/Them Crooked Vultures

Josh Homme is fast becoming a legendary name in Rock music.Guitarist and joint founder of desert rock creators "Kyuss", Josh Homme did not let his career end when the Stoner Rockers called it a day. Josh Homme Quickly assembled Queens of the Stone Age, for the first time in his life Josh would take the lead vocal role. Initially, Josh Homme wanted to call the Band Gamma Ray but was threatened with law suits as the name was already taken. Queens of the Stone Age appeared in 1998 with their self titled album debut "Queens of the Stone Age". Josh gained the Bass skills of Nick Oliveri his close friend who also featured in "Kyuss". Their Debut Album did not receive a large amount of attention, but their second release "Rated R" began to turn heads towards Josh and Nick. "Rated R" featured contributions from many musicians, namely Judas Priest Front man Rob Halford on "Feel Good Hit of the Summer". The song was deemed to promote drug abuse by many record labels and distribution outlets. "Rated R" was Josh Homme's first real achievement with Queens of the Stone Age.

Queens of the Stone Age went into studio in early 2001 to record "Song for the Deaf" ."Rated R" had gained the attention of the music listening community as well as some of the biggest names in Rock music. Dave Grohl front man of the Foo Fighters and Drummer for legendary Grunge pioneers "Nirvana" joined the band sporting the role of Drums once again. Dave Grohl recorded all the drum parts on the Album and did a few shows with the band until his full time band Foo Fighters required his attention. Josh Homme and Nick Oliveri gained new momentum with "Songs for the Deaf", their mash up approach to band members seemed to create a unique energy. Singles "No One Knows" and "Go with the Flow" were hits on MTV and allowed the band to be exposed to a whole new market. However, things in the Queens of the Stone Age camp were uneasy. In January 2004 Oliveri was fired from Queens of the Stone Age for allegedly being abusive to Josh Homme's girlfriend.

Josh Homme was now the last remaining survivor of the original line up and set out to record the bands next Album "Lullabies to Paralyze" . He used the normal QOTSA approach to recording of using multiple collaborations namely Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. Queens of Stone Age manage to reproduce the mainstream success of "Song for the Deaf" with the single "Little Sister". Josh Homme later described the "Lullabies" era as the darkest period for QOTSA. In 2006 Homme set out to record "Era Vulgaris" he once again used the same Queens of the Stone Age approach to recording and set out to use as many members as possible. "Era Vulgaris" was described by Homme as being Dark, Hard and electrical, sort of like a construction worker. Homme mentioned that while "Songs for the Deaf" was inspired by a drive in the desert "Era Vulgaris" was inspired by a drive through Hollywood. The 3rd single off "Era Vulgaris" "Make it Wit Chu" received commercial success . Homme wanted to release a B side "Era Vulgaris" that would feature 10 or so songs that were recorded during the "Era Vulgaris" period, but his record label was not prepared to release another Queens of the Stone Age album at that time.

Josh Homme has not yet released another Queens of the Stone Age album. However he has been increasingly busy, he features on drums with "Sex Rock" band "Eagles of Death Metal" and his latest collaboration has shook the Rock World. Josh Homme has once again collaborated with Dave Grohl but this time has gained the services of John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin to create Super Group "Them Crooked Vultures". The band has been so well received around the world that both Dave Grohl and Josh Homme have been forced to put their full time bands on hold to tour the world. "Them Crooked Vultures" feature equal contributions from all members and once again Josh Homme is part of a unique sound. Josh Homme has also featured as producer on the latest "Arctic Monkeys" album "Humbug". Homme has been praised by his fellow musicians for being the "Nice Guy" of Rock Music and possessing a unique approach to song writing. However, he does have quite a different reputation amongst certain rock fans for being a bully and some times overtly aggressive. On many an account Homme has been seen or even recorded verbally assaulting fans for throwing things at him or other acts that catch his attention. Since the release of "Songs for the Deaf" I have been a huge Queens of the Stone Age fan and I will continue promoting and supporting the music of Josh Homme. He is quickly becoming one of the most influential men in rock music. Just don't throw anything at him

Monday, July 12, 2010

We were there

The 2010 FIFA World Cup has come and gone. We silenced our critics who said we could never meet the deadlines in order to host the biggest sporting event in the world. When when met these deadlines, these same critics then said we would be plagued by crime and poor management. In the wake of the first African Soccer World Cup, Sepp Blatter congratulated us on hosting a highly successful event that he personally would give us 9 out of 10.  I am proud to say that even though we did have one or two speed bumps (namely the chaos at the King Shaka Airport in Durban) we managed to pull off one of the best Soccer World Cup event's in history.

The South African population is now faced with a new challenge. For the past 4 years we have been focused on this event and now with it all over, many predict a depression that will plague the rest of 2010 for South Africans. I feel that firstly we should ignore these utterances as they most likely come from the same sources that predicted absolute failure in our ability to host the World Cup, secondly I feel that we should take the temporary unity that was felt during the past month and should aim to instill it into the culture of this country. South African's are accustomed to adversity and the next 6 months will be no different. We have once again proven that once united we can achieve anything.

Like the advertisements aired on local and private television, we can proudly say "We were there". Like many things in life, we will only realize the true significance of what happened once it has passed us by. We will look back at June/July of 2010 and we will always remember the events that look place. From the brilliant atmosphere of the opening game, the new and rejuvenated international attitude towards our motherland, Paul the Octopus, the love that some of us found in the foreign visitors that graced our shores or simply the honor that came with hosting the greatest football players in the world. We will never forget what has happened over the past month

I for one was greatly impressed in the change of international attitude towards South Africa after this prestigious event. From international news coverage that praised us for the manner in which we conducted ourselves towards the tourists, the impressive state of our roads, the hospitality that was experienced across the country or just the fact that the international community had a distorted view of our country. In an encounter with Mexican tourists I was startled to see the amount of praise we received. We are unaware of how lucky we are to be South African, the diversity of cultures and the diversity of our landscape is found in no other country in the world.

My biggest hope for the future is that by hosting this event we will be able to inspire future players, we have been exposed first hand to the best in the world and hopefully from this we will be able to generate a few new Super Star players of our own. Coaching clinics have been established by FIFA and Company's like Nike and Adidas, these will aid us in the grooming of future talent. If South Africa could nurture it's Football team to a level that is similar to that of it's Rugby or Cricket, we will be one of the most powerful sporting nations in the world.

It was in the July 11th edition of Time magazine that I found inspiration for this post. A writer by the name of Alex Perry who moved to South Africa in 2006 wrote the Essay Column on the last page. He talks about how he was at first fearful of the country's reputation of crime and violence and how he has since settled in and already is starting to fall in love with this great land. He talks about the future benefits of hosting the 2010 World Cup and how Africa is on the rise. As the beacon of Africa we will be the first to feel the effects of the growth of the Mother Continent. I would like to congratulate Spain on their first World Cup crown, I felt that even with a few dodgy decisions in the final match that they were the better team and in the last few games have certainly looked the bearers of the rightful title of "World Champions".  We did it, we did it with style. As South African's we can be proud

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Muse - The Resistance

I have been a Muse fan since Origin of Symmetry. Mathew Bellamy has always impressed me with his high vocal range and his unique guitar riffs. HullabalooAbsolution and Black Holes and Revelations are all releases that showed the band growing and maturing to new levels. It was after Black Holes and Revelations that Muse could have been called the biggest Rock act in the World. "Singles" like Starlight and "Knights of Cyndonia" managed to attract the main stream market without isolating the "Die Hard" fan. 

In 2009 Muse released "The Resistance". It was the band's first release under Warner Brothers and featured the first Single "Uprising". Like almost all of Matthew Bellamy's craftsmanship, he sings about fighting against the "Evil Forces" that are holding him back or how he will "Rise Up" against the suppressors. "Uprising" is no different and contains lyrical content that could have sold well during the Cold War. Muse have achieved what almost every "Garage" band aspires to do, so regardless of what happens from here on, they will go down in history as one of the best. Saying this, I do feel that we might have already witnessed the best that Muse has to offer. The album does not posses the same flair that normally is associated with the boys from Teignmouth, Devon (I have no idea where that is) . Resistance does feature Matthew's typical guitar style and vocal range, my personal favorite "Unnatural Selection" is proof of this, but the difference is that this time it is easy to spot the song's influences. Queen, Metallica and System of a Down are but a few of the influences that are easily identified on the album

 

For all you aspiring garage bands. A little proof that everyone starts at the bottom