IT’S BEEN quite a week for the media following the Paris attacks. The Bataclan Concert Hall massacre, in which some 89 fans of California rock band, the Eagles of Death Metal (EODM), were gunned down by armed assailants, linked with a Syrian religious group, has sent shock waves around the globe.
Christian Pastor Steven Anderson spent part of his sermon on Sunday, telling his congregation that, “while he doesn’t condone the actions of the Paris attackers, the concert-goers at the Bataclan theatre, who were there to listen to EODM “had it coming”.
These views were echoed by local Muslim theologian Farid Esack, who said the attacks were part of the logic of Western cultural Imperialism that “kills hundreds of thousands every year”. He also added: “I am not praying for Paris; I am not condemning anyone. Why the hell should I? I had nothing to do with it,” and rejected such calls as “Islamophobic”.
What escaped the sermons and homilies issued by religious representatives, politicians and commentators, is that the music industry “had taken a direct hit” as U2 frontman Bono put it.
“These are our people. This could be me at a show, you at a show, in that venue. It’s a very recognizable situation for you and for me and the coldblooded aspect of this slaughter is deeply disturbing and that’s what I can’t get out of my head.”
Among those killed during the Friday’s tragic terrorist attacks in Paris were several members of the music industry, all of whom were attending the sold-out EODM concert at Le Bataclan when it was attacked. While all the musicians in EODM escaped unharmed, “others in attendance, including some who worked for the band and the band’s parent label, were less fortunate”.
“If you in a war of culture and lifestyle with France, good luck, go ahead, bring your bankrupt ideology, they will bring Jean Paul Satre, Edith Piaf, Fine Wine, Gauloise Cigarettes, Camus, Camembert, Madeleines, Macarones, Marcel Proust and the Croquembouche. (A pastry dessert). You just brought a philosophy of rigorous self-abnegation to a pastry fight my friend,” ranted John Oliver on HBO.
The tragic error of a Muslim fundamentalist group who obviously thought EODM were a heavy metal ‘abomination’, same way Pork Eating Cambodians are an ‘abomination’ to certain clerics, and well, a friendly soccer match between Germany and France, is just plain ‘blasphemy’, didn’t seem to rate in local media. As it turned out, EODM are a progressive rock band, with a number of hits at the top of the iTunes charts, and the part about the death metal is all just a stage joke.
Which reminds me of a local act, The Genuines, who during the dark days of apartheid, used to play metal, and still joke about it.
The nuances of music appreciation, and inside jokes about musical genres appears to have been lost on those with an axe to grind. According to Le Figero, the Bataclan have been on the radar for terrorists as early as 2007, this because its organizers hosted a concert in support of Israel in 2011.
A French terrorist with ties to a Gaza Strip-based group, the Army of Islam, allegedly confessed to planning an attack against the Bataclan because “the owners are Jews.” ISIL has taken responsibility for the latest attacks.
Amnesiac Rhythmn Composition by Keenen Ahrends is brilliant.
Legends rarely disappear. But Sixto Rodriguez that did just that.
A singer from 1960s and ’70s Detroit, Rodriguez (whose surname is also his performing title), had some of the lyric quality of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, but a voice like James Taylor. Cold Fact, his debut album, layered his aching voice over Motown horns and strings.
Though there was plenty of buildup, Cold Fact never became a hit in the United States. But bootlegged copies made the album — and the singer — a legend in a South Africa in ferment over apartheid.
Then the short, sensational career of Rodriguez ended in spectacular fashion. Rumors of a grotesque death abounded; one even suggested the singer set himself alight onstage one night, burning to death before the crowd.
A new documentary called Searching for Sugar Man explains what really happened. The film’s director, Malik Bendjelloul, says the saga of Cold Fact was shrouded in mystery from the very start.
REACTION to the Lebo M news-story at a Cape Town radio station was predictable. Lee Downs of Heart 104.9 lead the way, roasting the producer who had apparently “caused a scene” at the Naledi awards on Tuesday. Rebuking the co-producer of the musical The Lion King, for being an uppity prima donna playing the race card, Downs sided with organisers of the event in particular Dawn Lindberg.
Downs was however merely following the lead taken by the print media, in particular The Times which as it turned out carried a front page feature with Dawn Lindberg “hitting back” at Lebo M over the alleged “disrespect” shown to him and other black theatre professionals at the Naledi Theatre Awards.
The Lion King co-producer, who won the award for best musical, “said in his acceptance speech on Monday night that he felt insulted to be seated in the back row, and that the theatre industry did not recognise black people.”
THE weird apartheid time-warp which kept Derek Wilson in the Argus newsroom for thirty years has finally ended. South Africa’s worst critic, who never made it out of the eighties conceptually, and refused to embrace transformation, either in his choice of words, or material for review, has been forced into retirement.
Ringing changes at the Independent Group have also seen David Hill, editor of the Group’s community papers leave, and dare one say John Scott could be the next “old fogey” to be pushed into the twilight?
Wilson is best known for his complete and utter failure to recognize the anti-apartheid movement, and the cultural boycott called by anti-apartheid activists in defiance of government laws segregating South Africans into race groups. Defying calls by cultural workers for whites to not participate in the regime which created separate amenities and apartheid arts structures, Wilson insisted on covering the whites-only opera, even while blacks and so-called “coloureds” were forceably prevented from attending venues such as the former Nico Malan.
Wilson, forever the newsroom queen, also coined the term “artsy fartsy” to relegate much of what he wrote to the corridors of parochialism, and white infantilism as his readership consistantly insisted that Aviva Pelham and Alvin Collison were the “beesknees”, all the while refusing point blankly to attend any art event which actually transgressed boundaries and the borders in the townships.
It is a wonder of the modern world that Wilson’s reign of terror against anything which smacked of the unconventional or radical, continued well into the 21st century, and that he was not forced to retire earlier. Having absolutely no grasp of criticism, or the theories which underpinned much of the anti-establishment counterculture which arose, first as an antidote to apartheid institutions, and later as a reaction both to the democratic election and the approaching fin ‘d ciecle, Wilson insisted on ignoring most of South Africa’s youth culture.
Forever the curmudgeon and mother grundie of rock ‘n roll, Wilson would routinely spike copy that was anywhere near critical of the colonial institutions which created a stilted and stuffy Cape. It is beyond belief that hacks at the Argus never realized the man was obviously suffering from senile dementia or Alzheimer’s and can only recall a smattering of notables in his ignominious and shy career.