Wednesday, 27 November 2013


"Man is asleep, dreaming that he is awake." -- Unknown

"Personal Jesus"

Depeche Mode was one of the first bands I listened to as a kid, so I'm very familiar with their "Personal Jesus". Hearing Johnny Cash's version (above) of this Depeche Mode's classic for the first time today shocked me. I accidentally heard it while watching part of a documentary, when suddenly Johnny Cash's velvety voice hummed in the background. I recognized both immediately, Johnny Cash's voice and Depeche Mode's song. My first reactions was that I didn't realize "Personal Jesus" is actually a Johnny Cash song, covered by Depeche Mode. Then when I searched online I saw that it was the other way around. It was indeed a Depeche Mode song covered by the legend, Cash.

Johnny Cash's cover is as of today my favourite rendition of this song. However, there are some other noteworthy covers, like that of the experimental French band, Shaka Ponk:

Sammy Hagar (previously from Van Halen, now part of Chickenfoot) also did a nice rock version, and one cannot forget Marilyn Manson's cover.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Common Book Themes

So you are thinking of writing a book, but don't know what about? How about starting with choosing one or two primary themes. I like this list of 101 Common Book Themes by About.Com. Actually, I came upon this list recently while preparing one of my freshmen classes; I imagine our topic for the day was something like themes and archetypes.

  • Beauty of simplicity
  • Capitalism – effect on the individual
  • Change of power - necessity
  • Change versus tradition
  • Chaos and order
  • Character – destruction, building up
  • Circle of life
  • Coming of age
  • Communication – verbal and nonverbal
  • Companionship as salvation
  • Convention and rebellion
  • Dangers of ignorance
  • Darkness and light
  • Death – inevitable or tragedy
  • Desire to escape
  • Destruction of beauty
  • Disillusionment and dreams
  • Displacement
  • Empowerment
  • Emptiness of attaining false dream
  • Everlasting love
  • Evils of racism
  • Facing darkness
  • Facing reality
  • Fading beauty
  • Faith versus doubt
  • Family – blessing or curse
  • Fate and free will
  • Fear of failure
  • Female roles
  • Fulfillment
  • Good versus bad
  • Greed as downfall
  • Growing up – pain or pleasure
  • Hazards of passing judgment
  • Heartbreak of betrayal
  • Heroism – real and perceived
  • Hierarchy in nature
  • Identity crisis
  • Illusion of power
  • Immortality
  • Individual versus society
  • Inner versus outer strength
  • Injustice
  • Isolation
  • Isolationism - hazards
  • Knowledge versus ignorance
  • Loneliness as destructive force
  • Losing hope
  • Loss of innocence
  • Lost honor
  • Lost love
  • Love and sacrifice
  • Man against nature
  • Manipulation
  • Materialism as downfall
  • Motherhood
  • Names – power and significance
  • Nationalism – complications
  • Nature as beauty
  • Necessity of work
  • Oppression of women
  • Optimism – power or folly
  • Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice
  • Patriotism – positive side or complications
  • Power and corruption
  • Power of silence
  • Power of tradition
  • Power of wealth
  • Power of words
  • Pride and downfall
  • Progress – real or illusion
  • Quest for discovery
  • Quest for power
  • Rebirth
  • Reunion
  • Role of men
  • Role of Religion – virtue or hypocrisy
  • Role of women
  • Self – inner and outer
  • Self-awareness
  • Self-preservation
  • Self-reliance
  • Social mobility
  • Technology in society – good or bad
  • Temporary nature of physical beauty
  • Temptation and destruction
  • Totalitarianism
  • Vanity as downfall
  • Vulnerability of the meek
  • Vulnerability of the strong
  • War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Will to survive
  • Wisdom of experience
  • Working class struggles
  • Youth and beauty
  • Monday, 25 November 2013

    Cartier Did It Again

    The Cartier ads really know how to push my buttons -- in a good way. They did it last year with their The Odyssey campaign, and now again with their Winter Tale. I was gripped from the beginning, which reminded me of something from the magical worlds of the Harry Potter series or the Discworld series. If Cartier ever produce a full feature film, I would definitely go watch it, even if I knew it was brimming with subliminal messages to buy their expensive jewelry.

    Sunday, 24 November 2013


    "Taking jobs to build up your resume is the same as saving up sex for old age." -- Warren Buffet

    Saturday, 9 November 2013


    I've written about Miyavi a number of times on this blog. I'm not a die hard fan who follows his every step, and although I subscribed to his twitter-feed, I very seldom check Twitter. Rather, every couple of months I start wondering what he has been up to, so I do a quick search for him online and get my Miyavi-fix.

    His latest music releases are in English rather than his mother tongue, Japanese. The earliest things I heard of him that were in English were not that good. I mean, even back then his guitar playing was superb, but his English pronunciation was not good at all. This has clearly changed. He must have been studying quite hard since, for example he sang "Hit the Road Jack" in 2007. His latest two singles are, by comparison, dramatically better and very intelligible. The sound is also much more mainstream, I'm guessing to appease the Western market. I personally like his metal tracks and rock ballads better than this swing towards dance music.

    The music video for his new single "Secret" is probably one of the sexiest, most suggestive music videos I've ever seen. Don't watch it at work.

    In other Miyavi-news, he has been cast in Angelina Jolie's second feature as director, "Unbroken", which ought to come out at the end of 2014. He will play a Japanese prison guard during WWII.

    Rooideur & Patriotisme

    Ek weet nie heeltemal hoe voel ek hieroor nie. Ek het nog nooit lekker in gepas in my Afrikaanse subkultuur nie, maar weet feitlik niks van die Joods-Engelse subkultuur waaruit by pa stam nie. Ek het groot geword as 'n tipe "Third Culture Kid" met 'n groot dosis Hollywood flieks (my ma het 'n videowinkel gehad), fantasie boeke (ek het Lord of the Rings gelees toe ek nog op skool was, lank voor die flieks uitgekom het), Britse humor (Waiting on God, My Family en 'Alo 'Alo is van my gunstelinge), en my ma se liefde vir musiek: klassiek, country, Elvis, en musiekblyspele soos West Side Story. Min eg Suid-Afrikaanse kultuur. In my subkultuur is daar nie veel rugby, bier, en braaivleis nie. Die plaas . . . dis 'n deel van wie ek is. Maar dis onteien en verewig weg.

    Terug by die Rapportryerbeweging en die Rooideur-projek wat kos voorsien aan minderbevoorregte Afrikaanse kinders. Ek dink daar is waarde in so 'n projek. Arm Afrikaners is inderdaad 'n groep wat oorgesien word weens historiese redes. Wanneer mense dink aan arm, honger kinders in Afrika, is dit nie aan wit gesiggies waaraan hulle dink nie, so hierdie is seersekerlik 'n afgeskeepte gemeenskap.

    En ek was op 'n tyd self ook 'n arm wit "Afrikaner". Vir vele Suid-Afrikaners, en veral vir anderskleuriges is dit 'n anomalie. Ek onthou hoedat ek self nie geld gehad het vir kos nie, en swartmense dan by my wil geld bedel en selfs kwaad word vir my as ek nie vir hulle geld wil gee nie. Dis vir hulle ondenkbaar dat ek nie geld het nie -- in hulle gemoed is ek bloot 'n selfsugtige, wit leuenaar. Daar was een geleentheid wat 'n bedelaar my gevloek het, omdat ek nie vir hom geld wou gee nie, min wetend dat ek heel eerlik was toe ek verduidelik dat ek nie geld het om vir hom te gee nie.

    Wat my pla van die Rapportryerbeweging se Rooideur-projek is die poging om patriotisme of nasionalisme te kweek. Daar is seker niks fout daarmee in opsigself nie, maar dit voel vir my amper soos daardie sopkombuise by kerke wat vir die armes kos sal gee, mits hulle na 'n preek kom luister. Die kos is nie werklik gratis nie--jy moet met jou siel daarvoor betaal. Kinderstjies, hier is vir julle kossies, maar sing saam: "Ek sal lewe, ek sal sterwe, ek vir jou Suid-Afrika!"

    Vir my is daar niks fout met 'n trots in jou kultuur en land nie. Maar dit bly selde by net 'n onskuldige, trots. Baie vinnig slaan dit om in 'n selfvoldaanheid, 'n ons is beter as die res, mentaliteit. Patriotisme, soos nasionalisme, maak dit maklik om jou naaste--die mense wat soos jy lyk en dink--lief te hê soos jouself, maar moeilik om die wat anders as jy is lief te hê; want patriotisme is inherent eksklusief en nasionalisme is inherent aggressief.

    Ja, asseblief, gee die kinders kos. En ja, leer hulle van hulle geskiedenis en kultuur. Maar wees versigtig oor jou motiewe.

    Peeping Tom and Kim Seonjil

    Last week I went to see "32 Rue, Vanderbranden", a production by the Brussel-based theater dance troup Peeping Tom. It was one of the highly anticipated shows on my calender and it did not disappoint. The dancers are magnificent and the stage production is fantastic. The production is about a small community living in some isolated, very cold place. Imagine a trailer park at the North Pole. The acting shifts back and forth between reality and the characters' subconscious until the audience is left in a surreal dreamworld where no one is certain what is real anymore.

    The Korean dancer on the troup is my favourite, and I am of the opinion that Kim Seonjil is a kinetic genius. Do check out some of his videos on his YouTube channel.

    The video below is of him "playing", as he likes to call his improvisations.

    I subscribed to his YouTube channel because as a martial artist and someone who have an appreciation of the human body in motion, I have great admiration for his bodily mastery. I can comfortably call him a "master" in the martial arts sense, for he has truly mastered his medium, his body. One can easily see why Kim Seonjil won the Grand Prix at Korea's annual National Dance Competition in 2003.