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Tag: Music

I recently joined a group on Facebook that shares interesting music videos, and that got me thinking about the music of my youth.

Most kids (at least those that I have met) tend to rebel against their parents musical tastes, forging a personal sound from their social groups and media surrounding them, but I was somehow different. My core musical taste came directly from both my parents. Outside influences came a distinct second.

Now don’t get me wrong, I still loved the music around me growing up. I listened to Roxette, Bon Jovi, Queen, Michael Jackson and many more of the (then) current bands, but the music that truly defined me came from an earlier period.

I had just become a teenager when the 90′s started, but my musical taste was stuck in the 60′s, 70′s and 80′s, and not to mention classical, thanks in a very large part to my parents. I remember spending hours playing with my father’s hi-fi, and the sounds of Glenn Miller, Laura Branigan, Beach Boys, Traveling Wilbury’s and the soundtrack to Caravans are forever etched into my mind.

I also remember listening to Wham in a mix tape my mother had in her car when I was six years old.

When my father passed away in 2004 (already 8 years ago – I can remember it like yesterday), I found his collection of tapes in his estate, and for the next year, the only thing that played in my car’s tape player (yes, my car had one of those even in 2004), was these old tapes which my father adored.

My father and I never really got on very well, with some periods where I barely saw him for months or years at a time, but I did share his love for his music, counting those bands I had listened to on that hi-fi as among my favourites.

I miss him terribly sometimes, especially when I have those songs on…


As a South African living in the Netherlands, one of the first questions people often ask me when they meet me is “So, do you like Die Antwoord?” This highlights everything that is wrong with the world.

Die Antwoord (translated as “The Answer”) consists of Ninja, Yo-Landi Vi$$er and DJ Hi-Tek, and I am pretty sure that there is more musical talent in my goldfish in my fishpond than there are in these hacks.

Now, I don’t mind that the band exists, or that there are people who would want to listen to them. Everyone is free to enjoy whatever music they like, no matter how bad it is.

What I do mind though, is that suddenly all good taste in the world seems to have disappeared and this band is now the most recognisable – and popular – band coming out of South Africa, causing a global sensation. They have even had a world tour.

It gets worse than that though. The Guggenheim Foundation – who apparently know what good contemporary art looks like, but I am not so sure anymore – voted one of their videos one of the top 25 internet videos in the last 2 years”.

Seriously? Was the rest of the millions of videos so bad that they had to include Die Antwoord? Heck, I would even count Rebecca Black as being more talanted than these guys.

I have been unable to sit through an entire music video of their’s, fearing that my IQ would suffer a permanent drop after listening to Ninja and Yo-Landi’s whiny voice singing those white-trash lyrics.


With Christmastime, there comes an inescapable part of it, which is sometimes good, but more often bad. That is the music. Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without some festive ditties. So, here are some of my favourites at this time of year.

And yes I know most of these songs are ancient….they just happen to be the good songs.

  • Bing Cosby, White Christmas (1941) – The best selling Christmas song ever, and one with particular relevance for me living in South Africa. The only white Christmas we get here is if it hails on Christmas day, so we always dreaming of a white Christmas
  • Jimmy Boyd, I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus (1952) – This song has come around in several covers, but is just a fun little song.
  • Gene Autry, Frosty the Snowman (1950) – covered by just about everybody, I still think this song has a catchy tune.
  • Gene Autry, Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer (1949) – C’mon, you knew I had to include this one. Christmas is not complete without this song.
  • Santa Claus is coming to town – Another song that Christmas would be incomplete without, giving a feeling of the anticipation of the coming presents.
  • Bobby Helms, Jingle Bell Rock (1957) – Just a little fun song.
  • Frank Sinatra, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (1947) – Can you feel the festive feelings already?
  • Brenda Lee, Rockin” Around the Christmas Tree (1958) – A little lesser known than the others but still a classic.
  • Dean Martin, Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! (1959) – Another song playing on a childhood growing up with with a summer Christmas, missing out on all that snow.
  • Winter Wonderland – This song from the thirties has literally been done by everybody. And dare I say it, another song to make me so jealous of my Northern Hemisphere relatives.

And as a special mention is Boney M”s Christmas album. This one is a true classic, and despite the fact that I would never dare listen to it any other time, and that shopping malls seem to have this album stuck on repeat for the whole season. No other album has reached this kind of status.


I adore opera music. I really do. And I have my mother to blame for that.

You see, when I was 6 years old, my mother took me to see a ballet, The Nutcracker Suite, and ever since then I have had a love for all things theatre, and that includes opera.

The downsides of this of course is that opera is not exactly seen as an “in” art form. People tend to give you strange looks when you sitting next to them in traffic with an Aria from Carmen or The Magic Flute playing loudly in your car.

Well, I, unfortunately, have repeated the mistakes of my mother. I have introduced Cole to opera and ballet, and he now loves it too.

This raised it’s head this weekend. Cinema Nouveau have over the next few months planned to show several recorded versions of operas at the cinema, and I was planning on taking Claudia to go watch a few. Cole, however, told me in no uncertain terms that I dare not leave him out of it. How many 7-year-old’s willingly want to go watch a full opera?

Maybe opera will never die….


I saw a post on the blog of Jeremy Nell, a South African cartoonist, that I found to be a bit of an eye opener.

I had heard the song Lola by The Kinks many, many times over the years, and really enjoyed that song. And not once did I ever imagine what the song was really about.

Turns out the song is about a guy who picks up a woman in a bar, and then the woman turns out to be a man. This last part escaped me until it was pointed out me, and I actually read the lyrics.

I must say, this is not the only song out there that does not always convey what it really means. The biggest one that pops in my head is Every Breath You Take by The Police. That song is about a stalker, yet at every dance I have been to, when they have a slow dance, this song gets played. People think it is a nice romantic love song, but in reality it is a rather disturbing song.

There are many songs which people have not gotten, and then had to have the real meaning pointed out – it is staggering how many songs have veiled references to drugs.

I was going to use the song, Puff the Magic Dragon, by Peter, Paul and Mary as an example of this, but digging around a little, I discovered that the song was actually intended to be an innocent song, and had nothing to do with drugs.

So, I think it pays to check before assuming too much about songs.

If you have any other cool meanings for songs, do add a comment.


I was shocked beyond belief when I had heard that Michael Jackson had died. Michael was a legend, and supposed to live forever.

I grew up just as Michael was at his prime. I can still remember, as an 8 year old, listening to Bad with a friend of mine who was totally obsessed with Michael. Since those days, I have been a huge fan of his music.

During Michael’s scandal-rocked years, I still supported him, even though the rest of the world was crucifying him. He might be strange and have quite a number of quirks, but I never got a sense of malice from him.

And now, the King of Pop is dead. May Michael Jackson live forever in our hearts.