Of Karma

A few weeks back I wrote an open letter to humanity. Something not accepted by the religious nuts out there. They cannot seem to actually fathom that they may be on the wrong path believing in all their various little cruel gods. Believing that they are all the chosen ones. Exclusively. Rather than striving to be kind, compassionate people. They are under the misconception that if they just keep on doing what they are doing, disregarding common sense, they will live forever in the clouds – in houses of gold. Or at least not burn in the 9 circles of Dante’s hell.

dante

I believe that all 9 circles are reserved for hypocritical ‘believers’.

CIMG0296 letter2 What my criticisers don’t understand, is that I don’t just mouth off about things I have no experience of. I write from the heart, always. I write about the hurt I have suffered, the personal pain as well as more importantly the pain I see and feel in the world around me on a daily basis. The painfully thin, starving animals I see next to the roads, kept exposed without shelter from the burning sun, the cold nights. Unfed, abused and left to die by people who call themselves farmers, who hold prayer meetings for rain but neglect and kill animals in their care daily. Plus of course those people who greedily consume those same animals without a second thought.

Yet they believe that they are special. That they have the right to do so. They call their ‘religions’ real, but yet they continue to destroy the creation of those they ‘believe’ are their ‘gods’. They feel no shame in causing death and destruction.

A person previously seen as a friend, told me about how he was profoundly saddened by the horrible death of his young child and could almost not bear to go on and look after his other children. (Another thing about ‘religious’ people, they seem to breed and breed with no regard for over populating the earth, over utilising the natural resources.) When I asked him why he did not hate his god who let such things happen, he told me that it was all he had to hold onto. His religion. As if that was going to do him any good? Making excuses for a cruel god? He could have rather put his energies into loving his remaining children all that much more, being a good person and helping others. But rather he became a self centred ‘holier than thou’ bible basher. Turned all his attention to that which caused him pain. Masochistic.

Sad. Maybe you should all individually rethink your places in this world. Move away from the mob mentality, from hiding behind your religion. Face the world from a point of view that whatever you do to those around you will come back to haunt you. Now or in your next life. Karma will get you.

Inia

Of weeping…and maybe a little hope

On this day, the 23 rd anniversary of the first democratic elections held in South Africa during which Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (Madiba) was elected president, I would like to share with you some of my journey during that time and the lesser known South African people/events who had an effect on me and the way I see things.

I have to start off with my idol though, Madiba. Not one of the lesser known, he is famous. His autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, had an indelible effect on me and the book is one of my most treasured possessions.

In 1998 I fell in love with a man who closely resembled Madiba in looks and in outlook on life, but sadly things did not work out for us. His name will remain private although he changed my life forever.

nm

nm quote

Four of the lesser known people I want to mention today are a black man and three white men, who were all artists, only one is still alive. The black man, Enoch Sontonga, wrote the original National Anthem, Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika in 1897 – a deeply moving song which to me signifies the New South Africa which followed Apartheid.

The first white man, Dan Heymann, wrote the song Weeping almost a century later, including a few lines of instrumental from Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika while it was banned in South Africa – during the mid eighties as a particularly moving Anti Apartheid song written from the point of view of a white guy forced into the government’s war. This song to me is very relevant today with the ever present international wars and threats of nuclear war.

enoch sontongadan heyman

Information on Enoch Sontonga from site http://zar.co.za/sontonga.htm

nkosi

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFW7845XO3g – listen to it here.

The humble and obscure life of Enoch Sontonga is an antithesis of the dreams he inspired in generations of Africans through his famous composition “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika”. Details of his short life are hard to come by. He was born in Uitenhage (Eastern Cape), in about 1873. Trained as a teacher at the Lovedale Institution, he was sent to a Methodist Mission school in Nancefield, near Johannesburg. He married Diana Mgqibisa, the daughter of a prominent minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and had one son.

A choirmaster and photographer, he wrote the first verse and chorus of “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” when he was 24 (1897), one of many songs he wrote for his pupils. Later the same year, he composed the music. The song is a prayer for God’s blessing on the land and all its people. Sontonga’s choir sang the song around Johannesburg and KwaZulu-Natal, and other choirs followed them. It was first sung in public in 1899 at the ordination of Rev Boweni, a Shangaan Methodist Minister.

Most of Sontonga’s songs were sad, witnessing the suffering of African people in Johannesburg, but they were so popular that after his death choirs used to borrow them from his wife. According to sources, she eventually sold the rights to the song for a mere sixpence. She died in 1929.

Sontonga wrote his songs down in an exercise book, which was lent out to other choirmasters and eventually became the property of a family member, Boxing Granny. She never missed a boxing match in Soweto, hence the nickname. She died at about the time Sontonga’s grave was declared a heritage site in 1996, but the book was never found.

Solomon Plaatje, one of South Africa’s greatest writers and a founding member of the ANC, was the first to have the song recorded, accompanied by Sylvia Colenso on the piano. This was on 16 October 1923, in London. In 1925 the ANC adopted the song as the closing anthem for their meetings. In 1927 seven additional Xhosa stanzas were added by Samuel Mqhayi, a poet. The song was published in a local newspaper in the same year, and was included in the Presbyterian Xhosa hymn book “Ingwade Yama-culo Ase-rabe” in 1929. A Sesotho version was published in 1942 by Moses Mphahlele.

Enoch Sontonga MemorialThe Rev J L Dube’s Ohlange Zulu Choir popularised “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” at concerts in Johannesburg, and it became a popular church hymn that was also adopted as the anthem at political meetings. For decades Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika was regarded as the national anthem of South Africa by the oppressed and it was always sung as an act of defiance against the apartheid regime. There are no standard versions or translations of “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” so the words vary from place to place and from occasion to occasion. Generally the first stanza is sung in Xhosa or Zulu, followed by the Sesotho version. The song spread beyond the borders of South Africa and has been translated and adapted into a number of other languages. It is still the national anthem of Tanzania and Zambia and has also been sung in Zimbabwe and Namibia for many years.

A proclamation issued by the State President on 20 April 1994 stipulated that both “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” and “Die Stem” (the Call of South Africa), written by Afrikaans poet CJ Langenhoven in 1918, would be the national anthems of South Africa. In 1996 a shortened, combined version of the two anthems was released as the new National Anthem.

Information on Dan Heymann from site http://www.weeping.info/index.html.

Weeping had its debut in South Africa in 1987, as a protest song about the oppressive white government. The writer of of Weeping, Dan Heymann, was an unwilling white soldier, drafted into the Army. Weeping began as an instrumental piece, expressing his unhappines at being drafted by the regime, and later he wrote words to Weeping when the government declared a State of Emergency and imposed a ban on media-coverage of the situation in South Africa.

The first recording of Weeping was by Bright Blue, the South African band in which Dan Heymann played keyboards. That version of Weeping included a brief instrumental reference to “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika”, the anthem of the African National Congress, which was banned by the government at the time; However, the official censors didn’t act, and the radio DJ’s had a field-day with the song, so Weeping spent two weeks at number one on the government radio-station.

Many covers were done of this song but the original is still the most profound.

WEEPING
Written by Dan Heymann
(Copyright Bright Blue)
______________________________

I knew a man who lived in fear
It was huge, it was angry, it was drawing near
Behind his house, a secret place
Was the shadow of the demon he could never face
He built a wall of steel and flame
And men with guns, to keep it tame
Then standing back, he made it plain
That the nightmare would never ever rise again
But the fear and the fire and the guns remain

It doesn’t matter now
It’s over anyhow
He tells the world that it’s sleeping
But as the night came round
I heard its lonely sound
It wasn’t roaring, it was weeping

And then one day the neighbors came
They were curious to know about the smoke and flame
They stood around outside the wall
But of course there was nothing to be heard at all
“My friends,” he said, “We’ve reached our goal
The threat is under firm control
As long as peace and order reign
I’ll be damned if I can see a reason to explain
Why the fear and the fire and the guns remain”

Dan Heymann was a founder-member of the South African band, Bright Blue, during 1983, playing keyboards and writing songs in the band until 1990.

Hailing from Cape Town, Dan Heymann was born in 1960, and took classical piano lessons at school, until the age of about 14.
During that time, Dan Heymann never mastered the art of reading music fluently, preferring to figure pieces out by ear, which naturally was an obstacle in Dan Heymann’s classical-music progress!
However, after ending his classical lessons, Dan Heymann did a lot of listening to rock-‘n-roll music, and occasionally jammed with schoolmates, two of whom would later work with Dan Heymann as members of Bright Blue.
At that time, Dan Heymann played an old electric organ, handed down from a cousin.

Following high school, Dan Heymann studied engineering at the University of Cape Town, where his continued interest in music led him to keep playing the piano.
For his 21st birthday, he used the money he’d saved to buy himself a Wurlitzer electric piano, which enabled him to make some vacation-money playing background-music in restaurants,
and that led to a few gigs with a hastily-assembled jazz band, after being heard by guitarist Tom Fox, who was also to become a founder-member of Bright Blue!

The influence of traditional South African music was hard to resist, and the solo improvisations of Dan Heymann soon took on some local flavor.
In mid-1983, his final year on campus, Dan Heymann was invited by those former high-school-mates (the brothers Ian and Peter Cohen) to lend his musical style to founding a band,
where Dan Heymann first met singer-songwriter Robin Levetan, who fronted the band, and was re-united with Tom Fox, his former crony from the short-lived jazz band.

After a busy first year with the band, Dan Heymann found his musical career on hold, when he was drafted into the Army of the oppressive Apartheid regime.
However, Dan Heymann was able to continue developing his musical ideas, using any pianos that were available on army bases, and that’s where Dan Heymann wrote the music of “Weeping”.
At that time, Dan Heymann intended only to capture his anti-army feelings in a melancholy instrumental piece;
But many months later, the declaration of a State of Emergency by the white regime gave Dan Heymann the idea for the lyrics of “Weeping”.

In 1992 Dan Heymann moved to New York City, where he now lives, and continues to write.

The second white man was Johannes Kerkorrel or his real name, Ralph Rabie, who wrote some of the most exquisite music about South Africa. Disenchanted with the political situation in South Africa, he was also seen as ‘subversive’. It is unfortunate that most of his music was recorded in Afrikaans but it can still be appreciated by music lovers everywhere. His music to me signifies the time of becoming aware that not all whites are bad racist chauvinists, that those who are different to the majority are oppressed too. His most well known song is Halala Africa – listen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRucmVSFDaI. Here is the english translation of the lyrics as per http://www.kuleuven.be/iccp/2004/iccp14/halalafrika.htm.

Halala Africa

When the world still was young
and the horizons widely open
Was this there green in this hemisphere
Towards the south of the equator
and in the shadow of the fallen sun
and the beasts running towards home
we hear women’s voices shouting
over the hills of the land
Halala, halala
Everlasting Africa

Tula tula mtanami
Tula tula sanaboni
Tula tula mtanami
Ubab uzobuya sihlale naye
Ubab uzobuya sihlale sonke, hmmm – hmmm

Ships are coming from the west
White sails over the sea
asking for food and water
and to stay over for so much more
And the country which once was open
Is polluted
because of the ghetto’s of the cities
who gave us copper wire in return

Halala, Africa
Sasiphilia kamnandi
Mayibuye Africa (Return Africa in Zulu)

There was wealth in the stomach
of our mother Africa
Diamonds, coal, gold, metal

And people are becoming slaves now
because they get paid
to drill in the ground
to get out every bit of grain

And the big open meadows
are closed with barbed wire
and from the elephant till the he-goat
All the animals had to surrender
for the power of the hunter
for the power of his large gun
until silence remains
until silence restrains

Halala, mayibuye Africa

johannes

Read more about him here. http://www.kuleuven.be/iccp/2004/iccp14/biography.htm. Appreciate one of his english songs…River of Love https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RAFPqjJM74.

The third white person is the Author Andre P Brink. Born in 1935, he was a white man with a deep understanding of the terrible effects of apartheid. His books were banned by the Apartheid Government but I still got hold of them. It helped that I worked at an international airport and had access to confiscated/banned books. They helped me understand a world hidden from me as a white South African. Read more about him and his books at http://andrebrink.bookslive.co.za/about/ and https://literature.britishcouncil.org/writer/andre-brink.

picapb

Poet, novelist, essayist and teacher, he began work as a University lecturer in Afrikaans and Dutch Literature in the 1960s. He began writing in Afrikaans, but when censored by the South African government, began to also write in English and became published overseas. He remains a key figure in the modernisation of the Afrikaans language novel.

His book, A Dry White Season (1979), was made into a film starring Marlon Brando while An Instant in the Wind (1976), the story of a relationship between a white woman and a black man, and Rumours of Rain (1978) were both shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction.  Devil’s Valley (1998) explores the life of a community locked away from the rest of the world, and The Other Side of Silence (2002), set in colonial Africa in the early twentieth century, won a Commonwealth Writers regional award for Best Book in 2003. He has also written a collection of essays on literature and politics, Reinventing a Continent (1996), prefaced by Nelson Mandela.

André Brink was made a Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters and awarded the Legion of Honour by the French government.  In 1992 he was awarded the Monismanien Human Rights Award from the University of Uppsala, for making known the injustice of apartheid to the wider world.

He was Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Cape Town. His novels includeThe Blue Door (2007) and Philida (2012). In 2008, his trilogy of novellas, Other Lives, was published, comprising the previously published The Blue Door along with Appassionata and Mirror. 2009 saw the publication of a memoir, A Fork in the Road.

André Brink died on 6th February 2015.

A Dry White Season, Rumours of Rain, A Chain of Voices, Imaginings of Sand, Praying Mantis, States of Emergency, The Other Side of Silence, Before I forget and others are totally worth a read – you will understand South Africa better.

Although there were many honourable women involved in the Ant-Apartheid movement, none of them really had an individual, personal influence on me. I admire any and all women who make positive contributions to the world though.

I do want to mention Adv. Thuli Madonsela as well as Helen Suzman (an opposition politician during the earlier apartheid years) for their courage, determination and strength. It was more the overall general struggle as women in a chauvinistic white society which affected me, their struggle to survive in a male dominated world.

Until 1994 I only knew what the government fed the masses, but fortunately had my own mind and a need to know the truth. You need not accept everything you hear or read as the truth. Find out from other sources if you have doubts. For more insight into the South African freedom struggle, watch the Steve Biko story with Denzel Washington, Cry Freedom.

Remember….

madiba quote

Inia

 

 

 

 

 

Of tenacity…

via Daily Prompt: Tenacious

My daughter always tells me that I am the most tenacious person she knows. That may be good, and it may be bad. It just means to me that I am perceived as someone who won’t give up easily. Not only if I want to prove something to myself, and I often do, but very rarely it also means that I want to prove myself to others. Not in a show-off kind of way, but just that I can do most things for myself although I am not married or wealthy or smart.

A saying that Izzy and I believe in, is ‘Short term pain, long term gain. Short term gain, long term pain’. By being tenacious you usually go the short term pain route, but it is always better in the end. You just have to bite the bullet and stick with it, it is no use to procrastinate, if you don’t start something you can’t finish it. It is also good to teach yourself some patience in the process, especially if it is a difficult or confusing process.

tenacious

Maybe my tenacity comes from having to struggle for things my whole life long, nothing ever has come easy to me. I might have gained my first inspiration from this 1976 song by Bruce Millar…

Now after struggling through all sorts of issues for more that half a century I have grown a little tired. I struggle for longer to get something small done. If it’s not the eyes that battle to see, it’s the fingers that can’t grasp so well anymore, I drop things, I forget things – but it is the lack of finances which is the biggest stumbling block. You can’t make something out of nothing. It takes money to make money… But when a project is complete I feel such a sense of achievement that it is well worth my while. It is when I fail that I become utterly despondent.

A couple of years ago, to endeavour to create some income, I started making crafts out of polystyrene, those little environmentally unfriendly trays

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used in the packaging of foods, mushrooms and other veg, which are used a lot in this home. I could never throw these trays away due to the enormous environmental impact this product has on our oceans.

trash

They were also taking over my house. Due to the fact that they are not biodegradable nor economically recyclable (apparently), I felt that they had to be re-used in some way.

I came up with this.  http://www.wildernessuncatchers.co.za/ Hanging mobiles which I called ‘sun catchers‘ due to the sun reflecting off the jeweled beads and crystals I used and ‘breeze catchers‘, due to the floating ribbons. I cut the polystyrene in butterfly and dolphin shapes and added a sea sand finish to them. Later I also made them into individual Xmas tree ornaments. We sold them at the local Friday night market and a few good friends bought some online.

But eventually the amount of work and cost involved could not justify the meager income, as I barely broke even. So that noble endeavour sadly had to be stopped.

/suncatchers suncatchers site

 

When I don’t know how to do something, I remember what my daughter taught her mother. Google is your friend. With the help of Google and YouTube I have over the years operated on and fixed my computers, wired plugs, self published my books, grown veggies from kitchen waste, blogged my blogs and even created my own websites. I have links on my author site to Amazon where you can purchase my books, and even a showcase for some of my favourite photographs. All for ‘free’ but involving a lot of hard work. And tenacity!!!

Take a look at it here and give me your feedback please.   iniajardine.wixsite.com/visions

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wixpics1wixpics2wixpics3

Something else I am tenacious in, is my quest for everyone to become vegetarian and/or vegan, to stop the relentless cruelty to innocent animals and for us all to live together in racial harmony – free of historical and religious prejudices. You will say, NEVER. But you don’t know me very well if you think that I will just give up. No matter how much some bigots shout at me, I will be tenacious. I may make a small difference at first, but you know about ripples in a pond? About the flutter of a butterfly wing creating a tidal wave? About the starfish?

starfish story

I have recently been told that I struggle so much in this life because I have a huge Karmic debt to pay. Well, I’m paying! Let me go soon Karma…please.

Until then I will keep on trying, I will be tenacious. I will try until I die.

Inia

 

The colour of your skin

Two recently released movies make me incredibly embarrassed and ashamed to be a white South African, to have that stigma and that past. It is not enough that I am haunted every day by the effects of this hate between white and black all over the world, especially locally, for me as a white person from a perceived racist country writing interracial love stories, well. I am shunned. By all. Not many people accept what I do. No publisher wants to publish interracial romances as there is ‘not a big enough market for it’. So, if that is true, this world is inhabited by racists. Billions of them.

visions 1 covervisions 2 covercoming soong

Movies like these, stories like these which need to be told can cause a lot of additional hurt and anger by remembering the past – but they can mend fences if people look into themselves and BE the change. Remember history but change the future, make it better. Don’t dwell on the bad too much.

madib

The films I refer to, are firstly A United Kingdom, the story of Sir Seretse Khama and his wife Ruth, former Regents of Botswana,

sir

wherein almost unbelievably, it is shown that the governments of South Africa and Britain interfered in their relationship (1947) and tried very hard to split them up. South Africa threatened to withhold gold and uranium from Britain if King Khama was allowed to return to Bechuanaland (Botswana) with his white British wife. As if the happiness of this special couple would have affected anyone badly? What a crazy notion.

sir3

Skin is the story of Sandra Laing, (played as adult by the lovely Sophie Okonedo) a dark skinned girl born to white South African parents during the height of Apartheid in 1955. It shows her struggle with mainly white male South Africa (some females too though). I can identify with her, white males have also made my life miserable, but so did females. Of all colours. But light skinned people are not all bad.

Racism in all its forms HOWEVER is not specific to this country, South Africa, this skin colour white – I see it and chauvinism happening especially in America, through the years of slavery, and after – just for one example take Denzel Washington’s first movie, the deeply and offensively, stereotypical racist comedy Carbon Copy (1981) – not so long ago. Are Americans so proud of who they are, of what movies they make? Or maybe they feel better about themselves by making South Africa the ‘most evil ones’. Racism is everywhere, in North Africa, India, Arabia, China, Europe… etc. Remember the Holocaust? Genocide in Zaire, Rwanda? A certain group of people deciding to annihilate the other. The different.

skin

For non-South Africans, both of these films may give a glimpse into my world, the world in which I grew up. The world ruled by the South African government. I was born only nine years after Sandra, but neither of us asked to be born during this time, in this intolerable situation. I was luckier than her though, my skin matched that of my parents. I did not suffer like her, not then. I was white in a white dominated country, (not number-wise as the black races were always in the majority in Southern Africa, but the white people were ‘in charge‘ then. Now, the black people are ‘in charge‘ and the white people are by far the minority. We are still hated though, internationally. Twenty three years after democracy.

kill

I wonder if that will ever change. It does not seem to matter to anyone whether you as an individual are a racist or not, it is all about the colour of your skin. Try as you may to change the opinions of you as a person…some people just want to perpetuate hate. I know that Apartheid was unacceptable, horrible and caused enormous pain and suffering. And death. Terrible things happened. I know. So many lives were lost. I can’t fix the past, nobody can. But we can try and fix the present and the future.

skin2skin3

We all inherited this racist world. A world where even today, after so many years of integration, so many years of racial freedom, freedom to be with whomever you want to be, to marry whomever you want to marry without fear of the police kicking down your door to arrest you for contravening the laws, people still tend to keep away from and be scared of or offended by interracial couples. The Immorality Act, the Group Areas Act or the Separate Amenities Act, they were all designed to enlarge the divide between people of different races, those with different skin colour and features. You could not choose with whom to associate, it was decided for you, but really, these laws don’t exist anymore. There is no need to kill every white person now, or any section of the community. If you doubt me, google white genocide in South Africa. It is a horrific situation. It must stop. We are not all bad.

A world where white hates black and black hates white is not acceptable. racism

Not that it has changed at all – racism is alive and well. Sexism too. It is just not illegal anymore to associate with other races or sexes. The deep division will always be there, prejudices of the past. If we let it. And not only in South Africa, everywhere.   http://www.apartheidmuseum.org/node/48

seven

Democracy, equality, reconciliation, diversity, responsibility, respect and freedom. Can we not all live with these truths?

Why is it so bad for the majority of white and black people, to accept that love across the colour lines do exist, can be very strong, more so than with people of the same skin colour? One of the most beautiful interracial couples for me was Seal and Heidi, and I was devastated when they broke up. I would be so happy if they got back together.

seal hseal h2

If people can just understand and accept, we are not all a certain kind of bad or good depending on our skin colour. Not all white people are a certain way, not all black people either. Looks, personality, character, income, quirks, intelligence, education – it is not dependent on skin colour – it is dependent on circumstance, on birth not choice. For instance, not all white people are poor/rich/racist, not all black people are rich/poor/racist. You get racists everywhere.

Stop the hate please. Don’t perpetuate it.

selmawhit Don’t let this happen again. Anywhere. Please.

Colour should not be the deciding factor. Individual merit should be. We may be different in some ways but we can work together to overcome this stupid colour feud. We all want to love somebody and be loved back. People who are attracted to each other in whatever way, love, friendship, shared interests, anyone should be allowed to be together with anyone, no matter what.

I will say again, as in my books, I wish we were all one colour. Blue, green, purple, it does not matter. I would prefer purple though 😉

ava

Inia

 

Of music and memories

We all have that song, those special few notes grouped together which takes us back to a certain time and place, creates in us a feeling totally unique to us. Now – one song, Barcelona – by Freddie Mercury and Monserrat Cabbalé  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASJI6pNGqGo) most probably does the same to all of us, goosebumps in the presence of musical genius, although other songs have more specific references to every individual person. I wonder how many of us have blown speakers listening to this particular song…

barcelona2

I grew up listening to the lovely classical music of Mantovani as well as the Greek songs of kaftan wearing Demis Roussos (who knew that he was part of a group that also included the amazing Vangelis who he teamed up with (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZbbL4LcIlk ) He also sang with Nana Moskouri (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCORdHnStC8)

demis2

and Vicky Leandros. He had an amazing voice.

Although I liked this music a lot, it never affected me the way my favourite music did, and I think it is because of my memories associated with the music.

My first real ‘music memories’ to specific songs came from dancing lessons we went to as a family during my high school years (seventies yeah I know that is long ago). I can still smell the aftershave of one of the instructors and see my big white plastic earrings – don’t know why but that sticks in my memory – when hearing Belfast by Boney MSon of my father by Chicory Tip, https://youtu.be/QXbrS3Msgww, Blame it on the Bossa novaBorn to be Alive by Patrick Hernandez, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UaJAnnipkY, Sugar Baby Love https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ax1piWZbRm4, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tTTPCH_MaM Rock you baby, Mademoiselle Ninette https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjR3dJTO1tk by The Soulful Dynamics…

madem

  The Sweet with Wig Wam Bamhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRv7EjjwYBI Fox on the run, Mighty Quinn https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qoyWU_EDDU..For your love, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQQj2rQBFvA Let your love flow…I just want to dance. The seventies – what an era.

I guess that is where my dance bug started. The seventies and eighties really hit a note with my soul with its fantastic music. I was hooked. Permanently. If I could live in a certain time it would be the eighties. I don’t care – big hair, shoulder pads, leg warmers, gaudy earrings whatever – bring it on. It was a great time. It was not all good obviously, but we will keep only the good stuff.

Film - Flashdance 1983

I read once that there is an actual town/village somewhere built exclusively for sufferers of Alzheimer’s and their elderly companions. This place has cars, products, buildings, radio programmes and music from the forties and fifties, in order to make them feel at home in that happier time which they remember. Maybe such a town could be built for people like me, an eighties town and we could roller-skate everywhere! Have dances every evening…have big hair and wear stone washed denim and leg warmers…;)

My first kiss ever was during a close dance in 1980, setting : a dark garage of one of my best school friends. I never spoke to the boy and he never acknowledged my existence after. Guess it was not that great. The song was Cry to me by The Staccatos. It is ingrained in my memory though.(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lxWQtmmJdE)

cry to me

When I left home at 17 (see a previous Horizons blog) I was very unhappy in myself and the only escape I got was through dance. The specific dancing I mean is the ballroom type, but in an informal setting. When I mention a dance, envision a big semi-dark space crammed with young people two-stepping round and round the room. You usually all went in one direction, clockwise, otherwise too many accidents would happen. Sweat flew all over everyone during fast dances but that was okay.

I really came alive when I could just give myself over to the music and fly free. I was a very unpopular ugly girl but was sought after as a dance partner on the dark dance floor. Guys always said that they loved to dance with me as I was so light in their arms, maybe it was because I was flying, floating on cloud 9. I loved it so much. In later life, although I was a ballroom teacher for a short time, I could never dance at competition level as I never dated or knew someone who was that interested in dancing, everyone was coupled up. My ex-husband could not dance at all. It frustrated me terribly but there were no dance ‘droids’ yet, I would have definitely gotten one if I had the opportunity! Imagine…

droid

Only crying by Keith Marshall and Vienna by Ultravox, two extremely different 1981 songs, define that time. They were played many times at student dances (which I  was allowed to attend very rarely with my older sister as chaperone). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIb1wKavrQE & https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DuCIGvsbMA.

vienna

only crying

The Village People – can you do YMCA? Oh yes, they featured on many many wonderful dance occasions, if not all. No dance was complete without Village People music. The dance floors were mobbed when the intros started, much like with I will survive by Gloria Gaynor – this link is for the song as featured in Priscilla Queen of the Desert, a great movie. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DJC-ECU8IE

ymca

prisc

Songs like those from Xanadu – the amazing 1980 musical by Olivia Newton John and ELO (who also impressed me with their album Time https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svqjijZHQrI&index=6&list=PL766723D6426E2BD2 ), to me are evergreen – but what was it with the eighties and roller-skates though? I even had a little braid with ribbons in my hair for a few years just like she did in the movie…I wanted so much to be her. Or be like her a bit. She was so lovely, could do what she want and go where she wanted. The world opens up for you when you have beauty, the ugly ducklings stay hidden. That sadly was my fate. And I could not roller-skate very well either. Ha.

livliv2

xanroller

wired

Even Sir Cliff Richard…he was on rollers too for Wired for Sound.

F R David‘s song Words, 1982 – oh my word. The quintessential last song for all of our informal dances. When I hear it today, I am instantly transported back to 1982 and an all-through-the-night-dance marathon. I remember that I was so elated after, dead tired but on a natural high by morning. Oh, to be young again.

words

Avalon by Brian Ferry & Roxy Music was another of those compulsory songs at any dance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpA_5a0miWk. We did not have to dance so fast and could be more graceful.

avalon

I have never been a real Elvis fan even though I like some of his music, but my first love was an Elvis freak. He always sang this specific song to me and I never ‘got it’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89MihWd6zKk, Teddybear…it brings back so many feelings now…feelings of loss, of confusion, but also of raindrops on an apartment window…and heartbreak when our paths split.

rainsrops

elvis

Laura Branagan and Gloria (the disco ball era!)…bring back memories of frenzied, energetic dancing followed by a close dance every now and then to let us rest…Dan Hill and Sometimes when we touch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IATz8ZVTALo or I wanna kiss you all over by Exilehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5N1PupGHQnc were songs used for rest, but really, we never thought of anything more. We just danced. It was really all quite innocent and fun. Nobody needed gyms then, we got plenty of exercise on the dance floors.

gloriaexile

dan

Hazell Dean‘s amazing song They say it’s gonna rain – from 1984, it just transports me by time capsule to a crowded, sweaty dance floor in an underground parking lot in the early eighties. I am still crazy about it today and can’t listen to it without dancing around by myself. Sad but true. Still without a droid.

hazelldeanrain

Modern Talking, all their songs are incredible, it takes me back to their concert I attended at Sun City – year 1988. I had just finished studying, qualified and worked at an international airport as Horticulturist. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nl30Q86svg). I went with an old friend and a blind date who resembled Freddie Mercury. We got up to no good, it was my first encounter with ‘Durban Gold’.

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Silver Dream Machine and Winters Tale by David Essex, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2TCJ1o6z30. Gerry Rafferty and his amazing Baker Street, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-Yi762sQTo&list=RDx-Yi762sQTo, great songs.

silver

baker

The musical  Dirty Dancing…who can forget…if you can’t dance you could never love this movie as much. You actually feel the dance moves if you do. Patrick Swayze was an excellent dancer, you just wanted to move with him.

dirty2dirty

Grease, Irene Cara and Fame, Jennifer Beals in Flashdance, who can forget…

flashflashd

We all wore legwarmers trying to be like her. Staying Alive, Saturday Night Fever John Travolta and the fabulous Bee Gees…disco disco disco fever! Oh what fun.

travolts

Then the magic of Meatloaf – reminds me of an old boyfriend who also loved his music…Long drives out in the country and beautiful scenery always accompanied it. He insisted that Meatloaf was best enjoyed lying between two speakers at top volume, and closing your eyes to immerse yourself in the music. A miracle that we are not both deaf.

meatloafr

A very significant other sang this Paul Simon & Ladysmith Black Mambazo song to me, he was also the one for interest sake who called me Ugly Duckling, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-I_T3XvzPaM, Diamonds on the soles of her shoes. It was not like that with us at all, he was the rich one and me the poor girl – with no diamonds on any shoes or anywhere for that matter. I always thought that I was not good enough for him and it eventually was proven to be true.

pauls

Here comes the sun reminds me of a beach holiday a long time ago…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muFOeZSIC2U.

Chris de Burgh, whose concert I attended in 1996 on the date exactly one year before my daughter was born – his song Spanish Train which was banned in South Africa when I was young (1975). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXkhiIFCgAo. His Spaceman came travelling was one of the songs I sang in a very short tenure in a church youth band, although the words were changed a bit and I still find myself singing them. Habit.

chrisd

I have to inlude You are my Sunshine, my daughter’s song after I bought her a teddy in 2000 at Monkeyland, who sang that when you squeezed his hand. She still has him seventeen years later. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1moWxHdTkT0

sunshine

All music by Bread reminds me of a certain man…(an illicit romance) with whom I shared this tape (yes!)…much later during the late nineties (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrsKJ0KUyJw ). I think that I will share my full tape collection with you one day. The ones I could not bear to let go…I don’t have a tape player anymore but am unable to throw them away. I still have the memories though.

bread

Lastly, there are three songs which remind me of a twenty two year friendship which abruptly came to an end last year. Once again an incidence of me not being good enough for someone. Maybe I should befriend nicer people.

  1. Who the fuck is Alice, by Smokie,  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zw08Py5nz1w,

smokie

2. Coco Jambo by Mr President which we listened to and sang along with on our way to a short holiday back in late 1996 when I was pregnant – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izy8iafKJ8s

cocojambo

and

3. Summer Nights by Olivia Newton John and John Travolta…which we used to sing Karaoke to in the good years. Hilarious).

summern

Shit happens, right? But music will always remind us of good times. At the end of my two fiction books I mention more special music.

I hope you listen to them and can enjoy it as much as I do.

Inia

 

Thursday photo prompt – Deep #writephoto

The photo prompt for this week disturbs me a bit. A deep, semi-dark cave with many unknown quantities. Although it is beautiful, I find it rather difficult to breathe in such enclosed spaces. Show me the caves where I can see the exit at all times and breathe fresh air and I am there to enjoy them. I love geology and caves especially are fascinating, stunningly beautiful places.

goodcave

Sadly, it took one visit to the spectacular Cango Caves to cure me of spelunking for life. We went in too deep and I panicked. The others pushed, made fun of me. It brought to mind the phrase ‘You are in so deep, you can just as well push through’ which I tried, and then found myself lost beyond any rescue or a way out except going back through a space called ‘The devils chimney’ or through ‘The coffin’… Nowadays they have warnings posted for people like me. I won’t fit through the chimney anymore anyway 😉

http://www.cango-caves.co.za

cc

Caves are rightly the subject of quite a few horror movies, enhanced with a few demonic creatures which to me are unnecessary. It’s plenty scary enough to be trapped without air. Lilia, my main character in my first book, has this same uncontrollable fear. Her relationship is almost ruined because of it.

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Now scary as the phobia sounds, it is actually weird that I feel this way as I have no fear of death at all, I will welcome it. I can’t wait to start my next life. My fear rather, I believe, is the how. The slowly succumbing to a lack of oxygen. The feeling of not being able to breathe is incredibly powerful – I know, I have had asthma for a long time. Claustrophobia is almost too easy a term to describe what I feel. It feels like something is squashing me from all sides and I am unable to draw breath. I feel like this in big crowds of people too.

Deep sea diving? As much as I love the ocean and would love to explore underwater and spend time with all the magnificent creatures in the octopus’s garden, I have never had the guts to try scuba – to me it blocks off my airways when I even contemplate putting that thing (breather) in my mouth. I almost drowned myself when I tried to use a snorkel so no go there either. Sad. I am missing so much but I can’t help my reaction. Glass bottom boats for me and my main character in my second book who shares my fear.

glass bottom

underwater

A fear that is almost as strong as the narrow enclosed spaces one, is that of narrow ledges in high places, they make my legs all woolly and I feel like a jellyfish. I have a recurring dream of being made to stay in high rise buildings without railings on their narrow ‘balconies’ or staircases, which are the only way to enter these buildings. On researching this I have found places in Amsterdam which look almost exactly like those in my dreams. Especially those leaning or listing towards the river/canal below. Now I have never visited Amsterdam nor have I ever wanted to, so I could not have seen these places. But I have German and Dutch ancestors so…

ams 3ams

In my dreams there are narrow steep staircases running up the fronts of these buildings with narrow ledges where you enter and exit the doors. It may have been like this in the days when first built, I will never know. But I know that I have been there and to this day a great paralysis overcomes me when faced with places like these…I did not ask for it, I only know what I feel.

never

Do you really think that I can manufacture this cold, lame,shivery feeling in my legs and chest when even just looking at pictures like these? I can’t explain it, I only know it is real. It is acrophobia plus. Squared.

no

Steep stairs like these? No Way! No railings!

no way

Looks like I had better stay on the ground then, even though I am not afraid of flying at all – I actually like it. My single flight in a micro light was one of the best experiences I have ever had.

micro

It is just closed in, high, unprotected and narrow structures which freak me out. The funniest (for other people) of my vertigo/acrophobia experiences ever was when I had to scream and shout at the big wheel operator at a small local fair to stop the ride so that my daughter and I could get off…after two rotations…we were both crying…and it was not even a big big-wheel.

bigw

Lucky for me then that I live in a place where the highest building is two stories.

I live on a hill in a converted stable and love it.

High up above the ocean.

Go figure.

Inia