Our world is a construct of our imagination. Everything involving human action is a construct. We’ve made up language, numbers, names, institutions, money, love, hate and everything in-between. We are not the constructions that we imagine ourselves to be. We ARE the creators, the silent observers, the decision makers. If we have imagined THIS world into to being, then we must imagine THE NEW WORLD into being. THE NEW WORLD is the world that is happening right now. It is not a future world. THE NEW WORLD is born out of pure awareness, and not out of ideology.
When I lived in Clevedon Road, Muizenberg, I walked past this everyday on my way work. I was conflicted at the time – my intuition was telling me to start a career in advertising, yet the world around me was shattered and I saw advertising at the very heart of the fragmented society I was living in.
Luckily, we have finally become immune to traditional advertising. We are no longer the puppets of mass media. The digital world has already merged with the physical world. We are the Internet. We are it. We are the storytellers. We decide which brands live, and which brands die. We are the brands. We are the Indigo children. We are the economy. We are the government. We are nature. We are the society. We are the instigators. We are the media.
Of course, our work does not start and end with the Internet.
We are also acutely aware of how every single time we leave our front door that we’re creating the world we live in. We know that every single breath is an opportunity to elevate our consciousness, and the consciousness of those around us.
We have created a world in which we communicate online and in the “real world” simultaneously. The lines between “the real world” and the digital world have merged.
Never before in our history have we had so much power to affect change. Never before have we been able to mobilize, connect and collaborate with so many tribes around the globe. Never before have we had immediate access to so much information. Never before have we had the ability to connect with the entire world simultaneously.
I am forever indebted to the artist who made this. Your message eventually hit home.
I am indebted to the planet and everyone who has been a part of my journey. I have a responsibility to use my creativity and the media to its full potential.
I am enormously privileged to be in the position that I’m in. I’m busy finishing off my portfolio at The Red and Yellow School of Advertising. I feel honoured to have worked with some of the brightest minds in the country and to have made friends who have the same goal in mind: To harness the power of the media and use it to change the world.
I have yet to meet the artist who created this. I hope you’re out there, right now, reading this. You were right. I AM the media. YOU are the media. WE are the media.
Muizenberg is the dreaming centre of Cape Town. While the rest of the world are soaking up radiation from their PC computers, we’re at home, baking cookies. Once we’re done we’ll invite you around to sample a few with a pot of percolated coffee and a hand-rolled cigarette. It’s a pleasure. You’re welcome.
Some of us work a 9 to 5. When we leave home in the morning the dream continues; we take a little bit of the reverie with us into the world.
We don’t care whether you’re a NASA retiree of a warzone refugee – when you’re here you’re knighted as one of the Familia. One of the familiar. One of the fam.
We’re a tribe and we don’t even have a dress code. You can walk to the beach at 9:30 on a Monday morning in your Hello Kitty PJ’s and your sheepskin slippers to check out the surf and you won’t get any skeef looks. Alles is reg with the world. No skaam. Leave it at the door.
Maybe it’s the sea air; maybe it’s the feng shui, who knows? It could just be the lack of MTV.
Cape Town is the drug portal of Africa. Drugs are inseparable from Cape Towns’ music, fashion, art and pop culture – just like every other country. Drugs have played just as much of a role in shaping our society as the government and the media.
This is not about how bad drugs are, or even how drugs have benefitted society. I’m not even going to attempt to take some sort of middle road, because when it comes to drugs – that middle road does not exist.
I’m a generation Xer. An 80’s child. When I was 16 I used to dance in my room to Derrick the Bandit on 5fm. I lived two minutes from the Three Arts Theatre in Plumstead. I used to check ous kapping fat jols. I checked them smoking cigarettes outside; jamming to the beats banging in their boots. They smiled like cartoon characters in their neon outfits. I decided then and there that this was for me. I wanted to feel like that.
I felt that love. That 90’s plastic love.
I grew up on raves and ecstasy. Glow sticks and tiger balm. Bouncy, sweaty bodies. PLUR. Grinning. Rubbing skin. Free massages. Casual sex. Rubbing our sweat against each other and dropping the bass. Cities of Angels. Underground basements. Tidy Trax. Rothmans Special Mild. Cosmic Gate. Skydiving synapses. White gloves. White doves. Exploration of Space. Seratonin surges. NASA neurology. Dopamine diaries. Juked up joyrides. Speeding tickets. Candy floss gums. Bikinis in winter. Dialated disco dreams. Paranoid Sunrises.
Yellow Tweeties, Red Smileys, Yellow Smileys, Mitsubishis, Supersports, 007’s, Rolexes, VW’s, Green Pumas, Armani’s, Mercedes Benz, Blue Nikes, Pokemons, Blue Diamonds, T-Rexes, White Diamonds, Pink Angels. They were experimental tickets each offering their own brand of ride.
Neon has made its conspicuous comeback last season; it was short lived but there is evidence of the euphoric recall of a period in space and time where we temporarily found what we were looking for. We dealt with the comedowns and the inevitable sunrises and the looming Monday mornings. Some of us moved onto harder drugs. Some of us were even lucky enough to find a seat in mainstream society.
I did my research (while under the influence of lemonade) and what follows is my dissertation of the progression of Cape Towns’ drug “culture”.
Happy hardcore has made way for psy trance. Hard house has glitched into tech. Uplifting trance has spiraled into the darker realms of the psychedelic with labels like MMD (Mind Manipulation Device) taking the reins. The atmosphere at trance parties is dictated by the music and by the brand of drugs.
Todays’ audience craves harder-edged vibrations and parties have evolved into an express train of beats bordering on 165b/pm. The speed of the music is mirroring the speed of the world and the drugs are fueling the space ship into overdrive.
LSD and Mushrooms have always been the driving force behind the psychedelic beats and they are dropped like candy at trance parties all summer long. Ecstasy has been replaced by MDMA which is the drug of choice among 70% of todays “recreational” drug users. Cocaine is still socially acceptable. Tik and heroin fall into an entirely different category, despite the blurred boundaries people would never admit to using them, unless you’re a full blown junkie of course in which case you just don’t give a fuck.
Drugs are sold by the clubs themselves – they always have been and they always will be. However, there has been a shift in the past few years: Gangs like the Americans and Hard Livings have loosened their grip on controlling all of Cape Towns’ clubs in order to focus on other things.
Drugs are sold by kids trying to put themselves through college. Drugs are sold by mothers on their way back from the school run. You can bank over 5 grand in 3 hours without even trying by pushing MDMA in Cape Town clubs. Nothing’s changed. The drug scene is the same as it always has been. The only difference is that you don’t need to meet manky Nigerians down dingy streets anymore.
When the sun rises at a trance party the ground is littered with little plastic bags. College kids still end up in prison being fucked up the arse by 28’s. We all know that drugs are only a symptom of an unbalanced society and that the eternal search for bliss always leads to sleep deprivation and all the other shite that goes along with jamming yourself full of chemicals.
There is very little else to say about drug culture. It hasn’t changed since the 60’s. I’m done. Over and out. Fuck drug culture. There is no culture in drugs.
If you really, really want to get to know Cape Town culture then I recommend riding Metrorail. Ride the grey and yellow express. Don’t burn gas and holes in your pocket. Sit back, relax and let the electric carriage of dreams sway you into a state of inner ceasefire.
Metrofail has received a lot of flak over the past few years – and rightfully so. It is indeed run by a troop of adolescent apes and the trains themselves are laden with less technology than a Pentium 2.
Welcome to Metrofail – where your dreams of swift and timely travel are crushed daily beneath the rubber boot of humility.
On the upside, you can arrive three hours late for a meeting and as soon as you mention the word train people not only forgive you, they console you with bowls of ice cream and mugs of chamomile tea.
Sweetness, sweetness I was only joking
When I said I’d like to smash every tooth
In your head
Oh … sweetness, sweetness, I was only joking
When I said by rights you should be
Bludgeoned in your bed
And now I know how Joan of Arc felt
Now I know how Joan of Arc felt
As the flames rose to her roman nose
And her Walkman started to melt
Bigmouth, la … bigmouth, la …
Bigmouth strikes again
And I’ve got no right to take my place
With the Human race
And so the words of The Smiths are all that can console me on my mp3 as I sit sandwiched between Mrs MSG crunching on her third packet of Niknaks and Mr Atmosphere who has so politely got Kanye West on speaker audio for all of us to enjoy.
When you’ve caught Metrovuil enough times you’ll also become well aquainted with Jacob’s stench. Jacob keeps six plastic Coke bottles on his waist because his pants are eight sizes too big. Jacob has never taken bath. Jacob also urinates on himself. The stench slices your nostrils with a scalpel as he walks past and your little world of potpourri and lavender is severed for minutes after he stumbles out of the carriage. Jacob is drunk and he needs more money so that he can remove the pain of living for just one more night. I once gave Jacob R20 to make myself feel better for all the times that I blocked my nose when he walked by.
Every now and then you do get a seat. Sometimes the trains’ jarring motion makes you nod off, and you feel yourself drifting into that lovely dreamy state when you’re in-between being awake and falling asleep. The daily concerns drift out you like soft cumulus clouds being feathered by a gentle breeze. You’re rocking gently into slumber when suddenly the carriage doors burst open and the blind gospel singers return in time to jolt you into a stereophonic voyage into Christ.
We thank you Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeesus Ameeeen
We thaaaank you Jesuuuuuuuuus Aaaaaaaaaamen
We thank you Jeeeeeeeeeeesus Aaameeeeeeeeeeeen
We thaaank you Jeeeeeeeeeeeesuuuuuuuuuuus Aaaaaaaaameeeeeeen
Your state of mind is jerked from that of marshmellowy peace to a frenzied riot with the songs being bellowed out at anything close to 140 decibels.
Bigmouth, oh … bigmouth, la …
Bigmouth strikes again
And I’ve got no right to take my place
With the Human race
I’ve painted a brutal picture here, but there is in fact a rosy side to Metrofail: You get to meet interesting people from all around the world. Many other students also catch the train and I enjoy seeing their engrossed, fervent eyes as they study for their chemistry exam. I shmaak watching artists and fashion designers sketch and doodle to the beat of their iPods. I love seeing English teachers frown and nod simultaneously as they mark their students’ papers. I relish it when my nightmares of calculus are squashed in my brain as I watch a young man writing reams of mathematical formulas out of pure joy. I savor intelligent conversations about the Cuban revolution and the future of technology and consciousness. I value meeting a stranger and having another stereotype obliterated from my mind. I exalt in having my world shaken when I meet a homeless man who calls me his brother. I dig hearing my favourite newspaper salesman make everybody laugh with his witty and insightful sales pitch. My love affair with Cape Town grows everyday that I’m around its everyday people.
So, dear friends, get out of your wagons and step aboard the Hogwarts Express that is so absolutely, canonically and verifiably filled with enchantments. Your life will be forever changed as your journey and time of arrival can never be foreseen. And besides, you never know – you could just meet someone who’ll change your life forever.
Keep a set of earphones around your neck and a can of whipass in your pocket and you’ll be ready for your trip into the Cape Town Underground.
I’ve been skating a longboard for a year now. The day I bought my first longboard is forever carved into my skull – I walked into a surf shop in Long Street and layed three Sector 9’s down on the ground. Now, you must understand that I had been ogling boards for several months prior to this moment. I had sleepless nights until my naïve mind had nailed down the perfect combo of flex and stability. I wanted to bomb hills but still be able to carve the shit out of streets.
I bought my bitch and rode out of that store like Bart Simpson out of detention.
The moment you purchase your first longboard you enter an intimately woven subculture. Longboarding is the fastest growing counter-culture movement in Cape Town right now. Skating is illegal here; every time you skate through town you are committing a crime. Committing crime on a daily basis is liberating – I recommend it.
Once you’ve had your first big fall and have seen the bone piercing through the gooey liquid on your kneecap you become part of something a lot deeper. The more times you taste blood and speed and fear the more you grow in understanding. You become deeply connected with each carbon molecule, every atom of steel, every millimeter of rubber. You also form a bond with other human beings – when you lock eyes with another skater you simply know.
The more you taste death the more you’re able to appreciate life. Downhill skateboarding takes you to an uncompromising, unsentimental part of your psyche where you’re faced with your own mortality.
The past and the future are irrelevant. The vibrations from the road pierce your feet and rise up the bones in your legs and tickle your insides as your body becomes a liquid sponge of instantaneous responsiveness. Every time you shift your feet you’re catapulted into spontaneous combustion. Luckily, the sweat collecting on your brow is cooled by the wind and all the elements of the universe morph with adrenaline and dopamine in a chemistry experiment of the highest order.
The ride doesn’t end once you’ve hit the bottom. Every now and then when the gaps between cars become too small you have to pick up your board and walk. I often feel a defiant arrogance rise in me as I dodge police cars and seemingly jaded and robotic Samaritans – this is part of the allure of longboarding: You get to experience the anarchy within yourself, The Rage Against the Machine, the intrinsic fuck you to the bastions of society.
My board has become an extension of me. As I skate through the city my body melts into my habitat and my eyes become lazers as I pierce through cages and crime scenes. Occasionally the anarchistic teen within me disappears and is replaced by a deep sense of gratitude. Gratitude to be alive in my body and my city.
Lets take a look at elitism in Cape Town, and more specifically elitism at our tertiary institutions. At first glance, elitism may not seem as gory as racism in terms of segregation, however it is just as firmly entrenched into our psyche as racism is.
I was born into a white working class family. I was privileged in the sense that I was educated at one of Cape Town’s elite schools, but I was conflicted while growing up because I was not from a wealthy family. I went on to do other things after school, and now I am studying at an elite tertiary institution in Cape Town. Coincidental? I think not.
Elitism is universal. It is crucial in keeping the cogs of The Corporation ticking over. It is what keeps the Monarchy alive. It is what keeps the government in power. Elitism runs through our DNA.
Let’s start at the top. We all know that the world is connected via tribes, brotherhoods and bloodlines.
All of us were born into a system of unspoken rules, which told us that we must obey authority at all times and we were punished when we didn’t. We were taught in school to uphold the hierarchy, the status quo, the goddamn social structure. Furthermore, while we were in school we were conditioned to believe that we had to belong to a clique in order to survive.
Then we entered University. We became pseudo-intellectuals. This imagined academic community creates the very substance of exclusivity and superiority. Kirsten J. Broadfoot explains that this as a group that “functions like an exclusive club whose membership is tightly controlled by what might be called a ‘dominant frame.’”
The highly educated people of Cape Town and the Ivory Towers of the world have formed isolated cliques whose views are overrepresented amongst journalists, professors, and other members of the intelligentsia.
/// Professors at UCT and Stellenbosch see themselves as part of an elite club but their influence is purely imaginary. So, what happens when you combine the pseudo-intellectual elite with the actual old-money bloodlines of UCT and Stellenbosch University students? You get a goddamn nuclear fusion of congenital sex and intellectual masturbation. ///
This inbreeding filters into society and the corporations that keep our economy ticking over. These exclusive clubs penetrate Cape Town and the world at large with their demonic, self-righteous codes of conduct. These secret societies keep Cape Town and the world segregated in a web of philosophical superiority.
An obvious benefit of going to university is to form alliances, and we do. We form our own brotherhoods so that when we enter the real world we are not alone. We then enter the world thinking that we’re superior to the rest of society.
When we walk into the energy field of a tightly bound Cape Town clique we will feel those familiar feelings – those jarring, prickly sensations of being judged by more than one person simultaneously.
The Cape Town cliques talk in “code”. It’s like stumbling onto the set of a reality show where everyone is following the script. One thing that can be said is that they’re incredibly in-synch with each other – this is because they have blocked out all external influencers and influences.
The social structure of The Cape Town Clique mirrors that of every other social construct, for example: The Corporation and The Government (which are in fact the same entity). There is always a leader – a “queen bee” who wields her power with her good looks, manipulation and monetary power. She dictates whom she likes and the rest inevitably follow.
The problem with belonging to a clique is that you become narrow minded, ignorant and fake. If you choose to be exclusive then you may as well film each moment and send the unedited footage to Fox and CBS because your bogus interactions deserve an equally phony audience.