Jaynee J had a luxury courtesy suite at Centurion Park cricket ground and she invited us to watch a game. The Springboks / Proteas were playing someone in an international test match. 2001, so Sri Lanka, maybe.
Jayne didn’t call it a courtesy suite; she called it her ‘champagne suite’. Jayne Janetsky could POUR, and – as always – she had laid in enough stock for a siege. Or a rainy day. And that day Centurion Park was not like this:
It was like this:
This led to puddle-jumping with Jess behind the stadium:
I had great fun watching the people. Especially a guy in the next-door Telkom box, scanning the crowd with powerful binoculars, looking for girls. Whenever he saw someone watching him he’d say “I’m looking for my sister.”
We had to take two year-old Jessica along and it wasn’t really her thing. It rained off and on, so we were indoors with Celebrity Guest Barman Johnno Green, who was intent on quality control, sampling and plying. Boobs and Booze. Aitch and I took turns amusing Jess and keeping her (mostly) out of the adults’ hair.
After a while (cricket matches carry on and on and when you think they MUST be finished, surely? – they stop for tea) I had to feed and change Jess and decided to take her back to Jayne’s home. Change of scenery for her and a break for the adults.
On the way back to the stadium, with freshly-fed and -wiped Jessie strapped in the car seat behind me, I missed the freeway off-ramp to the stadium. Didn’t have a clue how I’d get back to the stadium now, so I was kinda tense and focused and fuming. What if I missed Jayne’s famous lunch? Finally I figured it out and managed a tricky u-turn after the next off-ramp and got back on track. Finally I could relax.
I am pro- profanity. I believe it’s good; I believe they are often descriptive, useful and helpful words.
When given the old (erroneous) line that people who use swearwords have meagre vocabularies, great comedian George Carlin was indignant. He said “I know LOTS of words. I just happen to like fuck”.
I’m reading a change-your-lifestyle book by John Parkin called Fuck It – Do What You Love. Except he writes it f**k it. I think that’s pointless (he probly did it for commercial reasons. I can understand that. Unlike me, he actually sold a lot of books and if you want to sell on the American market you probably have to sugar-coat reality). Everyone knows f**k means fuck, even the youngsters whose eyes and ears people are ostensibly shielding. I dunno why the acceptance of one and shock-horror of the same thing. After all, f**k = fuck, for fuck’s sake.
While I was writing a book (Yes! Here it is Umko 50 Years) I read a number of books on river paddling. Most were written the usual way, but Rob Gouldie described his partner as ‘having a hip deformity causing him to walk like a windscreen wiper;’ he wrote how his exhausted partner nearing the finish of the Dusi Canoe Marathon asked his permission to rest saying, ‘I’m fucked! Can I trail my paddle so it looks like I’m steering?’ He also spoke about climbing through barbed wire fences ‘without hooking your nuts,’ and how Dusi runny guts had them ‘crapping through the eye of a needle.’ And I loved it. I thought that’s how one should write a book, just as you speak around the campfire. Don’t be fake; Don’t be faux-coy; Don’t be prissy. So I kept the “fucks” and the “foks” in my book uncensored. “Customary Paddling Language,” I called it when people objected and suggested I use asterisks. I declined. My book would have no f*cks, no f*ks. It would have the real fucks and foks.
I also believe (of course I’m biased!) that people who swear are on average more trust-worthy, so I think Granma Crews made a mistake in the early seventies in Apache Oklahoma when she didn’t buy a fridge from Stanley Wright. Stan could hardly say a sentence without saying “son of a bitch,” “sonbitch” or “sumbitch”. It was his “whatchacallit”. Some people say “Let’s load that baby up” where Stan would say “Let’s load that sumbitch up”. And he was on form the day Granma went to his shop. They had just about clinched the deal when he said his last sumbitch and Granma Crews decided she’d had enough, slammed the fridge door shut saying “Well you can keep the sumbitch!” and stalked out on Stan who was probably left wondering what he had possibly said to get that reaction! Goodness! He had never heard old Ma Crews speak like that before!
Lauren Martin writes in the link below that if you’re feeling down or doing something wrong, fucking good friends give it to you straight – they don’t water shit down! As for all you honest, trust-worthy people who don’t (often) swear: Start now. Increase gradually. I’m trying to. Update: Successfully . . .
Swearwords are good, descriptive, helpful words, and the criticism of them reminds me of the (equally ignorant) criticism of rap music. I did some reading on rap when Tommy first started getting into it. I must find that bit about the language rappers use. (to come . . . )
Ah, here it is: Back in 2011, New York-based data scientist and designer Matt Daniels thought of Shakespeare’s much-touted vast vocabulary and wondered how rap singers’ vocabularies compared. So he charted how many different words Shakespeare used in comparison to contemporary hip-hop artists. It turns out that a good handful of rappers use a greater vocabulary than Shakespeare did, for the same sized block of lyrics.
Daniels doesn’t draw the conclusion that today’s rappers are more creative and poetic than Shakespeare, but the implication hovers (and the Washington Post said it out loud – see link below).
If you’re wondering who has a bigger vocabulary — Shakespeare or rappers — here’s the quick answer in purely numerical terms. Rapper Aesop Rock used 7,392 unique words, and Wu-Tang Clan used 5,895 – against Shakespeare’s 5,170 unique words.
Daniels used a sample size of 35,000 words per artist. For the rappers, their first 35 000 words; for Shakespeare the first 5,000 words for these seven of his works: Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, Macbeth, As You Like It, Winter’s Tale, and Troilus and Cressida. For author Herman Melville, he used the first 35,000 words of Moby Dick.
Now before old goats start leaping to Shakespeare’s defence (and reflect on Why The Fuck you’re doing that anyway!?), just Stop. Pause. Think. And admit that this info is surprising, and probably went against many oldies’ prejudices and SHOULD give them pause for thought. Rappers are our 21st century poets. You don’t have to like them, and today’s youth don’t have to like Willy Shakespeare.
was going too fast, but we were late and I could see miles ahead
along the sweeping roads on the hillsides of Lesotho. A speck of dust
would show up then disappear as we rounded a hill, then reappear
later a bit nearer, but still far away. Eventually a car would
materialise, turn into a white bakkie and sweep past in a cloud of
were hastening to get to Sani Top after entering Lesotho near
Ficksburg, and zooming over Khatse Dam after waiting a while for the
brakes to cool so they’d work again after too much sight-seeing
braking down the steep decline to the dam. Little Jessie and Tom
strapped in the back and me and Aitch in front. The Dizzis were
waiting for us and Aitch hates keeping anyone waiting and especially
the Dizzis, so I was putting foot, it’s true.
As I rounded one more bend at dusk my eyes widened and the donkey’s eyes widened much more. Huge, in fact as he stared at his impending doom. The look in his eyes was quite fatalistic, and he was rooted to the spot, massive bundle of sticks and bushes loaded on his back and sticking out more than his body width on both sides. On the left a high bank, on the right a cliff plummeting down to the river valley far below. Swerving was out of the question, as was hard braking, so I manual-ABS’d, slowing down as much as I could without endangering us.
As we hit the poor ass I probably closed my eyes. WHACK! A sickening bang. Dead, I’m sure. Kombi messed up. I stopped and hopped out thinking: You don’t stop and get out. For safety you keep moving. Like hell.
I walked into a wall of cussing and swearing and remonstrating in high seSotho. What the hell did I think I was doing and Who the hell was going to pay and Where the hell was I headed in such a hurry and How the hell was he going to . . . I hardly heard him. I was staring past him at the donkey walking away minus its load, seemingly none the worse for wear! I was so relieved I actually giggled and had to bite my lip.
I immediately launched into a sincere and abject apology oft-repeated and completely ignored. I apologised for speeding, endangering, carelessness, being younger than him, and for breathing. I was sorry that he’d have to catch his donkey and I regretted that he’d have to do all the loading all over again. I was getting nowhere and the tirade was warming up and getting more creative. I saw I wasn’t getting through, so I returned to the kombi and fetched R200 and pressed it into my fully-justified tormentor’s hand.
It was like switching off a radio. He was COMPLETELY satisfied and what were we talking about a minute ago again? A last apology and off we went. We still had a long way to go. Phew!
There was a sequel the next morning as we headed back into Lesotho on the same road. There was my man again, so I gave him a cheery wave. He was with a mate and he pointed at us jabbering away, grinning excitedly. We had fun imagining what he was saying. All complimentary, we agreed.