‘They gave us supper early. We were saying, Soon They’ll Feed Us At Three.’ I said, In this cold weather if it was me I’d say to you all at lunch: Eat Up! Your Supper’s Ready! so I could get home early. She had a good laugh at that.
‘I played the piano at supper.’ Oh, good. What did you play? ‘The piano’ she says mischievously and laughs. The she sings, ‘Lady of Spain I adore you – right from the night I first saw you … ‘
‘We would dance to this in the Masonic Hall. Folk dancing. Also to When Irish Eyes Are Smiling. And a Welsh dance and a Scottish reel.’
‘For Girl Guides I had to play a March for my piano badge. Mrs Steytler said I was playing too fast, the girls marching couldn’t keep up. Then I had to play God Save The King, we were still under the monarchy then, in the Commonwealth. And Elizabeth has gone to hospital for the first time.’
Well, she’s 93, I said, same age as you. ‘Oh, I thought she was Pat’s age, older than me, and Margaret was my age.’ I think she’s 1928, same as you, I said. While we were talking I checked. True’s Bob, Mary was right, Mrs Queen is two and half years older than her. Pat’s age. I was foolish to contradict her. What do I know about poms?
‘I saw her in Boksburg, you know. She was keen to get back home to the only boyfriend she ever had. Philip.’
Always cook with red wine, taking care not to spill any on the food.
Peel and cut a potato into four; Peel and cut an onion into four; Rotate them in a microwave.
Cut a pork chop into small cubes. Be guided by your superstitions here, use another animal or tofu or soya or kale if you have to, but for best results, stick to what I say: Cut a pork chop into small cubes.
Cubes into a pan with yesterdays pan fat; fry till browning.
Add salt. Gulp some wine.
Add potato and onion and brown. Brown the stuffin the pan, nê.
Add some cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped.
Put a lid on it. I often say that when people are gaan’ing aan like this: Put a lid on it. Another favourite saying when my gast is flabbered: Dis my gat se deksel.
Chop up some spinach and green beans. The spinach I bought off the back of a bakkie downtown. R10 a bunch, dark green, delicious, did wonders for me – whatever dark green leaf vegetables are meant to do for you? It did it for me. Mainly, leaves me (geddit? leaves me . . ) with lots, cos the kids turn up they noses.
Did I mention this is a recipe for one bachelor whose kids would rather die of hunger than eat this stuff?
Steadily add wine and I find it helps to imagine your favourite TV chef while cookin’.
So imagine your favourite chef . . . No, its Nigella.
Which reminds me of the inimitable Barks who every holiday would cackle Haw Haw Haw Haw! After asking the question (again) and providing the answer: Where is Friderichs going these holidays, hey, hey? He’s going to Nigel. Haw Haw Haw Haw!
So Naai-Gella Awesome it is.
Keep lifting the lid and then at the right time toss in the chopped up spinach and green beans, never forgetting to keep steadily adding wine. Careful not to slosh any onto the food.
Add salt and a big knob of butter for the last round. Put a lid on it. The right amount of salt is the amount that makes it taste best. Did I mention this is health food? It is. Mental health.
Then eat it accompanied by sufficient more red wine. I actually licked the plate.
The 1812 overture was belting out in the background with real cannons. I hope they scared the neighbour’s incessantly-barking mongrels.
gaan’ing aan – blah blah; fit a cork; put a lid on it
dis my gat se deksel – literally, that’s my arsehole’s lid; blow me down
bakkie – small pickup truck
disclaimer: Written after consuming the aforementioned wine.
Other domestic chores included cutting down a big Australian Bottlebrush tree – or one of its trunks, at least.
. . and putting its flowers in one of Aitch’s old vases as a requiem:
Mom has played the piano for about eighty years. First Granny Bland’s Ottobach, then her own Bentley she bought from her aunt Marie Bain. She can no longer read her sheet music, so doesn’t play her classical music anymore, but she still plays our favourite popular singalong and dance songs.
I thought I’d know the names of the songs – I don’t! I’ll find them and come back and add them in.
Over on my blog about the olden days in the Orange Free State – you know, when knights were bold and nights were cold – I’m running a series on the classical music pieces Mom Used to Play on her piano while we were growing up. Chopin, Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt and fellas like that. Those are mostly played by ‘guest artists’ as we have very little of her classical pieces ‘on tape.’
Here it’ll be different. Mom will feature in person! playing the popular songs she knows by heart – reading her sheet music has become just too hard, but at 91yrs old she can still belt out some of her favourites. Quality varies – cellphone video’ing by sister Sheila and myself – and as she has good days and bad visually and cognitively. But she has fun and people listening generally love her playing.
Well, Grab Your Coat and Get Your Hat – Let’s go! ‘On the Sunny Side of the Street’ is a 1930 song composed by Jimmy McHugh with lyrics by Dorothy Fields. Some authors say that Fats Waller was the composer, but that he sold the rights to the song.
ON THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET From the Monogram Picture “Swing Parade Of 1946” (Dorothy Fields / Jimmy McHugh)
Grab your coat and get your hat, Leave your worry on the doorstep, Just direct your feet To the sunny side of the street. Can’t you hear a pitterpat? And that happy tune is your step, Life can be so sweet On the sunny side of the street. I used to walk in the shade With those blues on parade, But I’m not afraid, This rover crossed over. If I never have a cent I’ll be rich as Rockefeller, Gold dust at my feet, On the sunny side of the street. (Contributed by Ferda Dolunay, lyricsplayground.com – April 2005)
Here’s some of her repertoire in her own handwriting – Sheila has more. I see our first one is No.9 on the Quick Step side:
Recorded by: Ray Anthony; Louis Armstrong; Chris Barber; Count Basie; BBC Big Band; Tony Bennett; Les Brown; Dave Brubeck; Benny Carter; Frank Chacksfield; June Christy; King Cole Trio; Nat King Cole; Harry Connick Jr.; Bing Crosby; Doris Day; The Dorsey Brothers; Jimmy Dorsey; Tommy Dorsey; Roy Eldridge; Duke Ellington; Dorothy Fields; Ella Fitzgerald; Helen Forrest; The Four Freshmen; The Four Lads; Judy Garland; Erroll Garner; Georgia Gibbs; Dizzy Gillespie; Benny Goodman; Stephane Grappelli; Lionel Hampton; Coleman Hawkins; Earl Hines; Billie Holiday; Jack Hylton; The Ink Spots; Harry James; Louis Jordan; Bert Kaempfert; Stan Kenton; Diana Krall; Frankie Laine; Brenda Lee; Peggy Lee; Jack Lemmon; Ted Lewis; Liberace; Nellie Lutcher; Manhattan Transfer; Barry Manilow; Shelly Manne; Dean Martin; Johnny Mathis; Billy May; Jimmy McHugh; Glenn Miller; The Modernaires; Rita Moreno; Ella May Morse; Willie Nelson; Anita O’Day; Charlie Parker; Les Paul & Mary Ford; Oscar Peterson; The Pied Pipers; Louis Prima; Leon Redbone; Don Redman; Django Reinhardt; Marty Robbins; Artie Shaw; George Shearing; Frank Sinatra; Keely Smith; Dorothy Squires; Jo Stafford; Art Tatum; Johnny Tillotson; Fats Waller; Dinah Washington; Chick Webb; Clarence Williams; Teddy Wilson; ….. and many more.
I was reading about 1966 – when the Beatles got blasé and the British pop music invasion of the USA waned.
marketers stepped in:
Pop abhors a vacuum, and just as the originals (The Beatles) ‘disappeared’, a full-page ad in Billboard promoted a ‘different sounding new group with a live, infectious feeling demonstrated by a strong rock beat’. The Monkees, a four-man group, assembled after ‘research and development’, to star in a Hard Day’s Night-type TV series. The timing was perfect. Touted as ‘the spirit of 1966′, the four good-looking group members reproduced the elements of the Beatles’ unified 1964 camaraderie. It was a great record, but it also contained a clear message: if the Beatles weren’t around, they would be cloned by the industry, and the younger teens would hardly care: A typical comment: ‘I thought the show was great. It’s kinda like A Hard Day’s Night but it’s even better because it’s in color and we can see it every week.’ How very American.
scribbled to one of my many Rock Star wannabe friends:
The kak started earlier than we might think.
My first ontnugtering to ‘Re-Hality’ TV and ‘fake news’ -type shenanigans in my sheltered ignorance was in 1973 when I went to watch the Dallas Cowboys play in Dallas and found out that not all the players were Texans! In fact very few were Texans, they were bought and paid for from sommer anywhere. A year or two later there was even a Dallas Cowboy called Naas Botha!
Then I found out the amateur college football team we supported – OU – Oklahoma University – also had players from anywhere and they were anything but amateur! Everything was paid for under-the-table, and cash and cars were handed over left and right to these ‘amateurs’. A few honest journalists would actually call them ‘shamateurs’.
Then in South Africa, along came Louis Luyt who thought What A Good Idea! and he proceeded to cock up our rugby.
had forgotten the story about the Monkees. They were a purely
manufactured group, chosen for their looks and put together like a
soap opera; Scripted. Nothing real, or spontaneous or natural about
them. The Beatles had actually been real. They actually had started
like other good bands, in a lounge in someone’s home in some obscure
suburb. Like even the Gramadoelas in Tshwane.
Nowadays made-for-you-tube and made-for-social-media is the norm!
Peter Brauer wrote: The difference with the Gramadoelas group of Tshwane is that we were chosen for our undoubted, unrivalled talent and pin-up good looks. Insufficiently rewarded for years of the hard slog that us musos have to go through before hitting the big time . .
A breakdown is probably imminent. I mean breakthrough. Hang in there,
What you need is a gimmick. Can any of you grow your hair? I thought not. Can the chick wear outfits like Cher? Maybe include a lot of vloekwoorde in your act like Die Antwoord? When last did you smash your equipment?
you strangled a rooster on stage?
There must be something you can do.
Brauer: Where would biting a chunk out of a toilet seat rank in babe magnetism?
Me: I must say that is quite bad-ass. How do you keep repeating it on stage, though? You ous missed your chance to drown in your own vomit at age 27 like real rockers.
Brauer: A nightly dose of tequila and repetition on stage is a cinch . .
Me: Ja, but I’m worried you’d run out of teeth to send scattering across the stage after a while. So the impact wouldn’t be as dramatic.
Our thread ended threadbare, we didn’t solve the pressing issue at hand, of the day: How can a Tshwane Rock Group achieve fym? ‘Course, Brauer could always fall back on the real talent in the family and provide backup to his talented vrou:
Sixty years ago today a plane fell out of the sky and this was finished:
American Rock n Roll musicians Buddy Holly (22), Ritchie Valens (17), and JP ‘The Big Bopper’ Richardson (28) were killed when their plane crashed in Iowa.
In 1971 Don McLean sang about that day AND – less known – about another day ten years later:
When asked what “American Pie” meant, McLean jokingly replied, “It means I don’t ever have to work again if I don’t want to.” Later, he stated, “You will find many interpretations of my lyrics but none of them by me … Sorry to leave you all on your own like this but long ago I realized that songwriters should make their statements and move on, maintaining a dignified silence.” In February 2015, McLean announced he would reveal the meaning of the lyrics to the song when the original manuscript went for auction. The lyrics and notes were auctioned on April 7, and sold for $1.2 million. In the sale catalogue notes, McLean revealed the meaning in the song’s lyrics: “Basically in American Pie things are heading in the wrong direction. Life is becoming less idyllic. I don’t know whether you consider that wrong or right but it is a morality song in a sense.” The king mentioned was Elvis, the jester was Bob Dylan.
Then the song also contains a much longer, and near-verbatim description of the death of Meredith Hunter at the hands of drunken Hells Angels at a free concert in California ten years after the plane crash that killed Holly, Valens, and Richardson. Where the music died a much more tragic and violent death. A death that was not an accident.
Oh, and as I watched him on the stage My hands were clenched in fists of rage No angel born in Hell Could break that Satan’s spell
And as the flames climbed high into the night To light the sacrificial rite I saw Satan laughing with delight The day the music died
In 1972 the title of the song came to bite me when I embarrassingly cocked up the most important part of my matric dance. None of that.
Low-key at home. Jess did it all herself; drew up lists, hired lights, organised a DJ who brought her own equipment; we bought some stuff; we bought booze. Jess invited a few good friends round, and so did I.
The oldies came early, we had a slide show on Jess from the early days. I was being a bit Nervous Norman, so thank goodness for hooligan friends. First the Lodders added their usual mayhem. Then star Lydia our Gautengaleng student friend stepped forward, deciding things were a bit quiet for a 21st. She took over the bar, mixing cocktails and getting the kids to pour them down their throats. The party was launched!
The adults disappeared except me in the background. Jess and her gang had a lovely evening with their favourite music and lots of chatting. Later, some boys arrived drunk but peaceful and friendly, and joined in. At eleven a neighbour complained about the music. I told him ‘just relax till midnight.’ – mea culpa, I had forgotten to tell the neighbours about the party! At midnight the DJ’s mom arrived to fetch her, they packed up and peace returned to the Palmiet valley.
Steve Reed wrote: I love it. Over here in Aus, the national broadcaster has a competition called ‘Exhumed’.A fitting term for those of us, like yourself, who played in a band as a younger person but wanna give it one last go. The blurb is:
Exhumed is a band competition with a difference. It’s not for has-beens, it’s not for wannabes, it’s for the never-weres. It’s for people who play music for the sheer love of it. If you fit that description, enter and listen to your Local ABC Radio to be part of Exhumed. You could hear your track on the radio, be interviewed on air, perform at your local Exhumed event and feature in an ABC Music release. Each station across the country will choose a winner. Of those winners only six will go through as finalists and perform live on TV at our Grand Final. But just one will take home the title ‘Exhumed Winner 2013’.
I wrote: C’mon Brauer! Enter the Botox Ballies Blues Band in this great competition!
Reminds me of a gathering of old canoeists where someone said we’re the Has Beens. Mate of mine said “Swanie you’re not a Has Been. You can’t be a Has Been if you Never Was”.
PS: Reed, you may not know this, but the BBBB is quite famous behind the Boerewors Curtain among certain square circles that are often in their cups. They even pay to play at some events in far distant little known venues. Serious! Brauer’s on guitar and quite vocal.
He got lost under a pair of bloomers that was lobbed onto the stage once. Rumour has it.
As for the suggestion that I actually ‘played in a band’, truth is more like ‘played with the band’s instruments at the same time the band was rehearsing and was tolerated by the band members.’ To be accurate.
It only looks like that to the members of the audience who have already finished their boxes of wine.
Oh rubbish! How hard can it be? I have successfully air-conducted many operas, arias, concertos, minuets, fugues, and more in my car and in my bath.
Fugue, man. 😉
Pete Brauer wrote:
At school the PACT Symphony Orchestra came to play at an assembly. They gave a schpiel about how important the conductor was. They then called up a kid from the audience to have a go at conducting – and the orchestra played out of their socks to the kid randomly waving his arms and the baton around as if it was a traditional weapon.
To show the difference when a real fundi conductor brought the best out of the orchestra, the conductor came back on – and of course the orchestra didn’t play a note in tune or in time.
I love that! That’s a hoot!
I bet the musicians had a ball doing that! Every formal orchestra ‘captive musician’ must secretly want to break loose and be a Jagger. Or at least a Vanessa Mae.
I can’t believe it! What’s that noise? In My Own House!
On our sea cruise to Mocambique a song was played over and over ad infinitum. It got people crowding the dance floor and forming swaying lines of bodies on the boat and on the beach. It was Hamba Nawe and Jess loved it.
Later she found an Afrikaans version, so now my house started sounding like a Steve Hofmeyr shrine. I was aghast. I thought “This Cannot Be!” BUT: I remembered what dear old Mom had done and said when I played Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love full tilt in her house in the Free State back in the seventies: Nothing.
So I was a diplomat. A long-suffering diplomat. I mean, if my Mom could listen to a shrill I’m Gonna Give You Every Inch Of My Love, I could chill, surely?
Anyway, Jess’s tune was catchy and often she’d play it in isiZulu too, like they did on the ship.
This week I heard some music again and thought Omigawd Ou Steve is back. And Jess said “Dad. Look Here” and wanted to show me the video.
No thanks Jess I can hear, I really don’t need to see, I said.
Suddenly the music isn’t shouting out loud, telling me what to f*ckin’ do any more. I notice we haven’t heard I DON’T GIVE A FUCK ABOUCHOO! for a while.
On enquiring discreetly as to what occasioned the more pleasant sounds emanating from the boombox I’m informed by the 13yr-old that gangsta rap is SO history in his life. Over. Didn’t I know he has LONG been into “Deep House”? Silly me, I didn’t, but I’m very glad to take note and enjoy the more tuneful era we’re into now.
Still, I think I’m gonna miss the measured last line of that Big Sean ‘song’.
I. . DON’T. . GIVE. . A. . FUCKABOUCHOO.
“I Don’t F**k With You” by Detroit rapper Big Sean.
Before you listen to any music, girls, outside for some exercise. Off the couch! Moan, grumble, whinge. Not a one of them wants to do anything remotely strenuous. Nothing that would make them glow. ‘Cos as we know, ‘horses sweat, gentlemen perspire and ladies just glow.’
Aw, Dad! But they start. All three are very happy to suggest tough burpees and squats to the others, but DO them? Aikona! So we have three sadistic teenage instructors and three reluctant teenage instructees (giving a total of three girls).
Once they finally get going they love it and do some enthusiastic bop n jive, raising a good sweat and much laughter.
Snoozing on Tommy’s bed tonight he lies down and puts his head on my stomach, disturbing me with the racket coming from his Blackberry.
Dad, listen to this rap: It’s 2 Chainz, he’s cool, huh?
All I can hear is a string of chanted F-words. Dad, he says, taking a picture of my face from navel-level, You could be a rap star. We could call you 2 Chinz.