Someone Pass Me A Frikkin Mop

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik
Houston, we have a New Years party...

Let loose The Hounds of Jol, make hot the Flaming Speaker Stacks of Thump and crank the Sacred Amplifier of Love up to 1.21 Jigawatts, for 'tis the season to be Jolling!

Yes folks, we're knee-deep in holiday and the Jol is just oozing all over the place. Someone pass me a frikkin mop. It's madness, madness I tellya - madness in any direction, at every hour like the good Doctor said. And what better way to pop a cap in the ass of this, the year of the Imploding Market, 2008, than by thrashing off the remnants with an industrial-strength military-grade Jol like the AmaFullThrottle New Year Festival? Too bloody right.

As though you need telling.

Our little party features:

20 DJ's
2 Dancefloors
24 hours of music
A bar and a chill cafe

and a whole bunch of nutters giving it horns having a cracking time.

Taking place a mere 45 minutes south of Durban on an expansive bass farm with a cool lake and all the necessary facilities including a bar with a deck overlooking the water, the venue for AmaFullThrottle is ideal for kissing goodbye to a year that, let's be honest, turned out rotten.

For more info on the biggest little New Years shindig this side of the Med, let your fingers do the mousing:

AmaFullThrottle New Years Festival (facebook page)

Tallyho, onward and upward - have a great Xmas, and don't go too overboard or get busted in a goddamn roadblock.


Tis The Season To Be Jolling

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik

Yep, the season is firmly upon us...

Been quite slack on the posts lately, but then you gotta remember I have a full-time job, I DJ on Tuesdays and Thursday nights, fill a couple columns elsewhere on the web, submit a monthly city guide and generally end up either a) playing a date on weekends or b) shitfaced and/or sleeping on weekends. And there's the not insignificant matter of pitching in organising the biggest little New Year party for miles around. So, bear with me as we wade through the festive season, thank you kindly. Here's what Saturday night brought:

The seal on this year’s bottle of Jol has been cracked, and it looks to be a good vintage as Durban, as elsewhere, is hopping like a box of rabbits in the tradition of old. Campuses far and wide lie deserted whilst the bars and clubs of the beloved country heave with a fresh crop of dancing and dopping. So yes, ‘tis the season to be jolling, and Rickshaw delivered the goods with a mix of Durban sound and style. Eight invited up ‘n coming Durban fashion designers set up shop in the memorabilia-strewn Boogies Diner and pimped their wares, whilst Eclectica Allstar DJ’s from NONONO!!! and fidgetmongers The Renovators provided an electronic soundtrack that varied from local digital glitch to indie and fat fidget beats. Topped up with a band line-up that featured local bands Soma, Pocket Change and Fire Through Window and a surprise appearance by none other than Joburg’s Slashdogs, the smorgasbord of entertainment catered to the young and (in some cases tragically) hip. As if that weren’t enough of a stocking filler, the industrious organiser (Vega student Jess Tagg) hauled in two egte rickshaw pullers with their chariots and a few graffitos for good measure.
The result was a Boogies Diner that was packed to the gills, with all three floors and the massive rooftop filled with a multiracial, multifaceted and multicultural extravaganza of fashion, music, and the aforementioned traditional festive season dancing and dopping. And lotsa really, really, really short skirts. Or should that be fairly wide belts? No matter – spirits were high and the night kicked off with another impromptu performance – this from a posse of B-boys and girls dressed by one the showing designers, Finally Phamous. Busting a few moves, they set the stage for the later antics of Soma, who were…loud and crap, actually. Dudes, derivative metallic angst a la USA went the way of the dodo some time ago - get with the program by building a bridge and getting over it, already. Moving on, Pocket Change were a bit more in keeping with the Stone City flavour, presenting an ebony & ivory combo who dropped a fine set of beatboxing and vocal harmonies backed by capable ska-folk guitar, with a sound that could be described as the unholy issue of a threesome involving Lauryn Hill, Jack Johnson and Sublime. The MC for the night (who has a slight case of that most regrettable of vocal afflictions, an affected Yank twang) hyped the appearance of the surprise act, and lo! and behold, for none other than the Slashdogs (in town for a gig at the Willowvale on Friday night) donned their holy instruments of divine raucousness and delivered their furious sermon from on high. These guys don’t fuck around – a dedicated bunch of rockabilly punks that play rock ‘n roll with a dash of thrash at breakneck speed, they topped their impromptu performance with an ass-blistering version of ‘Ace Of Spades’ by Mötorhead, which, though the spring chicken punters might not have known the tune was in fact a cover, got the floor heaving. Fire Through The Window…shit, no matter what gig they play, no matter that (or perhaps because) the crowd has heard every song they play, like, twenty times, the result is invariably a frothing mosh of chanted choruses and hysterical calls for encores. As far as fan clubs go, these guys should bottle their formula and sell it, they’d mint it. Suffice to say they played all their crowd pleasers and even attempted a upbeat cover of Johnny Cash’s ‘Jackson’.
So, was there anything to put a damper on this otherwise top night of jol? Why yes, there was – it seems the boys in blue have been given instructions from on high to cut down on the high spirits of youngfolk this season. Two popular gigs have in the past week been shut down because of ‘noise complaints’, and Rickshaw suffered a similar fate at about 1:30am, with The Renovators’ filthy beats curtailed only three tracks into their set. Which sucks, and put a premature end to an otherwise kickass event. Nevertheless, deck the halls with rocking and rolling, ‘tis the season to be jolling - it's all all balls to the wall from here on out until Dec 31st, when yours truly, plus wife and a good few hundred nutters will kiss goodbye to the year at our little New Years festival, AmaFullThrottle.

This article also published on Levi's Original Music.

This Won't Hurt A Bit...It'll Hurt A Lot

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik

Turn towards me sir, thank you...this'll be over before you know it...

Hands up, who’s had a dental implant? No? Well, I gotta tell you, people, you don’t know what you’re missing out on. Lemme fill you in. (Ahem) Sorry about that, couldn’t avoid it.

First you lose a tooth, then you go to see your dentist. The dentist (as is their wont) leans on in there, messes around for a bit, makes all the requisite hmmms and ahs as befits the deep thinking done by tooth tinkerers, and tells you the inevitably expensive prognosis:
‘Extraction.’ (Man of few words, is The Dentist.)
‘How much?’ Asks the ever-impoverished patient.
‘Hmmm. Expensive.’
‘Hmmm. First - extraction. Then implant.’

And so it is that you find yourself a fairly regular visitor to the chair, for an implant is no simple procedure (although orthodontists and maxillofacial surgeons may beg to differ), and consists of a number of trips. First up - the exploratory session to determine what the hell is exactly going on in there, which is fun and games compared to what lies in wait. Next, the almighty extraction which, in my case, was a full-blown wrestling match replete with jets of blood arcing all over the joint. It was a marathon tug-of-war that required the dentist to apply his knee to the chair in order to wrench the offending tooth from its socket and his assistant to hold my head down to prevent it from following the tooth. It was over in about an hour, and yes, it was rather like a movie, with the Doc triumphantly holding up the offending article, bloodied as it was, with a grin on his face:
‘Wanna keep it?’
Uh, no thanks, Doc.

Phase three of the construction of Maxillofacial Mansions is the all-important and suitably horrific implant. For this charming little procedure we will need: an implant specialist (who, it goes without saying, charges astronomical fees, although all he actually does is tote a selection of Titanium/Aluminium/Vanadium alloy implants around in his briefcase, stand around making comments on the depth and width of the excavation, and hand over a tiny pile of ‘white gold’ – powdered synthetic bone), a dental assistant (someone’s gotta suture up all that blood) and the proud dentist, who is mentally racking up his expenses on an ultra-exclusive seven-star resort on some far-flung equatorial archipelago.
So, do they drill? Do they ever – it’s like they’re taking a core sample.
Is it painful? I’ve got four words for you: Six shots of Xylotox.
And afterward? Ten codeine tablets later, you’ll look and behave like a freshly exhumed zombie, but will still feel like a buffalo kicked you in the face.
But wait! There’s more.
Due to the effect that smoking has on the level of oxygen in your blood and thus inhibiting the ability of your newly drilled and grafted bone to knit well, it is strongly suggested that anyone wanting to go through the process of having an implant give up smoking prior to the process and maintain their abstinence afterward. Studies have shown that the rate of implant failure is twice and in some cases three times as likely in smokers when compared to those who refrain from sucking on the devil's stogie.

So, here goes with not smoking, for the first time since I started in...1991.
Wish me luck, because this is what my next 5 weeks looks like:
This weekend – a 40th Birthday, at which the wife and I are DJ’ing. Smoking? Lots.
Next weekend: Our 11th NONONO!!! events. Smoke? Like a fog rolled in.
The Weekend after: An office party gig on the Friday for the both of us, followed by an all-nighter on the Saturday. Smoke? Like a chimney.
December 13 / 14: A friend’s wedding. At which we are DJ’ing. Smoke? Yes, yes, lots.

In fact, the only weekend in the next seven weeks that doesn’t involve drinking and the accompanying fog of cigarette smoke is that little lonely weekend of the 20th and 21st December. But don’t you worry about that – so close to the season of spontaneous festivities, it’s bound to turn into a circus. A circus where everyone smokes.

Wish me luck.

Free Your Mind And Your Ass Will Follow

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik

NONONO!!! # 11

Sharper than a razor's wit, perkier than Milla Jovovich's tit and cooler than a romp in the snow, NONONO!!! once more lurches into the gloaming that is Durban’s nightlife to bring the heathen masses a dose of musical evangelism. Freshly baked from a four-day stretch out at AfrikaBurn and ready to tear a new sonic hole in the fabric of Stone City’s underground, The Eclectica Allstars have thrown their lot in with a motley crew of DJ’s who are willing and able to suffer for their art, even if it means being locked up for disturbing the peace.

And with a choice assorted bag of lekkerish allsorts like these, your palette can expect a veritable carnival of musical flavours that will include but is not restricted to: 80s and 90s amadeadly classics, indie, alternative, rock, acid jazz, minimal techno, big beat, breaks, fidget, house, remixes, electro, Japanese noodle pop, sofatech and a whole bunch of other stuff even we can't make up a name for.

DJ’s featured:

The Eclectica Allstars - Hedmekanik, Mixin Vixin and Leo
Kevin Louw (The Rift, Retro’s, CRASH)
Jet Jungle (Social Workers)
Manoj & VaSun (Lapis Lazuli)
One Track Mike (TripHazard Sound System)

Friday November 28
Willowvale Hotel
Corner Albert Dlomo & Umbilo Roads


For more on this deadly event, go here:

NONONO!!! facebook Event page

Bet Your Bottom Abdullah

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik

So the wife and I (she studied jazz at Pretoria Technikon) went to see Abdullah Ibrahim perform in Durban for the first time in 12 years, last night. And I’ll be straight with you – before this performance I’d about as much knowledge of Abdullah Ibrahim’s music as I did of, say, Sun Ra. ‘Who?’ you might ask. Quite. But there you go – there’s no excuse for any South African to harbour a lasting ignorance of South Africa’s ‘greatest living composer’ and one of the most remarkable musicians to have come out of the beloved country, and so it was that I determined to set that to rights. Sure, I knew he was a jazz pianist and that 'Dollar Brand' was the name he was known by until he converted to Islam, it’s a piece of musical trivia up there with Cat Stevens and Yusuf Islam. But bear in mind, I’m not from Cape Town, I’ve spent most of my years in the shorebreak of Stone City and ‘Manenberg’ sounds to my ear like a mountain named after a Jewish dude with the name Mannie. OK, I lie – I know it’s a suburb of Cape Town, and I do in fact know something of Ibrahim’s music - for example, everyone has a snippet of the unofficial struggle anthem, Manenberg, on file somewhere in their memory. You may not think you do, but believe you me, you do, and once you hear a sample of this, one of his more prominent pieces of keywork, you’ll be all ‘ahhh – that tune!’ I’ve also caught Abdullah on the box, on one of those godawfully tryhard late-nite jazz programmes that do the medium justice about as much as MTV plays intelligent music. On these, I’d always thought him somewhat reticent, even a little condescending. Mind you, considering the vapid questions asked by cack-handed presenters, it’s a testament to his patience that he remained on set at all. But I digress.

Sat in the posture-killing chairs in the third row at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal’s Jazz Centre, the Zen of the man is what makes the first impression. Cool, calm and collected, he silently takes the stage in trademark karate shirt, along with his cohorts in the Abdullah Ibrahim Trio, namely New Yorkers Belden Bullock (on bass) and George Gray (on skins). Working samples of his new album, Senzo (which means ‘ancestor’ in Chinese and Japanese, and translates as ‘creator’ in Sotho) into his repertoire, he is the epitome of control at the keys. Beautifully rambling solo pieces meander through a melancholy sonic landscape all his own, with delicate free jazz diversions lacing through the complement of bass and drums. Then the pace is picked up, with the incredibly deft drum skills of Gray (who never breaks a sweat and makes it all look so easy) adding beef to his rising crescendos, and the perpetually beatific Bullock adding groove. With three versions of Manenberg quoted through the two hours of performance, and a nod to jazz standards with his rendition of Misty, the assembled jazzophiles got their fill, whilst this jazz ignoramus was left (albeit with a fucked posture thanks to those torture-perfect chairs) suitably impressed and in no doubt as to why Mr. Ibrahim has the respect of so many and is talked about in hushed tones of awe. King of the keys? Bet your bottom Abdullah.

This article also published on Levi's Original Music Magazine.

Burnt To A Crisp And Quite Happily So

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik
Saturday Evening, when the chocolate brownie madness kicked in...

The Tankwa Karoo might as well be Mars. For a start, it sure as hell looks like those photos that have been beamed back from the Phoenix mission – it’s a stark and unforgiving landscape, whipped to within an inch of its life by howling winds, lorded over by a merciless sun and peppered with red and black volcanic rock. Why the hell would anyone in their right mind go there? Because AfrikaBurn is held out there on those inhospitable flatlands, that’s why. How inhospitable? Very, as in ‘baked to a crisp every summer for the past 114 million years’. Unlike Mars though, there is life there – fluffy yellow mesembryanthemum (vygie) flowers that smell amazingly like ylang-ylang make an annual appearance, as do armour-plated koringkrieks (which definitely look alien) and praying mantises which sport distinctly alien headgear. And then of course, once a year there are those who attend AfrikaBurn – and you’d be forgiven for thinking that some of them are from another planet. But then that’s precisely the reason to go to a Burn – some of them might look like freaks, but by god, they’re some of the best people you’ll ever meet.

As Africa’s very own Burning Man satellite event, AfrikaBurn brings the wildest, wackiest, most imaginative (and balls-to-the-wall dedicated) bunch of nutters together under the Burn banner. For those who are still a bit foggy about what exactly AfrikaBurn is, allow me to illuminate your gloomy bonce: AfrikaBurn is the African spawn of the Burning Man festival, that almighty freakdown which is held each year at the end of August in Nevada, on the alkali lake of the Black Rock Desert. What started out as an art-inspired ‘invent’ (as opposed to an event) back in the late 80s and featured a bunch of San Franciscan nutters dressing up, throwing off the shackles of normal life and erecting art installations which are ritualistically burnt. It goes without saying (what a perfectly odd expression) that, with any likely group of creatively-inclined nuts, there’s music, dancing, dressing up and all the traditional shenanigans that go with the territory. In these respects, AfrikaBurn is a faithful local version of B-Man, with all the obligatory bells, whistles and incineration of laboriously erected artpieces that go with it. And my god, are there bells and whistles. From the four-storey mindfuck art construction that was The Wish (a beautiful vision of interlinked white circles which made up a majestic domed temple) to the ten-metre flame-belching steel vuvuzela’s of Camp Vuvuzela, to the anti-GM construction of recycled sodapop bottles and LED’s that made up Amaize, on to the eclectic musical menu of Camp AmaDeadlyDisco (that was us, from Durban and the KZN Midlands. Five of us, squeezed into a VW Transporter, with a sound system, stretch tents, poles, 170 litres of water, food for a week and a lust for the jol. Yes folks, we AmaDeadlies weren't going to let a little thing like a 3 700-km round trip stand in the way of taking the jol on safari. Hell, no.), the massed-band drumming and all-embracing atmosphere of Camp Partycipation, the Tex-Mex theme, music and double-strength cocktail menu of Desert Rose or the…sweet baby Jesus laying in the manger, there was simply a mindboggling array of things to see and do out there on that Martian plain. It’s no walk in the park, and it’s a world away from the same-old story of your regular festivals, which mostly consist of a predictable formula: pissed punters camping band pissed musicians playing on stages manned by pissed technicians.

No, there’s no doubt about it – AfrikaBurn is in a league of its own, by virtue of its turning convention on its head. For a start, there’s the adherence to the principles that have made Burning Man such a runaway success in the States: instead of an experience that simply dresses consumerism in a festival cloak for a period of three days or so and plonks it in an outdoor setting, as so many festivals do – and I’m not knocking those that do, because they have their place - a Burn is all about participation, creativity, imagination, expression and freedom. As a punter, you make the jol happen – whether you set up a dancefloor for the enjoyment of all, create a temporary artpiece that is ultimately incinerated, dress up, re-engineer your car into a mobile art installation or indeed do whatever it is that takes your fancy. And no, that doesn’t mean you can stick one of those godawful brightly-coloured velvet jester hats on your pip and walk around with your buddies making sexist remarks at anything fine that crosses your path. In fact, that kind of behaviour is the last thing you’re gonna see at a Burn, because why? Because that’s the kinda attitude a Burn seeks to liberate punters from. And that, dear reader, is just dandy as far as I’m concerned.

Which is why we'll be there next year, for round two of the AmaDeadly Disco.

(This article originally published [with minor alterations] on Levi's Original Music Mag)

Burn, Baby, Burn

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik
Welcome to Mars. Enjoy your stay.

Sweet baby Jesus laying in the manger, did we have ourselves a fine-ass time out there at AfrikaBurn. Phew. Wow. Damn. Jislaaik. Aibo. Whoa. The expletives don't even come close, but there you go - a Burn leaves you kinda at a loss for words (and with a deep hankering to do it all over again, as soon as possible).

Suffice to say, we set up our Camp AmaDeadlyDisco (which, as the name suggests, was a dancefloor which featured...not so much disco as every other kind of music under the sun, as well as two discoballs), met some great people, saw some mind-blowing art, witnessed the burning of some massive structures, and then packed up and headed back on home to this, our common-denominator-common-or-garden, default reality.

We had really cool neighbours, the good folk from Camp Partycipation, and made a whole bunch of new friends, who made themselves comfy in our camp and our hearts.

If it sounds a little 'aww shucks', that's cos it was, and if you don't understand why, then you, dear reader, need to get your ass to a Burn near you.

I'll be posting a couple of articles I've written over the next few days, but for now I leave you with the pic above.



Locked, Loaded and Ready To Burn

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik

Tankwa Town (Population: 1000 nutters)
(image courtesy Monique Schiess,

Cheers, goodbye, au revoir, auf wiedersehen, hamba kahle, totsiens and sayonara. Well, at least until we Camp AmaDeadlyDisco members make it back from AfrikaBurn on the unforgiving Karoo platteland, hopefully in one piece. At which time, yes, you can expect to read a rambling account of mad voodoo on the rock-strewn wastes of the Tankwa Karoo.

We're locked, loaded and ready to rock the jol - sound system? Check. Lights? Check. Stretch tents? Check. Poles? Check. Liquor? Check. Food? Check. Vitamins, minerals, lip balm, sunscreen and, most importantly, seven 20-litre water containers and two coolies (currently empty, to be filled at the very last convenience)? Check. Inflatable chill area couches? Check. Discoballs? Check. Spare tyre? Check. Tyre-weld aerosols? Check and check.

Right. All seems in order.

All systems go, go, go!

See you in two weeks.

Just Another Day At The Office

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik
Hi, my name is Cerberus and I'll be your Hellguardian for all eternity...

You there – that was you, wasn’t it, going all ‘vroom, vroom’ at the robots, wasn’t it? You, sir, are an idiot, so please step into the burning pit of eternal pain and suffering, thank you, and make it snappy please, we’ve a bit of a backlog here today…now listen here, I’m a reasonable dog but you really must try and think of this as a public service – after all, we are saving you from wrapping yourself around the nearest tree, are we not? Thought you’d agree. Goodbye.
Now…you, madam, who drove too fast in the rain up to a red light, thus mounting the pavement like a rhinoceros driven mad by lust? Yes, you too are a prize-winning imbecile, and as I am unsure as to whether the word idiot has a feminine designation, you too shall fall into the flaming pit of idiots, and you can take your dented car with you. Hurry along now, would you? I don’t have all day.
And you over there with your Hummer and those oh-so-gangster tinted windows, yes you. You’re the one that leads the pack by shooting red lights, are you not? In that case, it is my pleasure to relegate you too – no, I’m sorry, we don’t accept bribes here at Sentencing For Idiots Inc., unlike those many, many traffic cops you’ve helped with all those little presents over the years – to the idiot pit. Get in, go on. What’s that? Your enormous oversized gas-guzzling carbon monoxide-belching monstrosity won’t fit through the gateway to Hell? No problem. Engineers! Stop skiving and widen this bloody door, and need I remind you that the bellows needs fixing? We have a surplus of sinners and they don’t fry themselves, now do they? No, they don’t. Right, where was I? Oh, that’s right.
You with the itchy hooter finger – yes, yes, I am talking to you, you sullen psychotic abusive misogynistic tosser. Oh you will, will you? Gone all ‘I won’t do it again, I promise’, have you? Leave it out – you had your chance to make amends but you squandered it. Oh - just a question, before you’re vapourised in a puff of eternal damnation – what was the rush, oh matey? Why did you have to repeatedly pound that godforsaken hooter, when one gentle tootle would have done the job? And why, pray tell, did you feel that your arrogance permitted you to invade the space of others with your incessant petulant bleating? What was that? You were in a hurry, eh? Well, that certainly hastened you to your demise. No, no, no – sorry, there’ll be no ‘Oh please Cerberus I promise I won’t do it again, how about I buy you a nice juicy steak?’ – you shoulda thought of that whilst you still had the chance, eh? No, awfully sorry, it’s goodbye and good riddance. Engineer! Remove those fingernails from the doorjamb, would you, there’s a good man.

Ah, I love my job.



And So It Goes

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik

What was that? A request? Your days are numbered, sunshine.

So we had another epic NONONO!!! gig on Friday night. Top class, as befits our tenth foray onto the high seas of cutting-edge music. Loadsa people, hopping and bopping till late at night, great crowd, awesome tunes, all that. In any case, so there I was, minding my own business, just busting a few tracks to warm the joint up...

Clueless Muppet #1: 'Listen mate I don’t mean to disturb you…’
Actually that’s a redundant statement, isn’t it? After all, if you really don’t mean to disturb me, you’d have stayed down there dancing, as opposed to climbing up onto what is clearly a DJ podium, no?
…but can you play something faster…
Well, considering it’s 10:30pm and I’m warming up this floor with 110BPM tunes, um, no.
…because my mate over there – you see him?
Uh, not really, seeing as how I have 9 seconds left to fuck this mix up and I haven't actually looked at you because I'm a little preoccupied by the rapidly diminishing countdown timer...
…well, he’s a professional dancer, and he can dance really well, you should see him…
Gee, that’s great Sparky, because I’m doing this just so you can watch your mate dance. Because there's no-one else here, apart from...the other two hundred people in this place.
…but he needs faster music…
What, like 140 BPM industrial death trance? Damn, musta left that bag at home tonight.
…like the stuff that DJ you had play here in January, you know who I mean…
Funnily I do know who you mean but as it happens I’m playing now and I don’t play the same music as him. Strange, that.
…so can you make a plan, because my mate there, he’s a professional dancer…
Well fuck me gently over a keg round the back, a pro dancer – when did we ask him to come round and dazzle us with his mincing cakewalk?
…and it’s such a waste to have him not dance…
Couldn’t agree with you more. I know I for one am truly gutted.

Smile. Nod your head to the beat. Eventually they go away.

And that’s pretty much how it went, actually. Straight up. But wait – there’s more – shortly thereafter (and this is a gig headlined by me, my wife and our friend – and we are collectively called The ECLECTICA Allstars, as if that's not enough to give you an idea of what we don't play) another muppet climbs on up with that classic spangle-eyed, lantern-jawed, cold-sweat gloriousness of the triple-dropping rave muppet, and proceeds to tell me – not ask, mind you, but tell me – that ‘You need to play house or R and B! (mate)’
To which, of course, I reply: ‘Heyyingguhhooffouttahere!’
Quizzically he responds: ‘Eh? House and R & B!’
He: ‘You must have some house, or some R & B! Come on!’
Me: No. I Don’t. Now fuck off. (but luckily he’s standing right in front of the monitor and can’t hear a thing. So, he leaves. Which is great. But I’ve just fucked up another mix.)

These are not isolated incidents. Oh no, no, no. Far from it. Every DJ has a tale to tell. I just seem to attract a larger flock of flailing muppets. Like the dainty damsel who fell - fell - onto the decks with a full drink...which, as liquid is wont to do, spilt all under (thank feck it wasn't over) the cables and plugs. Close one, that.
And so it goes.


Dilated To Meet You

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik

It’s a helluva thing, not breeding. After the rumble strips of that mad all-night, balls-to-the-wall, hands-in-the-air, caution-to-the-wind rollercoaster ride that is your twenties, you hit the thirtysomething stretch, and suddenly the road to the future reaches that almighty fork in the road where the signs point in two directions: Breed (Population 6 Billion) and Not Breed (Population: 2). Seemingly innocuous get-togethers become rife with pitfalls and eye-opening moments, like ‘How much were you dilated?’ as you’re casually leaning over to retrieve the saltcellar so you can chuck a Tabasco omelette at your hangover. And then it hits home. They’re not asking about the size of your pupils after a long night’s rave. Oh, no.

It’s interesting to watch the shift in priorities that occurs in one’s peers over the age of 30, hell, it’s a downright phenomenon to behold and a testament to the power of our urge as a species to breed. That rosy-cheeked mom over there in the corner? A thirteen-double-vodka-and-cokes-in-a-night kinda gal she was, with all the blurry cellphone snaps of her flashing the cops at a roadblock to prove it. The dad in the corner currently dandling his firstborn on his knee? Teaser’s best customer till only five months ago. God knows how Lolly Jackson’s going to put his kids through varsity now that one of his most valued guests is on the straight and narrow. The domestic goddess in the demure empire-line floral number spooning pureed butternut soup into widdle Zen Okra Narwhal’s screeching mouth? The scourge of Ibiza two summers ago, with more notches on the bedpost than Amy Winehouse has had alcoholic beverages. And the rather respectable bespectacled gent discussing comfort-fit nappies with his dowdy librarian-looking wife? Last we saw of him he was weakly fending off the amorous advances of a muscle mary in the shadowy recesses of a notorious local leather lounge. Yes, things certainly have changed when you look around and realise that a particularly virulent strain of Parentiasis has miraculously passed you by. Next stop: waiting for the divorce fallout. What can you look forward to as a thirtysomething non-breeder? Phone calls at 4 in the morning from freshly divorced casualties of domestic warfare, replete with the obligatory drunken confessions that he/she never loved him/her and he/she was crap in bed and has run off with a taebo/yoga/Pilates instructor/secretarial floozy/transvestite waxidermist/[insert bizarre post-separation recovery shag here].

Yes folks, that’s what you get folks, for makin’ whoopee. Now, my wife and I, well, we don’t wanna breed. We just wanna practice. Because why? Because practice makes perfect.

This article also featured in HisLife on iafrica.

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik
1954 - 2008

John Matshikiza is dead. Hamba Kahle, Bra John.

Here below is a snippet of the easy, flowing and scathing prose that brought many a smile to my face over the years. Irascible, he was.

"Livingstone’s intentions, let alone his methods, were dubious. Who wouldn’t want to escape a boring and rain-drenched life as a general practitioner in Scotland for Africa, Asia, Mexico, anywhere? So he showed up in Africa, got the hots for the daughter of the missionary Moffat of Kuruman, married her (also under dubious circumstances — some have said that she was already “spoiled” by the pious doctor, Scots being what they are, especially under the influence of a little medicinal tipple, which he always kept with him in his doctor’s bag, and that he had to do it to avoid her father reaching for the bullwhip and driving him out of town) and then got restless and decided to “move on into the interior” to do a little bit of missionary work — the kind of thing he knew his father-in-law would approve of.

He deliberately left wife and civilisation behind him. Mary Moffat, pining for her one-night-wonder with the big moustache, piercing Scottish eyes, and big Scottish talk, took to drink in a big way. But he was gone.

Yes, my sisters and brothers, we should have seen trouble coming from a long way off and done something about it. We should have stopped this surly, unsmiling fellow dead in his tracks by whatever means necessary. But we took the African way and smiled politely every time he yelled at us for not brushing our teeth or polishing his boots. The rest is history."

- JOHN MATSHIKIZA: WITH THE LID OFF - Mail & Guardian, Apr 24 2006

Stirring Up A Hornet's Nest

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik

Image courtesy Zapiro (

It's a helluva thing, the reaction to this cartoon. The tripartite alliance partners have come out, guns blazing, as though someone had nicked their most treasured bottle of Johnny Blue. Overreaction, perhaps? Undoubtedly, but their fury has only served to highlight how thin skinned these guys really are. It's all good and well for them to lob incendiary comments at all and sundry in their blind obeisance to some ethereal 'revolution' (which, it goes without saying, they consider themselves the sole spokespersons for) but god forbid anyone takes aim at them, through legitimate channels or not. Their selective amnesia has wiped their minds clean of any concept of freedom of speech when it comes to criticism which shows them in a bad light. Tsk, tsk.

No-one can doubt the importance of the ANC in terms of the struggle, and the effects of their efforts to usher in a democratic dispensation. No-one in their right mind can question that. But the ANC, in its prime, prided itself on being a 'broad church of many opinions'. No longer. Now, in conjunction with COSATU and the SACP, it presents for all the world to see a narrow-minded clique of individuals who serve not the people but rather their own self-interest. A cartoon such as Zapiro's merely brought to the surface an undercurrent that has been running close to boiling point for some time. People in South Africa - black, white, pink, brown, whatever - are fed up with these pontificating fatcats. They're the bane of all our lives, running the civil service into the ground, getting off criminal charges, labelling anyone who dissents with their worldview a 'counter-revolutionary' and generally pissing on the freedoms that the struggle was fought over.

Perhaps maturity will come in time, and the successors to the bully boys will have the mien to take it on the chin when it is necessary to do so, for the sake of reasonable and responsible political discourse. But for now, we wait to see who the dogs snap at next.

For more poignant, hysterical and generally spot-on caricature and lampooning, get on over to Zapiro's website.

I Can't Stand It, I Know Ya Planned It

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik

Streetlab rock, in the vein of Tommie Sunshine and...oh, all the other great remixers out there who don't get all ootsy ootsy cheesy discoballs on a good tune. Thus and therefore, without any further ado, I give you one of their latest rejams. (Oh, and if you like the flavour, dip in for more at

And yes, you will most certainly be hearing this at loud volume at the 10th NONONO!!! on September 26th.

Beastie Boys - Sabotage

I Can't Stand It, I Know You Planned It
I'ma Set It Straight, This Watergate
I Can't Stand Rockin' When I'm In Here
'Cause Your Crystal Ball Ain't So Crystal Clear
So, While You Sit Back And Wonder Why
I Got This Fucking Thorn In My Side
Oh My God, It's A Mirage
I'm Tellin' Y'all It's Sabotage

So,So,So, So Listen Up 'Cause You Can't Say Nothin'
You Shut Me Down With A Push Of Your Button
But yo, I'm Out And I'm Gone
I'll Tell You Now I Keep It On And On

'Cause What You See You Might Not Get
And We Can Bet, So Don't You Get Souped Yet
Scheming On A Thing That's A Mirage
I'm Tryin' To Tell You Now It's Sabotage

Why; Our Backs Are Now Against The Wall
Listen All Of Y'all This Is Sabotage
Listen All Of Y'all This Is Sabotage
Listen All Of Y'all This Is Sabotage
Listen All Of Y'all This Is Sabotage

I Can't Stand It, I Know You Planned It
I'ma Set It Straight This Watergate
I Can't Stand Rockin' When I'm In This Place
Because I Feel Disgrace Because You're All In My Face
But Make No Mistakes And Switch Up My Channel
I'm Buddy Rich When I Fly Off The Handle
What Could It Be, It's A Mirage
You're Scheming On A Thing That's Sabotage


For The Hell Of It

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik
Image courtesy of

So we’re going to AfrikaBurn. Yes folks, we’ve got our tickets and we’re taking the jol on tour. Disco In The Desert. Party On The Playa. Opskop Oppie Vlaktes. Bohemians In The Bush. Although there’s precious little bush out on the baking flatlands of the Tankwa Karoo, which is where it’s held this year from October 16th to 19th. Tankwa is in the Northern Cape, about...16 hours drive from Durban, due west.

For those who’re not familiar with AfrikaBurn, allow me: AfrikaBurn is a South African satellite event of the mightiest free-zone freakdown on this here god-blindingly beautiful planet - Burning Man, which is held in the States each Labor Day Weekend on the salt flats of the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. Which is…next weekend, if I’m not mistaken. Burning Man has its origins in the late 80s (and had precedent before that, if Wikipedia has it right), when SanFran artist and general raconteur Larry Harvey (with a little help from his friends) erected and burnt an effigy at Baker Beach. A few years later in 1990 a group of performers and artists created an event called Zone Trip #4, out on the salt flats of the Black Rock Desert. The two groups came together, and voila! Burning Man was created. The result? Every year a growing number of people come together and have themselves a regular old time shit-kicking jol, at which they dress up, create art installations, burn the ‘man’, dance about like loons and invoke the various spirits of their neomystical hippie universe. As you do.

Fun and games, then, with décor to match, a purpose and some pyrotechnics. In so doing they were in sympathy with ancient practices that are continued to this day the world over in various forms; that of using fire to send forth wishes or banish evil, bad omens, or just perhaps to get closure. After all, who among us can say they haven’t indulged in a little post-breakup cleansing? Thought as much. But I digress. The salt flats of Nevada, much like the Tankwa Karoo where AfrikaBurn is held, are an unforgiving environment to say the least, but are also the kind of place where nobody bats an eyelid if you want to cycle around in the skin you’re in or want to build a hundred-metre mugwump outta carbon steel tubing, just for the hell of it. This is the headspace that’s attracted so many people to Burning Man (so much so that it’s now Nevada’s tenth-largest city, albeit temporary), and made a success of last years’ inaugural AfrikaBurn. Just like the granddaddy event in the US, our homegrown freakdown features wild and spectacular art installations, themed and decked-out camps, unrestrained displays of celebration, awesome music and of course the burning of the huge man; all set off and created as a result of, and pursued with, an overwhelming sense of freedom.

Judging by the photos and the grapevine tales, a bunch of upstanding and well-adjusted folks are steering the AfrikaBurn ship, making for a fine time for all. You can do anything (within reason) out there - be anyone, let loose your voodoo. Or play every single disc in your DJ box, twice, if that grabs you. Which is what we’ll be doing at AfrikaBurn, among other things - setting up a sound system, mixing drinks, handing out umbrellas (there's no commerce at this jol, it's a gifting economy) and generally meeting like-minded nutters. Seems there’s an awful lot to see and do, and an awful lot of nice, likely-looking folks to hang out with, perhaps on a mobile couch, while engaging in some light banter over a three-course sundowner of absinthe, mojitos and tequila. We’re gonna need a lot of shade (stretchy tents with industrial-grade staves, check) because it’s Fucking Hot out there and there are Perilous Whirlwinds. We’ll also need to bring everything we need and take it all away, as all the Burn principles apply. Which suits us down to the ground. We’ll need a lot of water, a generator, sound, lights, easyshades, sun cream, dust goggles and be prepared to weather some extremes in temperature. The only thing provided are portaloos, and as the nearest shop is a hundred and something k’s away, everything will have to be thought of carefully before we find ourselves going ‘Oh shit, I left the..…at the pozzi.’ Everything. It’s gonna be one helluva journey. But then as the Good Doctor said: Buy the ticket, take the ride. And we have bought the tickets.

Free your mind and your ass will follow! In the name of the Jol, the whole Jol and nothing but the Jol!

Tankwa Town, here we come!

Step Away From The Language And Keep Your Grammar Where We Can See It

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik
It's enough to drive you demented.

As a copywriter, there’s a lot of hyperbole that I’m obliged to apply to products and brands. Comes with the territory, sure, but too much tub-thumping generally sounds like you’re blowing your own trumpet, and it’s important to be aware of the consumer’s bullshit threshold. People can tell when you’re so far up your own ass you can see the light out your own cakehole. So it really grates me when I see ads that abuse words like ‘greatest’ or ‘world’s #1’, when in likelihood, the product or brand in question is likely a mediocre turd that’s getting a desperate polish in the hope that some gullible punter out there is going to be thick enough to swallow the drivel, hook line and sinker. Funny thing is, these ads wouldn’t make it to the page, screen, TV or radio unless there were enough peabrains out there to justify the expense. Go figure.

When it comes to examples of apt description, it's safe to say that Muhammad Ali was The Greatest. Michelangelo, he could have, if he’d been around, advertised himself as ‘The World’s Greatest Artist’. Genghis Khan, for that matter, if he'd been so inclined, would have had carte blanche to put out an ad in Mongolian Tyrant Weekly stating that he was 'The Known World's Greatest Uncontested Marauder! Thirteen Countries And Fifty Thousand Decapitations In A Decade!', and no-one would have room to criticise the man. But a flyer which hollers about ‘The country’s greatest house music DJ’s!’ or a facebook message which spews all over my page about ‘the hottest tunes you’ll ever hear!’ - that just gets right up my nose, bypasses the brain barrier and directly attacks my good taste centre with as much finesse as a roll of barbed wire.

And of course, this is not an issue restricted to your common-or-garden schlock, hell no. Would that it were, but no. It’s much the same out there in the corporate world, because there’s simply no control on the abuse of language – and this has lead to the godawful corporatespeak that plagues our modern world. Some common examples:

‘Forward planning’ – tell me, Sparky, what other kinds are there?
‘Concretise’ – WTF? Don’t you mean ‘consolidate?’
‘Unpack’ – so, when did ‘explain’ fail to do the job?

See what I mean? The problem is that there’s nobody willing to stand up and say ‘Oi! You! Yes, you – move away from that lingo! You’re not qualified to play verbal Lego with my mother tongue, motherfucker! Step away from the language and keep your grammar where we can see it, or you get it in the cerebellum!’


Don't Get Any Big Ideas - They're Not Gonna Happen

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik
image courtesy

So I recently bought a T-shirt from Radiohead. Well, not from any of the lads, but rather from W.A.S.T.E, their merch division. And, apart from it costing the most I’ve ever paid for a T-shirt (it was shipped from Oxford), and being fucking cool on account of having the lyric from ‘Nude’, a single from their most recent album printed all over it (as above), this is a special shirt. Yip, got a couple scowlers at the mall. But fuckem, not because they scowled, but because this here shirt has some very interesting info printed on it, which I now present for your edification. As for the scowlers, they probably will go to hell for what their dirty minds are thinking. They sure looked suspect.

Anyway, the shirt is 50% certified recycled polyester and 50% certified organic cotton. And this is what it says, printed on the inside back:


We Are Sensibly Talking Endlessly Clothing Division

This garment is made from 100% certified recycled plastic PET bottles and certified organic cotton. The bottles are stripped of their labels and caps, washed and crushed, then chopped into flakes. These tiny pieces are melted and extruded to create fibre. The fibre produced is crimped, cut, drawn and stretched into desired length for strength, then baled. The baled fibre can be processed into fabric for a variety of textile products and uses.

Presented below are brief descriptions of the processes involved in the production of both ordinary polyester and of recycled polyester:






Worth every penny.

Radiohead - Nude.mp3

Spectacular, Spectacular!

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik
Yes folks, it's that time of year again - it's Virgomania!

Spectacular, spectacular - no words in the vernacular
can quite describe this great event - you'll be dumb with wonderment!

Roll up, roll up! Come one, come all and witness the gathering of the Virgo's for a show quite unlike any other for miles around!

Elephants! Europeans!
Africans and Indians!
Deejays and Courtesans!
Acrobats and juggling bears!
Exotic girls! Fire eaters!
Muscle Men! Contortionists!
Intrigue, danger, and romance!
Electric lights, Machinery!
Amplifiers, decks and dancefloor tomfoolery!
All powered with electricity!

Dig into your wardrobe or hie to the nearest costume hire - yes folks - it's a dress-up, and you'll not be permitted within the inner circle without the requisite dress!

The theme?

Why, it's MOULIN ROUGE, of course!

Willowvale Hotel - Septembre Cinq, 9pm.

(find us on facebook at 'Virgomania')


Get Your Weekend On, Damn Your Eyes!

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik
Ladies and brutes, the delectable Mz Von Teese...

Here - have a poem. Not just any poem, mind - (I wouldn't do that to you, as I generally regard poetry as the refuge of those who can't handle their prose. I await the fatwa taken out on me by poetry lovers everywhere. Such is life.) - this is by Verlaine, the infamous barfly, absinthe connoisseur and geezer of La Belle Epoque. It makes me think of Dita Von Teese. Whom we love.

The Young Fools (Les Ingénus)

by Paul Verlaine
(Translated by Louis Simpson)

High-heels were struggling with a full-length dress
So that, between the wind and the terrain,
At times a shining stocking would be seen,
And gone too soon. We liked that foolishness.

Also, at times a jealous insect's dart
Bothered out beauties. Suddenly a white
Nape flashed beneath the branches, and this sight
Was a delicate feast for a young fool's heart.

Evening fell, equivocal, dissembling,
The women who hung dreaming on our arms
Spoke in low voices, words that had such charms
That ever since our stunned soul has been trembling.

And while you're at it, have a tune. Go on, then, you know you wanna.

The Cardigans - Erase & Rewind (2008 Remix by Kleerup).mp3

Fear & Loathing On The Boulevard Of Broken Dreams

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik
What're yew lookin' at, maggot? Move it!

So I’m trying for my license again…fear and loathing on the highway? You betcha. Mind you, nothing comes close to those fleeting moments before my driving instructor arrives. He’s a piece of work, he is. Thinks I’m mentally deficient, and you can tell, the way he starts foaming at the mouth when I don’t get an instruction right. Actually, scratch that – I get them right, he just jumps the gun and freaks out before I’ve even had a chance to screw up the parallel park or alley docking he’s doing his best to scream me into. Instruction is one thing. Guidance by sonic boom is another thing altogether, and as I don’t deal with apoplectic rapid-fire drill sergeant manners at the best of times, there’s a predictably patchy result. The other thing that throws me off my game is his incessant teeth sucking. No, not like you might surreptitiously do after a particularly sinewy piece of rib or a heavily laced poppyseed muffin – this is more like the high tide sluicing through all thirty thousand full-grown black lipped, bearded mussels on a long, long pier as the tide goes out. All the time. ‘Stthhhhhhhh. Sthhhhh. Sthhhhhhhh. YES! FULL LOCK TO THE RIGHT! WASSRONGWIYOO?’

It’s not right, it’s not fair, and I’m considering ringing up those geezers in The Hague and laying a couple charges. That’ll learn him.

Then of course there’s his car - it’s fucked. An old nag of a Toyota Tazz with fewer teeth in its gears than your average marshmallow mouse, I’m not entirely sure how this skorokoro ever makes the grade in the yard test. Guess we’ll find out Monday when I Go For Broke – The Sequel. Will I emerge triumphant into the humid morning with a smile on my face the size of a Honduran plantain? I sincerely hope so - the admin alone throughout this license palaver is enough to swear you off ever going for it again.

Keeping with the vehicular theme, here’s a ditty I dropped on Saturday night at the Uprising Festival. Remember now – keep left, pass right.

War - Low Rider (DJ Kue Remix).mp3


Have Some Sympathy And Some Taste

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik

Yes ladies and beerpurifiers, you guessed it - we're tucking into another delicious slice of 'We Love Tommy Sunshine' Pie here at the Kitchen. Why do we love Mr Sunshine so very, very, much? Why, because he's a geezer, and he's an ear for it that most muppet remixers would give their cajones for. To top it off, as a geezer, he's been around for some time, and has earned the respect (and access to the master tracks) of many a revered music maker, among them that bunch of crusty lovable rouges the Stones. Reason enough for us to prostrate our unworthy selves before him and chant 'Lay that badass voodoo remix goodness all over my willing ears, oh Tommy you geezer, you!' (Steady on, this is a family show. Oh, it's not.)

Right - a slice of Sympathy Flavour for you? Yes? Grab yourself a plate, and oh - don't forget to take a napkin...

Rolling Stones - Sympathy For The Devil (Tommie Sunshine's Peak Hour Lucifer Edit).mp3


Shocking State Of Affairs

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik
Insubstantial...not unlike the posts of late...

A shocking state of affairs, I think you'll agree, would be the best description for the inconsiderate lack of fresh posts hereabouts in the Kitchen. What can I say? Well, for a start, I can say hello in sixteen languages, but that's still not gonna placate the dear readers who crave more scraps than have fallen from the table of late. There's no excuse...oh, wait, yes, there is. I've been busy, touring the country (OK, I lie, I only went to Joburg for a gig) and playing shitloads of dates (Ok, I lie, it was only a helluva lot) at clubs, pubs and backyards up and down the eThekwini Metro.

What can I say? It's been a beautifully mild winter down this way on the right hand coast of darkest South Africa, I've had lots of good books to read and there's always an endless list of important lunch dates with folks who need someone to finish off the leftovers. Oh - and I work.

In any case, we'll try to make more of an effort in future, and to make up for the lack of goodness flowing from this particular neck of the hoods, here's a fine ditty put together by none other than that old charmer, crooner and shaker of the voodoo stick singer man, who was, it's true, loonier than a sack of Ghanaian Squirrel Rats after a weeks' float down the Niger, the one and only Mr Screaming Jay Hawkins. Go on, then. Fill 'er up.

Screaming Jay Hawkins - Africa Gone Funky.mp3

Egg Shelly Wood Lurk Kill

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik
Yep, I grew up in....drumroll, maestro, please...the Eighties (cymbal crash).

Dunno about you but...hell, I'm not even fully qualified to comment on this but hey, that's never stopped me, so...there's a lot of 80s revibe going on out there in the rarefied atmosphere of the interweb. So much so that yesterday I downloaded a mix set off Hot Biscuits from a dude named Sparkletone...and...excuse me a moment while I take a deep breath and consider the ramifications...holycrapsakes...the mix starts with 'Girl You Know It's True' by, yes yes I know, Milli Vanilli...and no, it doesn't get much better, although the dude has mixing skills. The funny thing is, they're gushing about this stuff out there in blogosphere. Now, I'll admit I've gotten some pretty nifty fidget remixes off blogs like Palms Out, Red Threat and others, but some of the stuff is so overboard you're tempted to chuck it a life preserver.

Now is it just me or has the whole 80s revisited thing just boiled up and over the rim of the melting pot and begun to get a whole lot of sloppy all over the Kitchen's floor? I reckon. The 80s...they gave us some good shit: synth took centre stage, and some kick-ass rock music also managed to stay alive through the cocaine blizzard and toxic clouds of New Romantic hairspray.
Shit, some of the finest tunes I have are 12" remixes from Razormaid, Ben Liebrand et al. However, when the dregs are hauled back outta the barrel to see the light of day once again - despite many people vowing on pain of death that they would preserve the world's sanity by ensuring that they would not - and rehashed for all the world to see and hear, something has gone awry.

Let's just put a qualifier in here - hey, we can, right? - some of the fashion and music of today that's inspired by the eighties IS cool, shit, I wear and I play some of it, so I'm in up to my balls. BUT when the envelope gets pushed so hard you can see the veins in the poor thing's eyes standing out, we have to question the distance to which things have been taken. Too far? Not half. Take, for example, that muppet Corey Delaney (below) who had the ultra-violent house party in Melbourne, Oz, last year and thereafter refused (on TV) to take his bilious lumo yellow sunnies off because 'I lurk killin thumb'. He, for one, is a prime example of how the worst of the eighties - yellow sunnies? I ask you with tears in my arse - have been regurgitated. As we can see from Exhibit A, Your Honour, 'taint even the good bits. (Now Corey, mate, if they'd been black, those sunnies, well, then you egg shelly wood lurk kill, mite.)

Exhibit A

Christsakes. The next thing you know, it'll be all Boy London T-shirts, baggy high-waisted primary colour jeans, belt buckles the size of a radiator grille and...damn. Let's just stop right there, it's better not to tempt fate. I saw that stuff first time round wasn't pretty, Judge.

Anyway, somewhat tenuously related to the rant of the week is this pretty damn fine tune which I got from Slutty Fringe - yes, ladies and beerpurifiers, it's a fairly fidgety rework of Tainted Love by Soft Cell. And I like it.

Soft Cell - Tainted Love (C90's Remix).mp3


Stealth Giblets

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik

We’re bored, bored, bored, to the last man, every one of us in this muggy little room at Impendle Police Station….or – what is it they call them these days? – ‘Community Service Centres’. The windows are misted up and some have been smoking, funking the room with the reek of it. We’ve been up an hour since 4:30, and listening to our polony-eating Inspector for half of that. It’s warm in here, but all the same, we’d all rather be out in the cold, the lot of us.

‘And that is why every single one of them – every single one – is a suspect…’ van Huysteen added the emphasis, little flecks of spit flying out onto his crisp shirt. He’s standing only two metres or so from me, and I swear I can see a teeny pink spot of polony in one of his errant spitballs. God help us.
Nevertheless, at risk of being sprayed with the remnants of his breakfast, it pays to sit near the front when Haardegat van Huysteen is giving one of his pre-ops motivationals. Projects eagerness. At least, he thinks so. For us up front it means cushier jobs later in the day.
Haardegat was on a roll:
‘…so don’t drop your god!’ he continued, clipping vowels as always, ‘Mothers, children – they even use the babies’ dia…dia…deksels…nappies! This type of people, they have no skaam, they are calculating and sly, like the snake!’
‘Sir?’ Wandi has his hand up, giving me a sly side-wink, ‘Sir?’ with his hand up, like in school.
‘Khumalo! Yes!’ Never really lost his drill-sergeant manner; Haardegat; he’s paraat in that old-school way, an old dog in a tricky new world.
‘I was jus’ wanderin’, sir. What ‘bout animals?’
‘Animals, Khumalo? What kind of animals? Snakes, maybe?’ A titter runs through the back row, where I’d much rather be. Then again, suffering a spit bath down the front here will pay dividends later. Haardegat ignores the dissent, eyeballing Wandi. Doesn’t smaak him. No surprises there, then.
‘Ah…no, Inspector. Dogs, sir. Cats. Birds. That kind.’
‘Are you trying to be funny, Khumalo? I think you’ll find that while Barry Hilton is still going strong, you’ve got no chance!’ Titter again, this time from one Christiaan Scheepers, resident teacher’s pet.
‘Ah, no sir, not trying…it’s just, I’ve heard they…ah…how do I put this…they put it inside the animal. Sometime. Sir.’
Haardegat ruminated on this for a moment.
‘Ja! They do. Sometime.’ He concurred, giving Wandi a little linguistic jab. ‘They have been known to put it inside a dog. But if you have read the brief, Khumalo, you would realise that this festivals doesn’t allow for dogs inside. So it is cars, mos, and the occupant of this cars, that you will be concentrating on. Now, let me tell you manne…this is the twelfth roadblock of this festival I am commanding officer, and I have seen all sorts of things, on this road…even the one time it was in a chicken – so Khumalo, you are not so far wrong talking about birds – but this was dagga in a frozen chicken! They take the dagga and they puts it in da giblets! And then they freezes this chicken! Maybe they think that the dogs isn’t going to sniff it, but they are wrong, ‘cos I have taken a suspect in with just such a chicken!’
Haardegat harrumphed, stuck his jaw out and blinked, allowing the gravity of such despicable abuse of poultry to sink in.
‘Now! From tomorrow morning, there will be be a heavy Easter holiday traffic on the R103. There will be thousands of vehicles, and maybe some of this people is not suspects, and maybe they are not for this festival. So you must use your brains, manne. Last year one member of the service actually tried to apprehend an officer of the Service for resisting arrest! Yes, Daniels – that was a stupid thing to do, but you screwed up on the side of caution, and for that nobody can blame you. It’s just a pity it was Detective Inspector Owen you pulled over!’
Sitting in the back row, Zane Daniels shrank into his chest. That had been a fuck-up of magnificent proportions. Haardegat, glaring at him, rolled on…
‘So don’t be stupid! But don’t fall for any tricks! Every one of this people is a suspect. Every single one of them. Now - your operational assignments: Thompson – reports, Adderly – reports, Scheepers – handler, Thompson – handler, Khumalo and Rogers, undercover…’

Festival mania, here we come.

Have A Nice Day

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik

A note to readers with gas-guzzling 4x4’s, SUV’s, RV’s and a love for fossil fuels:
You’re idiots, your actions are inexcusable and you deserve to fry in hell. Have a nice day.

You know them – you see them everywhere, they’re on every street corner, on every highway, even in the parking lots of the malls you frequent and – most of all – lurking outside the schools of your city. They’re a scourge, a danger and the most insidious threat to both general and personal safety that anyone in town or country presently faces.
Yes folks, it’s the 4x4. Sorry, Sparky – what was that? ‘What am I to do with all of my kids?’ Have you not heard of a station wagon? Have you not thought of a hybrid soccer-momobile? Or are you too cool to invest wisely in your children’s future by doing your bit for the environment?

Of course, there’s an easy route to blaming the Yanks for this – someone’s likely gonna come along and point out that the US was way ahead of the rest of the gang when it came to having an 4x4/SUV fetish, and they’d be right in assuming that this has had some influence on the polony -brained muppets of all other nations that have taken to driving the automobile equivalent of The Hulk with all the ardour of a dog long denied a walk. The problem is – perfect timing as always, folks - there couldn’t have been a worse time for the world to suddenly develop a taste for vehicles that can comfortably fit a family of twenty.

‘What brings about this deluge of bile for the perfectly innocent 4x4 / RV / SUV driver?’ you may well ask. Let me put you in the picture. Let me show you what I mean.

Walking – yes, dear reader, I walk to work, every morning. OK, so sometimes I can’t walk when it’s pissing with rain, but my walking is doing a damned sight more for the state of your world than you’re doing for mine. What’s that? ‘I work too far away from home to walk!’ Get a job closer to home, Sparky. Or get a bike. Whatever – do your bit or stand against the wall and wait for the firing squad. But I digress.
On my way to work this morning – a small aside; I live across the road from a Well Known High School, my alma mater – I did as I usually do, and took about three minutes to make sure the coast was clear before scurrying the ten metres to safety on the other side of the road. The problem? Behemoth Mom- and Dadmobiles, hurtling around the corners of my neighbourhood as they raced against time to drop little Johnny off at school. Because - god forbid - Johnny can't walk to school, that's just outta the question. I mean, what would Johnny's friends say? Once safely across, I saunter off down the side road to work. Only this morning this just isn’t a safe place anymore because Small Dick Man #1 has decided to drive like a marauding Hun. And even though there’s only about 400m to maraud along, he’s determined to break all land speed records – and not just in a straight line, oh, no – that’d be too easy – no, no, no – he wants to do it whilst overtaking another hulking 4x4 - on the left! Now usually this is only mildly offensive behaviour, but when Small Dick Man with his Prosthetic Dick Car is swerving towards me as I walk along the pavement, I get a little pissed off.
Someone should give muppets like this an award, like maybe a Darwin Award – lord knows they're gonna pick one up posthumously, might as well let them bask in the glory before he drives himself into a roadside mahogany, right?
If I were driving it would make me want to pull up and step out, pull the Small Dick Man outta that twincab and clip him around his unused earhole while reading the little cuckold the riot act and denigrating his manhood, the parlous state of his moral pantry and last but not least his thoughtless frippery with oil at a time when it is blindingly clear that Things Are Not What They Used To Be. Is it possible that perhaps he just happened to be going so fast that he missed the past twenty years? And why in the name of all that is good and pure in the world should decent people have to put up with imbeciles like this making life not only more dangerous to live but indeed of a lower quality than it was only some two decades ago?

I await enlightenment and the Answers to these and other Important Questions.

As Always.

The Orb Are Back - Pack The Chillum

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik

A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre Of The Ultraworld. Hic!

The Orb are back. Dunno who The Orb are? Oh, Christ on a fucking bike, I ask you with tears in my sad, sad eyes. You really need to sort your musical reference out, man. I mean, if you don’t even know who the…I give up. Go and consult your wikipedia, and when you get back I wanna see a hundred lines: ‘I am a musical dolt and will endeavour to rectify the situation forthwith through diligent research and the purchasing of old CD’s from stalls at flea markets manned by grizzled ex-ravers.’ Right. That’s you told.

For those of you who do know The Orb, you’ll be glad to know that the intervening years haven’t straightened them out, and Alex Patterson and his mob are still making noodly dubbed-out ambient tunes which are perfect for chilling, cleaning the house or squeegying your third eye through the aid of massive hits of acid. Appropriate for a range of domestic and transcendent applications, if you will. The new(ish) album (of which I’ve only heard a bit) seems to be much along the lines of the best of their output, with a bit of an updated electronic edge to it, if ‘Katskills’ is anything to go by. Released in the UK in September last year, and featuring the ambient musings of the good Dr Paterson and newish Orb member Thomas Fehlmann, it’s only now making waves. Weird. But then, they wouldn’t be The Orb if there weren’t some weird in the equation.

In any case, here, for your edification (and washing, ironing, squeegying etc) is one of the tracks off the album, ‘The Dream’. Also listed here for your aural indulgence is a tune released by Paterson and ex-KLF member (and an Orb founding member back in pre-MuMu days) Jimmy Cauty as well as the guitar noodling of the one and only (and presently a band member of Modest Mouse), Johnny Marr of The Smiths fame, under the Transit Kings moniker.

Right. Herewith ends today's somewhat rambling post. Phew.

The Orb - Katskills.mp3
Transit Kings - America Is Unavailable.mp3


All Hail The Maverick Scribes Of The 20th Century

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik

Before The Village People, there was the Village Family...

‘The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test’ should be required reading at every high school in the world, in my opinion. It was my introduction to Tom Wolfe, and gave me a vicarious immersion into the subject matter - the world of Ken Kesey, his Merry Pranksters and the bacchanalian Acid Tests. Sure, Wolfe is also well-known for ‘Bonfire Of The Vanities’ too, which is good, if a little pithy and complex in its study of the ambition, racism, class politics, and greed of 1980s New York. In any case, I recently picked up ‘The Pump House Gang’ for the criminally low price of one Zuid Afrikaansche Rand at a Christian junkshop. No, I won’t tell you where this den of cutrate delights is located. The book is a collection of short journalistic articles that Wolfe put out in the sixties, and covers Hugh Hefner at the Playboy Mansion, California surf subculture, the Swinging Sixties scene of London (and its underground – literally – lunchtime clubs), and his fortuitous stumbling upon an illegal private casino. Which is where I lifted this fantastically descriptive passage from:

‘There was only a dim light on the stairway. I kept climbing and finally got to the door the tea boy had talked about and it was still just quiet, cold, dim and drafty in someone’s old moldering townhouse. The door was heavy and had a lot of crowded carving on it. I knocked, but nobody answered, so I went ahead and turned the knob and pushed it open and –
Santa Barranza! –
- inside, the scene was the way I always pictured it in The Masque of the Red Death, the Edgar Allen Poe story, when they go through all the rooms in the big old moldering castle or whatever it is, and finally they get to this last room, where everybody is having one utterly final choking red revel in a room suffocating with red velvet, gilt, ormolu, heavy glass – inside, as soon as I open the door, this great heaving fullness comes rolling over me, sherry-yellow, lights, florid browns, hunt-blood reds, smothers, smothers, smothers of merino cloth, velvets, tapestry, swollen, swollen, swollen with gilt, covings, ogee and ovolo moldings, all yeasting up with the heat of the gambling funk, the smoldering armpits of the punters, a stagnant haze of cigarette smoke, and voices, a low burble of voices and clattering chips, and a woman with a low voice and a Central European accent saying:
“…pos-see-bul flush…straght-y-ning…no help…”
The room is a huge drawing room, filled with green-baize gaming tables crowded with young men and a few women, all florid and ripening amid fading Louis XVI needlework, old Sultanabad carpets with white ticks where the woof is coming up and goddamnedest bunch of gilded tables, sideboards and commodes you ever laid eyes on, riots of rosewood and ormolu, every table leg in the form of a great swollen jaded baby hooker with blank eyes and gilded nipples rising up to into a gush of acanthus leaves – perfect!’

Now if that doesn't conjure up the picture in full blown sensovision, then you're as dull as dishwater.

Thompson Mailer Burroughs Capote Wolfe - all hail the maverick scribes of the 20th Century !

Someone Shoulda Told Him That The Buck Stops Here

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik

Pic: Hannah Whitaker (see

No one can deny the genius of Talking Heads at their prime.

What was that?


Well, here's an opportunity to redeem yourself. Get cracking.

Godsakes. Some people.

Talking Heads - Blind (Deaf Dub and Blind Mix).mp3


We Need Some Sunshine

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik
Tommie Sunshine is the man.

Yes, we've had a fucked up couple weeks down SA way. 'Xenophobic' riots, further racially-tinted episodes up and down the land being dragged through the courts, and of course the ongoing interest rate hike. All as winter's teeth really bite in. And then, adding insult to injury, James Blunt did a tour. Mind you, could've been worse. Could've been Josh Groban. Now there's a powerful truth serum to use against reticent enemies of the state:

Evil Interrogator #1: 'Now you listen here and you listen good, maggot - tell us where the secret files are stored or your balls go in the blender!'
Hero: 'Pah! Go ahead. You'll get nothin' from me. I spit on your blender. Ptui.'
Evil #1: 'Hmmm, wiseguy, eh? How about a little bit of THIS -' (cue Josh Groban's latest single, 'You Are Loved (Don't Give Up)')
Hero: 'Aaaaeeehhhhhhggggggggg!!!!!!! Fuucccccckkkkkk!!!! Make it stopppp!!! I'll tell you everything!'
Evil #1: 'That's more like it. Now - where are the goddamn files?'
Hero: 'Ha! In your dreams, Sparky. I'll never -' (the Groban is turned up, reaching a particularly cruel crescendo) 'Gggghhhhhh OK - OK - they're in the safe...aaahhhhhhh!!!!! Make it....stop...make it....aaaaaaaa..a...bblllth....' Eyeballs boil, tongue goes blue; the Hero is toast.
Evil #1: 'Shit - we've lost him! Now we'll never know where those files are hidden!'
Evil 2: 'Wha?'
Evil #1: 'Take those bloody earplugs out!'
Evil #2: 'Oh. Right. That's better. What?'
Evil #1: 'He's dead - can't you see - he's dead!'
Evil #2: 'Damn, that Groban shit is strong.'


It's The Parents That Need A Smack

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik

Caffeine? Check. Refined Sugar? Check? Chaos? Check. Piercing High-Decibel Screams Of Anguish? Better Believe It.

Caught a steam train on Sunday morning. What was that? Did you say ‘holy crap, now there’s a sure sign he’s getting old’? Come closer so I can klap you like I would like to have klapped a few of the manic lighties who were on said train. Hold still. This won't hurt a bit.
The Umgeni Steam Railway – manned entirely by volunteers and run on the sheer love of steam - is a grand and endearing anomaly; a 95-year-old steam locomotive that pushes eighty-year-old carriages up to Inchanga from Hillcrest, in the year 2008. The state of preservation of these grand remnants of the age of steam and the heydays of leisurely travel, unfettered by the demands of modern life and a here-today-gone-tomorrow lifestyle, is impressive. For all the graffiti and the jarring disruption of cellphones, you could well believe that it is the year 1929 as you make your way through the darkly forested valleys.
Then, of course, there is the screaming horde of ankle biters that bring you out of your reverie with a thump. They’re a study in chaos, for the most part, and a lesson in parenting. Or the lack thereof. For one thing, it’s immediately obvious who the indulgent parents are that allow their offspring to run rampant and unchecked. They’re the ones shouting:
‘Shayden Breitling Goss! (because a name like Thomas or Michael would just be so passé) Ah thord ah tolljew noddoo stickyaw eddowdov a windah! Ah’m gonna smeckyew nah if you doan siddahn en karmdahn!’ (They're originally from Queensburgh, the Gosses, but dad Terry - he's the one who's been ogling my wife's legs since Hillcrest - he recently made good by importing cheap Chinese generators. They now live in Durban North. There goes that neighbourhood.)
To which, of course, the little cretin sticks out his tongue and continues to scream blue bloody murder at perplexed railside spectators as he defies the cruel oppression of a parent that is merely trying to ensure he isn't dashed to mince on the tracks. Shayden Breitling Goss, the little belter, is the unambiguous result of ineffectual parenting, non-existent discipline and a strict diet of processed Woolworths food and refined sugar. Which is to say, a hyperactive snotty little tyrant that has no respect for his parents and has never been instructed in how to behave and will undoubtedly go on to become a success at a) cheating on his wife and b) selling cheap Chinese generators. You can't blame him that he'll go on to become a faithful facsimile of his parents and pass on the insufferably ignorant yet unassailably snooty attitude to the generations of little screamers that will undoubtedly come after. Hell, some of them may even evolve to become lawyers and bank managers. Maybe.
The upshot of the experience of this train is that some of the parents spend the entire journey howling threats at their kids, and consequently have an awful time of it. What a godawful way to spend a Sunday. Just deserts? Quite. Ritalin? They don't need Ritalin, they need Valium.
The other (regretfully smaller) portion of parents are those whose children sit quietly by, quite happy to observe and make comments on the passing vista. These are the well-adjusted parents who have equally well-adjusted kids. I love these people - they give me hope. The lawless little trolls that scream at the top of their lungs for the entire journey and disregard any and all instructions from their parents – they on the other hand, they make me despair.
But it really is the parents that deserve a smack, not the kids. Sure, that kind of behaviour is unacceptable (or at least, there was a time when it was considered so) and should be disciplined. Goes without saying. But it all starts with parents who are unwilling or so utterly parentally inept that they refuse to impose some kind of order upon the tykes. The sneaky suspicion is that these parents themselves were probably the result of some lacklustre parenting. Maybe momma just didn’t have enough time what with all the chores, or poppa was out getting drunk too often. Hey, we all had tough breaks - roll with it.
Whatever – the result is there for all to see on the 8:30 to Inchanga. Sweet wrappers, burger boxes, milkshake cups, chocolate bars and pure screaming hysteria. Whose bright spark idea was it to open a Wimpy right to the traintracks? Whoever they are, they're first against the wall.

Spare the kid and spoil the ride. Or so it seemed on the way back down to Hillcrest on that ancient puff ‘n go train.

This article/rant/hissy fit also published on iafrica's highlife - hislife pages


The Mill's Grist

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik
Here - have a rant. No really, go ahead.

So you’re there at the festival and it’s freezing fucking cold. You look around and you realise…these people are idiots. Outside of this environment, they’re the ones who prop up the system, they’re about as far away from alternative thinkers as you can possibly get. They’re bankers, call-centre phone jockeys, estate agents, accountants, clerks, admin assistants, managers, department heads, shopkeepers, insurance tricksters, cellphone hustlers, chemists, liquor store owners, speculators, developers and the worst of them, lawyers. Philandering, misogynist, racist, dull-brained, bigoted, narrow-minded and gathered up into one heaving mass in the name of intoxication, not so much as two independent thoughts to smack together amongst the lot of them. They’re here to get loaded among people just like them, people that speak the same language, people who have the same shifty eyes when it comes to discussing the state of the nation, people who similarly drive like utterly incompetent pillocks in their fuckoff-size four by fours. Pass them by and you get the same defensive scowl that outsiders get when passing through a small and close-knit back-country community, Easy Rider-style. These are the habitual braaiers, the braggarts and liars who crowd a sizzling grill and mutter that the country is going to shit. These are the resistant remnants of a past so recent that they haven’t yet said their goodbyes, and any comment or argument to put them to rights is met with a patronising chuckle because you, with your outlandish ideas, just don’t understand. These are the women who, slit-eyed and unspeaking, stare resolutely ahead when approached by beggars at the stop street, hold their noses in the air when walking into a restaurant, calling to the staff ‘You – excuse me, hello? I need some service here.’ No please, no thank you, just ‘you’. These are the obese parents who wrench their children away from anything that doesn’t fit their narrow version of acceptable. Insular, round-shouldered, ignorant, and utterly happy for the singing of it. They’re the polony eaters, the cream donut bingers; the processed cheese lovers, they’re the ones who laugh at the thought of taking trash to a recycling depot, they’re the proud owners of fast-food brains and mallrat hearts, they are the happily ignorant, and they’re here to stay, because they are the mill's grist.