Apologies, Snowed Under, Here, Have Two Flyers

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik

As stated above, snowed under with year-end stuff, so I'll keep it short and sweet.

Tis the season to get so motherlessly wrecked up that you forget your own name, your dog's name, your mother's name, where you live, where you left your car/girlfriend/boyfriend/morals and how you got home. Traditional stuff, then. Thus and therefore, you should get your ass to the two events represented in flyer form above, where you will find yourself in very good company.

If I post nothing before the festive season truly hits, please accept my humble merry wishes in advance.

All the best.


This Chorizo Assumption

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik

Bluff Headland Heritage Park? Not a sausage...

For all those who live in Durban and wonder why our local tourism industry flounders, consider the following:

The Ethekwini Municipality, through its erstwhile tourism marketing arm, Durban Africa, put out a tourism brochure a couple of years ago. This brochure, entitled ‘101 Things To Do In Durban’, has since been scanned as a low-resolution PDF and is now resident on the internet, despite containing some incorrect information. Perhaps it was a ‘blue sky’ marketing ploy, designed to ramp up the city’s profile by including projects that had yet to see the light of day. One of these is/was/may be the ‘Bluff Headland Heritage Park’ which I, understandably as a Durban resident would love to see, considering that the Bluff headland remains the largest undisturbed tract of original Durban bush, due to its military history. However, despite much to offer the local or international tourist this elusive place, which could provide a whole new way of seeing the city, remains shrouded in mystery. A visit to the army base on the Bluff yielded no clues, as the soldiers stationed there were nonplussed when asked of the whereabouts of this fabled destination. Calls to Tourist Junction, the city’s tourism marketing hub located in the centre of town, went something like this:

Me: (Dials 031 3044934) Ring ring...ring ring...ring ring....
Unidentified Tourist Junction Employee: “Toozumshin, hakinelpyoo?”
Me: “Hi there, I’d like to find out some info about the Bluff Headland Heritage Park?”
UTJE: “Huh? Bluff what?”
Me: “Bluff Headland Heritage Park?”
UTJE: “Plizold”...scratchy electronic marimba and drums, dial tones and finally:
Another UTJE “Twos Gumption, hakinelpyoo?”
Me: “Hi there, I’d like to get some information about the Bluff Headland Heritage Park?”
AUTJE: “The what?” (Possible snickering in the background from one UTJE to another upon realising that the bilious brochure continues to sow discord.)
AUTJE: “National Park? You try KZN Ezemvelo on 031...”
Me: “NO! The phone number in the information brochure is for Tourist Junction – 3044934!”
AUTJE: “Yes. Is our number. Hakinelpyoo?”
Me: “Please – I have a brochure. From Tourist Junction. It lists the Bluff Headland Heritage Park. And says that there is public access, but that you may be able to provide me with further information.”
AUTJE: “You want information, you call 1023. This Chorizo Assumption.”

By which stage, of course, the bile is leaking out of my ears, my eyes have started to froth blood and the chance of ever unearthing the truth about the Bluff Headland Heritage Park is rapidly receding into the distance. If anyone has more luck than I, please let me know.
\p.s: please excuse the screwy fonts etc. Blogger is in the throes of thrombosis, it would appear...



By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik
Pic courtesy of Wonderleka Woeskus team leader, Liz Linsell.

Here are a few reasons you shouldn’t go to AfrikaBurn: Puff adders. Sunburn. Chapped lips. Hangnails. Infected fingernails. Thorns. Cracked heels. Dehydration. Choking dust. Sharp stones. Stubbed toes. Scratches. Bruises. Cuts. Exhaustion. Blisters. Burnt fingers. Disintegrated bearings. Bald tyres. Punctures. Road blocks. Stop ‘n Go’s. Baking hot days. Freezing cold nights. Winds that shred tents. 100km on a gravel road, along which there is no cell signal, no petrol station and very few signs of humanity. Sound good? You should get your ass to AfrikaBurn. We did, and it was fucking fantastic for the second time round. Who the hell are ‘we’? We are the AmaDeadlies and we regularly provide CPR to the Durban and KZN electronic music scene, in the form of AmaFullThrottle, NONONO!!! and a variety of other events. Why did we go on a 3300km round trip go to the Karoo and set up a dancefloor tent at AfrikaBurn? Because Tankwa Town is where it’s at, and because we smaak it like a bergie smaaks his papsak.

For the second time in a year, we created a Camp called AmaDeadly Disco, this year with a circus theme. In order to do so, we stuffed a van to the roof and loaded a trailer to the hilt with speakers, amplifier, CDJ’s, laptops, lighting, costumes, fabric, décor, tents, electrical gear, rope, tools, cable ties and duct tape. Lots of cable ties and duct tape. Did you know that cable ties and duct tape hold the universe together? Little-known true fact, that. But before you get to thinking this is a ‘oh, sweet, a road trip, yay!’ mission, think again.

Driving to the Tankwa Karoo from Durban makes most weekend festival missions look like a doddle to the corner shop for bread and milk. But then AfrikaBurn isn’t your run of the mill festival. Hell, for a start, it isn’t a music festival – although there’s music, and plenty of it, mostly electronic. AfrikaBurn, like the big bad voodoo daddy that spawned it – Burning Man, which takes place in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada each year at the end of August - is an ‘invent’, not an event, and if you attend, you can’t just rock up and proceed to get liquored and behave like a muppet, which is pretty much the standard procedure at most festivals. No, it’s an anti-muppet gig, AfrikaBurn is. And unlike other festivals, at a Burn, you get off your hynie and make shit happen – your participation, and the participation of others attending, is what makes the substance of the experience. In Tankwa Town, there are no Fast-Moving Consumer Goods, there’s no branding, and you cannot buy anything, because it’s a cashless community. OK, that’s a white lie – you can buy something, one very important thing: ice. And goddamn, do people jump to it when they see the iceman cometh, because it is hot. How hot? So hot you could fry an egg on your ten buck bag of ice, that’s how hot. But for everything else, if you need it, you bring it. Or someone gives it to you, no strings, in keeping with Burner gifting culture. If you think this is a novel way of spending a week in the desert, fantastic. Novel is the new black and it lives in Tankwa Town, where the citizens create art pieces, stage performance and come together to make shit happen. The beautiful thing about this is that when people are free to express themselves in whatever way they choose, amazing shit happens because within the bounds of decency, you’ve got free rein to get out there and get on with it. As for us members of Camp AmaDeadly Disco, we chose to express ourselves through music. Thus the mission of taking of a dancefloor to the desert, something we were not alone in doing – quite a few Camps this year featured a wide selection of great tunes, all of which are supplemented by two mobile music wagons; one hitched to a trailer, the other (named ‘Clever Sausage’ and manned by the VuvuCreative, which makes up a substantial part of the organisers who put heart and soul into each year’s AfrikaBurn) led by a flouro old school Land Rover. But then many Camps didn’t feature music – and these were generally manned by participants who created art pieces. And damn, was there art.

Everywhere you look, you see amazing creations and interactions. Artworks are dotted all over the desert landscape, some of which are burned, some of which are not. For example? A masterfully replicated and massively upscaled creation of huge Lego pieces. ‘The Wish’ - a massive white dome consisting of interlocking circles of plywood, which was erected at AfrikaBurn 2008, which was burned on the Friday night this year. A beautiful and complex arc, also made of plywood, by the same crew (Brendan Smithers and The Upsetters), called ‘Memory’, was created for this year - it didn’t burn, but may do next year. The rigging of a three-masted galleon, sunk into the desert floor. A huge wobbling flouro octopus, manned by a posse of intrepid Jozi psychonauts. Mutated art cars bearing flags, sails and armour. A huge three-wheeled trike, straight outta Mad Max and manned by a six-foot muscle mary in gold lame and heels. Labyrinths. Puzzles. A 20-foot post box, where you can send a card to other Camps, or to the default world. And then of course the San Clan, a huge multi-headed effigy that represents the temporary community of Tankwa Town. It took a while, but it went up in flames on Saturday night, the ‘main’ night of AfrikaBurn. These are just a very few examples of the kind of creations you see at AfrikaBurn. There’s much, much more to see and do. Lots of which is kid-friendly and visually arresting.

If this all sounds a bit too out there for you, great. Stay home, keep the malls in business. Keep believing that you’re an individual, sunshine, there’ll always be a place for you at the banquet of unthinking consumerism, so tuck right in. However, if this sounds like your kind of headspace, get your ass to AfrikaBurn next year. You will not regret it.

For more info on AfrikaBurn, go to www.afrikaburns.com or do a facebook search for ‘Afrika Burns – Burning Man in South Africa’.

p.s: having some coding issues with this piece of shite Blogger platform. Considering moving to Wordpress. Please be patient, we have our best technicians working on the problem.


I Ask You With Tears In My Ass

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik

So, yes, I admit it – I’m a chronic purist when it comes to abbreviation, spelling and punctuation. I’m a bore, I’m going to hell in a hand basket for all my nitpicking, I should build a bridge and get the hell over it already, yeah, yeah, yeah – don’t even start, I’ve heard it all before, from foul-mouthed poets who can deliver a knockout blow from fifty paces and would make any other comers look positively juvenile, to haughty high society dames who think the measure of their worth is the height of their stiletto and the depth of their cleavage. Offenders all, and when I am King, first against the wall.

No, it’s not curable, and yes, it’s a petty matter which shouldn’t drive me into the loving embrace of a sanatorium, but there you go – when the world’s crapping out and atomic mushrooms are blossoming overhead, I’ll still be bent double over a restaurant menu, fiercely twitching at the gross injustice of a misplaced comma. And, whilst it is the opinion of some that a sufferer who can admit to and identify his shortcomings is well on the way to recovery, I, a sufferer for life with a chronic dose of the Corrections, will not be - and indeed do not wish to be – cured, as mine is the finest kind of malady – that which may be my downfall but brings the promise of a better world for all mankind.

The day that we all give up the pursuit of proper grammar and punctuation is the day that the white flag of surrender to guttersnipe virtues is seen over the carcass of language the world over. And with language being the bedrock of culture, you can only imagine the bland quagmire that will suck us into. Don’t even get me started on the insidious creep that textspeak is making, stealthily abbreviating its cryptic way into the common psyche and demolishing the nuance and delicate tracery of language, word by word. Centuries of reason and history, demolished by the convenience of a pocket toy.

I ask you with tears in my ass.


One For The Money

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik
"Money often costs too much." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

‘One for the money’, that’s what we call it. And considering the looks of this joint, they have a lot of it to splash around. In this, the time of the financial house of cards, it seems this bunch of product pimps are doing a roaring trade. All the signs are there: parking lot crammed with all the right insignia, rows of shiny new models, winking away as the dirt poor shuffle past the electrified fence. Labels and egos in all the right places. Row upon row of unmentionably dear champagne – and none that Methode Cap Classique tat either, no, no, no – the real deal, mate: Champagne. Johnny Blue, too, a couple bottles’ worth, and they’re mixing it with…oh my god…cola. And catering from the only Michelin star in town. For a goddamn office party. Fuck me.

In any case, can’t complain. Although we’ll privately shake our heads at the sheer blind gluttony of it all. Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to stand behind this DJ console and take requests like the hired help we are; sit back and think of the cash. One for the money, like I say.

They were already roaring by the time we arrived, god alone knows how messy they’ll be when we pack up and head to the next gig. If they'll let us. The men are leery, the women have wild eyes, swimming in pools of eyeliner and mascara; the innuendo is thick as cigar smoke. Bet your bottom dollar there’ll be a divorce hatched tonight, or at the very least a serious fall out, perhaps an engagement will get put on ice. Office parties are like weddings like that – there’s always the indiscretion, some foul play, someone offside. And someone goes home in tears.

Christ, it’s getting a bit Hieronymus Bosch round here now, they’re pulling at each other and hurling themselves around the room, mouths agape, eyes leering. There goes a pair, into the room where the Xerox machine is. Hmmm - who ate all the pies?

Best have a medic on standby; the glass on those things has a breaking strain of only 60kg’s...


Turn That Shit Up! Turn That Shit Off!

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik
Supersonic Sound Systems...Or Silence?

So we're off to AfrikaBurn again in six(ish) weeks, and once again we members of Camp AmaDeadly Disco will be hauling a van packed with all the stuff needed to create our dancefloor and chill area: speakers, amps, DJ booth, scanners, fairy lights, CDJ's, mixers, carpet, dust covers, fabric, inflatable furniture, 10x20m stretch tent, poles and...all the rest. It'll take us a day and half to get there - the Tankwa Karoo is pretty much all the way across the country from where we're situated on the Panga Coast. Once we get there, it's all bang bang tish tish walla walla till the morning light. Or, depending on the outcome of discussions presently underway, maybe not.

As AfrikaBurns is a Burner event, it subscribes to the Ten Principles,which include Radical Self-Expression, although those expressing themselves do so within reason - for example, your expression shouldn't infringe on somebody else's experience. This is clearly illustrated by the expectations of two sorts of participants: those who go to AfrikaBurn to get away from the noise, and those who go to make lots of it. As you can imagine, this has the makings of a contentious issue: those who attend with the express wish of experiencing the serenity of the Karoo are bound to get pissed off with those who prefer to play Ministry's 'Jesus Built My Hotrod' at 6am.

As a Camp with a sound system, we AmaDeadlies find ourselves on the horns of this dilemma: our form of expression is music, and we like to express ourselves freely. However, we're not entirely unreasonable, and we're aware that banging it for four days straight is just not feasible. For a start, it's tough going out there on the baking flatlands of Tankwa Town, without going full throttle. We learnt that last year, which is when we got a sound complaint. No, we weren't playing Ministry, but for the complainant who was possibly hoping to have a peaceful lie-in, we had obviously overstepped the mark. You might say 'Fair enough, but what the hell are they thinking - going to a festival and expecting some quiet time? WTF?' Quite. But then again, the involvement of participants at a Burn event depends on cooperation - there is room for everyone to express themselves, it's simply a matter of finding balance. And, despite the fact that systems are limited to 400 Watts, bear in mind that the site used is flat and the air clear - sound, especially bass, slices through space in that setting like a hot knife through butter.

Solutions which facilitate this balance will need to be found: in my mind there are two routes - on the one hand, sound systems could be asked to tap it off at 4am and resume playing at volume from 9am. This is a possible arrangement currently in discussion by the organisers. Cooperation from those Camps which run sound systems would obviously be needed, but bear in mind that the kind of people who run systems - and those who stomp the ground in front of them - may not always be conducive to a punctual end to their festivities. On the other hand a separate area - selected for its distance from the main body of the event and limitation of sound bleed - could be designated as a noise area. This second route is that taken by Burning Man, where all loud systems are located in the Large-Scale Sound Art Zone, located on the outer ring of the event, with systems faced away from the main body of Black Rock City. With AfrikaBurn still a toddler when compared to the 22-year-old Burning Man, the application of this solution would mean locating the Sound Art away from the single-ring Binnekring around which AfrikaBurn's Tankwa Town is created.

It remains to be seen which option will be explored at this year's event in Tankwa Town. Whichever it is, we'll be there.

If you'd like to participate in a discussion on this matter, go here.

For your musical edification, here's a little ditty put together by that top geezer from African Dope, Fletcher - it's a song I've had on repeat in my head for some time and will be playing (possibly repeatedly) at AfrikaBurn. A fantastic warped dubstep cracker, this is some infectious shit:

Fletcher - Dreadlox Dub.mp3

For more on African Dope Records (including some fine free downloads), go here and for more on Fletcher, go here.


What Have We Done To Deserve This?

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik
Mine eyes have seen the glory of steel.

Holy flaming shitburgers, Batman, but I believe we have reached a new pinnacle in bad taste. Stopped in my tracks like a newborn duiker in the blitzkrieg hunting spots of a Land Cruiser, I was bedazzled into next month. From the dazzlingly sterile plains of the stainless steel door panels to the unfinished symphony of the triumphant doorside pillars with their aerial roots hinting at further shininess yet to come, all was full of bling. Cosmonauts on the International Space Station have reported that when the planet is at just the right angle they can switch their bedside lights off and read by the reflection off this cacophony of bling. But wait – there’s more! Note the broekie-lace gazebo. Marvel at the sheer breathtaking audacity of faux-colonial style forced to make sweet love to this paean to the gods of sheet metal in an unholy union that would leave lovers of bestiality slackjawed and speechless.

Put my eyes out with a hive of angry Madagascan tiger hornets, for mine eyes have seen the glory of steel.

This also published on Mahala.

Dust, Anybody? No?

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik
Burn, baby. Burn.

You’re standing in the middle of a wide, flat plain of baking hot red rock. Next to you is The Wish, a three-storey-high dome constructed out of circles of white-painted marine plywood. A little further off stands a multi-headed effigy, the San Clan, which stands a little higher than The Wish. In the distance you can make out the blue silhouettes of the Cedarberg. It’s midday and 40 degrees in the shade, and. There. Is. No. Shade. In every direction across the dusty red Martian plain on which this carnival of creative community takes place, you are encircled by camps, each of which is different, all presenting a colourful and varied addition to the numerous large and small structures and artworks scattered across the empty centre of Tankwa Town. Population? Around a thousand. Location? Tankwa Karoo, Northern Cape. Yes folks, you’re at AfrikaBurn, South Africa’s own regional Burning Man event.

One of the twenty themed camps at AfrikaBurn 2008, our Camp AmaDeadly Disco is the creation of my freinds and I. Promoters and DJs from Durban and KZN, we're familiar to punters who have attended NONONO!!!, Lightworkx, Jalarupa and AmaFullThrottle events in our neck of the woods. Let's just say we're...gregarious. Die-hards to a man (and woman), we undertook a road trip that eventually ate up some 3400 kilometres of tar and dirt, shredded one tyre and left a few marbles roaming the Karoo. As AfrikaBurn is a Burning Man event, it operates according the Ten Principles of a Burn (see www.afrikaburns.com for more on that), and meant that we AmaDeadlies took every part of their camp with us, from Durban, and took it back once the dust had settled (and been washed out of their hair). Dust, anybody? No?

Our camp itself consisted of a complete (and carpeted) dancefloor, including quadraphonic sound, a DJ booth, chill area and, of course, discoballs and lights. Covered by a stretch tent, our aim was to participate in the event by playing music, and offering their space to all comers. After four days of non-stop music, pyrotechnics, fun and games and self-reliance, we packed up our camp, and in keeping with the ‘leave no trace’ ethos of the event, left nothing more than a few small holes in the ground where industrial-strength staves once held our 20x15m tent down.

A few hors d’oeuvres short of a cocktail party, or just plain mad for the jol? That’s a matter of opinion, but one thing’s for sure – we’re doing it again this September out there in the Tankwa Karoo, bigger and better than last year. We held a fundraiser recently to spread the word , and raised some funds to ease the costpain of this motherfucker of all road trips, consisting of an information session where Burning Man and AfrikaBurn dvd’s and photos were shown, and of course a wild party which kicked on through to dawn. But we've got plans, big one, for this year's Burn, and have been beavering away with different configurations of structures and gear. Stretch fabric. Staves. Kingpoles. Rope. Poles. Inflatable furniture. Carpeting. Webbing. Ratchets. Dustmasks. Goggles. Jimmy-rigged showers. Diesel. Genny. Bowser. These are a few of our favourite things.

Participants from KZN are kinda thin on the ground at AfrikaBurn, by virtue of the distance to the event, but if you’re interested in attending Africa’s own Burning Man, or would like to know more, let your fingers do the mousing to the AmaDeadly Facebook Page

Brace yourself, Sheila. We're in for a wild one.

(This article also published on Mahala.)


It Ain't No Mistri, We Makin Histri

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik
Tell me sumting, Mr Government Man...

Standing at the bar at Saturday night’s LKJ gig, and along came Neil Comfort, veteran promoter on the Durban music scene from way back since the bad old days and present owner of legendary venue The Rainbow in Pinetown. His muttered comment on the organisation of the gig? ‘Fly by night operators.’ Turns out the organisers – Purple Haze Productions – had to change the Cape Town venue three times (on the day of the gig) because – get this – they only found out that Linton the main man doesn’t play outdoor venues. After he’d arrived on South African soil. The Durban gig followed much the same line, with the venue being changed late on Friday afternoon from the Bluff Showgrounds to the City Hall. But, despite mutterings from other performers about shambolic organisation, it turned out fine. Bear in mind that the City Hall is a soaring gorgeous colonial hall in the style of old, which easily transports visitors back in time to a more genteel age when moulded ceilings, exquisite wrought ironwork and finely crafted woodwork were the order of the day. And, acoustically speaking, the far-flung outdoor Bluff venue isn’t a patch on the cavernous hall. So, all in all the punters won with the venue change, and it didn’t seem to throw too many off the trail – the venue wasn’t exactly packed, but then the City Hall can easily accommodate over a thousand people.

So, to the music. Arriving around 7ish the support acts seen played in with Manoeuvre To Land’s well-crafted and soulful rock, followed by The Tuff Masters’ wailing ghetto reggae, and final support was played by The Meditators who, it must be said, are a very tight outfit and may well knock the ‘Kings Of SA Reggae’ crown from Tidal Waves’ head at some point in the near future. Slick, upbeat and bouncing along, they’re an act you should make an effort to see at all costs. And, in between the bands delivering the sermon to the gathered throng of rastas, hippie dreads and surprisingly straight-looking middle class honkies, was the one and only DJ Paperboy, dropping rare dancehall, dub and early reggae platters, much to the delight of the easy skanking brigade. Talking about skanking, it seemed that the City Hall had been declared a free zone for the night, judging by the brazen burning of blunts taking place outside the hall. Hell, one dread was even walking around with a coconut bong. Real casual, like. Mind you, as one dread said, the City Hall belongs to all of us, the taxpayers and ratepayers especially. But enough of the hors d’ouvres, what of the main course? Backed up by the eminently competent beats of the Dennis Bovell Dub Band, who played a great 20-minute intro set of their own material, LKJ finally took to the stage in trademark hat and jacket, and proceeded to lay down his inimitable dub poetry with ease and style in the patois he’s so well known for. Peppering his set list with illuminating commentary on the origins of each song, he filled the audience in on the state of inner city 1970s Britain and its accompanying police brutality, the difficulties faced by people of colour and the injustices committed in the name of justice from thirty years ago to the present. Having listened to his music for over ten years, it was great to have some light shed on so many of his seminal recordings from the man himself as he wove his way through hit after hit.

This was my last column published on Levi's Original Music Mag before it shuts up shop.

It's Alright Ma, It's Only House Music

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik
See Spooky Panda. See Spooky Panda dance. Dance, Panda, dance!

The wife says I'm getting soft in my old age, and classifies some of the stuff I now DJ as 'house'. Now, I mighta taken exception to such barefaced cheek a few years ago, but I've realised that 'house music' probably reflects the spirit of some of the stuff best. Why? Because all the truly dire crap drivel coming outta speakers at a club near you is no longer called house - it's called by 'deep', 'progressive', 'minimal', 'electro' and any number of other names. The result? House music has reclaimed some of its authenticity since even the cheesemasters started avoiding using the term.

So, here's to revisiting the music that started all the bruxism and shaking. This right here is a piece put together by James A. Copeland. Otherwise (pretty damn well) known as Broken Toy in the Cape trance scene, with a fanbase of dedicated flouro nutjobs in tow, he's branched out to tech and 'house' under the Nesono moniker. And I like it.

Nesono - Dagger 125A.mp3

Note to the net Sherrif: fuck off, this is legally downloadable with rights granted. Love you. Hang on, no I don't. You suck. Kisses.

A Whole Lotta Love

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik
Photo: Roger Jardine / shot on Hasselblad

Always wondered what all the fuss was about, this whole thing about weddings. The stress, the bickering, the family members meddling, the fussing and minor meltdowns. You always hear about 'Christ, was I nervous' and 'It just gets too much' and all that. Had always thought people were overreacting and just being, well, useless. And now I know. It's a helluva thing. You walk down that aisle and all eyes are you and...you kinda have a minor out of body experience. But damn, was it an experience.

Our Love Declaration Celebration was a participatory affair - we would never have gone in for the muffin dresses, the traditional schedule of boring speeches and some proselytizing minister and all the (frankly awful, in our opinion) white wedding trimmings that can make some occasions a yawnfest. So we opted to instead do it ourselves, by having our guests contribute a skill, an item or a service. The upside: everyone feels involved, and gets involved. The result: a fantastic day of colour, freinds and family and one horned, pearler kicking monstrosity of a party.

Did it all proceed smoothly? Did it ever. It was fanfuckingtastic. My bride looked like a billion dollars (hey, a mill ain't what it used to be), and my suit got me the most compliments I've ever had. Now I know what all the fuss is about a tailored suit. If anyone wants the number of my tailor, shout. I'll let the picture speak the thousand words. And if you'd like to see more, go hither:

trabicaselyle's Flickr Photostream


Come With Me To The Dancefloor

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik
Going down like a lead Zeppelin

News of a new Prodigy release always provokes a fresh outbreak of moonfaced anticipation from diehard fans of ‘Experience’ and ‘Music For The Jilted Generation’, who hold out for a return to the warped Korg synths and acid house stabs of those seminal albums. And, after the commercial success of ‘Fat Of The Land’ with its MTV-rotation-heavy hits ‘Breathe’ and ‘Firestarter’ and the overblown, critically panned disco punk extravagance of ‘Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned’, you could hardly blame them. After all, quo vadis Prodigy, after the brutal brilliance of ‘Voodoo People’ or the mindwarp of ‘Break And Enter’?

Well, perhaps Liam and his band of merry punksters will never scale those dizzying heights ever again, and god forbid that a review of the new material dare compare the almighty Prodge to any other electronic noisemakers, but ‘Invaders’ does evoke shades of Simian Mobile Disco, Digitalism and other electrofried nu-ravers of the last few years. Have they taken tips from the master of chronic electronic, or is the master now taking tips from the pupils? Who can say? That said, the best compliment that can be laid at Howlett’s studio door is that this latest output is unashamedly raving, nay, it’s fucking barking and en route to the vet for a tetanus shot, at some points. The razorsharp acid house stabs, hyper vocals and grimy treatment on ‘Take Me To The Hospital’ could easily have been an ‘Experience’ outtake, having gathered dust in the Dirtchamber all these years. The title track on ‘Invaders’ could equally have been a throwback from ‘Always Outgunned’. But ‘Warriors Dance’, with its wailing clarinet and vocal sample (from techno anthem "Take Me Away" by True Faith) is straight up rave circa 1991, and thank your lucky stars for that, considering the trend of so many new acts to wimp out as the good life edges them closer to white bread mediocrity. Caution: diversion ahead. Cases in point? The Killers, Kings Of Leon and Coldplay - a comparison based on the progressive softening of their output as opposed to comparison in genre. What was that? They're your favourite band? I've got news for you - they're crap now, and were better when they were unknown. But hang in there, sunshine: you're an individual. I promise. But I digress.

It’s true when they say you can’t go back, so perhaps all that nostalgia is so much of just that, nostalgia, and fans should just throw that ever-elusive strong pill back and shake some shin, because there isn’t – and never was – much more to the Prodigy than a damn fine excuse to dislocate a vertebra or two, and ‘Invaders’ serves up just such a dosage, for lovers of the shuddering climaxes, mindlessly repetitive samples and cone-shattering basslines. So, is this the ever-elusive and much-feted return to form? Does a fish piss in the sea?

This isn't any effete electro noodling, and there's no room for academic discussion on the finer nuances of the album, because this album doesn't have any airs or graces, and thank god for that, being as it is a breath of fresh air in the age of unashamed aural masturbation. These are beats, plain and simple, and about as subtle as a pick in the eye. Ending the album off, ‘Stand Up’ echoes ‘The Trick’, (the B-side to 1996's ‘Breathe’), in its mid-tempo big beat styling, with the addition of a big band brass section, and perhaps stands as an indicator of how age has brought maturity to the Prodigy sound without the apparently mandatory loss of edge so lamented in other musical performers. (Brandon, Caleb and Chris - are you listening? No? Drat. Foiled again.)

So, do you want hard as nails beats and obnoxious guitars with psycho lyrics that’ll scare everyone but the nuttiest gurner off the floor? Yes? Step right up for a serving of gratuitous Prodigy.

Unfortunately fans of the Kitchen's apparently illegal habit of posting shit-hot music will have to go elsewhere, as the assmonkey net nannies have sniffed us out.

Go torrent.

(this review originally published on Pythagoras-TV)



By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik

"Blogger has been notified, according to the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), that certain content in your blog infringes upon the copyrights of others."


Close Encounters Of The Wierd Kind

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik
OK, Chuck, just look into the camera. 'Yeah, I am.' Oh...

So there I was, minding my own business, in the smoking section at the Wimpy, that haven of sanity in an otherwise hectic Hypermarket By The Sea. It's a trade-off with my dearest wife; she does the shopping and, as I'm too busy eating grease and reading the Sunday papers, I can't distract her from the all-important administration of domestic supplies. Well, it wasn't a haven of sanity for long.
As the wife disappeared into the realm of frantic retail horror, a nutter sitting across from me suddenly perked up. No spring chicken, he must have been about 40. With lank, greasy hair and a crazy eye (which kinda reminded me of...oh, who was it again?), he spotted his victim, licked his lips in anticipation and shot out at me these perspicacious words:
'Always better with the sound off, eh?'
To which I whinnied quietly as I scanned the exits. I knew he meant the TV, but kept shtum. Didn't put him off, of course. He ordered another tea '...with six sugars, eh?' and rolled on regardless...
'Because I always find people talk more, you know?' (This, at volume. Heads are turning. Forks, halfway to their mark and laden with bacon, are hovering in midair.)
And then comes the deluge:
'You know, it's in Revelations, hey? You know Revelations - where it says that all of this is against the will of God. You know. Too many people in the world, man, I mean - you know there's 7.5 billion people, now, hey? Now if they all have one baby, that's 7.5 billion more. And then if they all have two babies? That's right! 15 billion people! Now where will we find the resources? ANOTHER PLANET! Revelations!'

And then, through a cloud of Marlboro and fright, my domestic goddess appeared, wreathed in the white light of salvation.

He was still muttering when we left him. Only now it was to his mother, who was asking if he wanted another tea...

Close one, that.


If I Don't Get Some Shelter I'm Gonna Fade Away

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik
No, Mr Sutcliffe, it wasn't us, but yes, we like it.

The wife and I went to see Pieter Dirk-Uys' 'Elections and Erections' at the Elizabeth Sneddon theatre last night, and what a great show it was. PDU had the audience in stitches, he had us wide-eyed and thoughful, he had us howling like banshees. Oh yes, he had us, alright, for the man is a consummate observer of South Africa's social and political foibles, and has a uncanny knack for shining a light on the sheer lunacy of so many things we usually just accept as 'normal'. The first half of the show he was in person, performing a variety of impressions sharing reflections on his career and personal life. The master of the elegant dismount and the eloquent delivery, he held every member of the audience in thrall. The second half of the show? Why, he was nowhere to be seen for the stage was filled by Her Excellency herself, Mrs Evita Bezuidenhout, straight outta Bapetikosweti. But what really grabbed the audience was the guest: none other than Dr Mike Sutcliffe.

Now, as a little background for visitors to the Voodoo Kitchen from elsewhere in the world where they may not have heard of Uncle Mike (hey, it's possible) - he is the City Manager for the Ethekwini Metro, within which the city of Durban is situated. A figure of some contention, Mr Sutcliffe has led some of the more unwelcome changes that have marked Durban's transition from the old days to the new, under an ANC-dominated city council. Among these changes has been the one that has grabbed the most headline space: that of changes to street names. I'm not going to get into it in depth here, as elsewhere on the net there's plenty to read if you're so inclined. Regardless, there was Mike the guest in his obligatory Madiba shirt (although it was a fairly toned-down black number this time). And there was Madame Evita raising some piquant questions, sometimes diplomatically, sometimes ruthlessly, but always to uproarious response. The issue that got the most uproar? Street name changes. This issue hasn't run its course yet, for, as Evita reminded Mike so succinctly, in a few short weeks South Africa goes to the polls in a general election. And if things turn out to the ANC's dislike (which is distinctly possible, considering the recent political seismic shifts in the beloved country), Mike and his comrades may be on the back foot. But after all the hue and cry and booing and howling and whatnot, the message of the show was simple: vote. Or else you have yourself to blame when things don't go your way, politically speaking.

As for the unauthorised street name change you see above, we at NONONO!!! know nothing. But we think it's damn cool.

Some remix and cover finery:


Look, Ma - No Singer!

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik
Pretoria's finest, rocking at (sweaty) sea level...
(Photo: Marcello Maffeis)

Having previously played Durban twice, to what could optimistically called sparse crowds due to a lack of exposure (which is odd, considering kidofdoom are shit-hot, as in ‘Jesus Christ, call the fuckin’ fire department, these dudes are flaming!’), it was encouraging to see a packed-out Willowvale Hotel play host at the band’s third Durban appearance. It seems that a support slot played by the perennially cheerful The Arrows, who move with a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed fanbase that would do any band proud, always ensures that any out of town act can expect to play to more than a handful of diehards, so a gold star to the organisers on that count. Top marks, too, for the great sound and light - always an encouraging sign that someone, somewhere, has got their head screwed on right in a city where lacklustre production levels have been known to sully otherwise competent performances. Added to this mix was the savvy Willowvale crowd, who, whether attending the I Heart Durban or NONONO!!! parties or independently-organised live gigs, always show strong support to gigs that offer a departure from the usual smorgasbord of cheese that can make up a considerable portion of the standard Durban musical menu. But enough with the hors d’ouvres, let’s get to the main course.

kidofdoom, as you would know unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last three years, are a four-piece act outta Pretoria. Young, gifted and white, they play indie rock…with no lyrics. And while this may strike some as odd (the sarky bulldyke in a homburg on her minder’s shoulders who screamed ‘Get a fuckin’ singer!’ included. To which it must be replied ‘Get a fuckin’ clue.’), it’s safe to say that the flailing crowd surfers in the heaving moshpit and the revved-up punters waving their hands in the air couldn’t give a shit – these dudes rocked out from start to finish with an infectious vigour that’d get a septuagenarian in ICU bouncing like a tot in the throes of a sugar rush. From power chords and rising crescendos punched home by the hyperactive and consummately enthusiastic keyboardist (who doubles as guitar #2) and matched by possessed and razor-sharp drumming, a kidofdoom show rocks the socks off any comers. Industrial-strength slabs of sound barrel on down a sonic highway which at times evoked the sounds of Polyphonic Spree, Kings of Leon and Mogwai. If you think those comparisons are lathering it on a bit thick, you’re either tone deaf or haven’t seen this band. Delivering a blistering set of their best-known tunes with hardly a moment’s rest (apart from asking the entirely reasonable question ‘Who do I have to fuck to get a cold beer round here?’), there’s no doubt the band were happy with the result. Trying their sweaty best to exit the stage after their second encore, the baying of the crowd brought them back for their final tune: the ‘Mario Bros’ theme, fricasseed a la kidofdoom. Tasty? Mmmmm.


From The Sublime To The Ridiculous

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik
JZ in the spotlight, as usual...

'A president on trial would embarrass SA' - Mail & Guardian 04/02/09 headline paraphrasing Julius Malema, ANC Youth League President.

When all the kak was flying towards the fan, before JZ was president of that almighty untouchable vestibule of all that was once good and worth dying for, the Holy Almighty Once-Was-A-Broad-But-Now-Its-A-Bit-Of-Tight-Squeeze-Church, the ANC, and when he was unceremoniously shunted off his perch as Deputy President of the aforementioned selfsame gang, did the ANC not think at all about the embarrassment factor?

After all, they've known for years that the inevitable shit/fan explosion was imminent. All the signs were there: the Schaik debacle, the Infamous Kanga Shower Episode and of course, those looming Four Horseman of the Armpocalypse thundering on down the Legal High Road must also have given pause for thought. No?

Or did they think that a president under fire from so many directions was omnipotent and would simply give a waggle of his goggle-eyed and bespectacled bonce, let rip another tone deaf rendition of uMshiniwam' and - shazam - it would all be alright? Perhaps they have indeed swallowed the intoxicating brew of conspiracy and believe it's all that bad, bad man Thabo's doing - after all, it's always the quiet ones, eh?

Sweet baby Jesus laying in the manger with the three wise geezers gathered around, are these people entirely out of touch with reality? Are they aware of how the rest of the world views us a nation for even CONSIDERING the election of a man so utterly besmirched by his own making? Or that sycophants with no more in their mouths or minds than appallingly-rephrased and defunct Marxist rhetoric and a wardrobe full of Armani suits respectively are inciting active resistance to the fundaments of our Constitution?

Are the card-carrying comrades that make up the ANC entirely ignorant of the damage its insistence on electing Jacob Zuma is doing to not only the country, but indeed to its own organisation? No wonder COPE is making such inroads, when the good ship HMS Sisulu Luthuli Mandela is leaking like a goddamned sieve and all able seamen have either jumped overboard or are eyeing the lifejackets as the ship coasts, rudderless, towards certain shipwreck.

I heard a good one the other day:

If the ANC can't. Cope.

Hey, when the outlook is bleak, have a laugh. Everyone else is.


Evidently Chickentown

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik
the fucking pubs are fucking dull
the fucking clubs are fucking full

A bit slow off the mark here, it's true, but then it's a busy life, between the hangovers and the periods of abstinence. And then of course there's the manifold preparations for the ever-looming Love Declaration Celebration, which is no longer far off, and all the other little things that pile up. I mean, who the fuck has time to watch movies these days? In any case, made some time last weekend to at last watch Anton Corbijn's Control, the biopic on Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis. And damn fine it was too, and of course it's resulted in a personal commitment to listen to more Joy Division. One of the highlights of the flick (for me, at least) was John Cooper Clark's rendition of Evidently Chickentown, a spoken word piece for which he is arguably best known. Along with the immortal words, I give you the radio-friendly version of the poem (which is a shame, because no word in the English language is quite as versatile as 'fuck') and Joy Division's Transmission, as sung by the cast of Control.

Evidently Chickentown

the fucking cops are fucking keen
to fucking keep it fucking clean
the fucking chief's a fucking swine
who fucking draws a fucking line
at fucking fun and fucking games
the fucking kids he fucking blames
are nowhere to be fucking found
anywhere in chicken town

the fucking scene is fucking sad
the fucking news is fucking bad
the fucking weed is fucking turf
the fucking speed is fucking surf
the fucking folks are fucking daft
don't make me fucking laugh
it fucking hurts to look around
everywhere in chicken town

the fucking train is fucking late
you fucking wait you fucking wait
you're fucking lost and fucking found
stuck in fucking chicken town

the fucking view is fucking vile
for fucking miles and fucking miles
the fucking babies fucking cry
the fucking flowers fucking die
the fucking food is fucking muck
the fucking drains are fucking fucked
the colour scheme is fucking brown
everywhere in chicken town

the fucking pubs are fucking dull
the fucking clubs are fucking full
of fucking girls and fucking guys
with fucking murder in their eyes
a fucking bloke is fucking stabbed
waiting for a fucking cab
you fucking stay at fucking home
the fucking neighbours fucking moan
keep the fucking racket down
this is fucking chicken town
the fucking train is fucking late
you fucking wait you fucking wait
you're fucking lost and fucking found
stuck in fucking chicken town
the fucking pies are fucking old
the fucking chips are fucking cold
the fucking beer is fucking flat
the fucking flats have fucking rats
the fucking clocks are fucking wrong
the fucking days are fucking long
it fucking gets you fucking down
evidently chicken town


Goodbye, George. You Fuckwit.

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik

And so it was that the almighty tosswad was shown the door, and crept back to Texas with his mangy tail tucked between his well-paddled Republican ass. And there was a great hallelujah across the face of the blue planet, and somewhere up on high, the angels toasted their good fortune by drinking a dram of holy water.

And to add some soul to an inauguration that has undoubtedly, for the preceding 43 occasions, been rather stilted and waspish, the legendary Reverend Joseph E. Lowery dropped a slice of street poetry straight outta the ghetto:

"In the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day
When black will not be asked to get back,
When brown can stick around ...
When yeller will be meller ...
When the red man can get ahead, man;
And when white will embrace what is right.
That all those who do justice and love mercy, say Amen."


Take a listen to the man:

Reverend Joseph E. Lowery - Inauguration Rap.mp3

We Few Aging Disgracefully

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik

Once, not long ago, the process of my day would sound something like this: wake up, smoke a bong, have a shag, go for a swim, have a bite to eat, have a drink, shake a leg, talk shit for a while and then have a kip. No longer. Now, something as innocent (!) as Christmas turns into a traumatic overload of too much food, too much booze, an inevitable and hazardous exchange with remotely-related racist bigots and of course the crowning glory: expensive crackers with cheap Chinese trinkets in them, which of course nobody wants and as a result are left in a forlorn pile after all the shouting is done. The rest of the year is much the same: weeks are no longer a matter of marking time to wait it out for the weekend, they're an endless roundabout of packing as much to'ing and fro'ing into the days as is possible, and the weekend mostly seems a respite from the demanding schedule, although often it's as busy as the days that precede it.

In keeping with this, the present all-grown-up-and-got-a-real-job complicated life comes with all the changes that must ultimately follow as time has its way. To use a fresh example: the traditional New Years' knees-up seems to have become too much to face for some of the extended network of friends. And - even though they've no kids, which at least is an honest to goodness legitimate excuse for avoiding the hue and cry of a boisterous tub-thumping balls to the wall two-day party - despite the furrowed brows and declarations of undying commitment to attend your party, they weasel off to sit around expensive bars or someone's lounge and get thoroughly, totally and inevitably pissed. This, on the grounds that a dance music event a short drive away would end up being 'dangerous' or 'too much'. This reasoning of course ignores the glaringly obvious negatives of driving under the influence and doing nothing essentially different for a New Years party than is done any weekend during the rest of the year, ie: sitting around getting rat-arsed and emphatically discussing much the same dog-eared subjects as have held their interest all year.

Did they get old before their time, or are we few simply aging disgracefully? Personally I'm quite willing to go with the latter option as I've yet to get any grey hairs and am not ready to reserve that nice plot at the top of the hill and put a deposit down on an oak veneer casket quite yet, thank you very much.

Happy New Year.