Find us on Google+ my wits' ~ licentia vatum: November 2010

Tuesday, 30 November 2010


Cloud drapes the garden -- fall out with the sky.


Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Fools Crow

Those who are healed do not talk about it among themselves and spread the news. That is not the Sioux way. If a thing is holy and sacred, if it is a miracle, it is not talked about. It is too special for that. Visions we receive are in the same category. They are something personal betweenWakan Tanka (the Great Spirit) and the seeker that affects the whole of his life. Even the person’s family will not discuss it or tell their friends.

- Fools Crow

Monday, 22 November 2010

birds of fire

with an infinite and unyielding proclivity to music, by dint of birth offered (to) a fait/h whose architects lay a curse on it

my wings music, Islam my sun, my fate mundanely less that of Icarus

 #riteofpassage  #trialbyfire

Sunday, 14 November 2010

rocking the Jalsah

Tameez offered his first formal guitar recital and vocal performance yesterday, at his madresa's annual jalsah: not the easiest date to countenance, given that its thrust is to highlight, in a concert programme,  the Religious Instruction milestones learners have achieved for the year

Music --  instrumental secular music -- is definitely not on the Islamic R.I. curriculum, which is generally hostile to music making.

The lyric, courtesy of good friend and musician Gino, in the form of a protest song, Tameez made his; along with the melody and chordal progression, demonstrating composure in the face of  huge performance anxiety compounded by a potentially hostile audience, who were at the very least ambivalent and confused about a musical item of this nature, usually and glibly dismissed as haraam (just about as taboo and kosher as alcohol and pork)

With beautiful irony, his prelude, at the insistence of his teacher apa Farieda, to the eventually sensitively performed piece was, guitar in hand, the Islamic prayer which accompanies the beginning of any endeavor in the Muslim cosmos: a-u-zuh-bil-lahi-minas-shaytani-regime, bismillahi-r-rahmani-r-rahim(I seek refuge from [the] accursed satan, in the name of god)


And could be my twelve year old's calling card...

PS Then got bitten by a bolshy dog which ambushed me whilst walking back home. Divine retribution. Sins of the father kinda thing?

Saturday, 13 November 2010

music, profane and sacred

If you're listening to the latest Lady X offering, droning and dripping pre-adolescent yearning, I would say what's buzzing your attention is not music, but a form of cheap entertainment with a mass marketing machine behind it.

Which in itself, per se, is not necessarily a bad thing - to each his own.

The problem crystallizes when the discussion is forced to defining something akin to the aesthetics of bubble-gum music

Lady X type caterwauling  is categorized as music only because it is sung (apparently) and accompanied by a rhythmic beat (jingoistically tribal, but that's another argument, another time)

Simply, as a category of music, and from an aesthetic perspective, I would register Lady X's latest soft-porn offering as rubbish, on a continuum ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime.

It would fail a test measuring it as decent soft-porn, mainly due to its suffering an identity crisis. How might a marketing boffin put it? Its core consumption ambition is lost, or something like that (I'm not a marketer as is probably obvious)

For a more specific application of the criteria of music quality from an Islamic point of view (being both a musician and muslim, albeit on both scores perhaps rather nominally) , the range might be from ha'raam, to mak'rooh to sahi ( forbidden, doubtful or permissible )

JS Bach, whose music you may not get -- after all, anything worthwhile requires some effort and work -- was a devout and god-fearing man. His genius, and works, were propelled by his spiritual ardour.

His works are good, and sahi I would suggest, regardless of your religious --  or any other for that matter -- persuasion

Point is, if you're muslim and have allowed yourself to be engulfed by a flood of bad music, and couldn't be bothered to discern, and have readily therefore embraced the notion that all music is haram, then you deserve the punitive denial that involves.

Just spare the rest of us the withered and uneducated opinion which commonly accompanies such self-inflicted ignorance

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

25 or 6 to 4, the Son of Sam

First time I heard this piece, circa 1971, was courtesy of an older, large and very menacing fellow who answered to Sam, laying flat on his back in the local record-store, The Platter Bar, cnr Becker/Commissioner St. in the JHB CBD where I grew up.

In grand repose, with head planted firmly between two speakers, he shouted menacingly at me, "THIS ---  is music boy! "

That beautiful, first impression of this large, menacing song has never been entirely exorcised

Grandma's hands

I was devastated when I lost my maternal granny in '77.

My thoughts with Gino's family, his wife Fatima, whose mother passed away this evening.

Time to ponder and reflect. This one's for the kids


A simpler time, I'd heard this piece many times as a child on the radio.

In '73, Gordon brought the record home, which was then a student share in Lewisham, London.

Gordon, a human sciences student and guitar player at the time, and au fait with musicians and other bohemian types native to the mother colonial land, impacted seriously on my 16 year old will to music.

Through his influence, the records he was listening to (John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, early Fleetwood Mac, John Maclaughlin et al), I developed a deep and vital appreciation for the blues amongst other forms. And uncle Sigmund's psycho-dynamic theory

I worked out the chord progression, and other bits 'n pieces of Albatross accidentally, much like everything else, through excess doodling. In the background lay Anna Freud's The Ego and the mechanisms of Defense. Excellent pastimes really

This is a beautiful and serene work of audio art, its mystique no less for the legend of its composer, Peter Green.

For me, the music speaks, as I hope it will for you, to stillness and solitude, and things resonant

dancing gnome

MetroGnome™, for the time you're short . 

Garden variety and Custom built models available. 

Green-friendly relief for the rhythmically-challenged, and for plain old tiredly-tapping-in-time toes. 

morning has broken

I was a choir boy, in another life, and  made to sing, among other hymns(!?), 'Onward Christian Soldiers'.

While I was fasting for ramadaan too


Education, and in my case The Best of British, was put above all else by my folks. They were well-meaning and quaint. Destructive, but cool

Morning has broken.

Has it?


Used to be a Trogg. Now, I'm a Mellotron™. It's easy; actually, a piece of cake -- mean tape. 

Wild make my heart sing


"...Zulu humour is grounded in the notion that the world has nothing to offer you - you must go out and tell your own story, but you must say voetsek (go away) to that doubt, that nothingness, that lurks behind and threatens to drag you down..." - Johnny Clegg (Juluka, Suvuka), Saturday Star interview


servant girl, servant to the gods
scrubber, white on the floor
to hand, and on knee
inverted colonialism
master: there, be slave
in all manner, servitude
to the Serpent
and his hand-maid

letter to the Weekly Mail

Honorary members of the white Left assembled, along with a couple of black consciousness typesfriends of my brothers', in a circle, cross-legged on the floor of my faded lounge.

Veritably left wing StratCom, as it were, circa '82

The very white and very shirtless fellow with the rippling torso, and air of Zen mastery over all in his purview grabs my reddened eye, landing in it like an errant, shedded lash

I say to my bru, and The Eye Lash With Biceps, eye-contacting both and the other neophytes with my stoned, sweeping and panoramic vision: "who's the macho feminine guy with penis-envy? "

His acolytes cackle, willfully negligent in their showy schadenfreude, Lord-of-the-Flies conspiratorially at their repressed-for-the-sake-of-politically-correct-leadership comrade.

Comrade flexes his rippling torso, twitching quietly, sensing my chemically toxic death instinct, and dons his shirt grudgingly. Sop to the native, that sort of thing(or thong, depending on your bent)

Bru says to me later, Rippling Torso is one of the directors of the newly founded, with-it and progressive tabloid, the Weekly Mail newspaper. I'm impressed and aggrieved all at once at the boldness of Whiteness

Years later, struggling to find employment  -- my friend Ridwan, Graphics Designer and Layout guy extraordinaire, working at the Weekly Mail, trying to help me out-- I find myself in an interview ( sober-and clean, trying to do Remorse ) at the now established and venerable Weekly Mail.

Rippling Torso, grown in stature and newly wrapped in Grey Suit, is part of  the interview panel ... Nay, he is the interview, and looms as much in my vista

I get my comeuppance finally, by the Zen master himself.

Never got a chance as a sub-editor, or anything else, at the Mail, or anywhere else that fell in the sweep of his panoramic purview.

Ever !

silicone chip inside my head

Brand your self.

As with a cattle-brand, sizzling hot.

Fascist chic, gas-chamber marketing, bar-code existence. Make your SKU count

Survival of the brandest. Survival of the grandest.

No flies on this ego, no fudging of my Id -- IT -- and its odd, cold, glinting number

bury my heart

smoke'd tobacco
the devil's leaf
smoke'd me

burnt offerings

smoke'd agarbati, tea-leaves
dessicated banana skin
need the prayer

ate mandrax
Mandrake, the Magician

faizel the Quaalude

chalky pills
demand, induce

dull hunger
quell Id
quell the curse of the nafs
cause death

jihad complete

desperation sought,
desperation ate
better to resemble the pearl
portent incarnate

birth'd control 

always ate pills
swallow swops
poison, liquid too
liquid gold and green

to slumber
for get, to dream

to die a mortal death
to free a soul
tattered, tired
tainted and liar'd

chemical straits
jacket or
for a prosthetic age

my heart
wrestled back
from the brink

Valium, Nembutal, Mogadon
yellow jacket for a red devil

to seizures
lesions on my'nd
convulsed spirit

Vesparax, junior twin Serapax
vespers pax faizel

Durban poison
majat, junk food hallucination

black lebanese
lebanese green
opium for dreams
thai sticks

then again Dalmadorm
Rohypnol and Stelazine
Stella got her groove back
i could never

Thorazine and Largactil
tricyclic anti depressant
anti matter
anti apartheid

the primal scream

frontal lobotomy
would'a made the headache worse

Ritalin better
always better
with coke

defective detective
self made apothecaryincorrect bar code

SKU don't exist

bury my heart at wounded knee
pulsating stii
grave robbers taken all

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

gray morning

solitude and distillation
coffee percolating
cigarette burning

Monday, 8 November 2010

dissolute moon

dissolute moon

wanton glare, night long

(the) burn, of the Interrogator's lamp

graceless night

inverted bowl, leaking, speckled and cloud

a nigh a late: dangled promise, never met

liquid manners, who we were, to them, the hordes

the chosen, bold:  we serve; mud people, we stare

the glare o' the moon, the night, the gloom

a child owns its father's self disgust

death of the night watch

The oysa; six bullets, buy Reckoning. By myth, buy legend, by Macduff -- book-keeping, by-line, by day buy-time, Avenging Angel bye knight, Whisk Qui  for wings, bide-time.

The End.

Both. One dead, the other, Fallen -- wheels scream off, skid' row: the venerable Leeson Motors

Filling-station, par axe-see-lance; the well-shod in Wheels, hot-rods and hot-wire, the less-shod hot-foot to score: princely sum of five Rand, vintage '73 for,  foot-long roll of twenty pencils.

Vintage '73 Durban Poison, majaat for the unwary

Murdered, Zulu sentinel, perforce warrior ancient, unruffled by the mute understanding, indifferent beyond will to indulge the caprice, immune so imperious, to the book-keeping foreman's claim , swelled to rage, in authority uncomprehended, authority by fate, by dint of race, language, creed and skill;  urban Brahmin.

Urban Untouchable with Knob-Keirrie, Magnificent Savage.

Menacing now, restoration was in order.

Bookkeeper cum foreman Farook, his own father a muslim-elder, playing out tragedy, signifier incongruously Macbethean, Macduff  attached so far back, Farook no longer existed

Colonial culture, subvert, school-children subvert, Shakespeare theirs: Hauw now brown cow?!'

Where the bowla once leapt, the night to warm, crackling stars to flame, the ma'p'oysa kept, warm...

...franchise Nescafé brands, X the s'pot.

Vigil , drenched finely, in blood...De'caf...

...D'urban Poison, ersatz -- majaat -- k'now

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

to a friend, on the anniversary of his sobriety

E. l'even y'ears tomorrow.

Hu would've thought?

Damn min'or miracles daily, and we thought they didn't exist. 

In the end, it's(still) Blind Faith, and Blood, Sweat and Tears. 

Black Sabbath, and  Faizel and The Five Pencils...

Now, The Maver!x ( kinda new agey, ethnic, early retirement home for rockers that survived? Most apt)

Shot (bed pun intended bedly) to you, bru, and wan for the dead, and the dead we knew. And in the immortal words of that man in  Casablanca (k'not the road-house in Hillbrow that serviced our nightly postmortems), '
here's looking at you kid!'

Now, for that infernally lost ScrewDriver. Oh, and two rakaat nafeel plus -- more libations.

Aluta Continua (to all thing re'membered -- your band; the concept too... the struggle so?). 

All Jihad, Awl S'ain'ts now?

eye on the prize

he got the team...

...i got the girl

Monday, 1 November 2010

tired smile

an incubator
of words once;
stifled cry all's
left,  muffled;
in a hollow
-a yawn'in cavity.

mr Ismail, capt' ain barnacles

Never mind Mandela's inauguration nodded to by that garish flyover of tame kragdagtigheid courtesy of the military Combine...

...the first time I had the right to vote. the choice for which I had fought and sacrificed along with so many others.

And which right earned I could freely squander on the Soccer and Kiss parties respectively.

My belligerence, its minder nihilism, tacitly qualified solidarity with the ANC perforce underground, legit now, no longer trusted. 

Never mind all that ground-breaking stuff and history being made.

It was only when I saw Fowly, driving -- driving a f***ing car! -- after having trampled JHB under foot for 45 odd years, fanning out from the splendid ivory towers where he had taught by the effervescent moon-light of his conscience.

Now, he had wheels! -- car finance, in hock to the Bank... the industrial Combine.

....that's when I knew, a new epoch had arrived.

[and Kubler-Ross, Five Stages of Grief, properly adorned]