This next piece of writing is something I wrote after my first Oppikoppi.I am posting it here because this is the piece of prose that I performed at The Overstay in Bangkok in front of an audience and it was one of the most amazing moments of my life.
And as we grow older we are supposed to understand why some things are happening to us and how we can change it, fix it; make it better. Is it normal to feel so overwhelmed that the only way to cope is to throw yourself down on the ground and whine like a five year old, or to sit in the corner in the fetal position rocking back and forth pulling a blanket over your head, or turning your car into a quiet street just so that you can scream and beat at the windows like a toxic gas victim, or to simply just lay on your stomach staring at the wall an inch from your face and seriously contemplating to find a way to be part of that wall instead of a human.
When it becomes so bad that no form of narcotics, either legal or illegal can pull you out of that proverbial bell jar where you find yourself in. No matter how many times you attempt to lessen the stress. This may sound far-fetched but in the last five days I have seen all these things happening to people around me. And this led me to ask the dreaded question that is on everyone’s tongues. Is it worth it? Is this how it will be for the rest of our lives? Are we doomed to extract every ounce of humanity from ourselves just to have it all thrown back into our faces? Somehow a nine- to -five job sounds more and more appealing with every passing day. Why fight the system of consumerism and sheep like crowds following the massive corporations blindly? Why fight the idea of growing up, get a job, get married, have kids, suffer from depression, divorce, do it all over again and die? It is all planned out already which makes the tougher times easier because you know what will happen next.
Is the unknown scary or exhilarating? I suppose it’s both, depending on who you are and what you want from life. It takes a certain amount of balls and stupidity to study something that won’t guarantee you a stable job in the future. And I suppose that is one of the reasons that a lot of people are freaking out. What happens after this last battle? What happens once you have that degree in your grimy little paw? What happens when the institution you got your degree from sucked you so dry that your creative dreams and thoughts are rapidly becoming a wasteland where only office jobs can fit comfortably?
I think personally; the reason I’m finding myself in this uninspired, lethargic hole is because I realized that creative generations before us had something to fight for. Some fascist, idiotic policy that pissed everyone off; except of course the oblivious individuals that truly believed it. What do we have to fight for? Is there a bohemian revolution waiting for us somewhere in the shadows? This country never had that, when Europe started realizing that creative’s ruled the underworld with Absinth, Opium and Poetry it was too late to stop the revolution that was already in progress, same goes for England in the 60’s when the Beatles became parallel with the words, “make love not war.” And in America; San Francisco became the hub of everything that was anti war, fuelled by weed, open moral codes and music, it became one of the most memorable and biggest peaceful revolutions in history. Granted, things did get messy toward the end when the American government realized that they were losing the upper hand.
But my point is; every country had an epic moment when creative people changed the course of history. Is this still waiting to happen here, or is this country so divided that we can have no voice because our little cliques are too proud to merge together? I suppose you can say that the voelvry movement that Koos Kombuis, Johannes Kerkorrel and kie started was a mini revolution but they stayed mostly underground because of their tiny numbers. And then who can forget the emergence of fokofpolisiekar who brought with them the rebellion against every Afrikaans tradition that ever existed, questioning not only themselves but every piece of our heritage trying to find a place to fit, in a culture that didn’t allow anyone to be too different. Off course the church made a back flip along with those who still inhaled the bull shit of Afrikaans people being quiet and in your place, bitching and moaning only in the dark behind closed doors. Which in return made the younger generations sit up and realize; that the shit their parents told them about children being seen and not heard was completely retarded. Why should the future generation shut the fuck up?
Along with this realization came hundreds of Afrikaans rock bands, skinny jeans, music festivals and Black Label. I suppose the choice of Black Label as the chosen beverage came in direct contrast to the beer that the older generation loved which was Castle. Let’s call it a subconscious flip off to the man if you will.
And pretty soon festivals which was notoriously only for pot heads and strange new age vibe people experienced an influx of people from all over the spectrum who believed that there was more to life than just obeying some set out rule that was placed in their heads since birth.
Whilst sitting at OppiKoppi this year chilling next to the stage with a drink in my hand I watched the scores of people who walked past me. And I realized that in a crowd of 18 000 people there was not one person there who have ever experienced war, or the threat of war, there were no trained soldiers waiting to be shipped out amongst any of them. This thought made me sit up and look at the passing crowd, but this time I looked past their indie clothes and hairstyles, I looked into their eyes and what I saw their chilled me to the bone. All of them had that vacant, murky expression in their eyes that is predominant in the eyes of soldiers when they return from battle. And this was not because of the booze that I or any of them have consumed. And that is when it hit me, we are in this revolution at this moment! It snuck up on us so quietly that not even the people involved in it have realized that it’s happening.
And if there are 18 000 people who is willing to brave the heat of the day and the chill of the night in tents without running water, electricity or proper ablutions only living on cheap liquor, questionable food, inhibited moral codes and music. Then there has to be another 18 000 and another 18 000. When there is no other reason for being there than to experience how live can be when one is surrounded by likeminded people who believe in the same things that you do, cry about the same things that you do and want the same things that you want. When art just happens, words become poetry and music fuels thousands into frenzy hour after hour. Then my friends: that is what one would call a bohemian revolution.
It’s happening right now! Are you a part of it?