Written by Robert Clunie
I’m probably doing my own work here not all too many favours with what I’m about to utter. After all, the point here is to get you to leave the house come Friday. I do, however, feel that we as people exercise a glaring oversight more than we’d like to admit. We need more ‘nothing’. The irony in the quip is that, in this case, at least, said nothing is indeed something because it is a thing we ought to pursue more often, actively. We are too preoccupied, me thinks, and we need to shift our focus every so often.
Yes, a little getaway may do the soul some wonders, but I think induced boredom can be just as valuable. There is no better way to rejuvenate a tired mind. There are tonnes of guides, gear specifically to those who dwell in the cities, a bit of mantra chanting here and a gulp of blended slush there are key to have you remain in tip-top shape. These systems might work, but I think they are so designed to have you engine through it all instead of pushing that all-important reset button – wherever that blasted thing might be.
Joey Ramone, bless the man’s soul, lived a hard, fast life, but he blessed us with a string of words we ought to heed. Mind you, we he penned them, he lamented the amount of ‘nothing’ he and his band mates had to endure whilst on tour to the UK in the late 70s. But, like we do with the wisdom of others, we can warp the line “nothing to do, nowhere to go” to our own benefit. All of us should strive to eliminate as much external stimuli now and again. A short stay in a small town where all activity is concentrated around a single road is the ideal place to unwind.
With all that in mind, give me this opportunity to hurriedly hound you about the country over the next couple of days.
- Clearwater Mall Gaming Expo, Ends 8 September
Cost: Visit clearwatermall.co.za for details
There might not have been all that much time during the week to sneak a peek, but the expo luckily runs throughout the weekend. The stigma of gaming has long gone and with the accessibility and proliferation of consoles, people from all walks of life now partake in this cultural phenomenon – some more than others, though. Nerd culture enthusiasts, gamers, cosplayers and our regular members of the public are all welcome to the West Rand’s premier showcase celebrating all things binary. Typical of this type of event, you’ll be able to get your hand on all sorts of hardware, software and merchandise – some even at reduced prices. Various competitions and tournament will be held to see who reigns supreme in a game of FIFA or in a round of FPS that will not only include a handsome prize, but some bragging rights, too. Various experts will also be on hand to assist you with any tech questions and they’ll be more than willing to help you to achieve optimal performance on various platforms.
- South African Book Fair 2019, 6-8 September
Cost: R40-R150, available through webtickets.co.za
Here we wander off to something a little more traditional, a little more old school, if you will, and far more analogous if you take the previous entry into consideration. This one is for the bibliophiles and there is plenty to look forward to. The Women’s Jail at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, interestingly, will host this year’s event. This is a bit of a double whammy – you can stock up on some reading material and you’ll be able to take in a bit of history. As with many book fairs, you’ll not only be able to peruse through and purchase a tome or two that tickles your fancy, but you can also be part of active debates and talks from established and respected writers on the topics of current affairs, politics, philosophy, history and general literature. Workshops should also aid a budding writer to improve his or her craft tenfold and perhaps form part of that very same panel in the years to come. Over a hundred acclaimed writers, poets and illustrators will make their presence felt at this family friendly affair.
- Elvis Blue @ Theatre In The Park, 6 September
Cost: R170, available through quicket.co.za
Outdoor venues are great! Why? Well, in this case, there are two significant reasons. One, warmer weather is upon us so it’ll make for a nice evening out and, two, it usually means that seating is plentiful – which it is in this case because Delta Park is rather large. Here Theatre in the Park brings you the inimitable Elvis Blue, a more than adept singer that so cruelly lost out at a local singing competition. Then again, you might say that he is better off without the title because I can’t actually remember who had been crowned champion that year. The platinum selling artist has a bit of a trick up his sleeve that not many singers can boast in that he is equally comfortable to sing in both English and Afrikaans. This just makes it so much easier to resonate with wider audiences while affording him the opportunity to expertly express himself in more ways than one. This, I reckon, should be the perfect night out for couples who aren’t all that mad about one certain street in Melville that tends to end in a quiet Uber ride home. So, pack a blanket if need be, a camping chair or three and enjoy the work of one of the country’s premier acts.
- Pirate Fest 2019, 7 September
Cost: R195-R565, available through howler.co.za
I had a near-irrepressible urge to pen this entire entry in pirate-speak, but I figured I’d blush at my own work. We don’t want that now, do we? I’ll use one sailing aphorism though and declare that the musical line-up for this particular will indeed shiver your timbers. Apart from all the fun that goes hand-in-hand with such a lovely, ludicrously themed event, those who will appear on stage will indeed have you yapping about it for some time to come. International bands in Alestorm and the venerable Atreyu will headline a show that will feature local behemoths FUZIGISH (still going, can you believe it, the Hell Cats and, rather pleasingly, everybody’s favourite local pop-punk band from the early 2000s, Tweak. Since it is pirate-themed, there will be plenty of drink options to choose from and the food will be gratuitously plentiful.
- Fokofpolisiekar @ Mercury, 6 September
Cost: R120, available through quicket.co.za
The gods of South African rock are back with another show. Yes, they’ve played every town in this country a thousand times over, but they are responsible for a great shift in the musical (Afrikaans in particular) direction many artists since their formation pursued. Also, I’d never hesitate to include them in this here list because the old gang are ageing, too. Some even have families now and one can’t be sure when they’ll call time on an illustrious time together as a band. This weekend they’ll play at Cape Town’s premier rock and metal venue in Mercury Live. My experiences there have been nothing but pleasant after I’ve finally found myself a decent parking spot; an Uber might be a good idea because, you know, they have a bar that is rather liberal with its drink specials. So make a night of it – have an early dinner at one of the Mother City’s quality restaurants before you embark on a quest to drench yourself in sweat and some tears come 19h00 that evening.