About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

03 May 2014

Movie: Philomena

Based on a true story, Philomena charts the story of an old woman trying to find her son - who was "adopted" against her wishes about 50 years back, together with the help of a journalist/ex-spin doctor - who initially has no interest in "human interest" stories. 

The adoption of Anthony is itself a story of effectively human trafficking. Philomena, a poor and unsophisticated Irish girl falls pregnant, and the catholic nuns effectively force her to do uncompensated hard labour for "taking care" of her and her son; who is then effectively sold to an American couple for adoption. 

Philomena's search has a bitter sweet ending; but beyond the ethical questions regarding adoption; Judy Dench's amazing portrayal of Philomena also challenges some very fundamental stereotypes of "simple folk" - that they were fooled into doing things; or that they are anti-gay etc. It is a profound story that features excellent acting, and a very sad story on the dark side of adoption.

28 April 2014

27 April 2014

Anthems of Democracy

One of my first memories of TV, is Gcina Mhlope reading children's stories, with some drawings. The stories were quite simple, but it was her storytelling that made it memorable. With Anthems of Democracy, her storytelling prowess was back in full force, melding together numerous languages in a flawless, enthusiastic performance that strung the disparate musical performances together.

In one of the introductions, Mhlope talked about the "blanket of song" that helped the nurture, grieve and celebrate the achievements and setbacks of the anti-apartheid movement. It was a disparate set of performers, who managed to blend in a strange mix of songs that were obviously about the apartheid struggle and others that were more personal, or more celebratory. 

For me, the highlight was Yvonne Chaka Chaka - her command of the stage, and her voice was simply amazing. But there were many more - Bright Blue's rendition of Weeping with the Soweto Gospel Choir was amazing; Sipho Hotstix Mabuse's energetic performance rolled back his years; and Joan Armatrading's soulful voice got everyone dancing in the aisles. 

It was a great evening - and although many more performers could have been added to the bill (Hugh Masekela and Johnny Clegg come to mind); it was a great show. And it was an appropriate celebration of 20 years of democracy in South Africa.