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).

25 October 2014

Johnny Clegg - Best, Live & Unplugged

Johnny Clegg's current tour is more than just a musical performance of his best hits, arranged acoustically. Yes - all the big hits are there, including performances with Sipho Mchunu - but there are also a few obscure pieces. But more than the music - it is a discourse on South African culture.

In between the songs, Johnny Clegg discussed difference in instrumentation, the impact of migration on the change of culture and its eventual impact on new styles of song and dance. It was not just a speech, but as he put it a "show and tell". Off course, this is all wrapped up within the wider context of South Africa's history - not only apartheid, but going further back to colonial times such as the Battle of Isandlwana and its inspiration for Impi.

20 years into South Africa's rainbow nation - the discourse in cultural roots, transformation and amalgamation is still missing. While this is a very personal discourse from Johnny Clegg, it provides a glimpse into how various traditions of culture and music have influenced South African music.

22 October 2014

Movie: Dracula Untold

There have been a few "origins" movies in the past few years - movies to explain the origins of a famous character (or in the case of Planet of the Apes, an entire species). And in most of these, a feature has been to humanise the characters even more. 

In this regard, Dracula Untold, boldly ventures forth into turning one of the major villains in modern English literature to, not only a hero, but one that should be applauded and revered. The movie does manage to expand the powers of Dracula, and how he comes to actually save Europe from being taken over by the evil Ottoman empire (where the emperor seems to have an army similar to Game of Thrones' Unsullied); and eventually becomes a vampire in order to defeat this army and save "his people".

Plot holes aside, there are two impressive acting performances by Luke Evans (in the title role) and Charles Dance (as Dracula's sire) and great visual effects. It is a fun action movie - but ultimately, it is different to the original concept of Dracula - and thus ends up making a new anti-hero, as opposed to rehabilitating a villain.

19 October 2014

Movie: Gone Girl

M has been raving about the works of the author Gillian Flynn since the beginning of the year. Based on Gone Girl - I can see why. The plot is superbly paced, with some great twists - and enough ambiguity in its ending, to cater for multiple versions of "why". The acting is superb, and this is an excellent twist on the "whodunit" genre. Perhaps, I should read the books ...