A few years ago (back in the distant past of 2009) I was dating a douche-nozzle whose dingleberries would go on to feature as the bullseye on many a dartboard. A few decent things came out of Maartingate though- I had my eyes checked and realised I needed glasses, and um, I... there was that one... well either way, I have the ever-lasting proof that there was at least ONE reason to have been legitimately seeing him, in the shape of something called Valhalla's Finest.
For my foreign friends, and anyone else who does not think that coffee grows in chicory-blended grounds, I will need to explain a little here to give some backstory. Valhalla is a suburb, technically just outside of Centurion. Centurion is a town or municipality or whatthefuckeverhave you, and it is huge. Over the years since we moved to Pretoria from the Cape, we have lived in four different suburbs within Centurion, and knew it pretty well. Valhalla being just a lonely ol' suburb is fucking massive and genuinely just about 2 centimetres to the right, you oughtn't be able to miss it. I, somehow, did. At least until we moved here about six years ago. I had no idea of its existence, but the moment we moved here, suddenly everyone I came across was from here. It was bizarre. I could be an hour away from here as the crow flies, and someone I'd just met would inevitably live just down the road from me.
But even by virtue of being super-huge and housing three quarters of the world's population, it is a fucking shit-hole. I mean this with no hyperbole and without the kind of affection one usually conveys via jibes and jokes. It is beyond zef (yeah, I'm sorry Rest Of The World, you're on you own with that word), has like two grocery stores (and you'd be damn lucky to find brown bread sometimes. You will eat white bread and you will like it, motherfucker), and I know of at least one restaurant/hangout called the Log Cabin (poo puns aside, please) that had an unspoken "no blacks" policy until very recently. This place is East Bum Fuck Zululand at the same time as being within walking distance from actual civilisation.
Anyway, what with everyone and their uncle-dad being from Valhalla, my cousin Carla (who lives in Ashleigh Gardens, a good 30 minutes drive from here) and her Valhalla crew did a rap song not so long ago called- aptly- "Valhalla's Finest." It attained a kind of unintended notoriety one night when we (me, Baartin and a couple of his friends) were called in to do what would amount to a kind of a This Is Spinal Tap, to be shot on a Wednesday so as to be cut and assembled for one of these friends' birthday on Saturday. We had absolutely zero idea what the fuck we were going to do, with no concept at all beyond "this light means it's recording."
What we ended up with was an entirely ad-libbed short that got its name (somehow) from the eponymous song. What it was, was Valhalla's Finest.
Now some dumb fuck managed to encode the DVD in such a way that my computer denies its very existence, or else I would have some decent screen caps for you. As it stands, what I have are hastily and ineptly taken cellphone-shots of the screen itself, so please stand in forgiveness.
In this incarnation, Valhalla's Finest was a boy band. An Afrikaans boy band on the brink of making it big, waiting around to record their newest single "backstage" as it were at a recording studio. I was the presenter- the Marty DiBergh, if you will- asking the hard-hitting (and just like a little bit tipsy) questions to show the world the real men behind the new song they were there to record- Hardloop en Spring. (Run and Jump.)
I promise, it's much, much more fucking stupid-sounding in Afrikaans, and they managed to mine the full cheese and stupidity potential from the whole thing in fine, fine form. On the far right in the first picture is Dirk, who is still one of my favourite people ever, and is also the lost Hasty Pudding cast member.
His role within the band was the slightly dim third banana, and for whatever reason he decided to go with the artistic decision to respond to absolutely everything with "Dis awesome." (It's awesome.) The squinty eyes of conviction coupled with the dead-serious brow and slight nod of persuasion as he says this will make you lose all of your faculties. Everything is awesome, up until such time as I- the off-camera lisp- pose the very serious question of how the feel about the recent attacks against the band's collective sexuality.
At some point he bemoans his station as the group darkhorse, complete with narrative voiced over the illustrative proof of his rejection.
And after this, they take the pains to show us, the eager audience, their work-out routines in a small gym we found handily lying around the house where we were shooting. In the biz, it's called shooting on location. (I say this with that same knowing nod. I say this so you can picture me saying it with the appropriate levels of douchiness here.) Once they've each showed off the paucity of physical prowess they share, (besides for Johan, who has obviously been carved out of stone-cold Seacrest) they all bundle into the on-suite shower for a communal rinse.
For a very long time after we did this (to zero appreciation at the actual birthday it was made for in the first place) Hardloop en Spring (repeatedly improvised in as many keys and this great world of ours has on offer) became something of an anthem. Sequels were proposed, movie deals failed to be offered but were entertained anyway and shot down on "stick your jack" levels of principle, and it became A Thing.
I hadn't seen it in years, but I broke it out tonight for a rewatch. It was still as funny as I remembered, whilst retaining the editing and mixing problems that had burned my arse about it from the start. In short, it isn't perfect, but fuck me we had a great time making it and there are some laugh-out-loud funny moments that would have you wiping tears of mirth even if you aren't in on the big inside joke it essentially is. It also has the boon of me trying to improvise Glossy Presenter in Afrikaans, which I still maintain is fucking impressive. There are a couple of times where I manage to pull out a very pure Afrikaans words ("Koffer? Wat is 'n koffer? Ek is nie a rasis nie.") that the boys react to with what looks like carefully calculated confusion for maximum comedy. In reality, those are very real reactions to an Afrikaans word the English girl managed to produce that actually went flying right over their heads with a lovely humming sound.
Damn, I need me a camera so I can do some more shenanigannary of my own.
So, I was saturated with more vajayjays this last week than I had any reasonable right to. I shan't say too much on the specifics of this sentence (not purely to play for maximum out-of-context weirdness, but I cannot deny that it plays at least some small part in my motive) for it was a Super Top Secret Vajazzle Project. Now I say that, but there was no Tom-Cruise-Zip-Lining-Through-The-Ceiling involvement, so I suppose I ought to simply say that I don't want to expound on the details too much, not knowing what I'm allowed to say and what could potentially cause my bowels to prolapse as I wake up staring into the unblinking eyes of a Cruise-shaped gag order. Sufficed to say (and fuck knows I've never stopped at sufficient. I think that last sentence proves that I am a machine that runs on pleonasm.) that I was commissioned to fashion a front bum from cloth, and then to proceed with handfuls of beads, sequins and sparkly miscellanea at my own discretion.
(On a side note, I googled possible synonymic nicknames for lady bits to see if I was there was anything I could use that was funnier than what I could come up with on my own, and the lists I found were truly and properly spectacular. Some of my hitherto unknown favourite monikers people actually think are legitimate alternative names for your Lady Cave are: "Whisker Biscuit," "Republic of Labia," and "Melvin.")
"Pics or it didn't happen" was helpfully pointed out to me in regards to the sparkly DIY Twatlantic Ocean, but since it could have cootchastrophic repercussions you'll have to take my word for it on this one. I will tell you that I had to stare for a longer time than is probably strictly natural at "reference pictures" (AKA well-lit porn), and it left me with a whole new appreciation for the subtle art of anal bleaching. The important thing to know here is that at some point, once my artfully rendered Grassy Knoll (I could do this all day, a whole new world has opened up for me here) needed to be dispatched to Andrea. She decided to pick it up and take me with her to Unisa where she's doing an art degree, giving me the chance to step back out into the sunlight and remember what the outside world looks like.
We visited the new Unisa art gallery while we were there, and let me tell you it was actually on the right side of awesome. I cannot, I'm afraid, behold a man, stood in half a perspex tank badger urine in the middle of the N1 and think "art." It is beyond me to fully appreciate the delicacy of someone ingesting food-colouring and then projectile-pooping it across a canvas, and I think it's safe to say that hanging in a see-through box above London without food and water for a few days IS NOT MAGIC. (That last one might have been marginally less on topic than I might have wished, but this is a point that came up over the weekend and I feel was not adequately hammered home.)
This place, however: Art. If I had disposable income- or indeed, income- I would so hang this piece in my house.
(In between the writing of that previous sentence and this one, I have lost all of my marbles all over this room. Something that deigns to call itself Nginx is refusing me access to Facebook and has decided that me trying to upload a picture is BULLSHIT of the HIGHEST order. I am going to kill something or someone, and then I am going to eat it.)
There was someone else there taking pictures, but they had a fat-arse digital SLR and stylish dreadlocks, so I took it as a very personal challenge to wield my little HTC with as much aplomb as was possible. I squinted at things as though I couldn't possibly press the shutter button on the touchscreen until I had considered such things as light exposure, aperture, and soft focus. I almost felt like nudging up to him and just politely pointing out that while his multi-thousand Rand camera was certainly nice, I had a free app that can do sepia. And look, see? I can do artsy shots too.
Now, I once again return myself to the ether from whence I came (the underworld beneath my nice and warm bedcovers) and try to concentrate on my book. It's very intellectual, it's an autobiography. Well, Russell Brand's second autobiography, but Hellen Mirren is in it, so I say it retains its class points.