“Where are your wellies, mate?”
I look up to see a man in a raincoat and gleaming Wellington boots, smiling smugly from under his umbrella. His friends, all of whom are just as suitably dressed, are laughing at me. I wave bitterly and look down to see my mud-caked Converse and continue towards the gate like a stork walking over a field of glass, asking myself at each squelching step why I was fooled into thinking the sun would shine in northern Scotland.

The answer now, as then, is easy: I was at one of the UK’s several “summer” (the inverted commas are intentional) music festivals, and despite the fact that I had four slugs on my jeans and smelt faintly of rotten pears, I wasn’t the slightest bit unhappy. After all, it’s hard to be miserable when you’re about to spend the day watching some of the best bands in the world. We’re better off in South Africa than we once were - a decade ago the only thing we had to look forward to was Mike & the Mechanics at the Belville Velodrome, or – oh lucky us! – that old fleabag Rodriguez, dragged out of retirement once again to sing us ‘Sugarman’ in a seafood restaurant at the Port Elizabeth waterfront.

Yes, things are better now, but Europe is still unmatched when it comes to music festivals and, thankfully, not all of them are designed for acid-tripping students or ageing hippies. In this month’s travel feature we select the best of the festivals and help you to choose the right one for your taste. Elsewhere, we ask Francois van Coke, lead singer of punk band Fokofpolisiekar, about his beer boep, getting arrested and being the son of a preacher man, we review the new albums from The White Stripes, The Gossip and the Travelling Wilburys and a book listing the best albums of all time. In Film, we review Half Nelson, for which Ryan Gosling earned himself a deserved Oscar nomination and wonder whether the decision not to screen The Simpsons Movie to the press before its release is an ill omen. In short, the Music Issue is the best thing since, well, since last month’s Extra Virgin of course.

But wait, there’s more. Last month, we asked you to email us with a description of the typical South African male. There’s only one word for the bevy of responses we got: Ouch! Read ‘Vox Pop’ for an edited compilation the most amusing entries, among which is the assertion that, for us lads, life is “centred around the heart - the heart beats beneath the navel”. We’re also accused of seeking the easy way out of compromising situations. Ahem, “taxi”!


We chat to Francois van Coke, the lead singer of Afrikaans band, Fokofpolisiekar.

Have you ever been arrested?
I have been arrested for being drunk & disorderly a couple of times. Nothing too serious.

Has your band name given you any trouble?
The name has not done us any harm to date, besides from narrow-minded Afrikaners who want to f**k us up or not let us play at their venues.

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Mixing it up
by Matthew Freemantle

The words 'music festival' mean different things to different people. But whether you're into The Killers or simply want to kill them, there's a festival in Europe's short summer just for you.

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More than just water
by Leonie Joubert

Sit yourself in front of a glass of water, stare into its depths and consider how ancient and well-travelled it is. Here’s why.

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The forecasters have brought ill tidings from the markets of late, raising concerns that the global market is headed into a recession. Here’s how it might affect us in South Africa.

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The White Stripes
Icky Thump
Musical influence is, both geographically and chronologically, a tautology these days. At least that's what 'Icky Thump' suggests. What's with these magpie Americans pinching the Brit’s parlance?

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The Gossip
Standing In The Way Of Control
'This bi-polar album is all about the Rotund Hurricane that is Beth Ditto, who emits such a dark and brooding sexiness you'd expect it to come from Count Dracula’s first bride and not from a sweaty lady in a tight jumpsuit

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The Travelling Wilburys
When George Harrison first spoke of putting together a group consisting of himself, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne, most people would probably have asked him for a drag of whatever he was smoking.

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Celebrate women!
Just because you can

Happy Women’s Day for Thursday.
Love the women in your life! Send the women you
know, admire, love and adore a funky e-card to let
them know how much they mean to you.
Turn your face to the sun and celebrate!
Go to www.blingola.co.za to send as many cards as
you like

The Simpsons Movie

Precious little is known about this long-awaited feature, but what we do know is that in the film, Homer is tasked with saving the world from a threat he himself is responsible for.


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Half Nelson

A drug addicted teacher.
A precocious student with trouble at home. This the one where teacher helps student find true self by standing up to gangsters, teacher himself makes up with girlfriend and film ends with chubby scholar scoring the winning points in a basketball match, right?

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1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die

It can be hugely annoying (even morose) to page through a book that aims to plot your listening roster from now until your death. And even if you were to heed this book's advice, it's unlikely that, come the deadline, the Grim Reaper will have time for your pleas for an extra few hours: 'Not now, Reaper, I'm only halfway 'Trout Mask Replica', Captain Beefheart's seminal 1969 masterpiece'


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