30 June 2010

Heat of the moment.

This is dedicated to...

From this moment on I will refer to this photograph whenever someone comes to tell me that Finland is always freezing cold. Even during the summer. It really isn't.

29 June 2010

WSOM vol. 1 Spotcast

Photo: Rattex represents Cape Town amognts Ben Sharpa and POC on my first spotcast.

I used to do a music specialist show for a good few years in Cape Town. It was a cool thing to do as I had a creative control over the output and my playlists in general. I haven’t done the show in nearly three years anymore, but there was this idea – spotcasts – that I really liked. The term itself was coined by my old degree leader from my Birmingham days, and it basically is a Spotify playlist I have compiled as my show and then I provide the link for you to listen. There are no additional sound production, stingers, station ID’s (there is no station) or jingles. There aren’t even any links. Just the songs one after another. I wish there was some mixing, but there isn’t; still, I am not complaining.

My show specialised on international Hip-Hop from all over the world. There’s some old tracks and some new in the first installment. Different countries, continents and languages are relatively well represented. I think so anyway. Have a listen and if you don’t have Spotify, but could, then do create an account and download the player.

1. Prophets Of Da City – Planet Capetown (Mitchell’s Plain Mix)
2. X Plastaz – Msimu Kwa Msimu
3. Baby J Feat. Various Artists– Midlands Anthem
4. Rattex – Township Storm
5. Hilltop Hoods – The Blue Blooded
6. Passi Feat. Oxmo Puccino – Black December
7. Klashnekoff – Paper Up
8. Promoe, Supreme,Timbuktu & Andreas Greca – Mammas Gata
9. King Kapisi – 2nd Migration
10. Saian Supa Crew – Blow
11. Redrama – Street Music
12. Vafe Jhous Feat. MC Mina Son Las Vueltas De La Vida
13. Rzatz Feat. Ben Sharpa – No Words 
14. Looptroop – Night Train
15. Akala – Find No Enemy

28 June 2010

Old News

Beyond Xenophobia

Now that I am under the influence of unlimited and fast Internet I thought I'd add some old audio to the blog as well. This is the documentary we made a few years ago in an attempt to improve the public discourse around the so called xenophobic violence in South Africa. It just seemed so simplified that it was rather offensive. I don’t know if we managed to achieve the goal, but I am proud of the final documentary nonetheless. Have a listen.

Beyond Xenophobia by mikmikko

Beyond Xenophobia is an audio documentary reflecting the unrest that in South Africa was referred to as xenophobia. This exploration suggests that the term used is too narrow, even misleading, and that the reasons were deeper that the general media discourse may have indicated. It was broadcasted on SAfm in 2009.

Quick mid-summer reflections

Photo: It's a terrible cliché this photo. My only defence is that I haven't lived in this country for nearly a decade.

It’s been a few moments since I was here. A week has passed quickly in Finland and I must say that in Finland I’ve never written in a same way as I tend to in South Africa. Perhaps, at least partly, this is as it is more sensible to participate in the South African public discourse in English than the one in Finland, which is pretty much solely taking place in Finnish. So as a Finnish speaker when there is a news story or an event that makes me want to explore it, it’d be unusual to do so in English in my English speaking blog.

So I am in the crossroads a bit. Where will I take this and how will it continue may be less clear for now, but as always, it will continue. No fear. And I say that in case the possibility of me no longer writing here would cause you any such sensation. Most people, and I am fairly confident about this, would survive such eventuality with little or no trauma.

The midsummer is a beautiful thing. We’ve been enjoying the long days and nominal nights, and while it hasn’t been quite boiling hot, the weather has been nice enough.

The transition has also been smooth thus far, and soon, most certainly, things start happening with a faster pace. Now just a moment of holiday and relaxation to get over the public holidays and the long weekend passed. Then; I am on it.

12 June 2010

Football Time

World Cup. Haven’t I already overdosed of you, you… World Cup. No, I haven’t is the answer, but there are some aspects of you, World Cup, that rather baffles me to only too generous extend.

I find myself very torn in between the beauty of the people’s spirit here and things such as the emotional content of the opening ceremonies and on the other hand the pre-reformist Christian spirit that FIFA has tapped into when it sells the seats in the football heaven. More money you spend, the closer you are to your god of Adidas ball and the men in Puma shirts who kick it with their, I don’t know, Nike shoes having just taken off their Apple iPods when the Mercedes buses drove them to… need I really continue. Oh, did I say that to get fit apparently they had to drink lots of Coca Cola because if you ask Coca Cola it’s very healthy and good for you. Of course the facts of the real world disagree with this view point, but when you advertise with cartoons to children then what does it matter. Get them when they are young and you’ll have them for life. Actually, why not give some complimentary cigarettes on the side.

Here’s the other top five things that came to mind from this whole thing, and not all of them are negative. Actually, already did away with my pet hate of the whole circus so no fear.

1. The level of analysis in sport. Have you ever seen four analyst sitting around the table in South Africa talking relatively objectively about a news story? I don’t mean politicians and partisan lobbyists and spokespeople, but people in the know looking equally all sides of the story attempting to leave us with something meaningful and concrete to take away from it. No, you haven’t. None of us have. In football this seems to be unquestioned. I am jealous. I wish there was money, because that’s what it comes down to, in talking about things other than off-side in a critically engaged manner.

2. People like to complain. Everyone thinks that the apparently endlessly witty observation; vuvuzela sounds a bit like bees is a fruit of their creative sketch writing. And then there’s the ball. The official ball, that’s like a beach ball I hear people saying. Mind you most of these people haven’t much been kicking it, but they’ve been told about it by the analyst. And there are more of them out there than there are social media gurus. Let the vuvuzela be. It’s here so make peace with it. Write to FIFA if you’ve got problem with the ball; the organisers didn’t put it together.

3. Don’t worry. Relating to the previous point; don’t worry, vuvuzela really grows on you. I like it.

4. Temporal zeitgeist. Initially I thought that without a ticket to stadium, World Cup to a local person is merely a massive month long traffic jam. I was wrong. The spirit of collective excitement is contagious and I am glad to have witnessed some of it.

5. SA stand up. I enjoyed the opening ceremony and was incredibly proud of the input of local artists in the concert the night before. South African artists swept the floor with their international colleagues. Imbongi (Xhosa praise singer) to kick things off (excuse the use of the word ‘kick’ in this context) was a perfect choice – and I really mean it. Then to continue to celebrate Africa and the rest of the world. Brilliant. It was an emotional moment for me to see Hugh Masakela, Lira, Black Jks, TKZee, Lira and all the rest of them representing. Of course I was very happy to see Femi Kuti and Khaled there as well.

So there. Good doesn’t exist in a vacuum without bad and of course it would be incredibly naïve to assume that this event would exists without the corporate sponsorship. Without the money power the only footballers we would know by their name were the ones we played with in the park. Does it have to be the same sponsor for the World Cup that also supported apartheid and so many other atrocities? Apparently the answer is yes, I am afraid. But all in all my torn mind is leaning towards enjoying what there is to enjoy, but never to let that overlook the dark side.

10 June 2010

Writing on the wall


My Cape Town has always had cool graffiti. That is to say that while I haven’t always lived here nor have I stayed everywhere in the city – who has – but that’s an association that I easily make. In Woodstock where I’ve found myself a lot you can see it in every corner and near the District Six, or Zonnebloem as they now call it, there are some pretty impressive big ones. Or are they murals? I think graffiti. It’s my jogging ground.

Today when we were going to run a few errands and I took the camera as the town was promised to be busy with World Cup opening day Fan Park activities I saw a new graffiti and it was pretty cool and very meaningful. My wife took an instant liking to its political significance representing the decades of the struggle as it was understood in the South Africa. Well, struggle continues to many, but nice work nonetheless.

And about the Fan Park; it was nice to see it and nice not to be there. It's because I am getting a bit old an on the other hand I am mildly claustrophobic. So not an ideal place.

8 June 2010

Five years in a blog

Photo: I could effotfully attempt to say something like "growing by blogging" or other stiff wordplays that would create a sense where the image actually supports what I have written, but realistically there is no particular connection; still why not just post some of these old photos I've taken here and there. I rather like them.

Another year has gone by. Of course, every moment a year has gone by from something; many things really, but today, it’s my blog birthday. Five years. A longish time really considering that it was all before MySpace, Facebook, Twitter or even Flickr that I started here. And half of those accounts just mentioned are already deleted, so I suppose it is safe to claim that this blog has had some kind of staying power.

The blog also has been in a constant state of low-intensity construction and it isn’t quite yet in the form I want it to be. Change, as ongoing as it is, is about to be put on the next gear, and soon I am in the position to do bits and bobs here without counting the bandwidth it may cost me. Internet is great, but only when you have unlimited internet will you really be in it. Three years now I have been on this slow mode that is known as South African online infrastructure. Now it appears that the technology is improving, but the prices are still quite ridiculous.

But like one of my heroes said, if you can’t change the people around you, change the people around you. So I shall.

I am sure there will be more ramblings on my journey and adventure ahead, but for now I only wanted to say, well done me for having had this blog and thanks to you for coming.