Poptartology: Karate Goat Hates Me!

2013-10-20 05:00

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One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Ask Laurence Hamburger. The South African film maker has published a book called Frozen Chicken Train Wreck through Chopped Liver Press.

Yes, it’s actually called that and so are the publishers, and, yes, that’s his actual surname.

The bright red, beautifully packaged book turns street pulp into street art by reproducing smaller versions of a selection of local tabloid headline posters. They’re “funny, clever and true”, and “part of our urban fabric”, he says.

Hamburger had no option but to collect the posters himself after finding out that there is no archive at the newspapers or printers, who churn out dozens of fresh artworks a week. The ones in the book range from 2008 until today.

“They’re there to sell papers, but they also take the temperature of the country,” he says. “They range from high-end politics to domestic drama and superstition. Together they form a voice.”

Of course, newspapers in South Africa have been airing their dirty headlines on our roadsides since the First Anglo-Boer War, but the rise of tabloids has turned them into a cult for many passing motorists. It goes without saying that the flagrant satanic tokoloshe-ness of the Daily Sun is one of the jewels in our dodgy crown.

Picture: Laurence Hamburger/Daily Sun

If it doesn’t have an exclamation mark, it’s not a Daily Sun poster. Possessed goats, killer dentists and cursed underpants abound.

On the day I called Hamburger up, in fact, our daily dose of sunshine was Curse Of The Evil Underpants!

The story is about “troubled Mandla Ndlovu”, whose underpants were stolen and an evil curse put on them by “a light-skinned woman” and now the sex with his wife is no good. Yes, it’s an actual story.

It’s funny, but it’s totally not. Because of this curse, Mandla hits his wife and fears he may go so far as to kill her.

“There’s lots of violence, lots of gender war,” says Hamburger of the posters on our streets. Traditional culture clashing with the Constitution is one of the thoughts you take away from Frozen Chicken Train Wreck, the easiest read so far this year. And, yes, it refers to an actual headline.

Our street posters are almost always witty – depending how you read them. But when you mess with their context, they can become downright depressing. Picture: Laurence Hamburger/The Star Or frankly inspiring.

Picture: Laurence Hamburger/The Times

Some, with a pinch of irony, can be read very differently to how they were intended. Amorous Doctor Gets Off – The Citizen. I Saw Mama Africa Collapse – Sowetan. Brazil Wax Lyrical – The Star. Banks Finger You – The Citizen. Tender War Continues – The Star.

Others are totally on the nose. Heist Season Starts – The Times. Cops punch cops. Picture: Laurence Hamburger/The Citizen here.

Asked which poster is his favourite, he says: “It’s always changing. This week I like Tree Kills Tree Expert for its sheer surreal, droll humour. I just love the whole idea of a tree having a personality.”

Hamburger has lifted the Poptart of the Week title. It’s a combination of bold and original publishing, and an exceptional surname.

KFC. The horror movie

Ever philosophical and tarty, after reading Hamburger’s book, I chanced upon a gif that somehow mirrors the violence in our popular culture and so I am sharing.

Gif: Laughing Squid

Bono haters unite

In a week when brand Winnie hit the social networks – she opened up a Twitter account and her first tweet was a link to her website – the biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom continued its global roll-out. Dodgily!

I understand that they couldn’t use local stars in the lead roles because, well, we’re not their market and they’d never make their money back without the likes of Idris Elba and Naomie Harris. But really? They’re leading the soundtrack with U2?

The second trailer dropped on the interwebs and it’s set to the rousing, gravelly, continent-saving sounds of “the world’s most self-righteous tax-dodging man who never removes his shades”, as Benjamin Fogel puts it in the blog Africa is a Country.

Writes Huffington Post: “The track, Ordinary Love, is an instant Best Original Song contender, if only because it would give the Oscars an excuse to invite Bono to perform.” Yes, that was me running from the room to have a little vomit.

Hilarity ensues

If you need some cheering up after all that, here’s finally proof that there’s life after Die Antwoord. Rapper Isaac Mutant and producer Dplanet are Dookoom. Mutant was one of the rappers the zef group recorded with in the early days. The video is rude, grimy, hard-core and home-grown and you can watch it and read about it here at Okay Africa. Isaac Mutant. Picture: Dookoom/Another Africa here. Her tale of Gav, Koeks and Amor contains nuggets like this one: “Joost charmingly insists on referring to his coloured boyfriend as ‘Quota’. Amor objects, though Gavin, seemingly, does not.”

If that’s still not working, check out Lesotho-born Sama-winning vocalist Maleh’s new video for Chimsoro.


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