SA’s big come down after the high

2012-05-29 07:09

There’s this really frightening 1970s vintage amphetamine called 3,4-Methylenedioxy-N-ethylamphetamine, popularly known as Black Rob or Peeve.

It comes with this massive energy rush that lasts a whole night, apparently created by science students looking for something to keep them up and focused while cramming for exams.

The comedown was hellish, totally draining the brain and body of adrenaline, creating this awful, seemingly unending sense of bleakness. Over the years there’ve been extreme cases where the anguish drove users to suicide.

Word has it that the Peeve has shown its ugly head around Durban of late, making people jabber the night away before hurling them into bottomless pits of despair and anger.

It’s not the kind of thing we need to have floating around on the streets and in the clubs. We have enough madness to deal with without it.

The truth is, the events of the past week have left me feeling like the whole country’s been at the Peeve and is coming down, thrashing and screaming and driven to a weird place where rational thought dives off a cliff and normal rules no longer apply.

Bleak’s not the word for it. To crown a weekend on which Chelsea’s anti-football stole the Champion’s League, a perfectly acceptable piece of journalism about a provocative exhibition by a satirist depicting the president’s genitals had been grabbed by the incumbents in Luthuli House to replace the recently banished Julius Malema as a mobilisation tool.

The response has been truly scary.

From the ANC court application to Gwede Mantashe calling for boycotts and Barend la Grange and company vandalising the painting to SACP members burning copies of the paper in the street, the conservatism, anger and lack of humour that the Spear has exposed is a really saddening reminder of just how seriously our society takes itself.

It’s been impossible to get away from The Spear – even the Sundowns and SuperSport clash at the weekend barely got a mention on social media. All eyes were on you-know-what.

We clearly need an antidote for The Spear, some kind of mental relief, because this really is like the Peeve.

On Wednesday night in Durban we got some respite from the senior students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s jazz studies programme, who were performing works they were examined on in the weekly 6pm slot.

It was marvellous. For two hours there was no Brett Murray, no Gwede Manstashe, no Jacob Zuma, and no bloody Spear.

There was Ildo Nadja on bass, Lungelo Ngcobo on piano Nhlonsenhle Mthsali on keyboards, Siyabonga Zulu on drums and Sebastian Goldswain on guitar, and vocals from Thobeka Langa and Njabulo Miya.

There was no BS, no manipulation and no posturing, no talking heads and craziness, just a group of young people making beautiful music.

The Spear is down. Let’s hope it stays there. It would be great if the coming week has more music and less Spear.
But I doubt it.
 

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