Good riddance to Neil Diamond

2011-04-20 00:00

THERE are at least two good reasons I'm relieved to be married to someone much younger than myself. The first reason is because I'm married to someone much younger than myself. The second reason is that I did not feel pressurised to go and see Neil Diamond live in South Africa.

My wife was a teenager in a very different time zone. I think it was in the era of the Fine Young Cannibals. If the Fine Young Cannibals ever tour South Africa — they might, of course, be the Fine Old Cannibals by then — I'll be in trouble. But not as much trouble as I would have been in if had I gone to see Neil Diamond. I personally think Neil Diamond is more dangerous than the Fine Young Cannibals. He is, in fact, more dangerous than Julius Malema.

The terrible truth is this: for a small group of people like me, songs like Holly Holy have the power to unlock vast hidden recesses filled with suppressed memories. Very bad memories.

I'm not sure if I have the strength to face these ghastly memories. When I was 16 years of age, angry and old before my time, only the straight kids listened to Neil Diamond. Back in 1969, I was a fan of T. Rex, the Doors, and Jimi Hendrix. Back in 1969, I knew that, whenever I arrived at a party and heard Neil Diamond on the turntable, I would not be able to score with anyone that night. Girls who listened to Holly Holy didn't do one-night stands. At least not with the likes of me. They wouldn't even hold hands with me (unless we were going steady). That is the reason, up to this day, that Neil Diamond fills me with awkward emotions of angst, insecurity and resentment.

Most people who went to see Neil Diamond's South African concerts definitely did it because of the feel-good nostalgia factor. They certainly didn't care about his later work. Neither did they care that, in 1969, there was a whole lot of better music available. They went because they longed to drink at the fount of personal memories, they wanted to relive their childhoods and they wanted to redeem themselves temporarily from their middle-aged lives. Nostalgia is a valid form of escapism, I suppose. Well, I guess it's better than cricket or porn.

But at what price?

I know that, had I gone, I would've bumped into several tannies on whom I had had hopeless crushes when they were young and pretty during the summer of '69. I might not have recognised them, but they would've been there. I would have smelt them. I would have been forced to relive all those ghastly evenings of sipping non-alcoholic beverages at school functions and watching the rugby hunks get their claws all over the pretty girls because they knew how to two-step and I didn't. It would have brought out my dark side all over again.

Play me any number of old Neil Diamond songs in succession, and I am bound to turn into a murderous maniac.

Yes, I can listen to Die Antwoord and just get bored. But trap me in a room with Neil Diamond for long enough, and all the pent-up rage of my teenage years is bound to explode in an orgy of violence and blood-thirsty revenge. Feed me Neil Diamond for a couple of hours, and I will get to the point where I just want to kill, kill, kill!

But, phew, what a relief. The opportunity to see Neil Diamond in South Africa has come and gone, and now I will never be forced to face my dark side. I have been spared a humiliating and painful walk down memory lane. My nearest and dearest have been spared a traumatic encounter with the monster within. I am okay. I think.

Don't ever come back here, Neil Diamond. Please don't. Easy now. Just stay there, wherever you are, wherever your home is, and forget about us.

You don't want a massacre on your conscience, do you?

— News

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