Wednesday, June 10, 2015
NOW IS THE WINTER OF OUR DISCOTHEQUE.
Winter - the bitch - is here! The MERCURY has literally fallen.
From the face of my personal planet...
Picture it... Sicily, 1922...
A little perspective.
I have played innumerable shows at Mercury (by my standards). Even some at The Jam. Some wildly successful, some less so. I have spent even more time watching bands do their thing up on that great stage. I've hosted charity gigs there. I've won pub quiz evenings there. I lost a lot of pub quizzes as well. I've had deep discussions and shallow dalliances. I've DJed and worked as lighting operator. I've crawled out of there more times that I've walked out with my head held high, both almost too many to bear thinking of.
I love the very bricks the place is made of; I love the people more.
So when it was announced it would be closing its hallowed doors for the last time, I was angry. Angry and sad. My knee jerk reaction was to shout "Look what you've done! Look everyone, how your apathy has taken its toll! Look how a life ruled by the modern convenience of online commerce has ruined something so dear to us!"
But I was wrong. Whilst inspecting the log in my eye, I came to realise that the industry has made such a monumental shift away from what I consider acceptable in terms of how it chooses to engage with, and enjoy, the art on which it is based that I must seem like a doddering old fool in the quizzical eyes of the youth. If and when they manage to extricate their attention from whatever's trending on their umbilical smartphones.
The simple truth is that it has changed, no matter how hard we lament or grumble about the good ol' days. Youngsters are no longer knocking out shitty covers in their long suffering parents' suburban garages and then going on to make memorable guitar driven music. Everything is programmed on the latest iPad by smug entitled little shits. But that's the point. The youth drives the industry. And they've driven it away. I watch as everything I have ever held dear is being torn down stone by stone, only to be replaced by fleeting interjections of the more plastic variety. No longer the fortress it once was, it now resembles floating debris on an ever changing ocean.
But I digress. I started out with good intentions and then got my head stuck up my own arse once more.
The people of Mercury, the ones who made it the monument to local music it has become, are the true heroes. To Lisel & Lux, our eternal gratitude for running the show, show after show after show. To the magicians behind the desk: Ian, Jethro, Nishan, Izan, Lyndsay & Juan - thank you for the incredible sound and the unbelievably high standards you always adhered to, not to mention the way you always treated all the bands and musicians like family and royalty! And to Kevin Grant - the coolest lighting guy ever (along - of course - with Tequila Nick)! Thanks for making a bunch of ugly rockers always look awesome. A gentleman and a true genius! To Sidney (kisses, bitch!), Khanya, Wayne & Tasmin (and Ice) thanks for the great times and the not so great hangovers. To Reggie at the door - thanks for the smiles and friendly professionalism. And let's not forget Themba and Canaan, who were always on hand to keep the place spotless, thank you for your tireless efforts!
And last but certainly by no means least, Kevin Winder. (And Sean Wienand, who started the club with Kevin.)Thank you for everything you have done for our community, sometimes in the face of overwhelming adversity. You were the giant on whose shoulders we rode. Without your selfless service over the years, many a young band would not have graduated to the lofty heights of stardom some of them enjoy today. And some talentless hacks would never have got to perform on such a professional platform. We as a community of musicians, singers, dancers and drunks salute you! Your contributions to the betterment of all our lives will never be forgotten and your wry grin will always warm our hearts.
Not to mention them trousers...
Thank you from the bottom of our collective hearts.
Spread The Love. Raise The Roof.