Wednesday, December 2, 2015

SHE TURNED ME INTO A NEWT!


I wrote this yesterday - too afraid to step on toes - rather choosing to bide my time until knives had been put away. But I think it needs to be said, since the internet has provided everyone a platform from which to express their opinion. And at least this isn't a tired recycled meme, or a picture of a cat hazzing a cheezburger...

I was once at Mercury - could have been as far back as when it was still The Jam. The unholy act of such unspeakable malevolence that transpired on that evening had me in deep and disturbed shock! And I only read about it in the papers the next week!

...Some guy got a blowjob in the Mens bathroom...

...from a girl...

...at a rock concert...

Well, fuck me! I was so awash with disgust I couldn't even digest the information.

Fast forward to many years later and a friend of mine is escorted from the premises after a backstage altercation following some boisterous stage diving.

The truth is: I don't know the truth. The only point of view I am prepared to accept as holy writ is that of a good friend of mine who was manning part of the sound that night - and that certainly doesn't paint the full picture. In my rather checkered past I have learned that overreactions are not usually met with stoic politeness in the face of unbridled antagonism. Neither is a reasonable request most often met with frothing indignity. More often than not both parties tend to colour their side of the story with brighter, more sensational claims than the other because everyone knows that he who squeaks the loudest gets the most grease. And as for the moral outrage expressed by the majority of loyal supporters - good on you for showing solidarity against something portrayed to be so heinously unjust. And now that everyone has retracted their claws, perhaps I could suggest a more cautious approach to our reaction to the truth.

The truth is that metal heads are fiercely loyal, excitable and passionate about the music and lifestyle which brings them together.
The truth is that almost everyone outside the metalhead's closely and jealously guarded way of life is ill educated about the more exotic of our traditions - particularly when it comes to excitable expression whilst going crazy to the music we love. Please note that I use the term "we" very loosely.
The truth is that situations can - and very often do - escalate far too quickly for no reason. Very often miscommunication and misunderstanding can lead to some fairly severe consequences. I have seen a Russian sailor near beat to death just for wanting to buy a drink. Entirely unnecessary.
The truth is that people, by their very nature, will defend their corners with their teeth bared. Any attempt to find the unfettered truth from either of two opposing sides is an exercise in futility.

I have been to most of the Witchdoctor Productions shows since their reinvention, and have had the pleasure of dealing with them in their previous incarnation as Witchdoctor Records too. I can only commend their drive and determination to bring what the people want - and their relative success - the likes of which no one else has been able to emulate in recent years.

I have also been fortunate enough to have dealings with Mercury Live over many years - with the old management and the new. Nicer, more accommodating people you will not find and my hope is that you do not judge them too harshly for what seems to have been an incident which was allowed to get out of hand, but where no malice was on display (allegedly). I condemn physical violence in the most vociferous terms. If indeed the altercation led to serious physical harm, then let the individuals responsible be man enough to face the consequences. If not, then blowing incidents out of proportion seems a touch extravagant and common sense should prevail.

The potential damage to the local live scene could be irreversible... it will eventually be the Cape Town bands who suffer if a venue like Mercury is forced to change its format. Remember when they didn't allow metal bands a few years ago? How did that feel? We all need to be able to resolve these inevitable issues with a little more grace.

And if you would gladly condemn, then crucify, anyone without allowing them the chance to present their version of events, then you're no better than the bandwagoning, hatemongering, right wing conservative bigots you so vehemently oppose. Let he who is without sin (and I know that's none of you twisted lot...) cast the first stone in this glass house.

And on that note - you better fucking well be there - venue change or not - to support Cape Town's finest! BULLETSCRIPT and ZOMBIES ATE MY GIRLFRIEND will be tearing up the stage at Assembly. So like Paul McCartney said, "We all stand together..."

To anyone who disagrees with my thoughts - that's fine as well. I'm sure we can sort out our personal differences. I challenge you to a duel. You choose which shots you'd like me to buy you at the bar.

Spread The Love. Matt, We Love You, Man! 

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