About Advertise
Culture, Music
Balkan Beasts

Balkan Beasts

by Mahala High Five Brigade / 18.11.2009

I’ve never been a fan of Balkanology. Having been to the formative gatherings back in Cape Town circa 2005, it was always a kind of, “yay, novel, yay, boring” affair. Maybe it’s because I kind of despise anything remotely hippy-fied. Or gypsy-fied. Or indeterminable-eastern-european-rural-nomadic-community-ified. Maybe it’s because I think that the concept of creating a party -McGuyver style- out of a Goat, a Tambourine and a Moustache is rather retarded. Or maybe I’m just a cold, nasty cynic who never warmed to Perfect Stranger’s Balky, and therefore “doesn’t get it”. Maybe it’s for all of the above. The point being, that maybe I wasn’t the most enthusiastic person to send off to the 44 Stanley HQ on Saturday Night. But hey, these Mahala beggars can’t exactly be choosers, so me it was.


Admittedly, I was a little late for the whole affair. In the interests of remaining as positive as possible under the circumstances, I had accidentally-on-purpose lost track of time at a friend’s birthday party via a rather gory session with a sizeable quantity of cheap liquor. Arriving at the venue, the prospects for a good night didn’t look good. There was a grotesquely long line, and half of Rivonia appeared to be in attendance, novelty Festival Hats proudly in tow (which is some sort of mainstream code language for ‘look at how kooky and openminded I can be’). But as I made my way inside, it all started to change. The scales fell from mine eyes! And where I was once blind, I now miraculously could see! Not because my icy little heart melted as it warmed to whatever rural indulgences were happening around me. Not because I was inexplicably and madly seduced by the heady combination of filthy hay, donkey crap and tinkling ankle bells.


Instead, it was one rather obvious observation that appealed to my humanity: Everybody was wasted. Like, hammer drunk. So drunk that come 2pm the bar was relieved of nearly all of its wares. Security wasn’t caring who or what was let through the door. Alcohol was being sloshed to and fro over the bales of hay. There was fire and cigarettes everywhere. If ever there was a recipe for disaster, or a job for the Joburg Fire Department, this was certainly it. But no one seemed to care. This was an ode to excess. To depravity. To people having an excuse to go bat-shit crazy and free themselves from the modern shackles of Dressing Coherently. Unlike the Cape Town version of the jol, there didn’t seem to be anyone trying to have a meaningful cultural experience. Or an ironic one. It was all balls to the wall name throwing. And yeah, I wish I could say more on the specifics of the party. But to be honest, I didn’t really notice nor did I care. And if you were there, you will know what I’m saying. And if you weren’t, you’re just gonna have to take it from me and, next time, swallow your sartorial pride, shake off your hippy-allergy, don your moustache and get those dancing shoes on.

Image © and courtesy Caroline Hilary

19   5
  1. Sindy-Lou says:

    Dear Mahala,

    Next time, please send someone who’s not allergic to hippies and who doesn’t drink themselves into amnesia. Surely there must have been more than just wasted, hammer-drunk, bat-shit crazy Joburgers lurking around?

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  2. dan says:

    I’d like to commend Danni for penning such a lovely piece.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  3. the messenger says:

    research credit: simon fabricius.
    freelancers out there, i can recommend using him for a variety of research purposes.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  4. the messenger says:

    smoking hot babes out there, i can also recommend using him for a variety of sexual purposes.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  5. Travis Lyle says:

    Well fuck me gently over a hay bale: Danni and compliments, cheek to cheek.


    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  6. JD says:

    Don’t you just love how all Mahala’s party people spend the first paragraph telling us how much they REALLY didn’t wanna be there? It’s like the house style or something.

    But, having said that, while I was fully preparing to hate this piece, in the end I have to give Danni credit because that is EXACTLY what the party was like.

    Oh, and I’ll take any excuse to have a dig at Capetonians… speaking of which, has anyone else seen this: http://www.we-are-awesome.com? …Sweet zombie Jesus!

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  7. Roger Young says:

    Oh shit I really don’t want to have to go to We Are Awesome, please don’t make me.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  8. danni says:

    oh please guys. don’t knock the WAA gang. true, the name of their site is rather unfortunate. But really. Tuning them is like tuning skinny jeans. It’s only a party-pic site/ theyre only pants. what, exactly, is so threatening about it all? they. are. only. photos. (and nice ones).

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  9. Roger Young says:

    Unfortunate and Nice for me equals threatening.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  10. Joanne Olivier says:

    I. indeed, was wasted !!


    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  11. lemur says:

    WAA is pretty much a filter blog, sort of hard to hate a filter blog? because all they are really doing is filtering.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  12. lemur says:

    ok wait i sort of take that back. danni summed it up pretty well

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  13. Sleaze says:

    I turned done the chance of attending the Jozi version of the Jol, sharing your scribes correct reservations. I too, having the misfortune of attending more than one in Cape Town, is slightly pissed of with the goats, eastern Europeans and other assorted farm yard animals at a Balkanology party. I have had the misfortune to attend three of them (all for increasing short time periods) and never again specially in another western city where its triteness will again be exposed to another pandering oh so cool art/trendoid set. It is a classic case of Capetonian (white) pretentiousness that they will “get off” on the parochial poverty of the culture of others, when they blatantly ignore the cultural diversity at home. Ok its all very cute in the lets party like drunken gypsies, and stare at wonder at the oh so pastoral simplicity and anti modern western culture, “realness ” of it all. But there is only so much donkeys and fiddles that the “whities” could take before they seeked the reassuring realm of Vida Cafes and the Waterfront. So as the fad passed in Cape Town (as fads do in Fickle Town) Joburg was a natural progression in the product life cycle.

    Danni of course was very correct- get sloshed, dance your ass off and maybe initiate a brief torrid sexual l liaison and the whole party is more than palatable. But does that not hold true for any party anywhere?

    You do not have to be a gypsy to be debauched it is human nature, when the sun goes down so do people!

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  14. Tomas says:

    “It is a classic case of Capetonian (white) pretentiousness”


    Sleaze, this pretence of yours was emphasised rather well with your prattle. Your use of fancy vocabulary does not make your writing come across as sophisticated or intelligent when you lack the ability to string them together in a way that makes sense. In fact, it only serves to make you look like a douche, ya douche.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  15. Sleaze says:

    Like to see myself as more of an enema, I like to think I have a more traditional approach to vaginal inserts.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  16. tina g says:

    get over yourselves, the lot of you. it’s just another bad article by another bad writer.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0