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He’s a Lumberjack

by Andy Davis / 03.04.2012

Maximus Davis ran into Laugh it Off’s Justin Nurse in the bogs at the Fisherman’s Pub in Kommetjie. Sensing an opportunity, he hit ‘record’ on his iPhone. The following is a loose transcription of their chat which involved beards, bald faced lies, cocaine and a Lumberjack Festival.

Mahala: Hey man, where you been?

Justin Nurse: Living in Cabo de la Vela, Columbia, for the last year and a bit. It’s the northernmost tip of South America, where all the cocaine that gets get grown in the coffee triangle inland gets taken to. There’s nothing but truck drivers, desert and beach sand. I’ve been working with the locals, smuggling the cocaine in boats to ports in Miami. OK, that last bit is a lie.

What’s that thing on your face?

It’s a beard man. Fuck you. I’m organizing a Lumberjack Festival at my in-laws’ wine farm, Lievland, and this is me setting the mood.

Cool, I guess. It’s a bit stringy, though. So how’ve you been?

Ja, pretty good, all things considered. I’ve had a tough, rough life that I manage to find ways to make tougher for myself, somehow. I’ll die wondering, because that’s what I do the most.

What are you up to work-wise?

Laugh it Off Ts are still my bread and butter. Except that I don’t eat bread and butter. So I hustle, I write, I wrong. I organize Lumberjack Festivals. I was asked to edit FHM when Hagen got the axe, and I was approached to be part of Darren Scott’s new online radio station, Ballzy or something. It’s nice to be thought of, but I can’t work for anyone else. I can’t even work for myself, really.

So what’s up with organizing a Lumberjack Festival then? Sounds like a fair bit of work…

Jeez, what are you, my shrink? I dunno man. I guess it’s to do something that’s never been done before. Like sharpening my pencil with an axe, and turning jean pants into jean pant shorts with a chainsaw. Those are two things that I’d never done until STIHL hooked me up with my own set of lumberjacking tools. They’re the ones sponsoring. I pitched it to them saying ‘hey, let’s do something wild and crazy with chainsaws and axes, something that is fun but dangerous, entertaining but scary as hell!’ And they said, ‘sure, why not?’ People from Pietermaritzburg are the best!

So what’s the festival about?

I’m calling it a carnival-esque combination of a school fete, an agricultural show and a music festival. Red Bull and chainsaws. Bos Ice Tea and music. Beards and boerie rolls. It’s a return to nature. Something primal. We need to harden the fuck up. All of this Kirstenbosch Sundowners and wanky dress-up design culture festivals are getting a little big on gay. We’re creating something new. New like when you experiment in a lab. It may cause a reaction or it may just blow up. I’m hoping that it’ll blow up.

Is there a market in this country for lumberjacking?

Who knows. I know that it’s big in the States, and Australia, and New Zealand. All those countries, plus a few others, compete in the global ESPN STIHL TimberSports Series. They even have college divisions. So we need to get some South African lumberjacks on the map, plain and simple. My strategy, which I shall reveal to you now, is to grow a market. And do you know how you do that Andy?

Teach me, buddy!

You educate it. You let ten year olds play with huge Jack and Jill Crosscut Saws, you teach dads about the importance of having big guns and impress upon them how the ladies love a man who can wield a chainsaw. We’ll teach them about safety too, how not to lose a limb while carving through white pine. But I’m more amped about the power surge experienced while having one of those beasts’ energy coursing through your bones. That’s something you feel. The hardcore chainsaw operators in this country know about that already, so they’ll be the ones competing, showing the rest of us city folk what we’re missing out on in our namby-pamby lives.

When is it?

14th and 15th of April. You can come on either the Saturday or the Sunday. 8am till 8pm. Saturday we’ve got Jeremy Loops playing, Sunday we have the Valiant Swart Band. Those are our headliners, and there are plenty more killer acts to come check. If you want to. If you’ve got something better to do, like watch Super Rugby all day, then no worries. Fortune favours the brave, and we only want the brave there. There’ll be everything from Obstacle Courses to Paper Jet Competitions, Mitchell’s Beer Pong to Axe Throwing. Giant swings and waterslides, fun runs and boom runs. That’s when you run across logs on water. It’s gonna be cray cray.

OK dude, I’m sold. I’ll bring my family and Mahala will sponsor a wooden sculpturing thing that we can auction off at the end of the day. How about that?

You’re so gay Andy. Mahala this, Mahala that. I’ll leave your name at the door. Bring your balls of steel and your beard of steel wool. There’s gonna be a scrub down after we get all down and dirty.

*Check out the STIHL Lumberjack Festival on Facebook.

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