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Dance the Bus Stop

Dance the Bus Stop

by Phumlani Pikoli, images by Adam Kent Wiest / 05.08.2010

Cool – going to a show for music that you enjoy to stand around and look
disinterested. It’s no longer about being there – it’s about being the coolest person at the blow out. Covering yourself in mystery and intrigue. Are we turning Japanese? Apparently people there don’t dance. They just stand around and wait for the gig to finish and applaud politely afterwards. We have so many different kinds of dances here in Mzansi, I’m surprised that we don’t indulge more often. There’s the Ngwazi.

The Vuma.

And who can leave out the Bus Stop?

We used to dance. I’m speaking about us music lovers. We danced all the time. Saturday July 31st, Albert Hall. In the Words of Frankie Valli: “Oh what a night!” The lineup said it all. Mr. Sakitumi, Markus Womrstorm and the Dutch internationals themselves. C-mon and Kypsky kept the crowd well entertained. Arms and legs everywhere. The energy was palpable. People made no secret about wanting to enjoy a show.

Too often in Cape Town I go to gigs and end up getting fucked out of my mind and dancing by myself. If Kool and the Gang were still around today they would hardly play gigs in Cape Town – since they ask a very important question, and give an even more important instruction in the song “Get Down On It”:

“How you gonna do it if you really don’t wanna dance, by standing on the wall? Get your back up off the wall!”

This Saturday there was none of that. No restraint. People got dressed up to get down and it was beautiful. Described as a “hipster-electro” party, thankfully it was one where people didn’t bring their usual pretences. Mr Sakitumi tells me he enjoyed his set and that the crowd responded to his music the way he wanted them to. Finally.

The Dutch internationals had people shaking their limbs in all directions with glad-hearted abandon. This was wonderful – where have they all been throughout my Cape Town experience? The bands’ energy and flow seems to be transferred to the crowd, or does the crowds’ energy transfer itself to the band? The hipster or the egg? Either way it was a good exchange.

The venue itself isn’t all that big but the size worked. The bar is no hassle. The “back on the wall” crowd are banished to the outside – at one with their toxic tobacco cylinders. I join them from time to time. People are actually smiling and greeting each other. There isn’t the usual aloofness and the “do you know who I am?” Julius Malema mentality that one usually encounters at these sorts of gigs. I decide there and then that the gig has done its job.

Markus Wormstorm then proceeds to make the crowd really get down. Using electro, circus swing, bass and hand claps. (It’s hard to pin down his sound). We dance, we laugh – we make the circle but it doesn’t grow. The energy is unmistakable and it’s all in the name of fun – which is why people go to gigs. It was worth waking up in the car the next morning. We danced.

All images © Adam Kent Wiest.

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  1. Doctor L. says:

    White people dont like to dance. It makes them feel awkward and self-conscious. They think everyone is watching them and that the opinions of drunk strangers matter. They dont. Anyway hit up Loop Str., bro. We dance there in that squalor.

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  2. Andy says:

    Hey I’m white, more kind of pinky beige, and I like to dance…

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  3. Doctor L. says:

    Sorry for the generalization. And the white thing – its inaccurate, I know. Thats dope, that you like to dance. I guess I was just extrapolating from the ngamlas in my fold and the kind of corners they like to haunt.

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  4. Zuki says:

    Sounds like a night of the Boogie electric come to LIFE- dance forever young people!!

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  5. Phumlani says:

    Well according to lil Jon in the Korn video of twisted transistor ” We’re all black. When the lights go out.”

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  6. Andy says:

    No Dr L the generalization sadly fits. We had a short-lived initiative at SL magazine back in the day. April was supposed to be Honky Rhythm Month – and I quote:

    “Have you ever played ‘spot the whitey’ when you’re out dancing? It’s easy, huh. No matter how much we try to obscure the fact: white people have very little rhythm. I know it’s not PC to generalise like that, but it’s true. Just go out on a Saturday night and check the dancefloor for verification. Honkies shaking limbs at odd angles, spasmodic jerks, the self-conscious foot to foot shuffle and the hippie noodle dance. It’s nasty. We can’t even move in time to house music. But all hope is not lost, I am here to assure you all that we can learn rhythm. That is why, ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to declare April Honky Rhythm Month. It is high time for whiteys to face up to the problem and eradicate this anomaly from the face of the earth, and it is only fitting that the revolution starts in Africa. Here’s my reasoning: South Africa has the largest population of white people on the continent – it is thus our duty to the world and the future of humankind to root out this scourge and free all white people from the shackles of rhythmlessness. And we are in the best position to achieve this. For too long, whiteys have suffered the indignity of a distinct and visually disturbing lack of rhythm. I have a dream. I envision a month, I foresee it developing into an entire year with a bonafide public holiday, during which time the dancefloors of the nation become classrooms, veritable universities of the groove. Places where all the skin tones of this beautiful nation can unite and get down with equal abandon. So that once and for all we can iron out the kinks and faulty feedback loops of the Caucasian rhythm center. What an awesome exercise in nation building this will be.”

    It never caught on…

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  7. debbie havarti says:

    Yeah, go ahead, ridicule whitey. He/she can take it any day. Just don’t forget that the same does not apply in the other direction. That’s how we’re working towards a just and equitable society.

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  8. AlainWilliam says:

    I’m white, and I joke very regularly that all white people should quit dancing because we’re crap at it.

    I’d like to see a white person pull this off: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SiqmoZq47I

    But seriously though, cool article.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Well I say we have a Honky Rhythm Month revival! For the benefit of mankind!

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  10. Anonymous says:

    nice review phumlani. true, that people on the dancefloor should try forget the inner mirror a bit more often and just shake the self consciousness off. i guess thats when the rhythm comes voluntarily. oh once were embracing stereotypes again http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/0cc0bac3ce/chappelle-show-dancing-for-different-cultures

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  11. Phumlani says:

    Kudos anonymous my flatmate and I just laughed our motherfucking asses off. What can you say Dave just gets us as people.

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  12. Doctor K says:

    Black people dont like to swim. It makes them feel awkward and self-conscious. They think everyone is watching them and that the opinions of sunbathing strangers matter. They dont. Anyway hit up 4th Beach., bro. We goef there in that squalor.

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