Homo-Boy From Outer Spaceby Johann M Smith, Images by Leon Visser and Matthew Schnetler / 01.04.2011
Who is Graeme Newlove? You know, the guy from camp Cape Town indie rock humourists, The Magic of Pegasus. But more to the point, who the fuck does Graeme Newlove think he is? Firstly, he’s not who you think he is. But that can be said of many wannabe artist hipsters. Let’s try some anecdotal Graeme Newlove trivia to set this up. Before every gig, Graeme makes his fellow band members snort pink Nesquik just for amusement. The feeling, I’ve been told, is not pleasant. He’s a primary school teacher. Recently some of his students found a fabulous picture of him and Sean la Bang, the Magic of Pegasus bassist, guitarist and sparring-partner, in a bathtub together. No parents have complained, yet. When Magic of Pegasus were invited to Splashy Fen a few years back, three band members upped and left and Graeme wrote a whole new set on the trip down.
Magic of Pegasus recently received a legal threat from an Australian band called Pegazus. Graeme is yet to reply. He pitches up for the interview sans glitter. He looks quite normal. Shorts and a wifebeater vest. The only thing that gives his disguise away is chipped turquoise nail polish.
Many have seen Magic of Pegasus and thought what is this fudge packing, nancy boy, vicar in a tutu doing? Music critic Jon Monsoon thinks they’re pretty good. While Mahala’s resident evil, Roger Young was harder to please, kicking off his review with this sodomite of a sentence.
“Thinking that you’ve just discovered androgyny is not an excuse to make tinny Facebook victim pop.”
Mahala: By the time people read this you would have probably started another band. Why not just commit to one?
Graeme Newlove: Sean la Bang and I love performing. And we express ourselves with different projects.
Surely performing shouldn’t be the only thing?
The music industry doesn’t exist. Everyone pretends it does. We’re not into playing as a band. We just like being on stage. Isn’t that enough? And because I can. You can do anything, people forget that. I don’t like staying in one place for too long and I suffer from insomnia. So, when I have a new band I have something exciting to do. Besides, the first three months is the honeymoon period for any band. Everything is possible.
Are you and Sean in a relationship?
Does it matter?
You’ve gotten into quite a lot trouble for wearing skin tight glitter suits and sticking your tongue down Sean’s throat on stage.
We were on tour in PE and in this joint with no stage. A big guy walked up to the mic and killed his cigarette on my chest. We’ve been called faggot, queer and all the text book homosexual names. But it’s not all bad. After a gig in Durban some kind folks invited us to lunch and made us special Magic of Pegasus necklaces.
I am surprised at how calm and friendly you are. No sarcasm intended.
Well, you’re not trying to be cool. In fact you’re not. You’re just nice. Do you feel like a failed enigma?
No. I don’t care. I am not Nikhil Singh.
I’ve seen you at Wild Eyes gigs. Do you ever take down notes?
Subconsciously we all steal what we like. Also, it’s not a bad place to steal from.
List all the bands you’ve started in chronological order.
Doppler Effect, Magic of Pegasus, Sonny Horror, Prizes for Tigers, Michael Jackson is Dead, The Gaspers and Fannyboy. Oh and Skanking Nelson, my first band in 2001/2. That was in the good days of Purple Turtle when Francois van Coke and Wynand Myburgh were still on sound.
I heard the same from The Plastics. How are they as sound guys?
You have quite a following in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town. Do people ever come up to you and ask if you want to start a band?
Can we start a band?
Sure. What do you play?
Drums. But I am not snorting Nesquik.
Then there’s no chance.
So there you have it. If your aim is to shock and entertain, you could do a lot worse than being an ADD, cross-dressing, closet homo internet sex meme who snorts Nesquik, teaches children and makes music that causes several manly members of conservative audiences treat him like an ashtray. If Graeme Newlove was less original he’d probably just default to racism, like Steve Hofmeyr and Julius Malema.