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Once more unto the Breach

by Max Barashenkov, images by Kevin Goss-Ross / 07.08.2010

Oppikoppi. Scraps of the slaughter, part 1, written under extreme duress.

On the road, I see an American Indian driving a Mazda 2, he bares his teeth at me, and, with a howl ‘Opppppiiii’, cuts us off violently from the left. The crazies are all along the three-hour drive from Jo’burg, gathering for the slaughter – Boere freaks, already dirty jocks with buzz-cuts, acid-heads dropping tabs on the way to arrive in style, car-loads of pretty girls. Good people. This crowd knows no creed, no clique, no pretentiousness and that alone is refreshing…

Inside, amid the dust and bush, people camp where they can – in trees, in the road – and get down to what they came here to do. Drinking. Here it’s more than a form of entertainment, it’s a glorious and ugly institution. A guy with a Japanese-style back piece stands near a half-pitched tent and funnels a bottle of tequila, it goes down quick, he breathes out and screeches “Neeeeext”, his friends crack another Cuervo and load the funnel. My bet – he is sleeping on the ground tonight, out by 6pm. Fucking ninja…

The bands commence and begin to suck, same shit different name, indie-flavoured soft-cock rock, the people love it. Son of a Thousand Blues tear their throats and wail and wah their guitars with gusto, but it’s all just a shit version of what we heard from the 70s. What follows is a plethora of mediocrity that goes down to a general drunk roar. The first decent band plays at eleven, and they’re not even South African. Philadelphia Grand Jury offer basically the same sound as the local bands, but their stage presence, un-tinged by self-importance, is honest and full of soul – and the audience picks up on it, cheering for the never-before heard of Australian band with abandon. The cocksuckers from Southern Gypsy Queen played in waistcoats and strutted like the rockstars that they’re not, Grand Jury frontman plays in a dirty white t-shirt and jams harder than some of these locals ever will. Taxi Violence taking the stage next is a real downer, the girls squeal in rapture at the bassist and I’m thinking “yeah, cunt, you look fucking hot, now would you care to play some bass?” He doesn’t oblige…

There is a girl with a plastic doll on her head, intricately weaved into her hair. The doll looks at me and says “mamma”, I reply “I’m not your mother” and both the girl and the doll give me a look of such hate and loathing that I take it as the cue to go try find a place to sleep. On the way back, in the dark, three separate couples tell me they love each other, people fuck in the bush all around, I drift off to the sounds of raucous love.

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