Tales from ObzFest

That time of year: the weekend of 1/2 December was the Obz Festival. It was all on my doorstep, and I was out early in the sunny-but-windy day. Before lunch I was the sole occupant of the beanbag mountain (in the tent in the chill-zone park in Arnold Rd), listening the to the powerful beat of some jazz/rap/reggae fusion.


Later two female guitar-player/singer/songwriters and their fans arrived - Natalia Segerman and Emma. Elements of Emma's style are recognisable from other artists (Tracy Chapman in particular). Natalia's songs are entirely original, her voice gentle, and you see everything that she sings as she sings it - the beaches, the garden route, the wire dragonflies sold on the streets of Cape Town.

All of Lower Main was a market, many stands selling women's clothes, and many more selling R30 sunglasses with "Gucci" or "D&G" in large font stamped on the sides. At the Independent Armchair graffiti artists were redoing the walls outside. One echoed the Firefox "Server not found" page - but instead of a Try again button it said... Go outside. Below that was a box reading "Your earth is not available right now. We are working on it, and it may be available again in a few aeons. Thanks - the Facebook team".

I acquired some Ancient Shark of Despair comics from the authors (Sebastian Borkenhagen and Tom McNally), then wandered to the live music at the end of lower main, and then in a sunny afternoon daze to Obs Books to sit down and read Second-Stage Lensman. After half an hour I realised I didn't have my sunglasses any more. I tried on the R30 sunglasses being sold everywhere, and their fit is as bad as their look.

I slept away the early evening and emerged around 11pm, and wandered until I ran into people I knew - Fraser, Thembisa, Anthony, Nadiem - and some new people. The outback of Independent Armchair had a DJ in charge, and at one point a female vocalist in a neon pink evening dress somehow sang to the beat with her voice as an instrument (it was surreal). After saying hi to Philip Owira - without whom the Cape Town social network would fragment into a thousand islands - I retired.

The highlight of Sunday was the Kolo Novo Movie Band. Outdoors, amongst the hippies of Observatory, their balkan/gypsy compositions are far more enchanting than in the packed, smoky crowds of the Armchair theatre. The band is full of character - with Kyla-Rose Smith playing a red electric violin, the creative director (Grada Djeri) being straight out of the balkans, and Sigrun Paschke playing the accordion.

Back home I started to read Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge... a near-future sci-fi spawned from Web 2.0.

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