Surprised by an American Idol

This song is amazing. I stumbled upon it last week while browsing youtube (for something, I forget now what…)
Philip Philips sound is wholesome American small-town. This 20-something Georgia boy won season 11 of American idols, and with his smoky, rocky voice, its not hard to see why. I would say he’s the best winner since Kelly Clarkson.
The lyrics to the song catch the heart, “I’ll love you long after you’re gone…”combined with the images of the video speak of a deep life-long love, the kind we all dream about (to quote Go Radio). Listen and love his debut album: The World from the Side of the Moon and be blown away.


Help me understand…


I’ve been a fan of radio host and journalist Redi Thlabi for some time, especially as a young journalist with a vested interest in the industry. She is a no-nonsense woman, but she is complex as well, often referring to her father and her childhood on her show.

The depth of her debut novel astounded me, taking me by the hand into a world that I, as a privileged white South African, can only get glimpses of. Redi tells the story of her eight month friendship with a notorious (and at times dangerous) Soweto criminal, Mabegzo, and how his life and death impacted her own story for the next fifteen years.

Its a powerful tale, both sad and moving, told with an intimacy and openness I wouldn’t have expected from such a public figure. It draws out a larger societal problem as it tries to analyse why young South African men become violent criminals.

I’m so glad Redi won the Alan Paton award this year for this book in which she wrestles her own demons. Read it, that’s all I can say. Oh ya, and pair it with a good Villiera Cab Sav, you won’t regret it

We celebrate the greatest man alive

Today is Tata Madiba’s birthday, and the world is getting together to celebrate by spending 67 minutes of their time doing something for the vulnerable members of society.

Has anyone in the last century inspired so many people to love? Every Mandela Day, my hope is that the spirit of kindness, generosity and consideration for our fellow human beings will spread to become a basic element of our daily existence.

The words of this song written by Johnny Clegg mean “We have not seen him, we have not seen Mandela, in the place where he is, in the place where he is kept.”

Happy Mandela Day, and remember that caring for others is a lifestyle, not an event of 67 minutes.

<p>Article by Aimee McDonald</p>

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“In real life there are only monsters”

**Disclaimer: I don’t watch the television series version of Game of Thrones, so all comments pertain to the first book in the series of five.

Why doesn't George RR Martin use twitter? Coz he already killed all 140 characters

Why doesn’t George RR Martin use twitter? Coz he already killed all 140 characters

Phew, I’ve finally done it! I finished the first book in George RR Martin’s epic series, Game of Thrones. Since the tv series launched to huge success, Game of Thrones has become a household word, and hundreds of Game of Thrones memes appear daily, the characters have even been on the Simpsons!

It took  me a month to read (its really thick, don’t judge me) and I probably won’t bother reading the other four, it was just too exhausting.

I guess my fomo regarding the TV series prompted me to tackle the books, and I think if I was still in school with long weeks of holiday before me I would probably read them all, but to be honest, I hate that it took me so long to read the first one, and I don’t think I care enough about the characters to find out what happens next.

Martin does an amazing job of creating a rich internal world for each character, and I find it fascinating how a crusty old man can get into the head of a mother of four or girl of eleven, though it does become repetitive after a while.

What upsets me most about the story is that all the good people die or have really bad things happen to them, while the evil characters thrive and get more power. Everybody dies. I know that I am a Disney-princess sort of girl, so maybe Martin’s take is a more accurate reflection of reality, but I prefer stories where goodness, honour and bravery get rewarded rather than punished. I think if Tony Stark had been included in the Stark family tree, the story would have been over on page 300.

All in all it was a good read, but as I have emphasised, somewhat exhausting. Tackle it if you love the tv series, but from what I’ve heard its an accurate reflection of the books, except for the pornography, which is far less apparent in the books.

Over the month I paired this with a few wines, but I found a spicy-rich red (like the Dieu Donne pictured below) goes best, because, after all, Winter is coming.


Winter is coming, make sure you have a good red to see you through

Winter is coming, make sure you have a good red to see you through

<p>Article by Aimee McDonald</p>

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Everybody’s talking about… (allow me to indulge my grief)

For the last two-to-three months, everyone has been raving about new Brit Band Bastille. Yeah, they’re pretty cool, and of course, I’m just catching on now.

My Grandparents passed away this year, in quick succession of each other. We live in a society that marginalises the elderly, so when you tell people that you lost a grandparent, the standard response is “Ag Shame” and people expect you to move on.

I’ve been incredibly blessed to have had all four of my grandparents in my life until the age of 25. My grandpa passed away this week, following his wife of 54 years just four months after her death in February.

Why I like this song, is that there is a line that says “But if you close your eyes, does it almost feel like nothing’s changed at all.”

That is the blessing of having had my grandparents in my life for so long. They shaped and influenced me for 25 years, so when I closed my eyes, I guess nothing has changed after all, because (in a paraphrase of ee cummings) I carry their hearts in my heart.

Thank you for allowing me my little indulgence

<p>Article by Aimee McDonald</p>

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Happy notes from New Zealand

I’ve just returned from a brief road trip to the Eastern Cape, and one thing that road trips always make me aware of is the importance of playlist. When you have four people in a car, there are bound to be various music tastes in a small space.
Fortunately for us, Avalanche City has one of the friendliest and most likeable sounds around. I Love Love Love (see what I did there) these guys from Down Underer (as Flight of the Conchords would say). Originally founded by Dave Baxter, the international success of New Life Above the Ground, his first album, was unprecedented and unexpected. Now he’s got some friends together and is working on a second album, of which this song is a taster of what’s to come (besides having a ridiculously adorable video). I love their use of unusual instruments, and almost all of their songs have sweet, upbeat and positive lyrics and messages, perfect for a road trip.  They are particularly fond of cartoons and stock animation.

Happy Monday

<p>Article by Aimee McDonald</p>

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