The Ard of Anthem Singing

As bad as I feel my week has been, I’m pretty sure it’s been worse for Ard Matthews.

In case you’d been abducted by aliens (and I’m currently reading Stephen King’s Dreamcatcher so it seems quite likely at this point) and missed the entire skandaal, Just Jinjer frontman had the most epic of brain farts during a live performance of the South African national anthem, which was part of the Springbok squad announcement for the World Cup.

Now, South Africans are truly, notoriously unforgiving. We set such high standards for ourselves and our heroes that one slip up is enough to see you totally slammed. That’s what’s happened to Ard. And the poor guy, professional that he is, has accepted all the blame, made no excuses and simply apologised and apologised and apologised – and will continue apologising until he runs out of ways in which he can apologise. But it’s not looking good – I ran a poll on my site and almost 88% of the voters said that they wouldn’t accept any of those apologies, saying that there’s no excuse.

The public slamming and humiliation has started to get out of control. Local chicken franchise Nando’s ran an ad within 24 hours of the performance, broadcasters SuperSport and the SA Rugby Union have been hauled into Parliament to (ahem) face the music and even the infamous fellow-anthem destroyer Ras Dumisani has thrown in his five cents’ worth, saying that he thinks Ard “can’t sing at all” and that it “looks like he can’t concentrate on singing and playing the guitar at the same time – he should have got someone to accompany him.” This is rich, of course, coming from the guy whose rendition of the anthem was so bad that it was cited among the reasons the Springboks lost a match to France.

In among all of this, Ard has made no excuses. Okay, he has since posted a YouTube video to prove that he does in fact know the anthem.

But his behaviour is more than the now much-quoted Ras has done – after his debacle he blamed everything from the backing track to the crowd.

But it’s now got out of hand. The hate directed at Ard – who has been nothing but one of South Africa’s golden boys until now – is shocking. At the end of the day, it was simply human error. There was nothing malicious about it. Sure, Supersport could have allowed Ard a teleprompter. Sure, he could have stopped and started the anthem again. Sure, Bok coach P Divvy could have joined in like the redhead from the FNB ad – but none of that happened.

Let’s respect his apology and move on – and most importantly, let’s stop spewing the hate. We can’t go back and change the past, as I so often have to remind myself, so let’s rally forward. Forgive, forget, let it slide.


The Devil Wears Woolworths*

*Well, no. But I’m a fashion-blogging virgin and wanted something spunky. The Devil wears Prada. And I love Woolies. Truly, I do. Okay, I’m going to stop rambling now.

This is only going here ’cause I don’t have anywhere to put it. Plus it means that I get to create a “Fashion” category. Plus it was also my first ever real-life ramp show. (No, sorry old school friends trying to relive your glory days – the ones at school don’t count).

Anyway, Woolworths SA have done a massive relaunch of two of their major lines – Studio W and Re: – and our Lifestyle Ed tagged me into going. It was all very wonderful, spotted some of South Africa’s self-proclaimed fashionistas (included in the off-ramp fashion was an actual fascinator, far-too-many bad printed jumpsuits and heels to make me weep) and Top Billing‘s Jeannie D was the MC. Our Lifestyle Ed was beside herself with joy – she’s got a massive “girl-crush”, she says.

We were also subjected to the world’s longest, most badly rehearsed version of I Love Rock & Roll – Joan Jett would be ashamed. Thankfully, there was more than enough sparkling wine to go around and we did our best to relieve them of the burden of carrying around trays full of glasses. It was, of course, our civic duty.

Anyway… Some pictures below. Snapped off the rather bad camera on my phone. My next contract upgrade, I’m getting a decent camera. That is all. I was in love with their Re: line – super sexy, very funky and very rock ‘n roll.

A brief rant on movie critics (myself included)

Cowboys & Aliens

Cowboys & Aliens

So I started this rant in my weekly work newsletter, but that’s limited to around 250 words before the white space becomes unbearable, and so I had to rein it in a little. And you know by now that I’m no good at reining things in. So I’m copy-pasting my newsletter column in here, then expanding the rant.

Basically, I needed to have a rant about movie critics. And I count myself quite firmly in the group – seeing as, so far this year, I have written reviews for over 40 films and seen a lot more. Some got lost in the vortex that is created when watching four films a week, trying to survive a rather manic personal life and still oh, I don’t know, run a site. (It’s only going to get more hectic in the next few weeks, stay tuned for details!)

One of the films that I saw last week was Jon Favreau’s Cowboys & Aliens. And the reaction – from South African movie critics that consider themselves the next Roger Ebert – sparked a rant that had been coming for some time.

For the most part, the critics panned Cowboys & Aliens. Fair enough – it’s not True Grit or Close Encounters of the Third Kind or 127 Hour or Black Swan or even freaking The Lion King. But for what it is, I think Cowboys & Aliens is a good film. Now before you poke me with a spoon, this post is not about whether or not it’s a good movie or not. Bear with me.

Let’s be honest, the average moviegoer won’t go to a movie called Cowboys & Aliens expecting a cinematic masterpiece. We’ll never compare a movie about aliens invading a Western town to the Oscar-winning The King’s Speech – so why critics continue to hold popcorn-munching blockbusters to the same standards as award-winning dramas is beyond me.

Most people take blockbusters for what they are – mindless escapism, an evening out on the town away from the kids or the stresses of your day-job and a chance to revel in silliness. Critics need to look at blockbusters and ask the question – is this a good blockbuster? For what it is – is it well-made? Is it a cleverly written romantic comedy? Are the giant explosions properly executed? Cowboys & Aliens will never win the Oscar for Best Picture – but that doesn’t make it a bad movie. Critics – myself included – need to stop being pretentious for just one second, and deal with the fact that criticising the new Transformers movie using the same criteria or having the same expectations as we do when revewing The Hurt Locker is just silly.

Only then will reviews be any use to the average viewer – who just wants to know that his rom-com is going to be better or worse than the last one he rented out.

Read my Cowboys & Aliens review here and see if you agree with me.

Kim Kardashian’s “fairytale wedding”. Oh, kill me now.

Kim Kardashian on the cover of OK!

All about "Kim's dream wedding"! Ooh, hold me back!

I’m just going to lay it out there.

If Kim Kardashian doesn’t get married soon, I’m likely to throw myself off the balcony at work. And, considering we work on the sixth floor, I may die. And it will all be Kim’s fault.

Seriously – I read and write about celebrity gossip for a living, so I’m pretty tolerant of all the associated bullshit. But her wedding to Kris Humphries has just about pushed me over the edge.

For weeks and weeks – since the engagement with the rose petals and the surprising-her-upstairs-in-her-bedroom with the $2-million engagement ring – all the little pumpkin has been able to talk about is her wedding, which is currently scheduled for 20 August. I say “currently”, because if a blonde poppie can dump Hugh Hefner’s ass, anything is possible.

Like the fact that her wedding dress is being designed by “close family friend” Vera Wang. That she’s going to have a 10-tier cake that’s meant to resemble the cake at Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton. That she’s going to wear her hair up (seriously, people were voting on this point). That she’s launched an exclusive bottle of perfume to celebrate her wedding (it’s called “Love” and you could own one of the 799 bottles for just $100!!). That her mom’s had a face-lift in preparation for the big day. Ooh, also – fans can help Kim choose her wedding song!

Most nauseatingly – that she’s convinced her wedding will be bigger and better than the royal wedding. According to pals, of course – with one person claiming, “Kim is planning the wedding of the century. She doesn’t see why a royal wedding should get more attention that hers. She sees herself as a bigger celebrity than Kate Middleton.”

Seriously, what fucked up world do we live in that a reality star’s wedding to a sportsman is likely to be “the wedding of the century”?

More ranting after the jump…

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Angelina Jolie is disappearing fast…

Now, I’ve always been a member of the “She’s not that skinny” club when it comes to Angelina Jolie. Sure, she does look a little on the super-slim side but she is a mother of six. I imagine it comes with the territory.

I still think she is one of the most beautiful women on the planet, and I’m in no way suggesting that she’s suffering from an eating disorder / on drugs whatever. What I am saying is that she needs to remember that she’s not a superhuman and should take care of herself, too.

The pictures from the Sarajevo Film Festival – where she was presented with the Honorary Heart of Sarajevo Award not “only because of her exceptional career in the movie world, but also due to her exceptional engagement in the real world,” according to the festival’s director Mirsad Purivatra – were quite scary. She was already looking super-trim at the Tree of Life premiere in May (the pic of her in the red) – but she’s just disappearing. Rapidly.