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Koos Kombuis

Welcome to the talent shows of the future!

2011-04-26 10:37
What, exactly, is a pop idol?

Paging through the newly released book by Annie Klopper, Biografie van ‘n Bende – Die Storie van Fokofpolisiekar, I cannot help asking myself this difficult question.

The Fokofpolisiekar-book, make no mistake, is a brilliant publication full of wonderfully laid-out visuals. It is also a well-written and fitting tribute to a group of brilliant Afrikaans musicians and songwriters.

It’s not the contents of the book that bother me, neither the subject matter. I’m worried about the effect of this book on certain segments of the public. I’m not worried about the actual target audience for whom the book was intended. I’m worried about the thousands of people who will never actually read this book cover to cover, but merely glance at it, page through it, and put it down again, taking with them nothing but a very superficial impression of who and what Fokofpolisiekar actually was.

At the age of nine and eleven – pun intended – my kids have only recently made the astonishing discovery that their father isn’t just another bald suburban guy, but an ex ‘rock star’ (whatever that is supposed to mean). I find this incredibly awkward! They have stopped asking me questions about the tooth fairy. They now ask me questions such as: “Have you ever trashed a hotel room?”

So: is the trashing of hotel rooms really the only thing rock stars do?

Rock & Roll

How many members of the general public actually realize that, deep down, the guys of Fokofpolisiekar are truly talented, thoughtful individuals who care deeply about the issues of life? All they see is the debris of parties, all they read are the swear words in big letters, because here it is all in graphic detail, exposed in a book full of glossy photographs. Suddenly, examples of deviant behaviour previously considered normal only in Bellville is lying around on coffee tables of decent families for all to see (including their kids)! Suddenly, drugs and alcohol are becoming fashion accessories!

It is one thing to get wasted because you are angst-ridden and your mother left you alone too long with a sado-masochistic nanny. But it’s another thing altogether when getting wasted is considered just another career option...

Idols 2.0

I shudder when I think of the Idols competitions of the future!

I shudder when, in my mind’s eye, I see those millions of studded, stoned teenagers queue up to win the grand prize of being crowned the most outrageous, rudest, filthy, horrifically decadent performer in the world of pop music!

Imagine this scenario:

Round One of the Finals. The judges must decide which contestant is the best at trashing hotel rooms (this round will actually be sponsored by a prominent hotel chain who will have set aside a certain amount of rooms for that purpose).

Round Two of the Finals. Insults are traded, and the guy with the most bad-ass attitude and the vilest language wins. Perhaps a few live kittens are sacrificed, Alice Cooper-style.

Final Round. The winner is not the person who sings the best, but the one with the worst criminal records, the most arrests for drunken driving, and the most notorious love life. A murder conviction or two always helps.

PS: Of course, compulsory urine samples must prove that all the contestants really are on drugs, and anyone found faking being wasted is immediately disqualified.

Too ghastly to contemplate?

At least there is one single ray of light in this dreadful vision of the future...

Nobody will be doing cover versions of The Greatest Love of All  any more.

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