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Miss Tropika ruins the day

2007-02-26 11:07
Psssst! Don't miss our Miss Tropika videos lower down in this article. Don't worry, they're short.

It's a windy Saturday, and I have flu, but some of my favourite local rock bands are playing on one bill in Stellenbosch, so I remove myself from bed and drive to the top of a windy hill, where Harris Tweed, Bed on Bricks, Love Jones, Cassette, Karma, and a couple of others, are playing (with gloomy-seeming Swedish outfit The Marching Band opening). I don't get to see most of these guys normally - they're Jo'burg based. And Karma's flying out of SA in the morning. Harris Tweed put on a professional and impressive set despite the gale and things are looking up - the field outside Protea Hotel's Black Bull bar isn't nearly full, but open air concerts grow by word of mouth, so a crowd is expected. It's 4pm when Harris Tweed finish, and we begin to notice large groups of model-type girls drifting in. And then a surprise addition to the playlist pops onto stage. It's Ike Moriz, who's a nice guy but not really on a par with the rest of the acts - he dresses better than he sings. His parents clap and bob on their stools in the VIP section, a huge Castle Lager jumping castle without the jumping bit. It's getting cold.

Something suspicious is happening: they're setting up a white table and covered chairs, and putting bottles of Tropika juice on the table in front of the stage. Further investigation reveals ten skinny girls in bikinis queuing behind the stage. And then they announce that we'll shortly be witnessing the Miss Tropika Finals. What an honour! Well we figure it should take 15 minutes. Some awful boy from Highveld Stereo is hosting together with a fat, stomach turning TV "comedian" I've never heard of, who referred to the contestants as "The Hottest Chicks in South Africa!" with an astounding lack of irony.

To me they look like the coldest chicks in South Africa - the freezing wind pummels them as they pose. And turn and pose. And smile and pose, for a small crowd of supporters screaming up front. And wriggle and pose. An hour later, they're still posing in one outfit after another and the music fans lying on the lawn begin to yell out in frustration. Stuff like: "#&*% off, we came here to watch music!"

Hey, we wouldn't mind ten minutes fun bikini stuff. We would have tolerated not being warned about this. But it just goes on too long.

VIDEO: Highlights of 2.5-hour Miss Tropika 2007 pageant
- Broadband quality 5.4MB, 300kbps - rightclick and save
- Medium or streaming quality - 1.72MB, 100kbps - click to play now

To drag the pageant out further, they interviewed the woman from Step Ahead modelling, who explained that only once we were down to the top five, did "Intelligence" come into it. So only an hour to go before the intelligent part, then.

An hour and a half later, the pageant finally finishes. Not one of the judges has touched their Tropika, and the tipsy families of losing contestants are being ungracious - like guests on a low-key Jerry Springer episode. It's 6.45 PM and after four hours and a 70km commute there and back, we've only seen one of the bands on the bill perform one 30-minute set.

The Highveld Stereo guy comes onstage one last time. After reiterating how hot the chicks had been, and pointing out to bored silence that Highveld bought KFM, he adds this classy touch: "So guys... the toilets are over there. If you wanna..."

We leave, having seen only one of the bands, exhausted, sick, bitterly disappointed. The crowd has actually shrunk, and nobody new is arriving at 7pm with the big acts still to play.

What did Tropika pay to hijack the gig? And didn't they realise they were targeting the wrong audience with the wrong show and the wrong people? Here's a promise that's not hard to keep: I'll never drink that stuff again, now, no matter how much the chilli sauce on my Gatsby burns.

What else pisses us off?

Long beer queues:
People at concerts like to drink. Why make them suffer?

Late starts:
Bands may not have to get up for work at 7am, but their fans do.

Crap food:
Whoever has the franchise to serve food at concerts (in Cape Town at least) shouldn't be allowed in a kitchen.

Cops ticketing cars at gigs:
There simply isn't enough parking near many of our Stadiums. It's completely unfair for cops to ticket for illegal parking when punters actually have no alternative. For one night, make a plan, turn a blind eye, or set up a roadblock for the drunk drivers leaving the gig instead. Or hey, the venue could provide parking. Just a thought.

Girls on guys' shoulders:
If you've paid for your ticket, you'd prefer not to have to try to see over some girl who's up there flashing her nooblies at the band.

- Jean Barker

What's the worst thing that's ever happened to YOU at a gig? Let us know.

There's nothing better than a good gig - the elation, the sweat, the smiles, the sore feet and perhaps a bit of a beer buzz. Conversely, there's nothing worse than a disappointing gig, either.

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