Of Rhinos, old friends, Mountain bike rides.

This clever and moving video arrived on my facebook wall a few days ago. It is worth taking a moment to watch it.

And then this morning a dear friend from South Africa pinged me that he was seeking sponsorship, raising money for the Wildlands Conservation Trust.  David got me into cycling many years ago, introducing me to the joys of the high end bike shop, and the Berkshire and Surrey countryside.  After years of hanging on his back wheel, the least I could do was sponsor him while he rides his mountain bike around Giant’s Castle.

If you would like to help, head over to David’s website for details.  He is only riding 75kms, but it is for a good cause!-)

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Seattle, Stuttgart and the Parlotones.

A couple of weeks ago I was in Seattle for a series of work meetings, and by happy coincidence, a South African band, the Parlotones were in town.  They fill stadiums in SA, so seeing them in a smaller venue was an opportunity not to be missed.  Here they are at the World Cup opening ceremony.

I pinged my mate Mark, and we headed out to the Showbox SoDo.  Not only was this a smaller venue, but they were warm up band for Blue October.

If a South African band plays anywhere, the Diaspora emerges. Seattle was no different. There was a small but raucous SA crowd mingled in with the Seattlean, who were keen for Blue October (who are indeed good too).

The Parlotones played a short set, mainly from the current album, but by the end they had converted the Seattle audience into fans.  They rocked.  I predict that they will have a number one on the US charts before very long. 

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The band is now a firm favourite of mine. Their music is very tight, tinges  of OMD and The Killers,  REM,  Radiohead, maybe a faint whiff  of  The Cure too,  but somehow their own.  The lyrics are often clever, and  some of them quite dark.  Welcome to the Weekend, in particular,  strikes home, but this line from “Should We Fight back?” is well and truly stuck in my head.

Sip it slowly sweetness sometimes tempts us into the silly
Choked by cherry chocolate charm in a chariot of phony

I’m going to be seeing them again, this time in Stuttgart, this Saturday. As they are main act, I’m hoping they will have a longer set, and will dip into their older albums too.  As per Seattle, there will be Diaspora contingent.  We will be loud, louder than bombs.