Being left locked down in the dark yet again

By Opinion Time of article published Jan 22, 2021

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Joubert Malherbe

WHERE WERE you when loadshedding met lockdown and left us in the dark… which is exactly where I was.

When the latest round of power cuts hit, courtesy of the woeful legacy of Messrs Molefe, Singh and several other higher-up figures, I was tucked in. How I knew that the power had gone, was that the fan went off and soon I was sweltering.

I thought of that great album by ace English pair, guitarist Richard Thompson and his then-spouse, Linda, called Shoot Out The Lights. It was their final album as they split up soon after amid much rancour.

Ironically, the album kicks off with the song, called Don’t Renege On Our Love, on which you can almost feel the cynicism dripping from the lyrics being belted out by Mr Thompson; the title track follows and it isn’t a barrel of laughs either.

I was actually privileged enough to see them performing as a duo (plus band) in what must have been one of their final gigs in the early 80s. Fortunately, Richard Thompson has carried on and continues to churn out classic album upon classic album, featuring both his excellent guitar work, as well as vocals.

Indeed, some years ago, I read a review of a concert of his in which the scribe was enthusing about Thompson’s guitar work.

He wrote this line, which has always stuck with me, “…if he (Thompson) has a rival, it is Neil Young”; and I guess there aren’t many higher compliments that can be paid than that on the guitar front (more about Young later).

Anyway, having mentioned Brian Molefe above, one could only but snigger at his attempts to blame everyone else for the mess he and his cronies left Eskom in when he appeared before the Zondo commission.

Poor old Cyril Ramaphosa’s ears must have been aflame as Molefe sought to pin blame on him and, of course, on Pravin Gordhan. It’s a bit like that e.News ad in which the channel sings its own praises; “it wasn’t me”. Laughable, if it wasn’t so tragic.

It’s so infuriating to watch the Nkandla giggler pulling out every trick in the book not to have his day in court, so to speak. He has always clamoured for it. And yet, when the opportunity arises – Justice Raymond Zondo’s commission – he cries off.

Anyway, a new leader of the “free world” took charge in Washington this week and, man, one can only breathe a sigh of relief that the previous incumbent has taken his irons and retreated to a bunker on one of his golf estates elsewhere.

I was watching the preparations in Washington DC for the inauguration of President Joe Biden and it was truly bizarre – but necessary – to see the kind of security measures being taken to protect the Capitol this time around.

I reckon that if I was Donald Trump, I’d just crawl off and seek to hide my face from humanity for the rest of my days, having suffered the ignominy of being impeached twice. Biden is sure going to have his work cut out as he tries to heal a bitterly divided America.

A different incumbent, for sure, but the song which kept playing in my mind was Ohio by the aforementioned Young. You know, the one that goes: “Tin soldiers and Nixon coming/we’re finally on our own”, which also features a heart-stoppingly great guitar solo by the man himself.

* RIP Phil Spector. You were a troubled man and had an infamous ending (in jail for murder), but your “Wall of Sound” method of recording gave the world some great music; among numerous others, The Beatles, the Righteous Brothers, the Ramones, the Ronettes.

Malherbe is a former member of the Pretoria News staff. His column appears in the Pretoria News Weekend edition.

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