Tak­ing heart af­ter sur­viv­ing yet another dooms­day fore­cast

Pretoria News Weekend - - OPINION - Jou­bert Mal­herbe

LATE-NIGHT road­blocks around the city seem to be an in­creas­ing area of ex­per­tise of the metro po­lice force.

I guess it’s a good thing, given that there are still a plethora of mis­cre­ants out there.

That is de­spite the odd parcels of hope that are still around. Oh, and of course, fine peo­ple like Makhosi Khoza, rock ‘n’ roll and beer.

It can be quite an­noy­ing to be pulled over and the preva­lence of cops on our night-time streets has cer­tainly put paid to our oc­ca­sional week-end­ing “wine even­ings”.

I was once stopped while be­ing stonecold sober. I asked the rather of­fi­cious of­fi­cer that, hy­po­thet­i­cally, if I had had a mod­est vol­ume of Bac­chus’s best (a glass and a half, say), and he de­tected a slight whiff on my breath while check­ing my li­cence, what would he do?

“You’d be pulled over and breathal­ysed straight away,” he replied tersely.

Well, talk­ing of road­blocks, I again en­coun­tered one just be­fore the en­trance to Foun­tains Val­ley re­sort the other even­ing on my way home from work. Be­lieve it or not, but I was lis­ten­ing to Led Zep play­ing that great song off the sec­ond al­bum, Heart­breaker.

A far younger cousin of mine, Dawid, who is also a mean gui­tarist, re­cently had a heart flut­ter. He quipped at the time that he might have con­tracted some or other car­diac con­di­tion be­cause he lis­tened to said Heart­breaker too of­ten; quite a few Zep­pophiles in the fam­ily, I’m glad to say.

Cars were be­ing pulled off at ran­dom into the side lanes. I was, of course, stone-cold sober and I was look­ing for­ward to dis­pens­ing some good­will to the of­fi­cers. But, I was sim­ply waved on with­out any­one in the thin blue line af­ford­ing me even an askance glance.

I had pushed the “pause” fa­cil­ity on the CD as I was ap­proach­ing – I don’t think a dose of late-night Zep would tickle the fancy of a cop in the line of duty. I re­ac­ti­vated the CD as I roared off and Plant bel­lowed that great line “Well, it’s been 10 years and maybe more/since I first set eyes on you”.

Well, we had our first re­ally se­ri­ous elec­tric storm at the week­end – and then some in the week. I quiv­ered in awe as the light­ning and thun­der put on a me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal dis­play of some fe­roc­ity over­head.

Com­ing so soon af­ter we sur­vived what was sup­posed to be the non-ex­is­tent Planet Nibiru wip­ing out Planet Earth, I reckon the gods just wanted to show who were call­ing the shots. In case you didn’t catch it, some crack­pot end-of-time doom­say­ers had de­duced from rolling the bones or read­ing the runes, that we would be oblit­er­ated on Septem­ber 23.

Now I see there’s another geezer pre­dict­ing that we’ll be a goner on Oc­to­ber 21. I’d bet­ter stock up on cans of veg curry and as­sorted li­ba­tions.

I think a far more cred­i­ble threat to hu­mankind is posed by the joint ef­forts of the bad-hair-day ter­ri­ble twins of Don­ald Trump and Kim Jong-un and their nuke pos­tur­ing. More crack­pot stuff, for sure, but pretty scary any­way.

When­ever I read or hear about their threats and counter-threats, I al­ways re­call Bob Dy­lan’s clas­sic line “You play with my world/like it’s your lit­tle toy”. He wrote that in 1963. The song, as if you needed telling, is called Mas­ters of War… it has a won­der­ful fi­nal verse which is worth check­ing out.

* It’s been a sad week for mu­sic in­deed. First of all, that mad­man killed around 60 con­cert­go­ers in Las Ve­gas. And the fol­low­ing day, one of my all-time favourite mu­si­cians, Tom Petty, died of a heart at­tack.

I saw him and his band, The Heart­break­ers, back­ing Bob Dy­lan in Lon­don in 1987. Also on the bill was Roger Mcguinn, of The Byrds, which made it one of the finest shows I ever saw.

So, RIP Mr Petty; go free fallin’ as you run down a dream. It’s sad that you won’t be com­ing round here no more… thanks for the mu­sic hey.

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