Name game is no plane sailing
The naming of airports is a difficult matter,
It isn’t just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you an airport must have three different names.
NO, I haven’t had a stroke and neither am I drunk. Well, I haven’t had a stroke. This is what TS Eliot might have written if he had had airports instead of cats on his mind.
It’s just as well he was more of a cat person than an airport person. Three different names would confuse a tremendous number of pilots.
Just because they wear ironed uniforms with peaked caps and gold braid on their shoulders doesn’t mean they’re demi-gods, you know. They really are just drivers of big flying taxis. We don’t even know how good they are because there’s nothing to crash into up there. Apart from other flying taxis, obviously. And maybe the odd mountain.
South Africa has once again been dragged to the brink of civil war, this time over the renaming of airports. Cape Town, Kimberley and I can’t remember where the others are. It doesn’t matter. It’s only Cape Town anyone cares about. Quite frankly, I don’t give a damn if it’s renamed Harry The Strandloper International .
If you live in Cape Town and take a taxi to the airport – which you will have to do if you have friends like mine – you’re going to say to the driver:“Please take me to the airport.”You don’t even have to say “please”. If you like, you can hold a gun to his head and simply say:“Airport.”
There’s less chance of him turning in his seat and saying,“Which airport?” than there is of him saying:“Airport? The movie was way better than the book. Man, that suicide bomber getting sucked out of the plane was something else.”
If you live in any of our major cities and say you’re going to the airport, people are going to know which airport without you having to name it. This means that nobody will ever speak its name, old or new.
The only time you need to use the full name of any airport is when you make your online booking so that when you finally reach the check-in counter, the surly, hungover boarding card-dispenser doesn’t put you on a plane to some or other godforsaken hell-hole like Mogadishu. Or worse, Port Elizabeth.
The other thing about airports is that they are desperately sad places that people only go to so they can get somewhere else.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there are people who go to airports to eat and shop, watch people waving and weeping and hugging, then drive back home. It seems like a deeply weird thing to do.
But back to the real issue. Airports shouldn’t be named after awesome people for the same reason Point Road should never have been renamed in honour of Mahatma Gandhi. Point Road should’ve been renamed after one of the city’s indestructible degenerates who has outshone all others in his lifelong quest for drink, drugs and whores.
There are many candidates worthier than I.
The overarching emotions in airports are irascibility and sadness, undercut with notes of frustration, bouquets of boredom and a rich aroma of feet.
Cape Town airport should therefore be named after the angriest, most miserable person in the city. EIGHT young bands will celebrate Youth Day with an eclectic mix of jazz sounds when they take to an Artscape stage for Band Stand on Saturday.
The annual Band Stand showcase is part of the Artscape mentorship programme, which includes soloists who will take part in a youth jazz festival on Friday.
The programme includes training, under the tutelage of musicians Marc de Kock, Ian Smith and Camillo Lombard.
De Kock says one of the most important things is to instil the values of a professional musician into the participants.
“We want them to walk away with an understanding of what it means to be a musician, not just from a musical standpoint, but to show up on time for rehearsals, knowing how to do a sound check and set up for shows and how to conduct yourself in a professional environment.”
The eight bands taking part are all from the Western Cape and the band members are from 16 to 18 years old.
The bands are the Dynamix Jazz Band from The Settlers High School, Groote Schuur High School Jazz Ensemble, Major Voices from Khayelitsha, WCYO Jazz Band from Langebaan, After-School Project from Kuils River, Odwa Bongo, Thorns & Roses from Steenberg and the Marc de Kock Big Band.
“Each mentor works with a couple of bands and we try to expose them to learning how to read music and how to improvise. That’s an important part of the process because many of the bands aren’t actually jazz bands and struggle with improvisation,” says De Kock.
The bands will play a diverse repertoire from jazz standards to African music, Latin, pop covers, isicathamiya, Afrogospel and marimba.
Because of the high standard and commitment of the bands, they play regularly at their schools and are invited to perform at popular venues, weddings and other celebrations and corporate functions. Some played at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.
“You’ll be amazed at the talent levels coming from these guys. You’ll get extremes where they really struggle to grasp something and then someone will do something and you’ll be, like, how did you do that?” says de Kock.
Band Stand is on at Artscape on Saturday at 7.30pm.
Marc de Kock rehearses with one of his band members.