Name game is no plane sail­ing

The Sunday Independent - - News -

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.

PIC­TURE: BRON­WYN LLOYD

Marc de Kock re­hearses with one of his band mem­bers.

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