Strato Copteros's Blog – July 2011 Archive (17)

Brand's what they do to cows in Texas

Five years of an ever increasing amount of 'brand'-based linguistic paraphernalia, and as both a writer and a reader, I'm utterly exhausted by the complete meaningless inanity of it all. And if I sit in one more meeting where some marketing dodo hits me with crap like 'brand architecture', 'brand custodian' and 'brand promise', I'll brand them in original branding style with a hot poker on the rear.

I cannot begin to tell you just how many problems I have with the notion of 'brands' -…


Added by Strato Copteros on July 29, 2011 at 14:00 — 9 Comments

Amy Winehouse - Queen of Blues Brittania

As we lose one more great talent to drugs and mayhem, I don't want to make any clever jokes, and for now I don't even want to mourn. I just want to laud, applaud and pay homage to the “Red, White and Blues” Amy Winehouse became the 21st century queen of, albeit for too short a time. In my mind, she is the most significant songstress to come out of the UK in three decades; and what I loved about her music from the first chord I ever heard, was how she took the timeless musical languages of…


Added by Strato Copteros on July 26, 2011 at 16:00 — 2 Comments



A friend sent me the link to a New York Times opinion piece inspired by Greece’s current unexpected leading role in the global financial crisis. In it, a Professor of history  discusses Greece’s oft forgotten vanguard function at the forefront of modern European development, beyond just its ancient cradle of culture cliché - from Greece’s 1820 revolution against the Ottoman Empire rousing the whole of Europe and ultimately leading away from empire-building to the birth of homogenous…


Added by Strato Copteros on July 21, 2011 at 15:57 — 1 Comment

Winter Wars & Inspiration!

After one of the coldest winter's in years, Grahamstown's spent the last week basking in sunshine! It's still freeeeeeezing at night, but daytimes are positively balmy! And maybe it's cos I was writing a commentary piece on the Greeks yesterday - check out the long blog after this one - but as I was making a fire last night, my thoughts fell on two little nations - one at the bottom of Europe and the other at its very top - who in the bitter cold of winter 1940 fought these amazing guerilla…


Added by Strato Copteros on July 21, 2011 at 15:54 — 1 Comment

Manufacturing Consent

What I'm about to say will probably peeve off everyone I know in marketing and advertising. But I'm going to say it anyway. Just like any nationality can only truly be criticised by its own, after 13 years in corporate communications, I think I've earned the right to point.

So ...

I have come to believe that members of our industry thrive on the impossible deadlines, long hours and the ridiculous turnaround times we're all subjected to, because the degree of difficulty that…


Added by Strato Copteros on July 18, 2011 at 15:00 — No Comments

The Confession

The last trills of acoustic guitar that I'd woken up to every day for almost a fortnight, finally faded away today at lunchtime. Steve and his family stayed on after fest for two and a half days and it was fantastic to experience my friend of four festivals as a father and a husband - with his family down for the last weekend of Artsfest. Like all professional musicians, Steve spends much of his life on the road; and he and all the guys that normally stay with me for fest don't usually bring…


Added by Strato Copteros on July 13, 2011 at 18:30 — 3 Comments

PLAY - ArtsFest Farewell

What a wonderful word: Play. 

Play music. Play a role. See a play. Come play.

As another National ArtsFest now gently bubbles over into Schools Fest and Gtown simmers down to post-fantasia tired bliss, we've had the most balmy winter's day in weeks. Soft light, but clear and strong. Thin sweatshirt weather. Perfect! Even the sun came out to applaud and wave to the countless who performed here and the thousands who saw them.

And each one played in one way or another…


Added by Strato Copteros on July 11, 2011 at 16:00 — 2 Comments

Sunday.Last day

Sunday. Last day. All over. Not quite. Schools' Fest starts tomorrow and some of the ArtsFest's offerings will still be here for that. But the town's emptying fast. Already, the eyelids of our usually sleepy hollow are starting to droop. And all I can do is look back and marvel! So much was, and so many were, here. Here it all was. So here we all were. HERE WE ALL WERE!!! Truly amazing! 

You see, beyond astounding creativity abounding; even more than the breathtaking choice of what to…


Added by Strato Copteros on July 10, 2011 at 19:00 — 1 Comment

Sunshine n Festivity!

"Sun is shining, the weather is sweet. You gotta move your dancing feet." Bob Marley

Like the end of a biblical test, the perpetual dampness at this year's National ArtsFest is fading fast in the sunshine that began peeking out yesterday. Today it's blazing away delightfully! And after almost ten days of non-stop festivity, the fest-fatigue that has built up like a lego toy of tiredness, now makes way for that final, gleeful, fest-sprint to the finish! 

You have no idea how…


Added by Strato Copteros on July 9, 2011 at 14:01 — 1 Comment

Somewhere on the Border

Anthony Akerman wrote 'Somewhere on the Border" in the early 80s, in exile, based on his and countless conscripts' experiences in the then SADF. Of course, it was banned here for being 'prejudicial to the state' ... then. But this is now, for now - who knows what happens if the Secrecy Bill is passed and media tribunal manifests. 

This morning though, I experienced an Akerman doubleheader - the playwright himself giving a lecture as part of TalkFest; and then watching the play itself…


Added by Strato Copteros on July 8, 2011 at 19:56 — 1 Comment

BENT! - Day? - Who knows ...

The Grahamstown National Arts Festival is now a week old. But unlike the almighty, on this seventh day, no one's really resting. Swerving from exhaustion, but not stopping. Like that cheese grater infomercial on late-night TV, at fest there's always more.

And I finally got to see some art! ............... Well, mostly because it came to me.

Probably as penance for having forsaken its eye-catching splendours in favour of my currently more personal musical interests, one of…


Added by Strato Copteros on July 7, 2011 at 22:13 — No Comments


On the side of one of the mountains that encircle and overlook the valley that is Grahamstown, is a very large - a mammoth - photocopying machine, or so it looks. It's an architectural monstrosity known as the 1820 Settlers Monument - a huge building that was constructed in the 1970s; and it shows. Square. From the two pointless mast-like structures protruding from its roof, you get a weak hint that its architect meant for the building to symbolise a sailing ship - to be an ode to the…


Added by Strato Copteros on July 6, 2011 at 15:16 — 1 Comment

Long Night At the Long Table

Gaetan Schmid is a very funny man. Belgian born, but Cape Town based for a dozen years, he arrives every festival with a new fantastic original offering. Three years I discovered him in "The Dog's Bollocks" - an ingeniously funny one-hander, delivered in mock lecture format, on the hillarity of the bizarre spelling and expressions of the English language, from an outsider's pespective. Last year he brought "Rump Steak", where on a one square metre black and white tiled stage, in a…


Added by Strato Copteros on July 5, 2011 at 17:00 — 1 Comment

Monday Panic; Comfortably Numb

The 2011 Grahamstown National ArtsFest is now in it's 5th day. Almost the halfway point; and I still haven't attended a single Thinkfest lecture, dipped into the film festival, seen any stand-up, gone to a dance perforrmance, done any serious plays or been to any art exhibitions except the Arts Lounge where my sister and I performed today. So I'm a tad panicked. Which is why after this I'm going for cocktails. It happens every half way point festival Monday - the initial panic of "so much…


Added by Strato Copteros on July 4, 2011 at 17:00 — 1 Comment

Come together .... over fest.

Last night, all the creative convergence, rhythmic coalescence and symmetrical synergy that fest has come to symbolise for me, came together at our band's opening festival gig - our SunshiP trio, now also with sax, electric violin and acoustic guitar. The other three had never played together, and only two of them had ever previously performed with us a long time ago. But we came together and cooked! They were moments of jubilant, thoughtless, total presence - with very gracious musicians…


Added by Strato Copteros on July 3, 2011 at 16:00 — 1 Comment

Ama ... Ama ... Ama ... Ama ... Amaaaaaaazing! Bless you.

When I first heard the Grahamstown National Arts Festival tagline of "Welcome to Amazing!" the copyrighter in me found it a tad twee - which doesn't change the fact that it's absolutely true.

Today is day three of my 12th or 13th ArtsFest; and indeed amazed again am I! There is something so preciously beautiful about people at the top of their game sharing their gift. And so many of them are here right now. 

Last night I was lucky enough to see the grand masters strumming…


Added by Strato Copteros on July 2, 2011 at 15:11 — No Comments

Melange Magnifique

So day one of the Grahamstown National Arts Festival started off with a BANG! Literally. Last night I watched a drummer with 40 hands; or so it sounded; while the two that I could see looked happily, almost nonchalantly, bored. He was that good! They were all that good! A sextet called The Clearing. David Ledbetter's ensemble of the best young jazz musicians in the country - guitar, sax, trumpet, piano, double bass, drums. Breathtaking! The started off like Dave Brubeck and ended up like The…


Added by Strato Copteros on July 1, 2011 at 16:00 — 2 Comments

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