Last year during my marketing studies, we were given a creative assignment to do that involved writing a unique story. The story had to be associated with a particular picture that depicted two mannequins (male and female) sitting at a restaurant drinking what looked to me like wine. Upon hand-in; the lecturer would shortlist five of the best stories with the intention of giving the winning piece a special prize. So, I went to work on the piece and flowed with the first thing that came to mind. In a South African context what I’d written was not unfounded, and it came as no surprise that the piece was gritty and true to life. I thought I had a winner; but alas – my piece did not make the cut. The lecturer thought it was too graphic and offensive and felt that shortlisting it; would mean it would have to be recited aloud to the class. Upon listening to the recitations of some of the shortlisted candidates, I became bleak. Most of what I was hearing sounded insanely nonsensical and oozed with a type of irrelevant and shallow sentimentality. Now, that sounds harsh – but allow me to explain.
During my high school years I spent a lot of time listening to hip hop music, learning and reciting rhymes by my favourite rappers, and coming to grips with an MTV-type reality that did not relate one bit to the reality of life in the transitional post-Apartheid South African landscape. Not that I felt the true brunt of any such thing, but there was a sense that a new type of consciousness within local artistic circles was developing amongst youth cultures, one at direct logger-heads with a new type of villain: massive corporate media, with massive consumer interest. A new type of social ill was developing amongst the youth; while a new type of agency emerged to combat it. These militant artists started springing up under the radar of the mainstream, and inspired me to question what I was experiencing then as a brain dulling drone; filled with praise for the various misogynists, drug users, and hedonists I had come to know as role-models on TV and on radio. Names like 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, and Eminem soon started exiting my playlist as quickly as they had entered, and names like Godessa, Tumi and the Volume, and Jitsvinger started entering my private listening experience. Gifted wordsmiths with an articulate view on politics, media, and the human experience; began enlightening my mind with the critical truth only a few average listeners nowadays ever come to realise. They were unafraid of fighting the so-called system and not giving a damn about who objected. This then, was my coming of age in a world that had somehow fallen asleep.
I wanted to be a harbinger of truth, a soldier on the side of the light, and a formidable rapper who stood his ground amid the nauseating pound of four-on-the-floor club beats, hazy repetitive BEP style lyrics, and the infinitely uninspiring wobble of auto-tuned vocals. I practised my rhymes almost every day. Later at university, I committed a period of my undergraduate studies to the writing of free-flow poetry and I became quite good at putting words together off the top of my head. I was a verbal warrior. One who ironically; ended up studying the same thing he set out to fight in the first place: marketing.
My disdain for the marketing lecturer’s dismissive attitude toward my piece was not so much a response to his shortlisting of some terrible writers (who invariably might end up writing copy for some even poorer brands), as it was a response to his estrangement from a reality that exists within the close proximity of his cushioned middle class way of life. Which, in South Africa – has been a historically white priviledge. I felt offended that he and a bunch of my classmates had their blinkers fitted on securely, without a hint of them relenting to see things from a slightly more true perspective.
Here is the piece I wrote called Wine & Dine. It is followed by some comments by some of my Facebook friends in response.
Wine and dine
he sees …her sitting by herself
The girl at table six with her cleavage hanging out
So beautiful and nice, young blood she is right
To be taken on a journey at the end of the night
Her name’s Ashley, her dad’s light of his life
Young woman almost ready to be a lucky guy’s wife
She’s looking for a man just to have and to hold
To grow old with, joke with, to do a little coke with
Well she’s in for a treat, this hot guy takes a seat
A few rows away over at table number three
He shoots her a glance with his dashing young eyes
She blushes and tries to act casual and pries
Her blackberry from her bag, it’s her dad with a mail
“come home right now, someone broke out of jail”
She ignores the warning, in her heart she is warming
Forming butterflies in her tummy ‘cause it’s love that is dawning
Or so she thinks
“Can I buy you a drink?” Comes quick and faster that she thought it would
Seems she is being reeled in by a man with a grin
Little baby fish is now struggling to swim
The drink is in, stirring in, blurring up her vision
Her legs give in, head sinks, falling to the ground
The faded sound muffled as the world blacks out… blacks out blacks out …black out.
What the hell just happened? It happened so fast
Her body is moving in the backseat of a car
Voices are talking, gawking at her naked butt
Pausing to decide who will be the first to cut In, and rub in, and pull out, and pull in,
And rub in, and pull out, and pull in
And rub in, and pull out, and pull in
again and again and again and again …and again and …again.
Lance took a chance to advance
With his peacock dance he put Ashley in a trance
Transported to the back of his mind
when the wine had taken her away from the scene of the crime
She comes to, he comes too
between 3 or 4 guys with their tools in between her two thighs
she cries inside ‘cause she can’t move her body
the guy she just met turned out to be a bit shoddy
prodding her, plotting the disposal of her frame
They will trunk her, dump her, throw her in the drain
Maimed and battered, blood splattered on the floor
All for the reason she decided to ignore
Her dad’s on the phone calling anyone who saw
The body of his daughter laying in the street raw
Wine and dine this stuff happens all the time
They’ll spike your mind with their evil wicked kind
Of dance floor charm and macho man tactics
Watch out for strangers ‘cause they’ll even use rattex
They mix an elixir to get you down on the mattress
The fact is packed with proof of the matter
Wine and dine, this stuff happens all the time
Tell me your thoughts. I’d love to hear them!