Wine & Dine – A failed yet noble exercise in poetic wordplay!

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!

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6 Comments

  1. I managed to open and looked through this outstanding piece before getting offline last Tuesday. Now that I’m back, I just have to reread and comment on this one because it’s one of the finest I’ve read so far here. It’s like one of your blog’s best kept secret.
    Wine and Dine was such a gripping account of youth’s recklessness which had been a little difficult for me to read until the end. It sounds so real. Your FB friends were right though. It was awesome. Thank you for sharing this special wordplay with us.
    A verbal warrior that you are. Very cool, Josh.

    • Thank you Marj! I’m so glad you found this post. I understand that many people found it harsh, but in South Africa I feel – such stories are a very real part of our everyday lives…we have the highest rape rate in the world. What’s worse is that you’d think the media would stop presenting images of sex and misogyny to the general public in an effort to combat this trend, yet all we’re told is to practice safe sex. I personally think that overtly sexual material should be made illegal for broadcast purposes, in countries where sexual crimes are exceedingly high.

      Just in the last week I heard about 3 news reports on sexual crimes. So why do people wear these blinkers, when they know this stuff is happening!?

      Anyway I’m glad you could appreciate this piece. 🙂 Thank you for reading it!

  2. It’s a privilege to have read it, Josh. Oh, I didn’t know that about South Africa. I’m really surprised. Yes, I agree overtly sexual materials must be banned so as not to induce young people to impetuous behavior. Now I’m wondering if rape crimes there usually lead to murder, too.

    I hope you had a great time jamming with the band last April 12. 🙂

    • Generally the rape and murder rates go hand in hand. For example, we recently had a case where a young girl was gruesomely raped and murdered. They caught the culprits and the one suspect has admitted that he raped her, but pleads not guilty to the murder – nevermind that her life would’ve been destroyed either way.

      Anyway maybe this post is too bleak? I generally don’t have a negative outlook on life – I just think we shouldn’t be afraid to express our thoughts on taboo issues.

      Oh and the gig on Friday was awesome! The crowd really enjoyed our set! 🙂 thanks for asking

      • I don’t think it’s bleak at all. It caught my attention because it was excellently written. It made me marvel at your awesome writing prowess.

        Pardon me for the delay in my replies. I try to stay away from the Internet during weekdays because of my job schedule and I try to limit the amount of time I spend online. I get glued to the computer pathetically and helplessly if I don’t watch it :-). But I’m looking forward to clicking and listening to more of your songs here.

        Glad to know you’ve had fun during your gig.

        Warmest Regards, Marj

      • Ahhh thanks so much for the compliment Marj! 🙂 I really appreciate it. And don’t worry about the internet issue, I understand that fully. I’m also looking forward to reading more of your posts! Hehe.

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