As the brief respite offered by a recent, and very suspicious, lack of loadshedding ends and we are reminded by both natural and municipal forces that winter is coming, this playlist arrives, beefed up by some recent additions to the collection, purchased during a rare trip over the seas.
There, while things may be better lit and more efficiently powered on the surface, travelers are assured that beneath the façade, chaos and darkness loom—a welcome indicator that we are all headed down a proverbial creek, together, both spiritually and geographically and always only one tweet away from final damnation.
But, like the fabled band on the Titanic, Radio JRB continues to broadcast until the iceberg absolutely cannot be denied. Will the songs on this edition of the show make you warm and fuzzy; leave you cold; or offer some sliver of hope in the dark and ice? Who knows? This isn’t a weather, self-help or charity service. It is however, as always, delivered with love, in peace, and with very little comprehension of what we’re all still doing here and where we’ll go to next.
We begin with a grizzled shtetl farmer dreaming of a big payday and end two hours later with a forlorn Moroccan lover waiting for news of her beloved. Somewhere in between there are Tuareg guitars; once youthful and wild, now aging or buried, French rockers; maudlin late twentieth century indie cynics; Jozi jazz impresarios; a just departed Japanese experimental master; and some dancing dead men who will never really die.
So for this hurly-burly moment, it’s a suitably mishmash jumble assemblage of the old, the oldish and the newish that hopefully reflects something—now-ish.
- Tymon Smith is a member of The JRB Editorial Advisory Panel, and a freelance journalist who writes about the arts and South African history. Previously the literary editor of the Sunday Times, he is the recipient of a silver Standard Banks Arts Journalist of the Year Award for feature writing. He was the head researcher for the interactive DVD Between Life and Death: Stories from John Vorster Square, and is working on a book about the Johannesburg police station.