There are times when I attempt to take as unimpassioned a look as possible at my country, South Africa, in order to assess if our stars are really stars, or if they are just the best of a mediocre lot.
I do need to point out, though, that ‘unimpassioned’ is an emotional (or unemotional, perhaps) state that I am rarely able to achieve. Music, theatre, film, work, friends, family, exercise, eating, reading…. these are subjects about which I appear not to be able to retain a removed and disinterested approach for any substantial period of time.
I can be a judgemental horror – I am the Simon Cowell in the reality show of my life, and there is no Paula. Consequently, I felt initially that the degree to which I hated ‘Spud the Movie’ was not quite rational. On the other hand, however, when the producers of a movie suggest that their product is world class, proudly bleating about having attracted the accomplished John Cleese, and yet decide to employ SA musician Ed Jordan to compose the movie’s score, I am reminded of validity of my reaction.
One would assume that the rights to ‘Oliver!’ were somewhat more expensive than the budget of ‘Spud the movie’ allowed for. Yet, instead of perhaps downplaying the importance of the school musical in the film, the powers that were chose to employ Ed ‘King of the Portable Keyboard’ Jordan to create an entirely new score for the musical.
Instead of focussing on the more interesting aspects of the book, such as the crazy but somewhat endearing grandmother (whose character in the film was utterly awful and just so reliant on stereotype), the interaction with the older boys in the school and the fact that Spud was assigned as a de facto maid to a prefect, they got Ed ‘Host of a Game Show’ Jordan involved.
For those of you who don’t know, Ed Jordan might have been a fairly able Bar Mitzvah singer … 10 years ago. Ed Jordan *is* that song that causes you to change radio stations while swearing at the lack of decent music on the wireless. He is that jingle for a supermarket that you hear on the radio. Ed is that voice urging you to by a coke and Bar One at the garage shop. And now he is the composer of the instantly irritating and immediately forgettable music and lyrics featuring in one of South Africa’s most successful movies to date… though still only about a third as successful as Leon Schuster’s brainchild, ‘Mr Bones 2’.
Ah well, maybe it’s just me. Maybe I was particularly grumpy that evening, leaving me yawning at Troye Sivan’s alleged ‘beautiful’ voice and ‘deer-in-the-headlights’ expression meant to convey emotion ranging from deep distress to horny anticipation.
Or maybe I’m just a little frightened that this mediocrity is rocketed into super-stardom in this country because it’s all we have.
Nah… it is most definitely not all we have.