The Flamjangled Tea Party and some things that happen in Cape Town Here and There
I love you guys, but seriously, fuck you.
I’ve delayed writing an article about the Flamjangled Tea Party. It happened two weekends ago. And it’s four days away from almost another weekend. So I’m pretty much three weekends behind in this review and it’s not really a fresh story any more. Well, I have another spoiler: I didn’t even stay for the whole thing. Whoops!
I meant to. I wanted to! I would’ve like to. I liked being at the Flamjangled Tea Party. I liked the people and their costumes, I liked that everybody was shamelessly and cheerfully checking everyone out. I liked that there was a charming hodgepodge tea caravan with a fancy skin-headed lady selling tea,, and I liked that finally coming face-to-face with a band list let me breathe a sigh of relief and turn to my friends with a pumpkin grin and gush "It’s not a trance party, you guys!" This festival had more hippie couples with many small children than any other I’ve been to, and you know what? I was okay with it. They were innocuous enough to be unseen and not creepy. Well, no, there was a little girl dressed up as a child-bride and this stands out in my mind as being Not Okay. So, let me just level there. I didn’t like that about the Tea Party. Don’t let her back, next year.
In the space between leaving the festival and writing this, I’ve seen a Romeo and Juliet performed by a bunch of vintage boots and pork-pie hats, which I was okay with. Over the weekend I borrowed some lunch-break time from a job to pop into the daytime exhibition at Cape Town’s Toffie Pop Culture expo, where I saw probably the same vintage boots and pork-pie hats selling handmade clothes and necklaces with birds, deer, rabbits or anchors hanging from them. I clappe
d my hands in delight at the Tetris-cube brooches, bristled only slightly when the stall vendor felt the need to point out what they were, and perused a table-top art gallery which featured a table with "Books that inspired the artist as a child" which was stacked with A Clockwork Orange nestled next to Winnie the Pooh, amongst others, as the statement. Books you’re supposed to read, you know? Sure, I get it, you didn’t create this, but this probably created you. I see what you’re made of, Artist. You are so raw and metaphorically literary.
By the way, the reason that this segue is relevant is because the job I played a quick one-hour hookie from was one of the reasons I had to leave the Flamjangled Tea Party. Shakespeare got to get paid, son. Yeah, I’m not always scatterbrained, that paragraph had a reason.
Okay, now, I really like the Toffie deal: the inspired design talks, and the little crocheted scarves and brooches and trinkets, and the pretty people and the pretty expensive food - the hipster diet down here is Brewers & Union (liquids) and the bakery guys from Knead (solids). The chips you find are vegan-friendly, kettle-fried and sprinkled with rosemary and coarse sea-salt.
Perfectly apt, it’s started getting cold in Cape Town, which meant that everybody was allowed to snuggle into their pea coats and scarves. It was a nice and warm and creative place. As with the Tea Party, I dragged my feet on the way from this to finish the job I was working on. But in a way it felt nice. I felt happy that things like this happen in Cape Town, that communities cater for people whose common interests genuinely seem to be creativity, inspiration and individuality. Cape Town’s so totally gay for itself.
Like I said, warm feels.
This place is alright.
Lost in my own little comfortable, all-welcoming nimbus, I let my guard down and found myself very affected by this little incident with a collie-faced philosophy major minor (acne, posture) I don’t really want to go into, but the important details of this encounter was that the parting, lasting impression was of him leaned against a wall and drawling out that "yeah, I don’t believe in evolution either, not the whole thing, anyway". I forget what the precedi
ng friendly argument was about but this ended it.
I mean, listen, I don’t want to come off sounding narrow-minded. There’s evidence that our perceived third dimension doesn’t exist at all and that our universe is a hologram, so I suppose he’s allowed to have his opinions. Everything we think we know is just a theory nobody’s been able to disprove yet, so, sure, I guess I could hypothesize that smoke molecules move around because tiny sub-microscopic smurfs are porking each other inside them, and that they’re so small that nothing we’ve invented yet can see them, and my theory might as well stand till anybody can prove to me that fornicating smurfs are definitely NOT making smoke move. Sure, we can play-play that this is science. I got my nonsense science degree from looking at Tumblr memes, too.
Seriously, fuck you kids.
This kid single-handedly made me go back and re-remember the entire good week I’d had and replace every Unique Individual I’d met with his face, because I’d suddenly become obsessed with the idea that each and every one of them harbored inside of them this same, stupid, half-informed idea which they spread over other people like prepubescent Seth Rogan and that mullet-headed bully from Donnie Darko. Oh, fuck the reference, if you haven’t seen Donnie Darko you’re not less of a person because that movie is seriously kind of confusing without really being as deep as it thinks it is. Also, spoiler alert, Drew Barrymore misquotes the fuck out of JRR Tolkien, which I’ve never forgiven her for, nor Jake Gyllenhaal for not correcting her. Drew Barrymore, because of you, people write "Cellar Door" on bathroom stalls and take pictures of it.
What was I saying. Oh yes, Collie Face had jaded my love of pop culture and those who share it. Why? Why was this so bad? Why was I suddenly rendered so angry and adamant that everything I saw and liked at the hands of someone else curdled beneath my palate?
Because I’m just as snobbish and terrible as everyone else? Because I had to breathe out and steady myself when the Pie-Hat tried to explain to me that the handmade brooch I had in my hands was part of a series of Tetris shapes?
No. No, I’m angry, because this little twerp had the power to MAKE me so angry. And I’ve had some time to go back and decide what my deal was. And all I’ve come out with is that really I’m as inwardly competitive and self-righteous as every pair of upright skinny jeans and alternative haircuts walking around, except that I am prepared to gaze deeply into your eyes and promise you that I will never attempt to make myself seem smart and worldly by disputing that something as shallowly controversial as the theory of evolution, just like I’ll never argue that sometimes it RAINS or that before today, it was yesterday. At the very least I promise you that I will take the five minutes to Google a topic I don’t understand but may have maybe read about in the You Magazine (shh! I didn’t pay for it, I was in the queue at Checkers! I mean Woolies! Fuck! WOOLIES!) Nor will I suggest to you that kids brought katanas and guns to school because of Harry Potter or Pokemon that one time.
The Tea Party was nice. The people I chose to spend my time with for the weekend were probably even more excited than eye. Manbear and his girlfriend, L, had matching blue hair for the occasion, and Jacques vowed that his Dr. Martens would not come off for the duration of the weekend. His actions turned this claim into a fib by the end of the weekend, but nobody complained.
For the first time ever we arrived at the festival before the gates opened, so we milled around around cars, drinking beers like a bunch of fruity rednecks. I’d found a rainbow-puke-coloured sleeveless tailcoat with a zebra-print collar to go with my top-hat, which I’d been wearing all day in preparation; Makro’s Liquor Warehouse regulars shifted uncomfortably in their shorts and Crocs as we perused the isles with our trolley. I didn’t mention that L was pretty much wearing lingerie over leggings and that Manbear’s blue beard was staining his white shirt, so he took it off and replaced it with only an orange waistcoat.
We were wearing our finest and fanciest for the Tea Party but I have to cough and admit that this is not far removed from what the troupe is likely to dress as on any other given day. Let me also be quick to announce that these kids aren’t Cape Townians though, they’re just rude and weird.
In fact, I sort of feel like I need to apologize to everybody who couldn’t sleep after they turned off all the music and lights at 2:30 in the AM because of a certain troupe of hooligans running around with a boombox and a Rancid mixed CD. Yelling along to the songs. Whacking our palms on table-tops and benches. Certain members running through the campsites and hollering. Yeah, we were those kids. We’re sorry.
By the time daylight played us in, I realized that the number of families
camping with kids who needed their twelve hours so they could hyper-activity themselves to sleep by nighttime was higher than I’d realized, and felt bad for our behavior. Small children recognized us and shook their heads in disappointment, and it was terrible because they didn’t even have to say anything, they just had sit there and stare, and Oh God please just yell at me or hit me don’t just sit there with that LOOK -
So anyway, we had tea for breakfast and fixated ourselves before at the guys at the schwarma stand until they felt uncomfortable enough to unpack their wares and give into our whining for falafel. Behind us, we heard shrill whistles and saw a troupe of people in green bobby hats and yellow reflective jackets, who were all sternly scolding somebody for littering. They called themselves the Green Police, and they’d go on to do this for the entire weekend (I’m told) - and I pretty much thought this was great. I went to Rocking the Daises last year which is about as much about loving the Earth as leaving your refrigerator door open for no reason is, so I liked that the hippies here were a little more about being all into Gaia and less into shelving out overpriced currency exchanges on knitted hooded sweatshirts and patchy clothes lovingly crafted to look worn.
One of the Green Police guys took off all of his clothes (except his hat and orange jacket) and swam in the lake.
Okay, now, I’m going to have to warn you that the rest of the content I have in terms of "review" for the show are going to wrap up in the next paragraph, because I left as it was getting dark. I’m not going to argue the fact that this was lame and shitty of me and I’ve listened to and read other people’s reviews and opinions, and I all I could do was glumly accept that there was a lot of merry silliness of the calibre one might find right up my proverbial ally, but them’s the breaks. Weird people in costumes and suits, vegetarian food, tea. Not a trance festival. This is the Flam-Jangled Tea Party.
I will spend some time talking about Jinx! Aw man, Jinx. Howcomes these guys aren’t doing shows all over the place? Guys, go look at their Myspace Page. They don’t sound like anything else from around here, which is always something that makes me sit up and listen, and boy are they fun to look at. I’m going to try not to use the "steampunk" adjective, since the Over Forty online community discovered the term and decided that it described them perfectly. Hey, what I’m saying, is, steampunk is a legitimately fun look as a literary subgenera, but I’m sure animal masks and suits were harmless at some point too, get me? But fuck what I think, I had purple tailcoats and goggles, this weekend, so, kettle and pot.
Jynx look cool, okay? Corsets, top hats, fishnet stockings, black and silver face-paint. An apparently motorized woman playing a viscous violin, a silent key-tarist, a slim, top-hatted vocalist, and a woman who sings honest-to-goodness opera. Well, how it works, really, is the whole gypsy ensemble sort of play around her. What do they sound like? I have come up with electric orchestral jazz and oomph symphonies. I think that sort of fits. Like they ought to be on a wooden caravan traveling caravan with people setting fire to things and themselves, merrily. They’re like a body-glitter anachronism with amps. Howcomes they’re so scarce? Come out of your clockwork dirigible and serenade us some more, Jinx, we like you!
So, what else did I miss over the weekend? The Black Orchid Burlesque Beasties arrived literally just as I carried my tent back and things to my car, and of course they’d be a perfect compliment to the aesthetic of the entire weekend; other things I’d looked forward to were Peachy Keen, Mr Cat & the Jackal, Guy Buttery and Jeremy Loops. Jeremy Loops is like the new Dave Ferguson around here - he does the same tricky voice-loop thing with harmonicas, but has his own flair. I like the dude. Dave Ferguson, who I’ve gushed about before, is leaving for Italy, possibly for ever, which is a pity, because the last couple of times I’ve seen him I’ve been cranky and near-catatonic and I sort of feel like he knows and is disappointed, so, sorry Dave.
What’s the point of this thing I wrote? I’ll summarize:
1.) Firstly, if you went to the Flamjangled Tea Party and stayed, good for you! I hope you’ve had an awesome time, and you should tell people about it. If you didn’t, I sincerely recommend you go next year! It’s great.
2.) I’m pretty much as shallow as everyone in Cape Town pretends not to be, but I’m okay with that.
3.) Please don’t stand prepared to reason with people who try and argue topics of controversy with you from things published in the You magazine. Punch them in the mouth and send them praying to whatever literary deity they’ve discovered and pretend not to
4.) Or you know what, whatever. Fuck them all. Believe in your dreams. Anybody can be an astronaut or the President.
Have an excellent week ahead, darlings.