Every week of my life, i am truly blessed to witness the truly incredible sight of extremely pissed South African men taking over and (eventually) clearing an up to that point full dance floor with an appalling impression of Johnny Clegg.
Let me just place a couple of things into context. I grew up in London- i literally had never heard of Johnny Clegg until i arrived here 7 years ago. I’ve since seen the man perform live and i have to say that he’s bloody brilliant. I’ve also noted that he’s quite an amazing guy and was particularly important and ‘making a noise’ during a period of history in which it was extremely unusual and somewhat dangerous to do so. I also note that he hasn’t really recorded a great song of note since about 1986. I do, however, ‘get’ Johnny Clegg.
But really, does this mean that i have to tolerate and enjoy the sight of a bunch of middle aged men, previously chained to the bar drinking brandy and cokes for four hours take over and ruin all of my good work?!
There’s different levels of ‘Clegg-ness’ you see. Firstly, you get the guys who just like the music who will just drift onto the dance floor with their missus and perhaps offer up the odd whistle. Then you get the guys who automatically clear a good five metres for themselves on the dance floor who offer up not only whistles but huge, gyrating leg thrusts that would under any other circumstances see them and possibly at least three other people hospitalised. THEN you get what we call the full blown Clegg. These are the guys offering all of the above in addition to which they will roll up their trousers and place their ties around their heads.
I must admit, it makes me sad to think that i have missed this undoubtedly quintessentially South African experience of all those 18th birthdays, matric dances and no doubt endless pissed braais with parents that have educated such incredible dance floor feats. In fact, i’m totally jealous. ‘Great Heart’ is one of the best songs we play and long may that continue.