Thursday, December 28, 2006

Concerning Souk

Before I start- its really sweet of Mak to share such kind words about me on his blog (so obviously i'm gonna link it for maximum exposure :P - i'm pathetic like that :)
So I was going to type out this really long post on my weekend at the Souk (Trade Fair) but then I started watching Smallville so lets see how much I can cover. Saturday I hosted an “Islamic” version of the Weakest Link (someone told the organizers that I’m witty and sarcastic so they got me to do the spot- obviously I am neither so I did enjoy the sarcasm aspect) I had a co presenter to do the boring bits like ask the questions, and I handled the insults. I spent some time in the morning making up some ‘muslim’ dumb lines like

Whose tasbeeh is missing a few beads?
Whose brain forgot to renew its Halaal certificate?
Whose musallah compass isn’t facing Meccah?
Whose mother forgot to feed them almonds this morning?
Whose Zam Zam well of knowledge has dried up?
Well, the loudspeakers are on, but I can’t hear the azaan?

We had a cut off age of fifteen so that the contestants would be assumabley smarter than a carpet of mould on a piece of stale bread. Should have thrown the net a little further as even though the contestants were around nineteen a piece they were dumb as hell! To give two examples- I asked one of them to name three of the five pillars of Islam, so they thought about it for a moment, then said ‘err, hajj, Taraweeh…’ then silence. Taraweeh! Sheesh. I asked another to name one of the four Caliphs after the prophet, and they said Bilal- I felt like hitting them with the mike. But I guess I’m over reacting as I asked a close friend the nest night and he was also confounded. I guess I take certain things for granted because of the crowd I hang out with it, but then again – the person who didn’t know the answer went to Orient Islamic school! Well, anyway, half way through the weakest link, my co presenter tells me, ‘ok Mj, please continue with the questions’. I was like, WTF, because I had to make up shit on the spot, since I do have a slight conscience I decided to go easy on the Islamic questions and did some general knowledge stuff. Sunday I did a piece on radio for Mak – he asked me to do a video game slot on his radio show ‘wired’, so this week I just highlighted my personal top ten lists for ps2, xbox 360 and psp. Later that evening we did another weakest link slot and some moron didn’t know what AIDS was. Oh well, it made him into such an easy target.

Later that night Masood and I co presented an arm wrestling competition which pretty quickly proved to be the most popular draw at the fair. I spent the night at his place( his folks were at wild coast) and we got into the Christmas spirit by watching Home Alone :) . I like celebrating Christmas! Yes, I am muslim, but I see nothing wrong in a day that brings families together. Whats wrong with a fat guy giving kids presents? We drove to his place around midnight and the church down the road was quite full for a midnight mass – I guess when stuff like that stops, when people stop going to church, then we should be worried. Monday afternoon we go to the Souk again and kick things off by M.C’ing a local nashhed group, Waahid, who did a superb job entertaining the crowds, and actually had two catchy songs (you know your stuff is catchy when Masood and I change the lyrics into something more lewd) That night we did another Arm-Wrestling conversation but this time we were joined by a new Al Ansaar presenter ‘Doc’. This was probably amongst the most memorable nights of my year as we had the crowd in stitches with our insults and jeers directed at all the participants. Its amazing how much shit we got away with actually. For instance, we had a Moulana who was arm – wrestling (picture someone with fist length beard, three quarter pants and miswaak in pocket). So our comments ranged from ‘he is Kajoor fuelled’ to ‘if he wins we must all go on jamaat’. We also had some big guys who we called shrek, hulk etc. I’m still amazed we got away unscathed. I tried my hand at it, at the audiences request, but lost pitifully to some steroid jacked up freak in his younger brothers top, a small consolation was that he made it to the final.

On Tuesday I walked around with a Lillah tin and used a pretty cool gimmick to get some money- I told all the stall holders that I only wanted twenty cents from each stall, normally you’d say ‘give whatever you want’. Anyway- turned out they all (due to guilt or goodwill) gave much more than twenty cents and within five minutes I made about five hundred rands- next year I’m gonna start a collection for my ps3 – hope that goes well. Lots more to write about- wasn’t the most exciting souk I attended, but was definitely a lot of fun- but its getting late so I’l leave those stories for another post.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Cam whoring with Celebs

so last week my friends coerced me to attend the Muslim 4eva Concert at the city hall. Normally I attend these kinda things because usually we do the sound for it, but this time around Kathrees was doing the sound- not that i'm bitter or anything, I firmly believe that Allaah gives rozi, all it meant was that I had to pay for tickets - Shit! I mean, you can carry on about how the money is going for a good cause and what not, but somehow that doesnt translate that well when i'm fifty rand poorer ( call me scrooge, but i just spent a whole lot on the xbox, so i've been thrifty of late.) So anyway - Masood ( big guy in black shirt standin next to Zain Bhikha) Seraj (Pin uP of Radio Al Ansaar) and I went for the concert. Growing up in this type of environment, means that you kinda know everyone from all the different muslim organisations. Soon you realise, when the same faces pop up everywhere that we really are an incestous little group of elitists ( but i'l save for another blog) Walking towards city hall, the first thing you notice is a huge white marquee (hmm, okay – a concert and a walima (well, I dot know why I was thinking about a walima, but anyway) so we enter the marquee to be greeted by a barrage of friendly and recognizable faces, from the ‘aunties who smile and say “hey betta, you that Azam Khan boy” to the younger crowd, who attend all these events. MMM- a confectionary stall selling fire-balls- gotta buy a pack or two. As we walked towards the entrance, I saw my friend ‘Uncle A.K Jingles’ and flagged him down like a New York taxi. “Uncle A.k”, I said, “Dawud Wharnsby is the shit, can I chat to him?” after taking a moment to decide whether I was being hostile or not, uncle A.k gave me a broad smile and escorted me to the back. Masood and Seraj weren’t about to miss out on this experience and came along. We sidestepped the security terminal and the metal detectors (damn, why did I leave my semi automatic machine gun at home!) and made our way to the back, trying hard not to act like prepubescent teenage girls at a Backstreet Boys concert. All the big pimps were chilling in the back- Zain Bhika, Dawud Wharnsby Ali, well… that was about it in terms of star power- some kids were also in the back, but they could have been props or something for all I know: P

It was heartening to note that even though his albums are globally renowned and that he has worked with top draws like Yusuf Islam and Rayhan, Zain’s first line of conversation hasn’t changed! After hugging me, he stood back and said “Mahomed Junaid, you really have grown since the last time I saw you”. Err – no man, I was the same height earlier this year, the same height when we met in December 2003. Sigh – I don’t blame him though- four Albums of more or less original Nasheeds can leave anyone burnt out. Spoke to Dawud for a bit, and obviously the first thing I asked was “The bubblegum song, (you know the sky is blue like the blue bubblegum, but it prays to Allah), tell me honestly, did you write it as a dare?” He smiled at me knowingly, like a father would smile at his son on his walima, and went into this whole “I find inspiration in nature spiel” the guy is a legend, legend I tell you! A few dirty stares from the organizers signaled to us that we overstayed our welcome, so after posing for a few superfluous shots, we left defiantly from the stage steps. A quick glance at the fifty rand ‘nose-bleed’ seats made me realize that at events like these, I aspire to be bourgeois, purely because they get the best seats, so I grabbed Seraj and without a shred of guilt, sat in the two hundred rand section- prime seating people- five rows from the front. While we waited for the show to start, Seraj got a bit nervous (I guess there are some hari poira’s left in the world, and he said, “MJ, what if this section is sold out”, “well”, I said , with just a smack of know it all ness that people sometimes translate as arrogance, “we’l just move to the 150 rand spot” Sorted. Scanning the ushers, I saw a bunch of familiar faces (here’s the incest bit again) Mak was there, the Quazi, Greaseball, and Akhi. I knew they wouldn’t give a shit if I sat in the two hundred rand section with a fifty rand ticket. Waiting for the show to start, I realized that there is something I need to do with my life before I’m thirty…wash my dog. (Not sure why I thought about that - my mind works in messed up ways).

Two friends were presenting, so I felt a ‘Nazjam I love you’ scream would help shatter any nervousness and stage fright. It appears that his father who was sitting three rows in front of me, thought otherwise. I guess this just egged me on, as I spent the night thinking of catchy things to scream, ‘nazjam 3:16’ and ‘word up to your mazhub’ after the rap being my favourites. First group to come on – Wahid, well, well, well. The guys were good solo, but somehow just didn’t gel as a group. The also reminded me of Nsync in that one chap was the main singer ala Justin Timberlake, while the others just kinda did backing vocals and the boring shit. Not like Backstreet Boys where every member contributed. Zain was cool, and he pleased the crowd with a few popular tracks. Although I must admit, it’s kinda hard distinguishing a few of his songs, as they sound so similar. So you left wondering, was that a pause, or is this a new single. Dawud Wharnsby Ali just did it for me – his quirky quips about converting to Islam, his messages to the youth, his integration of Hadith to explain his lyrics, and his wonderful voice really made it a worthwhile experience. What was quite cute is that he was really getting into the groove of his songs, tapping his feet, moving from side to side, doing a little shuffle. This made some of the more conservative members of the audience move around in their chairs nervously (some of them looked like they wanted to run home immediately and read two rakaats of Salaatul Taubah). we ended the night by taking popular songs and changing the words slightly, like instead off 'you cant take it with you when you go' we changed it to 'you can't get poonani when on haj' - an equally important message. The same with 'pizza in my pocket' to 'condom in my pocket' - We all have to do our bit