My Mom was back in the U.K. when she died, and from what I saw then, the funeral and burial process takes longer there than it does here in S.A. It was around 10 days between her death and the funeral. During that time, family members had the opportunity to visit the morgue to see her body if they wanted – I didn’t. Also, at the funeral during the church service, the priest invited attendees to approach the coffin to bid farewell. My sister and my brother-in-law did, but again, I chose not to. I’m not keen on eyeballing dead relatives. It’s a personal choice and folk will differ on whether it’s a good idea or not.

I have a million memories of my Mom, and I didn’t want to add a picture of her in a coffin to my collection. I’d rather remember the look on her face from years before when I first played her, ‘One of Us’, by Joan Osborne – ‘What if God was one of us? Just a slob like one of us…’. Her half-shock, half-smile expression was a keeper. She said, “Oh that’s terrible”, but she was struggling to keep the tiny grin from her mouth. Lapsed Catholic guilt.

I applied the same line of thinking to Robert Smith.

In the mid 80’s, The Cure were untouchable. They sounded deadly, they looked deadly – for a spell back there, they were arguably the coolest band on the planet. I was a massive fan but unfortunately, I never got to see them perform live. So last year (2019), when I heard they’d be playing in S.A., I was excited… but only briefly. Down the years I’ve seen pictures and video clips of Robert Smith, and to be honest, these days, I think he looks more than a bit silly. Clinging to the goth look at his age isn’t a good idea. Goths should be unemployed, skinny drug abusers with bad hygiene and poor social skills. An aging, fat goth looks like Kim Jong Un with white foundation and lipstick. If he was touring as a grey haired 60-something year old, with new interpretations of the old Cure songs, I might have been tempted to go. But tickets were pretty expensive, and I thought that if I wanted to see a pale, chubby middle-aged guy with candy floss hair and dark, tired eyes, I could save a couple of bucks and just buy a full-length mirror. Seriously though, after a bit of thought, I realized that I didn’t want my precious memories of their glory days tainted by this bloated echo of what they once were. Sorry Robert, but judging by these pictures of you, disintegration eventually gets us all (I could also have done something with lullaby, but I’ll quit while I’m ahead).

Even more distressing, I see KISS were scheduled to play here in a few months. Gene Simmons must be at least 70! I think we can all agree; at the height of their powers, KISS were absolute dogshit – I know, I listened to Double Platinum a million times before I discovered Judas Priest. And anyway, these days the role of ‘scary guy with crazy hair and bad face make up’ has been filled by POTUS. What are these promoters thinking?

Sadly, S.A. has become a bit of a junk yard for these ‘vintage’ acts. If you don’t believe me, go and have a look on Computicket – they’re currently selling tickets for a Smokie 2020 tour (…‘cos for ninety-four years I’ve been living next door, to Alice).

I went to see Rodriguez here in Jo’burg a few years back. Don’t get me wrong, I love Cold Fact as much as the next non-American, but on the night I saw him, his roadies had to help him walk to the microphone stand. Not because he was stoned out of his tits, he’s just frail. And I guarantee they’ll trundle him out here again before too long. Like most people, I’d love to see a rock star puke and drop dead on stage, but it should be from a heroin overdose, not from old age and natural causes.

It feels blasphemous to write this, but The Stones should have quit, years ago. I fear they’ve become a sort of freak show novelty act now – Mick and his amazing full head of chestnut brown hair. These days, do people buys their tickets to enjoy the music, or are they just waiting to see if Charlie Watts finally shits himself halfway through Gimme Shelter? (I could have used Brown Sugar there but I don’t want to lower the tone). Even ‘Deadpool’ Keith has to go one of these days. Bookies should start taking bets on how he’ll eventually die. I’d put money on death by lethal injection for the murder of Justin Bieber. We live in hope. Seriously though, when a band’s concert rider includes a bag of adult diapers and a defibrillator, sorry lads, you’re Out of Time.

I strongly suggest that we introduce stricter controls and insist on an improvement in the selection process when it comes to touring dinosaur acts. Even better, all promoters should have to consult with me before booking any performers. All fees payable in advance. Terms and conditions apply.

See the table below for my current thoughts on acceptable and unacceptable dinosaurs (still working, as far as I’m aware).

 The PretendersPaul McCartney
 Lloyd Cole Elton John
 B52’s Rod Stewart
The Beautiful South (even just Paul & Jacqui)U2 (unless they leave Bono at home)
Billy BraggBon Jovi
BlondieCulture Club (Hell no!)
Elvis CostelloMadonna
Depeche ModeDuran Duran
AC/DC (with Angus, Brian and Phil Rudd – not Axl!)Marc Almond
Joe JacksonPhil Collins (decrepit)
MadnessRolling Stones (decrepit)
MorrisseySimply Red (freckles)
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Peter Gabriel
Who have I missed?

The two glaring omissions from the acceptable column are obviously, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan. To list them under merely ‘acceptable’ seems disrespectful and might put bad juju on the possibility of them ever coming here (again, for The Boss). If Dylan ever gets here I hope he’s afforded the same treatment as all dignitaries and royals. This includes full use of the Pope-mobile and a triple Boeing 747 fly-by over the venue of every concert. I also want Tom Cruise hanging off the side of one of the Boeings, singing ‘Blowing in the Wind’. The promoters can take the costs out of my consultation fees.

3 thoughts on “Disintegration

  1. Brilliant Jim Barr! Some very funny bits … and really well written. I totally agree that they should let you decide who comes here next (out of the dinosaurs) … your choice was spot on. Totally agree re Bruce and Bob … I fear the time might be up for Bob to come here though …. oh yes … Robert Smith … you’re dead right … he does look stupid these days. His image (and the cost of tickets)(and most venues being shite) put me right off going to see them. Keep it up … I’m enjoying your stuff


    1. Unfortunately you’re right Mark – We’ll probably never see Dylan. Did you see he released a 17 minute musing on the assassination of Kennedy about a month ago? I just put my headphones on, closed my eyes and listened to ‘Sweetheart Like You’ from Infidels. Goddamn – I swear that can cure cancer.


      1. Hey Jim. Yes one morning on my walk around my plot I spun his new 17-minute epic. I enjoyed it actually. Perfect through headphones while walking, maybe not for jogging. I need to haul out my copy of Infidels and give it a spin again. Just in case I have bad stuff lurking. It’s a great tune. A mate of mine saw Dylan a few years back live in London. He said it was an incredible show. Of course he has shit hot musicians so everything will sound spot on. I heard a podcast once (sorry can’t remember which one) where they spoke about being put through the Dylan audition for band members process … ’twas really funny. Dylan is not a normal human being for sure … I love him … but fuck one day he to will die …. oh dear … on that cheerful note …Cheers matey …


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