So, here you go… seven absolutely riveting things about me, that I’m sure will make a difference to your day (grrr… can you see how these memes always make me feel uncomfortable?)
1. I was born with some wonky hips.
No, that’s not the medical term for them, but I can’t remember what it was (hey, I was a bit young to be paying attention), and my mom isn’t around for me to check. I think they were just severely dislocated or something. Anyway, the end result was that I couldn’t walk until ridiculously late in life, comparitively speaking… it was only somewhere after my 3rd birthday that I managed to stop crawling everywhere and walking. Of course, everything is all good now, and the only time I used to get some residual problems was when I played rugby.
Heh… check out the long hair there. Man, I was cool. I loved those sunnies too.
Yep, we were pretty cool and got all the girls with our non-offensive brand of melodic-rock and pseudo-punk-wannabe tunes. We actually weren’t too bad, and did some country-wide tours and got some fairly extensive coverage on the radio. I started out on this musical road in the Durban Boys Choir, which I ended up quitting a week before they announced the choir was going on an all-expense paid trip to Vienna. The bastards. Of course, with that kind of background, it’s no wonder I now run a music blog.
3. I’m originally from deepest and darkest Africa.
Ok, ok, that’s not exactly true. I was born in South Africa, towards the tail-end of the bad old Apartheid days (yes, I hate linking to Wiki too, and I disagree with several of the statements in there, but it’s probably the most comprehensive review you’ll get). My age group was pretty much the first generation of kids that grew up in South Africa in a mainly non-segregated community, with equal opportunities slowly becoming available for all. It was an interesting time to grow up in South Africa, particularly given the fact that I was blessed with fairly liberal parents, and a mother who owned *shock* *horror* previously banned music by artists such as Bob Marley and The Wailers. Back in the bad old days, they had to keep records like that hidden in the floorboards. Crazy to look back on it now. It was also the days of enforced conscription and the South African Border War, and I well remember the army sending trucks through to our neighbourhood to pick up all the fathers in the street, including mine (my parents were still together at the time). It was a really weird time… the kids would be playing cricket in the street when the rumble of the trucks came over the hill; and everyone would bolt back inside and watch these behemoths pull up from the window. They always used to send two men out from the trucks to escort each conscript back onto the truck, in case there was any trouble. There never was, in our street, but it was still a strange display of military power.
When I was really small, we had a gardener that came round to our place a few times a week. Because he travelled far, he slept over at our place on the days where he would work at a few houses in the area. We were lucky, as we had a separate “granny flat” that he could use. Back in those days, people called men that worked in your gardens, “garden boys”. We called him Orman, because that was his name… and he wasn’t a “garden boy”, he was a friend. And looking back at it now, I miss the hell out of Orman. It was like a Disney special, where he was the wise older man that said little but told you much. After we moved, I randomly saw him a few years after. He had grey hair, his kids had all grown up and left him… and he was still tending to people’s gardens. I really wish I hadn’t thought of this now… and I really wish I knew how he was.
4. After travelling around the world for a bit, I eventually moved to Brisbane, Australia about 3 years ago.
It was a difficult decision to make, as I still have the majority of my family back in South Africa, the band was doing well, and I really will always love the place… but eventually I caved and became one of the despised turncoats, that left the country of my birth for what I hoped were brighter shores. With crime running rampant, and after the third of my friends was involved in a shooting/robbery/murder case (these are friends… it doesn’t include the countless friends of friends), I decided to uproot. As one of my favourite artists from South Africa once said, “Africa is not for sissies…”.
(side note… if you’re at all interested in South African music, or even South Africa in general, please watch the trailer for “Africa is not for sissies…” below. Syd is everything that is right in this world, and a shining light for Africa. And he was a major inspiration in my life in terms of what music should be).
At the back of my head, there is a constant disappointment that I wasn’t a stronger, braver person. I tried to make a difference in my time there, and stayed on for 5 years past the time that I was accepted into Australia, in the vain hope that I could ride it out. But in the end I accepted defeat.
5. I can’t ride a bike.
I used to be able to, when I was a kid, but I think when I was around 5 or so I crashed it, and we couldn’t afford a new one… so I just never rode a bike again, for years. Then, when it came time to, when I was around 16 or so, it turned out that I’d forgotten how. The old “It’s like riding a bike… you never forget how to do it” adage? Absolute codswallop. Take it from a non-bike-riding guy. And yes, this is embarassing.
6. I’m painfully shy when I first meet people.
(Image credit: Tim Davies)
Remember this if you ever meet me at a conference. It can lead to awkward silences, as Jane can probably attest to.
7. I’m really into graphic novels.
I’m just throwing this one in there, just… you know, in case you’re ever stuck for a gift for me or anything…
This is the personal blog of Matthew Burgess, aka Matt Burgess, aka Burgo. Important word in that sentence is "personal". Any views expressed here are completely my own and do not reflect any views either of my employer or any associated groups I may be affiliated with.