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HELGE JANSSEN (article first published : 2005-03-16)

Helge Janssen will launch his novel, Tell Tale at artSPACE durban.

“Helge Janssen is the legendary dj who started it all way back in the late 70’s,” says multi-media artist and film maker Aryan Kaganof.

“What was to become "alternative dancefloor culture" was a highly politicized, anti-apartheid movement allied to the club culture. Janssen, beginning with his involvement with Scratch in Cape Town, virtually created the alternative underground scene in Durban in clubs such as Rumours and Faces, branching into his own venture called PLAY.

“Also a performance artist and painter,” Aryan continues, “Janssen has had exhibitions at the NSA Gallery in Durban as well as performing his plays in Grahamstown, the Natal Playhouse and The Market Theatre. Many will know him in his other guise as fashion designer, an occupation he still pursues.

Tell Tale is an documentary novel that charts the hidden history of the alternative and gay underground scene through the height of the anti-apartheid period of the 80’s and into the new post 1994 era. A sometimes hilarious, deeply insightful glimpse into the bruised psyche of the alternative dance ‘kultcha’.

“I see Helge's book as a South African companion to Dave Marsh's secret history of the 20th century. The premise that the true history of our lives is written in the lyrics to popular songs. In Helge's book the "resistance" to a militaristic, heterosexual, apartheid mainstream is defined in the DANCE. It is while dancing, and while enticing young people of all colours to dance together, that the protagonist Ampleby Trump makes his heroic gesture. He "fights" his war on the battlefield of the dancefloor.”

Published by Pine Slopes Publications, the novel will be launched at artSPACE, on the March 16 at19h00 and will subsequently be available at Exclusive Books and Adams.

artSPACE is situated at 3 Millar Road (off Umgeni Road) in Stamford Hill. Further details from Karen Bradtke on 031 312 0793.




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