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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

MUSINGS OF A MEANDERING MIND: DECEMBER 27 (article first published : 2008-01-23)

Attending the final concert of Michael Bublé’s world tour at the ICC on December 16 was the absolute highlight of my year – capped only by my beloved daughter’s wedding next day in the beautiful Highbury Chapel in Hillcrest (to the most delightful young Christian man from Glenridge Church in Durban, after MY having met him FIRST and then, some weeks later, at our third meeting down at the pool where I swim each day, discovering they live in adjacent blocks in Currie Road and that each had been kind of checking out the other for some three months before he and I first met!)

But, Back to Bublé… As tickets had been purchased well before the wedding date was set I decided not to waste them but to treat two friends, ex-neighbours who are themselves both musicians, and all three of us were just TOTALLY blown away by the experience. With Durban being the last stop on Bublé’s tour, he really gave it his all – and then some! I was particularly intrigued to learn that the reason he’s so fond of our country is because it was Gallo who gave him his first break – and, since my mother worked at the actual Gallo factory when I was a child, I know the history of that fine record company right down to the numerous amusing superstitions related about the founder of the company himself!

Although Bublé’s father was a rock ‘n roll fan, he spent a lot of time with his grandfather, who was the one who passed on a love of the music of singers like Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Bobby Darin, Elvis Presley and others, and young Michael would sing along to the music of these performers while working with his father on a salmon fishing boat – long days which began at 4.30 a.m. and ended close to midnight. Indeed, it was grandpa, a plumber, who was instrumental in encouraging Michael’s dream to be a singer himself one day by offering to do free work for musicians in town in exchange for letting his grandson perform a few numbers for them on stage! Having won a few youthful talent competitions he was invited by Canadian PM, Brian Mulroney, to sing at his daughter’s wedding, and after that performance the Prime Minister introduced him to his friend David Foster, legendary producer of so many singers who are household names – Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, and Josh Groban, to name just a few.

Bublé’s trademark number, Home, was written for a previous girlfriend but his most recent hit, Everything, was inspired by his relationship with current girlfriend, Emily Blunt, who won a Golden Globe for best supporting actress in The Devil Wears Prada. Michael’s quoted a saying he likes to put on a show, not a concert, that people pay money to see me and my job is to take them out of themselves for a couple of hours. He did that and SO much more the night he absolutely ROCKED Durban’s International Convention Centre. It was an absolutely UNFORGETTABLE experience!

On now to some pointers on what NOT to miss on the box over the Holiday Season, and I’d like to begin with a film which impacted me enormously – and which has featured strongly in my new son-in-law’s life – which I caught on M-Net recently and which I’ve marked in my diary to videotape in one of its several upcoming repeat slots over the coming weeks. Faith Like Potatoes tells the true story of rugged ex-Zambian farmer, Angus Buchan, (played by Francis Rautenbach, the film directed by Reghardt van den Berg) an angry man who relocates to KwaZulu-Natal, where his manic quest for material success is slowly transformed into a wild love for God and people. Not only is the tale of his life up to THAT point unbelievably moving but the work he’s been involved in SINCE then is nothing short of miraculous for, under the auspices of the Harvest Time Ministry he’s formed, he runs what he calls his annual Mighty Men camps on his farm outside Greytown, where the focus, from what I’ve been able to gather, is on encouraging men (of all ages) on how to REALLY be the man of the family in just the way God intended, to get their priorities right in life, treating women with the respect they deserve, focusing on family and on being a good example to their fellow men. Around 23 000 males were expected to attend in April 2007 yet many more turned up with their camping equipment and somehow Angus was able to come up with sufficient provisions for all, in spite of planning to cater for far fewer, just placing his faith in God to provide. Do NOT miss this film – or else hire the DVD or get hold of the book. It can be life-changing!

Other features not to miss (particularly if you’re a fan of dance) are the documentary titled Rize which goes out at 10.30 p.m. on January 3 on M-Net; the superb film Shall We Dance, featuring Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez, at 8 p.m. on January 5 on M-Net; then there’s a sort of High School Musical, Step Up, the tale of partners in a dance contest (which claims to have elements of the highly successful Fame), at 8 p.m. on January 6 (also M-Net); later the same evening there’s Dirty Dancing:Havana Nights(at 10.45 p.m.) on the same channel (featuring Josh Groban’s ex-girlfriend, namely January Jones, albeit in a very minor role); and do NOT forget that later in the year there’s the live performance of Josh himself when he plays Durban for one night only on March 16.

But both e-tv and SABC2 & 3 also have some highlights not to be missed, ranging from Heinz Winckler at 9 p.m. on December 28 (SABC2) to a group of Australian singers I hold in high esteem,The Ten Tenors, at 10 p.m. on December 30 (10 p.m. on SABC3); then there’s a promising-sounding Rodgers & Hammerstein version of the Cinderella story on e-tv at ten in the morning on January 1; there’s South Africa’s most popular gospel singer, Rebecca Malope, at 10 p.m. on SABC2, and for the teeny-boppers there’s Justin Timberlake in a TWO-hour extravaganza at 7.30 p.m. on M-Net. So for those who are not planning to go out painting the town there is surely SOMETHING to entertain you from your very own armchair to see in the New Year.

On which note, every good wish to you and yours for good health and much happiness in 2008 from this particular meandering mind… Till next year, then, do take care. - Bev Pulé. (December 27 2007)




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