Master Blaster

Skip When Shuffling: Yes (it’s too depressing otherwise)

A few days ago I was listening to my iPod on shuffle on the way home from work when Stevie Wonder’s “Master Blaster (Jammin’)” came on. It’s a cool song. It was released in 1980 and is a feel-good tribute to Bob Marley, with the classic forget-your-worries-and-have-a-good-time theme.

But then the second verse came along and Stevie sang of one of his reasons to be jammin’:

Peace has come to Zimbabwe
Third World’s right on the one
Now’s the time for celebration
‘Cause we’ve only just begun

Oh no.

It’s hard to hear that lyric now without feeling sad. Back when that song was written, Zimbabwe had just won independence from the British and Mugabe was going to usher in a new era of strength, hope and, uh, peace.

Things weren’t supposed to go in totally the opposite direction.

Plastic Fan-frickin’-tastic

I was in at Salvation Army shop in Naenae, when I found a tape called “We Carry The Cup” – the official EP soundtrack for the 1986 America’s Cup campaign. It features the #1 smash hit song “Sailing Away”, which is probably the worst song ever in the history of anything ever. Ever.

I realised that someone born after, say, 1983, would have no memory of the magical time prior to 1986 when New Zealanders did not generally care about boat racing. They probably have no memory of cassette tapes either.

I showed various people the tape and one of the first things a lot of them said was, “Do you have tape player?” Yeah, I have a double cassette deck in my stereo (high-speed dubbing!). As totally obvious as it is, I didn’t realise that ordinary stereos don’t have tape players any more. They’re about as archaic now as a cathode-ray television. My stereo seems so old I feel like it should have doily on top of it.

Photos? Oh, why not!

Ignore him. He's just doing it to get attention.

Jesus of Naenae was such a staunch Housemartins fan, he shaved a cross into the side of his head.

Mothra Fail

“It’s a giant moth – a moth as big as Godzilla. If only there was some word we could use that would evoke both the scary sci-fi of a Godzilla-like creature and general mothiness. Oh, I know – Mothzilla!!!!”

Yes, we have those too

What, you mean your local copy shop doesn’t do laminating? Get with it!

9 thoughts on “Master Blaster”

  1. In the film Paradise Now, there is a popular video and photo store in Nablus, on the West Bank. The proprietor sells and rents out farewell videos from suicide bombers about to go and do their deed, and (forced) confessions of collaborators before their execution by their people. He tells one of the main characters (who is off to do a suicide bombing) that the collaborator videos are far more popular with customers than the so-called martyr videos.

    None–none–of which gives me any further clue as to what the content of an African Home Video might be.

  2. Please note: I have not been in the Fax Photocopy Laminating African Home Videos shop. It is in Naenae, which I generally don’t spent a lot of time in.

    One of my workmates alerted me to the presence of this sign, and it was agreed that a photo should be taken.

    But if I get back to the Naenae shops, in all their mid-century splendour, I will investigate.

  3. Please enter into other mysterious Naenae locations such as the picturesque Olympic Hotel. Take a camera…


  4. Back when that song was written, Zimbabwe had just won independence from the British and Mugabe was going to usher in a new era of strength, hope and, uh, peace.

    Eeek I hate to nitpick, especially on such a nice blog, but I need to correct your history.

    Zimbabwe had not “just won independence from the British” back then.

    What happened was, that in 1965, to avoid idependence being granted, the Ian Smith-led white minority colonial regime of what was then called Rhodesia, unilaterally and illegally declared its own independence, which led to Mugabe and others forming their own independence movements.

    There was basically civil war there until 1980, by when Smith had capitulated and free elections were held and Mugabe won.

    But you are right, the script wasn’t meant to go like it has done since. Mugabe has grown increasingly deranged and destroyed the second-most prosperous African economy south of the Sahara, leading to untold, and muchtold, misery.

  5. Oh, I was but a wee girl at the time, and I got my history from, um, not Wikipedia but some inadequate blog. Thanks for the fact-check/history lesson.

  6. Poneke’s right, but pretty much every media outlet in NZ has been repeating the “independence from UK” line, along with pretending there are only two countries in Africa.

    The wonderful Mr Wonder is playing here Oct30th! Woohoo!

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