I don’t know if it’s just me but…

I was one of those kids that was raised painfully polite.

I was taught to say “aunt” and “uncle”, “mister”, “missus” and “miss”, “sir” and “ma’am” but only when the adults were quiet and if there was a proper break in conversation, but preferably never, and then only in self-defence.

I was also taught that it’s rude to point.

As a consequence of that I lived in a constant state of anxiety in public spaces forever after, and became a hermit just so that I would never encounter strangers who would ask for directions.

Because of all this, I found ways to shop online before the internet was even invented, and so you can imagine how I for one, welcomed the age of GPS. Now I would never commit the cardinal sin of pointing at something ever again, and if anyone asks me where a place is, I can tell them to look at their phone, or consult mine. Problem is I was already like one of those “lifer” inmates that gets released from jail and then finds it almost impossible to integrate into the ebb-and-flow of life again.

All because kids should be “seen and not heard“, which is really just an excuse for a narcissistic, lazy and deplorable way of parenting.

Which of course makes me personally, deliriously happy about the banning of corporal punishment in South Africa.

But I digress…

The reason (which for now will seem disconnected but I promise will all neatly resolve itself) I mention this all is, I’ve fallen in love with internet radio done right, in the shape of radio.garden.

It started as a research paper and became a thing, and what it is, is:

You go to the website, press a big “play” button, and then make use of a Google-earth kind of interface in which you can take the earth for a spin, looking for green dots scattered all over the earth with your mouse or your finger on a phone or tablet, and in seconds be listening to anything from postrock prog metal in Latvia, to Hindi new-wave pop in Helsinki, to boeremusiek in Argentinia.

It’s really not complicated….
Pick a dot, and radio.garden will immediately begin playing the first available station in that city or town, or you can choose from a list of stations available in that town.

No shit but that’s cool.

Internet Radio is not a new thing, I know, but in the past, to access the stations, you had to go to web pages filled with lists, and crowded with advertising. Not cool man. Not cool.
Whereas radio.garden is simple to use and to navigate and is (now slightly less than 100%) ADVERT-FREE with none of that “credit-card with zero charges”, or, social/google “one-click” signup (big brother) bullshit.
(I mean, please tell me you don’t actually do that…?)


The other day, I was listening to this radio station broadcasting out of St Petersburg in Russia: https://radio.garden/listen/shok/lypD3AfF

They have good rocking tunes, including Russian language and various other foreign-language rock bands that you never get to hear through mainstream media.

And then, they play a song…

And suddenly I’m back in high school, standing against the wall, on the edge of the disco in Std 8, awkwardly aware that I have a body and so do girls, and feeling the societal and primate pressure of needing to be in a relationship with somebody but unable to approach those I was attracted to.


Well for me, I’m naturally shy, but was also bullied and conditioned to be meek and timid and polite and reserved, and to be “in my place”.

The girls who were pretty to me were too bold and too confident and unapproachable for me. I was…

Too polite
Too self-aware
Too awkward
Too ill-equipped

Well, I’m still a hermit, but not because I tremble at being around pointing people, but rather, because I love the tranquil spaces, and things have changed because I’m 47 now and through with living that bullshit hold-it-all-back-and-keep-yourself-in-check life.

My father was a narcissistic, controlling son-of-a-bitch, and because of him, I’ve lived a “small” life amongst people I believed were “giants” by right of birth or genetics, and who’s station I could never dare aspire to, and so now I have a wild childhood to make up for and a shitload to prove… and I don’t know how deep or far this thing goes.

It’s really ok if you don’t like me.
There are tribes for everyone…

ANYWAY…I digress again, so let me close.

Hearing a 1980’s high school hall pop love song again in such an unexpected source on Russian rock radio was hilariously contradictory, but also brought a flood of memories home again.
In particular, a memory of a girl.

Michelle van Zyl.
Std 9 (grade 11).

For a long time, this was one of the top, high-school disco, for the inept-in-the-dating-department, rescue songs.
For “losers” who couldn’t talk to girls.
For kids who were beaten down instead of being brought up.
For kids who were conditioned to believe better things were reserved only for better people.

I know.

For that one time in high school, it rescued me…