Wonderful news. It now emerges that I needn’t have plugged Maths in matric after all.
All I had to do to improve on the 16 per cent I scraped together after spending two hours playing noughts-and-crosses on my Maths paper was to get my Dad to rig up a battery-powered electrical current and fit a couple of electrodes to my bonce.
Then, when the adjudicator, in a voice not dissimilar to the bloke who does the punts for movies and says “Coming to a cinema near you… The Revenge Of The Malevolent Mathematical Under-Achievers..”, sounding like a mongrelly cross-breed of Tom Waits and Benito Mussolini, pronounced “Pupils, you may now pick up your pens and commence”, I would have simply switched on and come over all Einstein in an instant. Instead of staring at him blankly and musing over whether Miss van Straaten, my dead-sexy Afrikaans teacher, was wearing a mini that day.
Nooit, man! What do you mean e doesn't equal ac/dc squared?!
No formula or equation would have been beyond me. Trigonometry would have proved a piece of piss. I would have nailed Pythagoras’s poncy theorem quicker than you can say “Hatman’s a genius” – even if you hired one of those chicks who reveal the specials on Vim over the PA system in supermarkets to make the announcement.
But, no, they’ve typically left me to wallow in decades of guilt before announcing that running a slight current of electricity from one side of your brain to the other is a cure for something termed “dyscalculia” which, like my Attention Deficit Disorder, neanderthalitis, hypertrichosis (excessive growth of hairs in ears) and dofclobberitis (the inability to look anywhere remotely near fashionable), has only been dropped on me in an advanced stage of my life.
Nice. A classic piece of scientific discovery. The boffins emerge from sterile-white labs and wave around a piece of paper which makes absolute sense of something disastrous that happened to you about 54 years ago. Helpful.
But I mustn’t be so self-indulgent. If fitting a pantechnicon battery into a South African child’s “Ek hart Wayne Rooney” rucksack and releasing a few thousand volts through the cerebral deserts where grey matter is as rare as a Bafana victory helps to send our Matric pass rate soaring, I’m all for it.
So, fire up your synapses the best you can and zoom over to the BBC\’s health news site to be further stimulated. And, please, don’t buy into all that politically correct “don’t try this at home” codswallop. You want to pass Maths, right? Right.
Well, just get the old man to rehabilitate an old battery and attach to the parietal lobe around the back of your head somewhere. I suggest you have a word with your Biology teacher about this first. You don’t want to stick the electrodes on the wrong lobe and sardenly fand yu karnt spel.
Jack Russells. Amazingness. I’ve always thought them super-intelligent. The sharpest tools in the entire dogbox.
Now I must revise my assessment. They’re actually far cleverer than that. If there’s a pattern developing on this crazy unicycling adventure, other than the obvious one of The Heartman furiously pedalling his AmaOneTyre in front of the back-up vehicle I am driving at 12kph, it’s that there is a Jack Russell at every abode that we overnight at.
So they are also popular. This is in itself intriguing as the little rogues are highly-strung, humungously hyperactive, manipulative and do very convincing imitations of being highly vicious boerboels. I know. I have two. Or, rather, had two until I left on this seven-week Heart & Sole Tour. I miss them. A lot.
Anyway, The Scrapster and Doodlebug, my JRs, must have put word out on the South African Jack Russell Network that Heartie and I need help because everybody, every B&B owner and kind soul who has offered us free accommodation has a Jack Russell winking at us when we drive in.
I’ve just turned to see the what the latest member of the JR fraternity to enter my life is doing and, after growling lustily at the lightning here in Harding, it’s now lying on Heartman’s bed, staring intently at me and wagging its tail. I’d photograph it for you but I’d have to use flash and I don’t dare wake up The Exhausted Unicyclist. He’d have every right to be grumpy.
Day Seven has been the toughest day yet of this Durban to Cape Town one-wheeled odyssey. Heat and hills. Hills and heat. It was very, very tough. I feel knackered and I was only sitting in the truck, listening to top-notch tunes (see today’s playlist at end) and fretting about dodgy truck-drivers, so I feel for Heartie who was sizzling the tarmac with his dripping sweat as he toiled up steep hill after steep hill. Paddock to Harding (well, 20km out of Harding) will be remembered as a right little sod of a section of our tour.
But, yes, we had fun. First, a very grateful doff of my red hat goes to Dean, Stef and Marlon of The Gorgez View Restaurant, Bar and B&B near Paddock for magnificent hospitality extended at no cost at all. It was their contribution towards making our objective of raising awareness of the scourge of landmines that much more obtainable. Nice. Let’s have a look at them, shall we?
Manager Dean, top-notch cook Marlon and bar legend Stef (far right) did everything to ease the pain for us at The Gorgez View near Paddock, southern KwaZulu-Natal. Nice one, guys!
The Heartman was so overcome by the level of hospitality that he treated us to one of his farm animal cabaret acts…
Inspired by an appreciative audience of new friends in the background, Heartie executed a perfect "Bionic Goat" manoeuvre. Like it? Of course you do
Then our slightly eccentric unicyclist was delighted to find a wheel even bigger than the 36-inch one he usually rides and wasn't slow to hop on an ancient oxwagon decorating the verandah at The Gorgez View! Nice work!
Then it really was down (or up?) to work, inching up the steep hills drawing us into the foothills of the Drakensberg in the direction of Kokstad. Scorching heat. Hot tar. Mad dogs and Englishmen stuff.And a local guy who fancied himself as a paparazzi!
This excitable fan hopped out of his car and chased Heartie around, snapping pictures of him from every angle for a few minutes. Who knows, we might make the front page of The Harding Harbinger!
Nice. But the heat took its toll. And finding shade every half-hour or so was the order of the day…
Aaaah, finally a slightly chilled vibe envelopes The Heartman
He wasn’t the only one seeking refuge from the African midsummer sun. And this young woman found a somewhat more elegant way to acquire shade near the tiny hamlet of Izingolweni…
Cool. So is today (Monday). We’ve woken up to overcast conditions and ideal riding weather, if a tad windy. Only The Heartman is somewhat knackered after yesterday’s very exacting mountain climb. So we’ve decided to make a late start. Please join us later for an update and show old Heartie your support.
In fact, the best way anybody could support him right now would be to donate an iPod to our unicycling cavalier. I’ve been blasting tunes out of the back-up truck to help him up the hills but being plugged into his own music up front would give him the stimulus to find extra pedal power! If you have one spare, please mail me at email@example.com and we can make an arrangement. Thanks!
* Day Seven Playlist: These are the tunes which gave The Heart & Sole Tour its “go forward” yesterday – Hercules and Love Affair, Joe Cocker, Jack Penate, Terry Callier, Human League, Mayer Hawthorne, Grace Jones, Tom Waits, Eli “Paperboy” Reed, Esther Philips, Steely Dan and Jill Scott (with thanks to top mate, Darren “The Tunemeister” Todd).
This video is hilarious. Well, funny and sad. Like Julius Malema. But I dig funny and sad. Double the emotion. For the price of one. All at the same time. Nice.
Latest tune from the Black Eyed Peas? Not so much of nice. But before I offer you my review, check it out (it’s just as well Jewish people are generally known to have a highly developed sense of humour)…
Yowzers. What was that all about? Not very much, hey? Apart from the flash of um, breasts at about 47 seconds in (thanks to the testosterone-fuelled comments section on YouTube for pointing this out… hey, you’re not going back to watch it again!), this muzak vid leaves one feeling, well, a bit cheated. I have been labouring under the grand delusion that the BEPs were a bit of alright but this tune is complete shite.
“Tonight’s gonna be a good night”? The band might have had a good night but we didn’t get much of it, did we? And that “Mazeltov” malarkey? The lyrics, if one can call them that? So many questions, so little inclination to ask them. Unlike that Gladstone geezer on the vid who’s trying to come over all Simon Cowell, only smoother (looking) and a lot funnier (not hard).
I know music today isn’t about the words (oo-er, sounding like my Dad here) but what the chuff has happened to lyrics? I mean, I found an old Hotel Costes compo gathering dust behind my Marantz the other day and slapped it on. The first two tracks contained exactly 10 words. Variety Lab gave me six (“I love London in the rain, ooh-yeaaah” – hope you don’t mind me not counting “ooh-yeaaah”?) and The Method offered four (“I’ve got a cat, arrr-yeah”). What? My sweet lord.
I wonder what Dylan, Waits and Cohen make of all that? Never mind the Slack Assed Peas.