The power of a simple song!

I don’t quite know what it is about music. It somehow triggers emotions in the brain so easily and creates a feeling so quickly and so powerfully that it’s impossible to stop. I wish my brain could do this by itself as easily!

After listening to Tim Noakes speak in South Africa when I came back for a few days recently I’ve started to use my mind to visualize and be more focused on seeing things I want to achieve, mostly fitness related but I suppose there’s no limit if it works. For some reason I’ve been doing the opposite my whole life, I think I took the ‘a watched pot doesn’t boil’ a little too far. Of course the bloody thing will boil whether you watch it or not its simple science you idiot. Took me 30 years to work this one out.

I’m drifting a little.

It’s not easy to get your mind to see something that isn’t there. It’s not easy to focus your mind well enough that it can tell your body its not tired and hot after running 30 minutes in 40 degree heat but somehow music can transport you instantly out of a world and into a memory or a place, it can change your mood, make you smile and send a wave of invincibility over you. Funny how easily it does it.

I guess that’s the magic of music.

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It’s interesting how tough life becomes sometimes (the fact that its 40 fucking degrees outside everyday doesn’t help much) but some days work gets over loading, small things become big things and before you know it you’re screaming mad about something you’re not even sure is right at someone who you never even want to raise your voice to.

Sometimes I get to this point, I guess we all do, when things start to get more frustrating than we are used to tolerating and they build on each other until your default mood becomes aggressive for a while. Its points like this that music can so incredibly melt it all away and allow you to regain the power within that you are so used to.

It’s been a rather long preamble to this story but a few weeks ago I was in Singapore for a supplier conference (sounds so boooooorrrriiiinnnggg and yes these types of things usually are) but this was for one of the biggest consumer goods companies in the world and we were one of 70 suppliers out of 180 000 globally who were invited so the guest list of 350 people was really sexy (well as sexy as this industry gets).


This client produces some of the most spectacular advertising on the planet (they just cleaned up at Cannes for one of their brands this year) and their intro video to the conference was about their strategy, their focus and their passion and this song was the backing track. It somehow struck a chord in me that ignited a feeling, I guess that’s what great marketers do. It set the tone for the next few days but more importantly it gave me a piece of music that could create that feeling of power that I’ve been lacking somewhat lately.

I recently rediscovered the song (coincidentally at the same place I heard Tim Noakes speak – we stole it for our own event). I think I’ve listened to it 100 times in the last few days and slowly it seems to be restoring my, well I’m not sure what its restoring but every time I listen to it, it gives me that feeling that everything is still possible, that I’m capable of anything still and the passion with which I believed I could make a difference on a global difference when I came here is still alive.

Yes a long preamble I know but turn the sound up, loud, and close your eyes and just embrace the power that this song resonates!



What is to become of South Africa . . .

I’ve been thinking a lot about what will happen to South Africa, I guess when you move away from home for a while you start wondering if it’s the right place to go back to. For as long as I’ve been alive SA has been on ‘a knife edge’ according to most people. It could have gone off a cliff so many times now based on the tongues of the northern suburbs elite that I myself continue to be paranoid that one day it will all come crashing down, even though I know how untrue that is. As if one morning I won’t be able to get to work because we will have turned into Syria overnight and I’ll have to defend myself with a sawed off shotgun like a post apocalyptic waste land of some sort?!


DSC04077The truth is it doesn’t ever happen like that, the rot doesn’t come over night, it comes slowly, creeping and infesting. The corruption and lying and stealing start to erode away money that is destined for schools, roads, hospitals, police stations and the like, and before you know it you are living in a place that resembles a geriatric invalid that cant wipe its own drool.



It dawned on me during my most recent trip to India. The slow rot sets in and the politicians steal as fast as they can before there’s nothing left, the rich build bigger walls, hire more servants and develop services to protect their perfect bubbles, and the poor, well the poor get poorer, more desperate, more pathetic and more disillusioned. The shacks and shanty towns spread from minor locations to spots all over the city like mildew behind a most old cupboard, and the streets fill with rubbish, feces and sleeping homeless bodies.


It seems like a frightening picture but when you see Mumbai you realize just how possible it all is. In a place where the trusted leaders are more focused on lining their pockets than living up to a responsibility that they have been given to look after a nation, that’s when infrastructure starts to break and nations descend into darkness.



The very real future for SA I believe is the same as India. There will continue to be rich, mega rich, middle class and poor. There will be fantastic hotels, holiday spots, massive vacation mansions, world class restaurants, magical scenery and exclusive places for the rich to play BUT there will be decay on the streets, squalor in too many places to pretend it’s a small problem and beggars with children they’ve crippled, standing in groups at the traffic lights begging for anything to survive.


It won’t happen overnight but when you blink Johannesburg will be a very different city one that we will look at with disbelief as to how rotten and filthy it has gotten. Sadly I think this will be the future of SA unless something is done to stop the absolute disregard for the country’s long term health. I know it sounds defeatist and pathetically sad but with all that has gone on recently and what continues to transpire with no responsibility what so ever, you try and deny its possible!




The place they call Naked . . .

Like pretty much every Laowai that comes to shanghai I’m going to post about Moganshan. I’m posting for every new Laowai that arrives and wants to know whether they should go to the Naked Retreats or not.

Its very simple, you must and here’s the picture proof why!










Being in Shanghai I miss the wide open spaces, I miss the feel of being at Inyati and while this doesn’t exactly have the same variables to work with it is one of the most amazing places I’ve been.

Firstly praise has to go to the South African who had the giant balls to go out and setup something like this in the middle of rural china, I mean I sh1t myself when I have to present to an all Chinese audience, this dude built a luxury camp out.

Second the feeling of sitting in rural china and having a braai, with a bottle of vino and some home made boera almost brought me to tears.

This place is truly special for anyone but for South Africans  it’s a ‘home oasis’ in the middle of a Chinese desert, one that’s not needed often but when you come across it you sink to your knees and drink it all in!

If you are coming to Shanghai, live in shanghai or are passing through this place is not a suggestion but an absolute must do place filled with biking through ancient towns, tea fields, horse riding, relaxing and disappearing into the forest canopy! Sensational!

Go check their site for the full show!