There is a phrase that we use in Zimbabwe. We say “It’s late for you, him, her, the gwan, the team, the bar”. Basically it can be late for anything. Even an ant. When it’s used, it has various definitions. It depends on the context of use. So for example if a guy is say courting a girl, and some spectators say “ah its late for the dude”, it most likely means that from observing there is no way the guy is going to successfully court the girl. However if the reverse is said, “its late for her”, it means that he has hit her with a line that NO ONE has heard of. Or he has (I am positive this is the most appropriate place for this word) swag (shoot me later. I’m trying to stay relevant). Another example is if there is a bar fight and you say that its late for one of the participants engaging in this show of pure animalistic behaviour, he’s the one probably getting the beating of his life.
This now brings me to Saturday night. I was sitting at home with a few friends and family (there were no more than 6 people there at any given time), when my good friend Lloyd and I realised that we were behind the curve. Not ahead of it, quite beyond. Its late for us. We are not being beaten to death by a drunken baboon jacked up on testosterone and rum and coke (See post on Tin Roof yet to be released), we are not part of the losing side, we have successfully courted our madams, so its not that either. What Lloyd was referring to was relevance.
We, in the slow process of ageing do not have much relevance. It all started when a song came on. I think it was Bugatti (Ace Hood, Two Chains, plus a whole bunch of other guys I have never heard of including this Two Chains and Ace Hood guy who are apparently part of this group of rappers called YMCMB which stands for Young Money Cash Money Billionaires (Thank you Bibi telling me without me having to ask Google).) where some guy sings about waking up in a new Bugatti. Heavy tune. Not sure what they are rapping about for most of the song. But anyway, as me and Lloyd sat there listening to “TWO CHAINS! FOUR BRACELETS!!!!!!!!!!” (You have to hear him shouting it out to understand. If you listen to this you will hear him: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AI0gk2KJeho) we came to a simple, honest conclusion. We are no longer relevant. Sure we may be part of a small generation that saw technology move from dial up internets, to fibre optic cables being laid in our neighbourhoods, from polyphonic right tones and phones with buttons, to mp3s for ring tones and phones with 4 buttons and 5 inch screens.
But you know what we DEFINITELY, TOTALLY missed out on? Pop culture. I spit whenever I have to utter those two words together. Popular culture. Urgh. So this Ace Hood guy, Two Chains… like where did they come from? Where exactly did ‘murica find these guys? So now there are all these “relevant” people in their mid-20s, listening to Ace Hood, Two Chains and Lil’ Wayne (isn’t he supposed to have graduated to just Wayne by now? I thought all the rappers who have Lil’ are supposed to graduate. Bow Wow did it… I know Lil’ John plans on being Lil’ for ever though.), they know all of their songs, the dances, the lines that are cool.
If I am to go have a beer with Lloyd at O’Hagans (HIGHLY UNLIKELY AS I WOULD RATHER LISTEN TO DROWNING CATS THAN GO TO O’HAGANS OUT OF MY OWN CHOICE), and bump into some of these more trendy mid-20s guys and so happen to have a conversation about, say sport, we would be fine. Unfortunately due to our extreme irrelevance there is nothing more we can speak to them about. We can’t speak about music coz we have not kept up, we can’t speak to them about politics because most of them haven’t formed a political position. Life is still too much about having fun for them so we can’t talk to them about work. We can’t brag about what we did on the weekend, coz we were probably at home watching TV, or at the sports club lying to each other. However if we talk about PS3 for example, we become relevant… and old at the same time.
My message to all you people out there searching hard for relevance: Look to youtube, type in the names of these artists, learn their songs, learn their dances. I am afraid that there may be a dark future where irrelevant individuals are rounded up and disposed of, bodies to be used to keep the popular culture machine running. So I urge all those feeling irrelevant, let us assimilate, join this rather strange march forward into the world of words like swag and yolo. Only use them when you feel threatened. We WILL SURVIVE!!!
He to whom the present is the only thing that is present, knows nothing of the age in which he lives. – Oscar Wild