“Don’t astronauts get catheters?” OppiKoppi. Sexy. Crooked. Teeth. 2010.

It’s been a week since my experience in the in-between place that is that farm in Northam. A week to process experiencing something like complete freedom. Oppikoppi is a lot of things to a lot of people: three days of mayhem, dirt, pain, seclusion, community and painfully holding in fecal matter. This was enough to drive some people, including the proprietor of this post’s paraphrased title (more on that later), into a semi-coma, where they could await another setting sun and maybe a better chance at escaping through the gates on Monday morning. In Oppi, I saw something else; a grand metaphor for the slacker’s life of exploration I’ve lived for 4 years of university. Oppikoppi was, in effect, a pilgrimage that summarized my life and handed it back to me in a neat box.

On my first night, I ended up in an argument – nothing heated, mind you – with Matt, regarding the reasons we might have ventured from blessed Jo’burg to the Limpopo, to wander about in the dark like blind men, intoxicated on glee and awkwardly grasping at straws for things to talk about. When it comes to most things, I like to avoid standing on the fence, and Matt seems much the same. I don’t appreciate indifference, so that’s not a criticism on either my friend or myself. He said he was there for the music, and I said that I was there for something else entirely. What exactly that something else is is sort of hard to explain, but it’s been my experience at most festivals I’ve attended, that there is something that exists beyond the live performances. It’s an almost tangible sense of experience and wild energy that connects the unrelated and makes every aimless decision carry restored value. Maybe I’m being too ‘deep’ and searching for meaning where there’s nothing but a bunch of drunks and druggies shifting in the sand. But really, I’ve never felt more alive or free than when I’ve been hobnobbing about on festival grounds, which seem to never end even when you’ve reached the fence, looking for nothing.

I’m not trying to make a statement about being some free spirit or crossing some grand Rubicon, but still, I like to believe that festivals tear down barriers.

My first night, I watched Taxi Violence. They remain one of my favorite local live acts. There’s something primal about George Van Der Spuy’s performance alongside his bandmates. The music is fantastic, of course, but the man himself projects an energetic air of classic rock & roll that makes you want to know him. And if you’ve seen them on stage a few times, there’s a weird sense from watching them play that you do know exactly what to expect, and that that is something pristine. They’re amazing. Go buy their albums, but really, watch them live as many times as you can.

Besides something resembling food, that was it for my first night.

The next day, after emerging from the tent I shared with Jon and Matt (One Night Only – XXX), I was met with a fierce headache that urged me to drink water like I hadn’t in days. Even in and amongst all the other things being poured into bottles and down throats, Oppi urges you to drink water so that you might live. There’s that big primal metaphor again; something about returning to the roots of mankind and being one with the Earth, or maybe just the dehydration talking. “Egg” handed me two Grandpas and I was suitably restored; enough to watch Chris boil water and not get as frustrated as he was that his hot plate was no substitute for a kettle.

Saturday was The Adventure. It hadn’t started that way. The plans were just to see bands and consume the culture. Instead, I ended up meeting Kavita. I’d like to tell you about doves with ribbons, an orchestra commanded by angels, or some great piercing light from an unknown source, but none of those things happened. She walked up to me with the casual confidence you so rarely find in human beings (Oppi, again, breaking barriers) and said, “Hello.” That someone who knows me only as a near-faceless Twitter username could pick me out of the largest crowd in Oppikoppi history was impressive. That I’d noticed her before then seems irrelevant. I’m writing this like some grand romance, when really there was none; we were two people who needed each other for guidance in a place where people don’t meet except for brief moments of faked but effective excitement. She was the spirit guide I’d need to emerge from whatever chrysalis held me in place, and I was the guy who could take her to meet ‘everyone else’: Preneil, Nicole, Jess, Craig, and all these other names that mean nothing to the casual reader.

For Kavita, and her hazel-eyed Indian companion named Francois (no, really), I was most grateful.

More. Soon. Promise.

One Response to ““Don’t astronauts get catheters?” OppiKoppi. Sexy. Crooked. Teeth. 2010.”
  1. (One Night Only – XXX) – Sounds similar to the things I do to keep me in a job from day to day.

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