Archive for October, 2012

October 30, 2012


NEVER LOOK BACK:  “Forgetting those things which are behind...I pres towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus

NEVER LOOK BACK: “Forgetting those things which are behind…I pres towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus

…but only when you’ve reachest the mountain-peak…so that you can admire the view and see how far you’ve come
Jesus taught us total commitment in whatever endeavour we undertake.. He also calls us to focus all of our attention and strength on serving God and His kingdom. Jesus encourages us to look forward and not back. The apostle Paul exemplifies this state of mind, this attitude of Jesus Christ when he says, “Forgetting those things which are behind…I press towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

(Phil 3:13, 14)
Put your hand to the plough today and never look back!
As adapted from the  New Possibility Thinker’s Bible by  Robert H Schuller and Paul David Dunn

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October 30, 2012

“As things stand now, I am going to be a writer. I’m not sure that I’m going to be a good one or even a self-supporting one, but until the dark thumb of fate presses me to the dust and says, ‘you are nothing’, I will be a writer.”

October 30, 2012

– Hunter S Thompson

The various books that Craig “felt inspired to write” are available at and

A Guide to Good Living – A Creed to Live By:

October 29, 2012

A Guide to Good Living – A Creed to Live By:

Picture: beautiful and deserted Wainui beach, Gisborne, East Coast , New Zealand…a place where I often get my dose (“fill”) of upliftment and inspiration

A Guide to Good Living – A Creed to Live By:

“Don’t judge others (as you haven’t stood in their shoes)
treat everyone with respect (and especially their right to hold certain beliefs)
listen hard and speak less (why we were born with two ears and one mouth)
practice wellness and well-being
play with abandon
don’t take life too seriously (fall in love with yourself and ensure a life-long romance)
laugh (often and especially at yourself)
choose your life path with no regrets
continue to learn (we’re never too old along life’s amazing journey)
appreciate your friends and especially family
do what you love (then you’ll never have to do a day’s work in your life)
and that will ensure success
live generously (not with you don’t have , but with what you DO have) in an attitude, a spirit of gratitude
live with intention and faith
(be bold and unseen forces come to one’s aid)

live simply, so that others may simply live

(thanks, Mother Teresa)
walk to the edge in total commitment
accept that life is a challenge (huge at times)
so treasure it
then submit to God, the mystery of life, the Ground of All Being
live as if this is all there is.
simply doing your very best and let God do the rest”
– craig (as adapted from and inspired by mary ann radmacher)

Life is far too important a subject to be taken seriously)

The various books that Craig “felt inspired to write” are available at and

“Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope.”

October 29, 2012

“Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope.”

– anon

The various books* that Craig “felt inspired to write” are available at

ebooks (digital books)

Paperbacks (see and


All proceeds go to needy and underprivileged children –


“When the writer is no more , the value of your purchase will soar! “

“Together, one mind, one heart, one life, one small step at a time, let’s link hands and march into a new tomorrow, a better and brighter future. TOGETHER we can do it”

– c from

TOGETHER, one mind, one heart, one soul, one small step at a time, we can make some difference towards a better world, a brighter tomorrow

A stunning dawn in the beautiful Mother City of South Africa
Picture (great) by my old friend John (“the world’s third worst photographer”, so he calls himself), but whose photographic talents I definitely  do NOT possess)!
web sites:


Great Stories :The Film Searching for Sugarman

October 28, 2012

Great stories :The Film  Searching for Sugarman

“’Searching for Sugar Man’ is the kind of story everyone would like to have made about their own life, a story about how your actions can affect people, people you have never even met, in a positive way, even if you never, ever know about it. And, even if, someday, you do. “

Picture: Lions Head, Cape Town, the beautiful Mother City of South Africa with Table Bay and Robben Island in the distance (where Nelson Mandela, “a true champion of justice, peace and reconciliation” made huge sacrifices being imprisoned all those long years in his pursuit of his cause, his ideals, his dream for a “unified Beloved Country”)

Searching for Sugar Man: An Artist’s Resurrection and Rebirth

October 28, 2012

September 18, 2012 By Schaeffer’s Ghost Leave a Comment

Review of Searching for Sugar Man, directed by Malik Bendjelloul


Picture: beautiful and deserted Wainui beach, Gisborne, East Coast , New Zealand…a place where I often get my dose(“fill”) of upliftment and inspiration



This September, a singer from Detroit performed “a charming and awesomely odd show”—his first in the Washington, D.C., area in many years. It was a wonder he attracted a paying audience, given his relative obscurity and advancing years, and the fact that, even in his heyday, he never had much of a U.S. following.

But the performer, Sixto Rodriguez, has been recently rediscovered in America thanks to Searching for Sugar Man, a documentary that continues to pull in consistent grosses while playing in very limited release. After six weeks, the film was approaching $1 million in receipts, despite having never played in more than 33 theaters.

Why the interest in Rodriguez? Because his story is not just a tale of overdue recognition of artistic talent, but a triumph—of sorts—over death. Not physical death, but the death of an artist, the kind suffered when expectations aren’t met, when products don’t sell, and when changing tastes and business realities chew up and spit out musicians, bringing an (often premature) end to their careers.

Rumors of Rodriguez’s demise—accepted and assimilated into Rodriguez lore—didn’t help. Described in the film as “the most grotesque suicide in rock history,” Rodriguez was rumored to have killed himself on stage. But—and this is worthy of a SPOILERS warning—Rodriguez is alive. He resides in Detroit, in the same house he’s lived in for decades. He’s a home renovator content with his line of work, and he has given away much of what he’s made off of his musical success—particularly in South Africa, where he’s sold hundreds of thousands of records.

The film wants us to admire Rodriguez, to root for his restoration, but I was never sure what to think of the man. Is he talented? Sure. Is he worthy of admiration and recognition by his peers and fans? Definitely. But “Searching for Sugar Man” hints at something more profound, more spiritual, in the person of Rodriguez.

Rodriguez is said to lead a simple life free of material concerns. The producer of Rodriguez’s second album describes the musician and songwriter as being “like a wise man, a prophet … way beyond just a musical artist.” When he plays his music, it’s “something transparent, something universal,” says an admirer of Rodriguez, and he challenges us to “ask yourself: Have you done that?”

The film depicts Rodriguez as untainted by the pressures of the music business, above material concerns, and a Messiah figure of sorts. Have we done what he’s done? Will we follow his example?

Watching the film, I found myself thinking about the written testimony of Christ, the historical witness that serves as the primary basis for our faith in Jesus. When people question Christ, they sometimes ignore the clear revelation of him that we find in Scripture. Or, perhaps more often, they question the validity of that testimony. But two centuries of such questions, whether they come from ancient heretics or today’s Jesus Seminar, have failed to make much of a dent in the growth of Christianity. We have reliable historical manuscripts that attest to Jesus’ life and his claims about himself.

Sixto Rodriguez made a couple of records and then dropped out of sight. He had a few fans. Despite his popularity overseas, Rodriguez was living below the radar in the United States, with many fans assuming he was long dead. The film doesn’t indicate that this belief was deliberately sowed by Rodriguez, who seems oblivious to the controversy and content to leave that part of his life behind him.

However, his fans won’t let him be. He continues to find favor with a new generation of admirers. As an artist, that has to be gratifying. I wish him well, and am glad to see his talent recognized and praised. But Searching for Sugar Man left me thinking about much bigger things—much more important things—than the life and reputation of a songwriter. I’m not sure that’s exactly what the filmmakers had intended, but I’m glad that Rodriguez’s story stimulated such thoughts as I watched the film, and, even more so as I reflected on it.







Like A Whirlwind: Rodriguez And The Search For Sugarman
ROB HUGHES , August 16th, 2012 03:48

Rob Hughes speaks to Sixto Rodriguez and the makers of the Searching For Sugarman documentary which charts his unique and uplifting story



At times it’s a story that almost beggars belief. Searching For Sugar Man, if you’ve not seen it already, is a documentary about Sixto Diaz Rodriguez, the 70-year-old singer-songwriter from Detroit who released two glorious, largely unheard albums some four decades ago, then promptly vanished without trace. Various grisly rumours about his unfortunate life – murder, suicide, jail time – began to circulate in the intervening years. Meanwhile his records had become huge in different corners of the world. Not least in South Africa, where his baroque-folk protest songs had become beacons of hope amongst anti-Apartheid campaigners.

A pair of Rodriguez fans-turned-amateur-sleuths began sifting through the evidence to uncover the truth of what had happened to this mystic hero of the counterculture. Finally, in 1997, they found it. Rodriguez was alive and well and still making a modest living in Detroit. Then the tale took on a whole new twist.

It’s no exaggeration to say that Searching For Sugar Man is fast becoming the feelgood hit of the summer… well, outside of the multiplexes anyway. “It was the best story I’d ever heard in my life,” explains the film’s director Malik Bendjelloul, who first heard about Rodriguez in 2006, after meeting Stephen Segerman, one of the aforementioned amateur Sherlocks, in Cape Town. “Rodriguez is one the greatest artists you’ve never heard of. But then there’s also this thriller built into the movie, in that you have these detectives trying to figure out what happened to him – deciphering lyrics and trying to find out the truth behind stories that he’d died. Then we have the third part of the story, where his situation suddenly gets better. Here’s a man who’d been living as a construction worker for 30 years, not knowing that on the other side of the world he’s a superstar. And when he comes to realise that, it’s like The Truman Show or something. It’s like a true fairytale, with a kind of Sleeping Beauty quality. You’re almost crying when you think about it. It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.”



To grasp the scope of his story requires a jump in time. It’s April 1967 and Rodriguez, the 24-year-old son of Mexican immigrants, is playing small club gigs on the underground Detroit scene. Admired by local impresario Harry Balk, who signs him to his struggling Impact Records label, he’s introduced to Motown session guitarist Dennis Coffey and his production partner Mike Theodore, who oversee a debut single, ‘I’ll Slip Away’. It’s a spectacular flop and Impact soon folds completely.

Sometime later, Theodore and Coffey come across Rodriguez again. Much taken with his new compositions – and despite his somewhat bizarre habit of playing with his back turned to the audience – they introduce him to Clarence Avant, for whose Hollywood-based Sussex Records they’ve just signed on as A&R men and staff producers.

Recorded in late 1969 and issued in March 1970, Cold Fact – with Coffey on guitar, Theodore on keyboards and a crack rhythm section in Funk Brothers Bob Babbitt and Andrew Smith – became Rodriguez’ first album. It was a record full of oblique street poetry, insidious hooks and trenchant lyrics about inner-city blight and everyday struggle, made all the more affecting by bubbling grooves and Rodriguez’ almost casually fly-blown voice. A place where the tart polemics of Dylan met the languid otherness of Arthur Lee’s Love.

Alongside his signature tune, ‘Sugar Man’, there were songs like ‘Crucify Your Mind’ and ‘The Establishment Blues’. “It was a time of Kent State, the Zapruder film, Mai Lai and political assassinations,” explains Rodriguez today. “And in South Africa there was Apartheid. That was the backdrop for all the stuff that was going on. At that time, all of us were wondering what was coming down. I didn’t hang out with John Sinclair or the MC5 in Detroit, but I did get to know them later. John Sinclair was the guy who, for two joints, got two years. He’s one of the icons, one of the victims, of that era. If you grew up in Michigan and got busted for weed, you’d do time. I’ll tell you right now that it’s the same today. That stuff isn’t over. So that’s how I started writing songs. ‘Sugar Man’ is descriptive: ‘Future hugs, stay off drugs.’ I’m for the decriminalisation of weed, but I’m not trying to get anybody high. ‘Sugar Man’ is more like a plea.”

But Cold Fact stiffed. Probably not helped by a promo trip to LA, where Rodriguez played to a bunch of key industry insiders at the Ash Grove, his back resolutely turned to the crowd. Though, as he’s keen to point out now, it was more through habit than any intentional snub or aloof outsider statement: “The clubs I played in had always been really small. And if you tune your amp the normal way, you’re going to get feedback. So it was more to do with the sound rather than being afraid of looking at people directly. But yes, I did that. It wasn’t an insult to the audience, I just wanted to get the sound right.”

But there were other factors that contributed to the album’s swift demise. “A lot of the radio stations wouldn’t touch me, because of the nature of the songs. I would never get played in the Bible Belt, for instance. But I wasn’t trying to be controversial, it was just the way people spoke. Did I have dreams of being a big star? Yeah, I had hopes to make it. We all do, but in music there are no guarantees. You do it out of a sense of love for what you do.”


For 1971’s follow-up, Rodriguez was flown over to London, where he recorded Coming From Reality at Lansdowne Studios with Pretty Things producer Steve Rowland and a group of session men that included guitarist Chris Spedding. Yet the album, despite wondrous pieces like ‘To Whom It May Concern’, ‘Cause’ and ‘Climb Up On My Music’, sold even less than Cold Fact. It was enough to make him give up. “The label went bankrupt so everyone pretty much scattered,” he recalls. Soon after, he dipped from view. “If people are not showing at the gigs, it’s difficult and all very real. It was case of hey man, I can’t get something happenin’. I think a lot of us get disappointed like that.”

He continues: “Nothing beats reality, so I decided to go back to work, though I never really left music. I took a BA in Philosophy, I became a social worker, I worked on a building site and got into politics. I always saw politics as a mechanism from where you can affect change. It took me ten years to get my four-year degree, then I ran for office. I actually ran for Mayor, for City Council, for State Representative in Michigan and I also ran for my life! You know what I mean? I didn’t have the political pull of the big guys, so you just do what you can do.”

But while Rodriguez was pursuing some kind of political career in Detroit, his albums had found their way to Australia and New Zealand via bootlegs and international licensing deals. Cold Fact first appeared in South Africa in 1971, where it became essential listening amongst the white male population of the army during the guerrilla border wars. When they returned home with their Rodriguez tapes, his music was swiftly adopted by white liberals in the ongoing fight against Apartheid. “They all dug it,” he reasons. “I think all that politics was questionable and my songs, being as they were, were reflecting what was happening. Y’know, why are people doing this stuff? It was chaotic. I mean, they killed a guy who opposed Apartheid in parliament over there. That was pretty shocking and that background was what we were playing against. There were soldiers who were musicians too and that’s what they were addressing. So they were there for me, all swapping cassettes of my music. That’s how I got spread around.”

In Australia, meanwhile, Cold Fact stayed on the album chart for over a year, eventually going five times platinum. It was enough to warrant a couple of tours there in 1979 and 1981, but after that Rodriguez seemed to go to ground completely. It was a disappearance that only served to magnify his mystique and deepen his legend. That’s when the stories began flying around.

“In South Africa it was as if The Beatles had been four faceless men without names,” says Bendjelloul. “Rodriguez was at least as famous there as The Rolling Stones and yet not even the record label knew where he was. When there’s no information, rumours start. One said that he was in jail, another that he had became blind, a third that he committed suicide on stage.” Others suggested he’d died of a heroin overdose or had set himself on fire during a live show. Or that, languishing in prison for murdering his wife, he had ended it all in his cell.

Years went by. Enter South African fan Stephen Segerman, who, having written the liner notes to the reissue of Coming From Reality, set about trying to find Rodriguez in 1996. Joining him on his quest were journalist Craig Bartholomew, then working on a story about their elusive charge, and another admirer, lawyer Brian Currin . What few leads they had only resulted in dead ends. Following the money was no good either. Despite his albums reaching multi-platinum status, they discovered that Rodriguez had not received a Rand in royalties.

Eventually, Bartholomew managed to track down Mike Theodore in Michigan. A tangled mess of phone calls, faxes and emails finally dislodged the truth. Rodriguez was still very much alive. By this time it was early 1998. “Stephen Segerman, Brian Currin and Craig Bartholomew were strangers, yet decided to find me,” marvels Rodriguez. “That was so crazy. They wanted to solve this mystery. They managed to get hold of my daughter in 1998. Segerman had a date in New York, then came over to Detroit to show me some CDs that had been selling. He was such a sweetheart. Then I started touring again. To suddenly be playing again was incredible.”

Rodriguez toured South Africa for the first time in March ’98, filling 5,000-capacity venues in all the major cities. It was only then that he began to understand his level of fame over there: “I thought I would be singing to Third World disgruntleds, but instead they were young, bright Afrikaners. And they seemed very sane! I couldn’t believe it when they started singing along to the words.” Adds Bendjelloul: “I think Rodriguez’ story fascinates people because it has so much to it. It’s about a man who lives a quite hard life and one day, when he’s well into his fifties, discovers that he’s a superstar in another country. When Rodriguez got to know about his South African fame he was working in manual labour, cleaning out houses to survive in the grim reality of downtown Detroit. But in the countries where people have heard about him, he’s not just a hip rock & roller, he’s a household name. I stopped random people in Cape Town streets and every second person knows exactly who Rodriguez is.”

A TV documentary of those shows – Dead Men Don’t Tour: Rodriguez In South Africa – arrived soon after. And while Rodriguez remained largely an unknown quantity in the UK and US, the slow build was now on. Influential rapper Nas sampled Sugar Man on 2001’s Stillmatic, then DJ/producer David Holmes featured the song on mix album Come Get It I Got It. In 2003, Holmes went one stage further, enlisting Rodriguez himself to re-record Sugar Man with a 30-piece orchestra for David Holmes Presents The Free Association.

But it wasn’t until discerning Seattle label Light In The Attic reissued Cold Fact in 2008, and Coming From Reality the following year, that Rodriguez’ legacy began to finally spread on a wider scale. It was enough for him to play the UK and Europe for the first time in the spring of 2009, where he was greeted like some long lost treasure.

It provided Bendjelloul, already in the midst of filming Searching For Sugar Man, with a readymade narrative arc. “It’s one of the strangest versions of the American Dream there ever was,” says the director, who admits to hearing Rodriguez’ music only after hearing his extraordinary tale. “There was a little trepidation, because I was so much in love with the story and didn’t want to lose the momentum by being disappointed when I heard the music. But then I heard the music and thought: ‘Jesus Christ!’ They talked about him in South Africa and Australia as being in the pantheon of rock gods, together with Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones. And your immediate reaction is that of course it couldn’t be on that level. But I think it really is. Nick Drake didn’t get any attention when he was alive, then he was rediscovered years later. Why? Because the music was that good. So it makes sense that Rodriguez’ records are now everywhere. It’s accessible music on a really high level. He seemed much more than just a talent, he was a seer. He had this mythology around him. And when I eventually met him he still kept that mythology. The strange thing was that his experience hadn’t made him bitter. He studied philosophy, so maybe that’s helped give him a different perspective on things. There are different definitions of success and what life should be and what to strive for. But it all added more to the enigma.”

Searching For Sugar Man was a huge hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where it won the world documentary audience award and a special jury prize. The reaction since, in Bendjelloul’s words, has been “absolutely crazy. We’ve had standing ovations at over 100 cinemas in America and in over 20 countries. And this is for a man who’d never played to more than 300 people in America in his life.”

And so to the man himself. How is Rodriguez dealing with this wholesale, and wholly unexpected, spike in fame and popularity? “It’s like a whirlwind,” he laughs, “I can hardly believe it. We’re going to be doing Letterman, the Newport Folk Festival and dates in New York and elsewhere. It all feels wonderful, it’s a lot to take in. So far I’ve seen the film 35 times! Had I given up on ever making it? I think I probably had. Put it this way, I was too disappointed to be disappointed. But now we’ve been four times to South Africa and four times to Australia and I’m finally breaking into the American market. I get a lot of seasoned hippies and a lot of young bucks too. People come up to me after shows and tell me stories about their dads listening to me. It’s all so rewarding. Everyone’s a young blood to me, because I’m 70! I really am a very fortunate man.”

Searching For Sugar Man, the original motion picture soundtrack is available now through Sony Legacy Recordings



SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN is a film about hope and inspiration, truth vs. illusion, and the resonating power of music.

For my great buddies and “mal-jan musicos”, Peter, Errol, Guy and Rod remembering the old days and thinking of you here in the other “bewilderness”

“ou toppie and totally unmusical ” kraik

Film Review: Searching for (Finding) Sugar Man

October 26, 2012

Click on

“Sugar Man” is an inspiring true tale


‘Sugar Man’ is as much a fairy tale as it is a documentary

BY: Melinda Miller

“Searching for Sugar Man” is so satisfying on every level that, once you see it, you’ll want to see it again. It’s a documentary that plays like a fairy tale – a story that even those who have lived it continue to find barely believable.

It begins once upon a time in 1970 and 1971, when a talented young singer-songwriter in Detroit cut a couple of albums that went nowhere. The music people who signed him thought they had the next Dylan; they had worked with other huge stars and included this young man – who went by the single name Rodriguez – as among their best.

No one bought his records.

Spin the globe a half-turn, though, to the South Africa of the 1970s, where one of those albums somehow landed. It was a time of apartheid and censorship, when restrictions of one sort or another applied to everyone, black and white alike. Into this mix came an album of beautiful songs, protest songs, songs about oppression and sex and rising up and speaking out. Through bootleg copies and other distributors, Rodriguez’s records became the biggest thing in the country – as people we meet in the film say, he was bigger than Elvis. His albums became as enduring as “Abbey Road” and “Born to Run” – and no one in America, not his family, not his friends or his original producers – knew anything about it.

And no one in South Africa knew anything about Rodriguez. All they had were the photos on the albums, showing a handsome Hispanic man with long black hair and, sometimes, a brilliant smile.

“We didn’t know who this guy was,” says Stephen “Sugar” Segerman. “Then we found out he committed suicide. He set himself alight on stage. … It was one of the most grotesque suicides in rock ’n’ roll history.”

Or he shot himself in the head on stage.

Or he died of a drug overdose. Nobody knew.

This movie, which opened the 2012 Sundance Film Festival in Utah, won the audience award for world cinema documentary and a special jury prize for its celebration of the artistic spirit – and that sums up the film.

It celebrates Rodriguez, whose art found an audience of millions on its own; it celebrates the South Africans who defied oppression and censors to embrace the music; and it celebrates the spirit of filmmaking as embodied by the young director and screenwriter Malik Bendjelloul of Sweden, who spent years tracking down people who had known Rodriguez to tell his story.

Bendjelloul freely admits that the movie was, for him, a path to poverty, with some parts shot with his cellphone. He also drew the illustrations himself. But, as Sundance showed, this is a movie about happy endings.

Bendjelloul has a terrific sense of what and who to include in his movie, starting with the two South Africans who, in 1997, decided to try to find out what had really happened to Rodriguez. It is their story that first captured the director’s interest, and he follows it to the snowy streets of Detroit, where he strikes gold with people like Rick Emmerson, a laborer who worked construction jobs with Rodriguez after the musician was dropped by his record label. Emmerson’s ability to express what others saw in Rodriguez is a gift in itself: “He had this magical quality that all poets had,” Emmerson says. “Even though his musical hopes were dashed, the spirit remained.” And, he added, Rodriguez never acted like having to do hard, dirty work was a punishment, or beneath him: “He appreciated it like it was a sacrament.”

Meanwhile, along the film journey, we hear the soundtrack that swept South Africa.

South African writer Rian Malan is also eloquent in describing the outcome of the search for the man who wrote “Sugar Man”: “Because I’m a journalist, I know that sort of thing does not happen in the rational universe,” he says, and trying to revive his legacy isn’t even a good stunt, because, “It so obviously cannot be true. Who’d believe it?”

Then he adds: “But I was wrong.”

The end of the search, which we won’t discuss here for those who have not yet seen the movie or a “60 Minutes” segment about it, is only the beginning of another story that, as Malan later says, “remains too strange to be true. These are the days of miracles and wonder.”

“Searching for Sugar Man” is the kind of story everyone would like to have made about their own life, a story about how your actions can affect people, people you have never even met, in a positive way, even if you never, ever know about it. And, even if, someday, you do.


3 and 1/2 stars

Starring: Dennis Coffey, Stephen Segerman and the family of Sixto Rodriguez

Director: Malik Bendjelloul

Running time: 85 minutes

Rating: PG-13 for brief language but overall not offensive.

The Lowdown: Two South Africans track down the story of a forgotten American songwriter whose music made him a superstar in their country.



Also see****************

Film review: Searching for Sugar Man

By Hugh Lilly | Published on October 13, 2012 | Issue 3779


The decay of modern-day Detroit looms large in Bendjelloul’s film, says Hugh Lilly.

Searching for Sugar Man

Folk-rock loves an enigma. Moreover, it loves – and mythologises – those who die too young. Nick Drake overdosed on pills at 26; Elliott Smith died at 34, probably by his own hand. Both singer-songwriters have posthumously achieved immense recognition. A new documentary, Searching for Sugar Man, examines the curious life and work of , a musician who should rank alongside Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie as one of the most revered of folksinger-lyricists. In 2006, the Swedish filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul, who has a background in television-documentary production, went in search of a subject for his feature-film debut. When he met a man named Stephen Segerman in Cape Town, Bendjelloul knew he’d found the story he’d been looking for.

Sugarman interview
click on 

Segerman’s nickname, “Sugar”, derives from his friend’s mispronunciation of his last name as “Sugar Man”, which is the title of a song by the enigmatic, reclusive Rodriguez. Segerman, a record-store owner, had been researching the singer for years. To most of the world, including folk-music fans in the US, he was virtually unknown. In South Africa, however, Rodriguez was bigger than the Stones. Rodriguez, who recorded under only his surname and credited lyrics in his brother’s name, Jesús, was born in Detroit to working-class parents who had emigrated from Mexico in the 1920s. His music, politically conscious folk-rock with a Motown soulfunk edge, is contained on two records, Cold Fact and Coming from Reality, issued in the early 1970s on Sussex, the label that would later release Bill Withers’s early albums.

Rodriguez’s Dylanesque voice is probably best described as a less-kindly Cat Stevens meets James Taylor, with just a dash of Loaded-era Lou Reed. His lyrics are at once catchy and deeply felt; even the ones that are only about romantic troubles rail against injustice and mourn defeat. Little wonder, then, that he became so popular in apartheid-era South Africa. Although critically admired, the albums failed to chart in the US. They slowly emerged in South Africa through bootlegging, but their sparse liner notes elided biography: Rodriguez was an enigma. By 1975, rumours were circulating. Rodriguez had apparently committed suicide, gruesomely, on stage, after singing “Forget It”, which concludes with the lines “thanks for your time/then you can thank me for mine/and after that’s said/forget it.”

The decay of modern-day Detroit looms large in Bendjelloul’s film; the associated tale he weaves, even in its happiest moments, is undeniably heartbreaking. Bendjelloul follows the money-go-round to bigwig producer Clarence Avant, who headed Sussex. The director-interviewer’s reluctance to needle Avant with questions, as well as his skimming of the apartheid issue, are the film’s two faults. “It’s better to burn out/ than to fade away.” Rodriguez paradoxically embodies both halves of Neil Young’s famous lyric in a way that only the documentary can adequately explain. (Do not Google Rodriguez or the film; knowing “how it ends” would be worse than having known that the protagonist of The Crying Game was a man.) One big question goes unanswered: why did it take them so long to make a movie about this guy?

Rating: 4/5

SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN, directed by Malik Bendjelloul

Films are rated out of 5: 1 = abysmal; 5 = amazing


Also see


for my great buddies and “musicos”, Peter “Allie”,  Errol, Guy and Rod, remembering the good old days back in Cape Town and thinking of you”guys” here in the “new bewilderness”

“ou toppie and totally unmusico” kraik

“And at the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
– TS Eliot in ‘Four Quarters’

from ‘Here, There and Everywhere’ [Kindle Edition]

October 26, 2012

SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN is a film about hope and inspiration, truth vs. illusion, and the resonating power of music.

for my great buddies and “musicos”, Peter and Errol

remembering the old days and thinking of you in the “bewilderness”

“ou toppie and totally unmusical” kraik

Star-struck doesn’t even begin to describe our reaction on Monday 22 October, 2012 to meeting not only Stephen “Sugar” Segerman and Craig Bartholomew Strydom, fans of musician Sixto Rodriguez and stars of the documentary Searching for Sugar Man, but also Eva Rodriguez, daughter of the music legend himself.

Searching for Sugar Man, directed by Malik Bendjelloul, follows Segerman’s and Strydom’s journey to unearthing the truth behind the gruesome rumours of Rodriguez’s death, the rediscovery of the living musician, and his subsequent sold-out concerts in South Africa in 1998.

The 101-minute long doccie is currently being shown at Ster-Kinekor Noveau cinemas and features stunning scenery of Cape Town, where Rodriguez performed at the Bellville Velodrome in the late 1990s.

via Search for Sugar Man Leads to Cape Town – Cape Town Tourism.

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October 21, 2012

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