At my ripe old 40 something age I can finally say that on Friday 9 November 2012 I asked someone for their autograph FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE.
As the Apprentice Longhair said; “Don’t worry Dad now you can share the excitement that I feel dreaming about getting a One Direction autograph!” I still don’t know if she was dissing me or not. Anyway, I still envy my kids for having such an awesome father!
You may well ask who the lucky object of my ‘autograph affection’ was? None other than Jonathan Butler – ex Cape Town, married to a Port Elizabeth lass, living in Los Angeles and who will be the first international artist to perform at the brand new Boardwalk Convention Centre on Thursday 20 and Saturday 22 December.
See: My Musical Journey for more info.
Anyway, let me tell you about THAT self titled album that Jonathan Butler signed for me:
In my misspent youth I fancied myself as a bit of a budding radio DJ and collected Long Playing records. It was always of great concern to me that South African artists didn’t receive much airplay and that their records were even harder to find. I spent some time on Campus Radio – Rhodes Music Radio and Radio Uppie – and spent much time sourcing music that I thought would stand the test of time. Butler’s 1985 LP was one.
Jonathan Butler was born in Athlone, Cape Town in 1961 and started touring South Africa at the age of 7. In 1974, and just into his teens, Butler shot to fame by winning a Sarie Award with a song titled “Please Stay”.
In the early 1980’s Butler moved to England and finally released his first solo album, Introducing Jonathan Butler, in 1985. Butler’s move to England was one more incident that completely p*ssed me off as another example of our stupid system that forced people with talent to leave South Africa and be recognised elsewhere.
I took solace in the fact though that now Jonathan was playing with luminaries such as Billy Ocean, Ruby Turner and South Africa’s own Hugh Masekela. It never would have happened here in those times.
1985 was the time of the second state of emergency, the then UPE was a hyper conservative institution (the male students had to wear ties and the females ‘sensible’ dress) and the thought of playing ‘die duiwel se musiek’ in the form of music by South African artists of colour was heavily frowned upon but I perpetuated artistic freedom by slipping many a Butler (and other) tune onto the decks giving me a smug sense of having flipped the bird to our conservative government.
Fast forward to last week Friday morning and all the above memories came flooding back as I placed his album on the turntable for a listen – my favourite tracks still are; If You’re Ready (with Ruby Turner) and African Breeze (with Hugh Masekela).
Before the press conference I placed my Jonathan Butler album on the table where Jonathan would sit. Of course he wanted to know who had brought it in and it was quite a thrill to acknowledge responsibility. And then I went all groupie on him and asked him to sign it!
Jonathan has had a long journey and dealt with demons but still loves his music 40 odd years on and I still feel as though I helped him become that giant that he is. Thanks for the autograph, Jonathan, it really is special AND the only one I have ever collected.