Loose Up Yourself - Rob (5) - Make It Fast, Make It Slow (CD, Album)

I went with the Tripowin Zonie, but there are a number of other nice 0. I have a hard time finding much to say about the stock tips. They fit me 'okay' in that I was able to get the Blons into my ears with them without them ever fallng out while I used them, but they didn't provide a sufficient seal, and never gave me the sense that they couldn't fall out of my ears, so I went tip-rolling.

I first went with the Spinfit CP tips, which provided a better seal and more secure fit than stock, but would more often than I'd like detach from the nozzle when removing the Blons from my ears, and get stuck in my ear canal, which was incredibly annoying. I then opted for AZLA's Xelastec eartips, which provided what I would imagine is the best seal, and most secure fit of any eartip on the market, but the tackiness of the eartip meant that they got dirty very easily, and owing to the nature of TPE, eventually deform.

The last eartips that I tried, and the ones I've been using to this day are AZLA's Earfit Light tips, which have provided me with the best combination of seal, comfort, and security. Another thing contributing to the poor fit of the Blons is the short nozzle. All that to say the Blon BL's out of the box user experience is not good. From my understanding, the bore size of an eartip affects the treble response of an IEM, and consequently, affects the overall tonal balance, and possibly the soundstaging and imaging capabilities.

It might not make a night and day difference, but it makes a difference nonetheless. So entering the sound quality section of this review, I need to make a disclaimer that my Blon BLs are using an aftermarket cable for those that believe cables change the soundaftermarket tips, and needed gaskets fitted at the bottom of the nozzles to help provide proper insertion depth. Not everyone is going to need to spend that much to get the best experience with the Blons, after all, everyone's ears are shaped differently, but for those looking to purchase the Blons, understand that you may have to invest extra money to get the best out of them.

Sound Quality with the caveat that my set is NOT the stock experience The overall tonality of the Blon BLs can be described as either a warm v-shape, or maybe a bassy take on a neutral signature.

There's a strong general bass emphasis that lends authority to bass guitar, upright bass, and cellos, but unfortunately bleeds a bit into the lower mids which consequently causes male vocals to sometimes sound a bit recessed in some busy tracks, and some orchestral pieces with prominent cello sections can sound kinda mushy.

I wouldn't call it muddy, as it seems to mostly be track dependent, more The upper mids provide piano, female vocals, and violins with enough energy to stand out when needed while never coming across as shouty, and the treble strikes a good balance with no harshness or sibilance when reproducing consonant sounds or cymbal crashes. I find the Blons to be sufficiently airy, only really rolling off after about 15kHz when listening to sine sweeps after which I credit inaudibility to my hearing cutting off at Overall I find the Blons to be a good all-rounder tonality-wise.

It plays well with pretty much any genre, only stumbling every now and then when dealing with tracks with already sufficient warmth. The Blons have excellent timbre owing to its strong tonal balance and natural pattern of decay. I never get the sense that an instrument sounds unnatural, nor do I get any metallic zing or graininess. Texture errs a little too much on the side of smoothness. Attack on things like plucked strings or percussive hits often sound more muted than I would expect them to be, and paired with the decay being a bit on the longer side, causes the notes to sometimes smear into each other, becoming a problem on especially busy tracks.

The Blons stage are wider than deep sounding, and sound, like another reviewer said, like you're in one of the front rows of a small concert hall. Imaging is good between front, left, and right, with front left and front right being a little less distinct. Acoustic guitar sounds warm and natural, and Ichiko's wispy, melancholic voice is reproduced faithfully. The room reverberates a bit as Ichiko sings longingly, and she's placed a small distance away directly in front.

I didn't actually include this song because I wanted to give my impressions of the Blons so much as I wanted to simp for Ichiko, sorry.

Danger Doom - Crosshairs The bass immediately sounds bloated and indistinct, causing DOOM's voice to sound recessed, and generally overpowering the other samples in the song. I can still make out DOOM's vocals, but with the bassline being so blobby it wasn't ideal.

Yoko Kanno and the Seatbelts - Tank! This was a good test of the Blon's imaging chops, which I found it to pass fairly admirably. While I couldn't pinpoint exactly where every instrument in the band was as the song got busier and more sections of the band became involved, there was good enough directionality and instrument separation to where I felt immersed in the music. Gritty brass section, upright bass, drums, bongos, and saxophone all had their place in the mix and none of them overpowered another.

Tatsuro's vocals are front and center, bassline is well controlled, drums are present and have good snap with no sharpness, electric guitar to the right providing a consistent groove, adequate space in the stage for the saxophone solo, and for Tatsuro to belt out his lovely high notes into the heavens. Radiohead - Glass Eyes Thom's vocals are intimate and clear, filtered panning piano arpeggios have a slight bloom in the low end, but has an overall pleasant effect.

The Blons handle imaging of the orchestra very well. I was able to pinpoint specific violins and cellos, while the bass section came off as more of an all-encompassing wall of low hums.

Swelling string crescendos are replayed nicely, again with a slight bloom in that transition from mid-bass to lower mids, but I found the effect pleasant in this case.

Conclusion Overall I'd say I like the Blons. Well, I'd have to if I've kept them as my only earphone for the last year, but it's honestly kind of hard for me to recommend them.

Sure, once I'd gotten mine all tuned up with new tips, cable, and gasket, they performed great to my ears, but that really shouldn't have to be necessary, and for the money I've invested in them I probably could have gotten another IEM that performs just as well, but that's just speculation, since Loose Up Yourself - Rob (5) - Make It Fast Blons are pretty much my only frame of reference.

Whether or not they are the budget world-beaters they're purported to be is TBD until I hear some more expensive sets. Reactions: potatoheadexperience and SoundChoice. Vocals and soundstage beast. Pros : Superb bass texture. Smooth treble. Forward vocals. Male vocals have dense body and female vocals are sweet and airy. Note weight is thicker than neutral. Transients are usually fast.

Soundstage while not very wide, has a roomy 3d presentation. I really enjoy this Imaging is quite fluid. Fatigue free listening. Cons : Loose bass. Instrument separation is average. Macro details drown in busy tracks. Top end extension is lacking and noticeable in few tracks.

Reactions: SoundChoice. Inexpensive Sonic Excellence Pros : 1 Very good bass response 2 Clear mids and highs 3 Warm and smooth sound signature 4 Detachable two pin cables 5 Included carry case. Cons : 1 Fit may be problematic for some I personally had no problem with the fit 2 Soundstage though very good for the price can most probably be easily beaten by higher priced iems.

It is safe to say that these earphones did not disappoint me in the slightest. On the contrary they even exceeded my expectations especially when it came to fit and comfort. The sound profile of these earphones can be described as balanced with a prominent low end. The bass is very engaging and powerful here without overpowering other frequencies The most exceptional characteristic of these iems is there expansive soundstage especially considering the price and these being single dynamic driver earphones.

The build quality and design is also pretty good. Just make sure to pair them with a good dac and you are good to go. Cons : Fit can be hit or miss. Reactions: Codename johnPancakessVasarely and Make It Slow (CD others.

Unique and Insufficient Pros : Juicy vocal perfomance and timbre Strong and punchy mid-bass Wide soundstage Nice and resistant metal shells Can reach basshead levels. Cons : Poor treble and upper-treble extension Dark and laid back sound signature Upper mids can sound unnatural Considerable mid-bass bleed Slow and imprecise mid-bass response in faster and busier tracks Not so articulate sub-bass execution Average separation and detail retrieval Isolation is extremely tip-dependent Terrible fit and comfort, mainly with silicone tips Awful stock cable Driver flex Not so easy to drive.

Last edited: Jul 1, K Krucoz Hi, what is your source? I ask for that because these sounds completly different if you use a smartphone or a good DAC!

Whith my smartphone, these are what you said, but with a good amp like a shanling UA2 it is a different story, really! As many earphones, they need a good powered source and good recordings. DarkeyeH Krucoz Hi! Thanks your reply! They are not bad IEMs by any means, they just lack treble and upper treble response for my taste.

There's an annoying peak at 2k, that I think also contributes to cloak the treble and its already premature roll-off. And unfortunately, the mid-bass bleed just helps to veil the sound spectrum for good. Cons : Mid bass hump Bass bleed Some lack of detail in mids and treble Problematic fit, short nozzles Poor cable; tips not fit for purpose. Back in August last year I received the original BL gunmetal for review. I appreciated its natural tonality and overall balance but was unable to obtain a secure fit.

The unusual shaped tips and short nozzles proved problematic and the supplied cable with its angled connectors tended to pull the IEMs out of my ears. In addition, the very smooth and shiny finish afforded no grip and the uneven weight distribution added to the problem.

Some of these issues were solved by using a replacement cable and changing the tips. However, some instability remained which impacted my ability to fully appreciate the potential of these earphones and I did not join the legion of fans singing its praises.

I have now received the latest version of the BL clothed in an attractive dark purple colour. I found the new paint finish afforded more grip than the shiny metal did, and I obtained a very stable and acceptable fit and consequently an improved performance from the BL The earpieces are teardrop-shaped and finished in a highly-polished zinc alloy called "Kersite" and are finished in a dark purple colour with gold speckled accents. The build quality is impressive with a high-quality smooth finish.

This box contains a linen-finish pouch with a blue BLON logo and the spare eartips plus some documentation. The BL features a detachable 4-core braided cable which has tightly curved ear guides and angled, shielded 2-pin connectors. I found this to be tangly and uncomfortable to wear and it tended to make the earpieces unstable.

In addition, the short nozzles and unusual cone-shaped tips failed to provide a secure fit. I therefore changed the cable for a Hifi Hear 16 core cable with straight connectors and the tips were replaced by JVC Spiral Dots, large size. The fit was now snug, secure and comfortable. The earphones were left burning in for over hours before testing. The overall profile was well-balanced with a robust bass output centred on the mid bass but still possessing good sub bass depth.

There was some bass bleed but the transition to the mids was generally smooth. Timbre was very attractive and natural. The treble was nicely contoured and gently rolled off.

Transient response was very good Loose Up Yourself - Rob (5) - Make It Fast texture was well-rendered. Layering in electronic music was especially notable.

The balanced nature of this presentation suited most types of music. Bass The bass was on the warm side of neutral with an emphasis in the mid bass which endowed this region with a "cuddly" quality which was attractive but did dominate on some material and slightly blunted the resolution and texture.

The sub bass had good impact and with a good sense of weight. The Greek keyboard master's characteristic synth patches came over with impact and the drums and bass synthesiser parts in the climax possessed satisfying weight and power, but the leading edges were occasionally just a little soft.

In the version by the Eos Orchestra conducted by Jonathan Schaffer, the bass drum showed impressive depth with the rebound of the skin being easy to discern although the initial strike could have been crisper. Timpani had excellent timbre and air which resulted in an exhilarating performance. Mids The midrange displayed a very natural timbre with an overall warm cast which reproduced acoustic instruments very well.

There was a good deal of space which allowed directional cues to be heard clearly. Soundstage was very impressive with the stereo imaging also of high quality. Secondhand cars left us hitchhiking on the side of the freeway. A secondhand car was also the reason my mom got married. As much as I loved church, the idea of a nine-hour slog, from mixed church to white church to black church then doubling back to white church again, was just too much to contemplate.

It was bad enough in a car, but taking public transport would be twice as long and twice as hard. Indeed, obstacles that would normally lead a person to change their plans, like a car breaking down, only made her more determined to forge ahead. Sometimes Jesus puts obstacles in your way to see if you overcome them. Like Job. This could be a test. Yes, Mom. Now go change your clothes. Any time I heard it I knew it meant the conversation was over, and if I uttered another word I was in for a hiding— what we call a spanking.

At the time, I attended a private Catholic school called Maryvale College. Because she was always chasing me to kick my ass, and I was always running not to get my ass kicked. Nobody ran like me and my mom. She was a thrower, too. Whatever was next to her was coming at you. If it was something breakable, I had to catch it and put it down. If it broke, that would be my fault, too, and the ass-kicking would be that much worse. Is it breakable? Catch it, put it down, now run.

We had a very Tom and Jerry relationship, me and my mom. She was the strict disciplinarian; I was naughty as shit. I loved videogames. I was a master at Street Fighter. I could go forever on a single play. It was a race. It was a normal thing in our neighborhood. Everybody knew: That Trevor child would come through like a bat out of hell, and his mom would be right there behind him. She gathered up Andrew and we climbed out of the Volkswagen and went out to try to catch a ride.

I remember seeing it on TV and everyone being happy. What I do remember, what I will never forget, is the violence that followed. The triumph of democracy over apartheid is sometimes called the Bloodless Revolution. It is called that because very little white blood was spilled.

Black blood ran in the streets. As the apartheid regime fell, we knew that the black man was now going to rule. The question was, which black man? The political dynamic between these two groups was very complicated, but the simplest way to understand it is as a proxy war between Zulu and Xhosa. The Inkatha was predominantly Zulu, very militant and very nationalistic.

The ANC was a broad coalition encompassing many different tribes, but its leaders at the time were primarily Xhosa. Instead of uniting for peace they turned on one another, committing acts of unbelievable savagery. Massive riots broke out. Thousands of people were killed. Necklacing was common. The ANC did it to Inkatha. Inkatha did it to the ANC. I saw one of those charred bodies on the side of the road one day on my way to school. In the evenings my mom and I would turn on our little black-and-white TV and watch the news.

A dozen people killed. Fifty people killed. A hundred people killed. Hundreds of rioters in the street. My mom would edge the car slowly through the crowds and around blockades made of flaming tires.

As we drove past the burning blockades, it felt like we were inside an oven. But not my mom. Let me pass. She was unwavering in the face of danger. That always amazed me. She had things to do, places to be. It was the same stubbornness that kept her going to church despite a broken-down car. Even when she should have been. When we walked out of Rosebank Union it was dark and we were alone.

It had been an endless day of minibuses from mixed church to black church to white church, and I was exhausted. In those days, with all the violence and riots going on, you did not want to be out that late at night. The streets were empty. This is why God wanted us to stay home. There were times I could talk smack to my mom—this was not one of them. We waited and waited for a minibus to come by. Necessity being the mother of invention, black people created their own transit system, an informal network of bus routes, controlled by private associations operating entirely outside the law.

Because the minibus business was completely unregulated, it was basically organized crime. Different groups ran different routes, and they would fight over who controlled what. There was bribery and general shadiness that went on, a great deal of violence, and a lot of protection money paid to avoid violence. Drivers who stole routes would get killed.

Being unregulated, minibuses were also very unreliable. When they came, they came. Standing outside Rosebank Union, I was literally falling asleep on my feet. Not a minibus in sight. The driver offered us a ride, and we climbed in. A Zulu driver got out with an iwisa, a large, traditional Zulu weapon—a war club, basically.

Another guy, his crony, got out of the passenger side. Why are you picking people up? I knew that happened sometimes. My mom spoke up. Leave him. We were the only passengers in the minibus. In addition to being violent gangsters, South African minibus drivers are notorious for complaining and haranguing passengers as they drive.

This driver was a particularly angry one. As we rode along, he started lecturing my mother about being in a car with a man who was not her husband. She told him to mind his own business, and when he heard her speaking in Xhosa, that really set him off. The stereotypes of Zulu and Xhosa women were as ingrained as those of the men. Zulu women were well-behaved and dutiful. Xhosa women were promiscuous and unfaithful.

And here was my mother, his tribal enemy, a Xhosa woman alone with two small children—one of them a mixed child, no less. Not just a whore but a whore who sleeps with white men. Disgusting woman. Death was never far away from anybody back then. At that point my mother could be raped. We could be killed. These were all viable options. Plus my mom stayed very calm. She just kept trying to reason with him. My mother sat next to me, holding baby Andrew. When we came to the next traffic light, the driver eased off the gas a bit to look around and check the road.

My mother reached over, pulled the sliding door open, grabbed me, and threw me out as far as she could.

Then she took Andrew, curled herself in a ball around him, and leaped out behind me. It felt like a dream until the pain hit. I smacked hard on the pavement. My mother landed right beside me and we tumbled and tumbled and rolled and rolled. I was wide awake now. I went from half asleep to What the hell?! Eventually I came to a stop and pulled myself up, completely disoriented. I looked around and saw my mother, already on her feet. She turned and looked at me and screamed.

It was animal instinct, learned in a world where violence was always lurking and waiting to erupt. In the townships, when the police came swooping in with their riot gear and armored cars and helicopters, I knew: Run for cover. Run and hide. I knew that as a five-year-old. Had I lived a different life, getting thrown out of a speeding minibus might have fazed me. Why are my legs so sore? Like the gazelle runs from the lion, I ran. We smoked them. I think they were in shock.

I still remember glancing back and seeing them give up with a look of utter bewilderment on their faces. What just happened? We kept going and going until we made it to a twenty-four-hour petrol station and called the police.

By then the men were long gone. Once we stopped running I realized how much pain I was in. I looked down, and the skin on my arms was scraped and torn. I was cut up and bleeding all over.

Mom was, too. My baby brother was fine, though, incredibly. I turned to her in shock. Why are we running?! You just threw me out of the car! I was asleep! I was too confused and too angry about getting thrown out of the car to realize what had happened. My mother had saved my life. This was not thanks to God! I know you love Jesus, but maybe next week you could ask him to meet us at our house.

I started laughing, too, and we stood there, this little boy and his mom, our arms and legs covered in blood and dirt, laughing together through the pain in the light of a petrol station on the side of the road in the middle of the night. A partheid was perfect racism. It took centuries to develop, starting all the way back in when the Dutch East India Company landed at the Cape of Good Hope and established a trading colony, Kaapstad, later known as Cape Town, a rest stop for ships traveling between Europe and India.

To impose white rule, the Dutch colonists went to war with the natives, ultimately developing a set of laws to subjugate and enslave them. When the British took over the Cape Colony, the descendants of the original Dutch settlers trekked inland and developed their own language, culture, and customs, eventually becoming their own people, the Afrikaners—the white tribe of Africa.

The British abolished slavery in name but kept it in practice. They did so because, in the mids, in what had been written off as a near-worthless way station on the route to the Far East, a few lucky capitalists stumbled upon the richest gold and diamond reserves in the world, and an endless supply of expendable bodies was needed to go in the ground and get it all out.

They set up a formal commission to go out and study institutionalized racism all over the world. They went to Australia. They went to the Netherlands. They went to America. Then they came back and published a report, and the government used that knowledge to build the most advanced system of racial oppression known to man. Apartheid was a police state, a system of surveillance and laws designed to keep black people under total control.

A full compendium of those laws would run more than three thousand pages and weigh approximately ten pounds, but the general thrust of it should be easy enough for any American to understand. In America you had the forced removal of the native onto reservations coupled with slavery followed by segregation. Imagine all three of those things happening to the same group of people at the same time.

That was apartheid. My mother, Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah, is black. My father, Robert, is white. During apartheid, one of the worst crimes you could commit was having sexual relations with a person of another race. Needless to say, my parents committed that crime. Race-mixing proves that races can mix—and in a lot of cases, want to mix. Because a mixed person embodies that rebuke to the logic of the system, race-mixing becomes a crime worse than treason. Humans being humans and sex being sex, that prohibition never stopped anyone.

There were mixed kids in South Africa nine months after the first Dutch boats hit the beach in Table Bay. Just like in America, the colonists here had their way with the native women, as colonists so often do.

Based on those classifications, millions of people were uprooted and relocated. Indian areas were segregated from colored areas, which were segregated from black areas—all of them segregated from white areas and separated from one another by buffer zones of empty land.

Laws were passed prohibiting sex between Europeans and natives, laws that were later amended to prohibit sex between whites and all nonwhites. The government went to insane lengths to try to enforce these new laws.

The penalty for breaking them was five years in prison. There were whole police squads whose only job was to go around peeking through windows—clearly an assignment for only the finest law enforcement officers. And if an interracial couple got caught, God help them. The police would kick down the door, drag the people out, beat them, arrest them. If you ask my mother whether she ever considered the ramifications of having a mixed child under apartheid, she will say no.

She wanted to do something, figured out a way to do it, and then she did it. She had a level of fearlessness that you have to possess to take on something like she did. Still, it was a crazy, reckless thing to do. A million things had to go right for us to slip through the cracks the way we did for as long as we did. If you were a black woman, you worked in a factory or as a maid.

Those were pretty much your only options. She was a horrible cook and never would have stood for some white lady telling her what to do all day.

So, true to her nature, she found an option that was not among the ones presented to her: She took a secretarial course, a typing class. At the time, a black woman learning how to type was like a blind person learning how to drive. By law, white-collar jobs and skilled- labor jobs were reserved for whites.

My mom, however, was a rebel, and, fortunately for her, her rebellion came along at the right moment. In the early s, the South African government began making minor reforms in an attempt to quell international protest over the atrocities and human rights abuses of apartheid. Among those reforms was the token hiring of black workers in low-level white- collar jobs. Like typists. Through an employment agency she got a job as a secretary at ICI, a multinational pharmaceutical company in Braamfontein, a suburb of Johannesburg.

When my mom started working, she still lived with my grandmother in Soweto, the township where the government had relocated my family decades before. But my mother was unhappy at home, and when she was twenty-two she ran away to live in downtown Johannesburg. There was only one problem: It was illegal for black people to live there. The ultimate goal of apartheid was to make South Africa a white country, with every black person stripped of his or her citizenship and relocated to live in the homelands, the Bantustans, semi-sovereign black territories that were in reality puppet states of the government in Pretoria.

But this so-called white country could not function without black labor to produce its wealth, which meant black people had to be allowed to live near white areas in the townships, government-planned ghettos built to house black workers, like Soweto. The township was where you lived, but your status as a laborer was the only thing that permitted you to stay there. If your papers were revoked for any reason, you could be deported back to the homelands.

To leave the township for work in the city, or for any other reason, you had to carry a pass with your ID number; otherwise you could be arrested. There was also a curfew: After a certain hour, blacks had to be back home in the township or risk arrest. She was determined to never go home again. So she stayed in town, hiding and sleeping in public restrooms until she learned the rules of navigating the city from the other black women who had contrived to live there: prostitutes.

Many of the prostitutes in town were Xhosa. They also introduced her to white men who were willing to rent out flats in town.

She met a German fellow through one of her prostitute friends, and he agreed to let her a flat in his name. She was caught and arrested many times, for not having her ID on the way home from work, for being in a white area after hours.

The penalty for violating the pass laws was thirty days in jail or a fine of fifty rand, nearly half her monthly salary. She would scrape together the money, pay the fine, and go right back about her business.

She lived in number He lived in As a former trading colony, South Africa has always had a large expatriate community. People find their way here. Tons of Germans.

Lots of Dutch. Hillbrow at the time was the Greenwich Village of South Africa. It was a thriving scene, cosmopolitan and liberal. There were galleries and underground theaters where artists and performers dared to speak up and criticize the government in front of integrated crowds.

There were restaurants and nightclubs, a lot of them foreign-owned, that served a mixed clientele, black people who hated the status quo and white people who simply thought it ridiculous. People would meet up and hang out, have parties. My mom threw herself into that scene. She was always out at some club, some party, dancing, meeting people.

She was a regular at the Hillbrow Tower, one of the tallest buildings in Africa at that time. It had a nightclub with a rotating dance floor on the top floor. It was an exhilarating time but still dangerous. Sometimes the restaurants and clubs would get shut down, sometimes not.

Sometimes the performers and patrons would get arrested, sometimes not. It was a roll of the dice. My mother never knew whom to trust, who might turn her in to the police. Neighbors would report on one another. And you must remember that black people worked for the government as well. As far as her white neighbors knew, my mom could have been a spy posing as a prostitute posing as a maid, sent into Hillbrow to inform on whites who were breaking the law.

Living alone in the city, not being trusted and not being able to trust, my mother started spending more and more time in the company of someone with whom she felt safe: the tall Swiss man down the corridor in He was forty-six. She was twenty-four. He was quiet and reserved; she was wild and free. Something clicked. I know that there was a genuine bond and a love between my parents.

I saw it. All I do know is that one day she made her proposal. I asked you to help me to have my kid. I just want the sperm from you.

Honor me with your yes so that I can live peacefully. I want a child of my own, and I want it from you. You will be able to see it as much as you like, but you will have no obligations. Just make this child for me. She wanted a child, not a man stepping in to run her life. Eventually he said yes. Why he said yes is a question I will never have the answer to.

Nine months after that yes, on February 20,my mother checked into Hillbrow Hospital for a scheduled C-section delivery. Estranged from her family, pregnant by a man she could not be seen with in public, she was alone. The doctors took her up to the delivery room, cut open her belly, and reached in and pulled out a half-white, half-black child who violated any number of laws, statutes, and regulations—I was born a crime.

They probably knew she was lying, but they accepted it because they needed an explanation. Under apartheid, the government labeled everything on your birth certificate: race, tribe, nationality. Greg: pointing at Alex's bare foot Do you see what I'm capable of?!

Paul: It did look like an eagle, you ate the beak. Paul: Clark Kent has got the glasses Greg: Eagles have got the beaks. Paul whispering : He's a doctor.

Alex whispering : What sort of doctor, Paul? Paul whispering : Oh for fuck's sake you fucking bastard. Jessica: from an outtake of "The Pendulum Draws the Eye," referencing the javelin incident Yes, but Rhod, we can't— you've got to stop doing this! You can't just nearly kill Alex every time you have to do a task! Katy: Alex, you should tell people when you're being bullied. Alex: mouthing I'm being bullied. Katy: I don't care. Why are you telling me? Josh: I'm not saying that this is a last minute purchase, but why is there a man doing karate on the top?

Johnny: That's what life'll do ta ya. Look away, child. Look away. Rob: affecting a creepy voice Mummy says we're good at puzzles.

Katherine's father : Heh heh heh Hey, I didn't come over here on the last banana boat, you know. Death Glare : James Acaster throughout series 7 gives Alex an angry look every time Alex greets him rather than greet him back as contestants usually doto the point the official taskmaster channel made a compilation reel of every time James did it.

Amusingly, James himself was subject to one of these by Greg when he impulsively called Greg a "pussy", making James immediately backtrack. James evidently provoked Greg's latent teacher mode a lot, as he was subject to this again following his hilariously inept attempt that the "draw the biggest circle" task, which culminated in Greg spending the first few moments after the video playback just staring at James with a thunderous expression on his face before demanding an explanation.

However, Alex Horne is the one actually in charge and he sometimes very clearly guides Greg on camera. Deliberately Monochrome : This will occur every now and then when there is a task which requires the competitors to compose a short film. Roisin's backwards film Thirsty Wolf from "The Pie Whisperer" is filmed in this manner, accompanied by Make It Slow (CD, calming piano music.

In the Limited Palette version, the task to arrange ice lollies in a rainbow in "Join Our Cult" is heavily de-saturated, but the ice lollies and the dodo statue retain their normal colours. Determined Defeatist : It is frequently noted on the companion podcast that no matter how badly one is doing in a task, it is always better to press on and complete the task rather than just give up, because you would at least earn the one point, and chances are one of the other competitors could have done the task much worse or have gotten themselves disqualified.

Nish Kumar from Series 5 is a zigzagged example. On the one hand, he gave up rather quickly on some tasks such as getting the coconut as far away from the house as possible, in which he could have easily retrieved his coconut and when he gave up on sneezing after 10 minutes, which is 1 second less than when Bob, the winner of that task, managed to sneeze.

On the other hand, he persisted in attempting to chip a basketball into a hoop for over 28 minutes which took 52 tries and in retrieving the ping pong ball from an upright drain pipe without moving it in just under 45 minutes. In the latter two examples, he did manage to earn two points each since Sally and Aisling were disqualified in those tasks, respectively.

Nish: [after the nth attempt at chipping the basketball] I'm gonna do this if it kills me and everyone here! Greg: You fried [the courier]'s brain! He was so shocked that his facial expression didn't change at all. Greg: Again you confound me. It's not supposed to be dehumanising! It's just a bit of fun! Greg: Okay. Explain yourself. James: I thought Greg: You thought, "I've been told I should draw the biggest circle, but what I'm gonna do is ride around aimlessly on a bike whilst badly spinning a hula-hoop.

And then I'm gonna crash, accidentally notice there's another circle on the floor and try and claim that as part of my attempt. Have you got anything different to add? James: [Hopefully] My eyes are circles? Iain: "You may not touch the sand, done that. You may not move the bucket, done that. You may not leave the room, fuck it, let's do that as well!. Greg: It doesn't matter how ornate the grandfather clock is, the pendulum draws the eye.

The Gadfly : Rhod Gilbert in series 7. As he and Greg have a long-standing friendship, Rhod took as many opportunities as he could particularly with the prize rounds to embarrass and taunt Greg as much as possible. It backfired on him, however; Rhod later admitted that because he hadn't really watched the show and didn't understood the format, he didn't realise that Greg actually was genuinely acting as a judge, and that by focussing more on winding Greg up he was sabotaging himself.

He acknowledged that if he'd used his friendship with Greg more constructively, he could have probably done much better in terms of points. Although considering some people already complained about their friendship being an advantage, maybe it's better off the way it went. Greg himself clearly enjoys winding up the contestants, especially those who are tantrum-prone and inclined to take the tasks more seriously than perhaps they should be taken.

He also delights in picking on Alex and trolling him at every opportunity. Alex also performs a subtle, low-key version of this during the recorded tasks.

His tone is never anything less than mild, helpful and innocent, yet his contributions frequently tend to either state the obvious, irritatingly point out any shortcomings or errors in a contestant's attempt, given unhelpful advice along the lines of a Mathematician's Answer or an unhelpful recitation of "everything is in the task", or comment on the contestant's attempt in a way that strongly hints they've made a mistake somewhere but he's neither willing nor able to point out what it is.

One could be forgiven for thinking that he's doing so deliberately to wind them up and put them off-guard for entertainment purposes. Alex: All the information is on the task. Jo: You always say that! It's so annoying. Alex: When do you think you might start building? Sarah: Look, mate, give me four hours to chop down a tree, and I'll spend three hours sharpening the blade.

Later, during Lee's attempt Lee: Abraham Lincoln said, "If I had four hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend the first three hours sharpening my axe.

Greg: It doesn't work like that— this isn't the Good Samaritan. We make the rule, Sausage Gloves! Greg : Right, and you don't like flights of fancyNoeldo you?

Greg : Now these are intelligent people, they're not just gonna steam in and just start popping balloons. Alex : No, because they can make a plan, they can get something.

Greg : They're just gonna think about it. Alex : Yeah. So, do you want to start with Dave and Sara? Greg: Initially, [Daisy] suggested that Richard's disgusting for offering up lascivious goods [ Daisy took a moral high ground, and then, let's say it as it is, tried to get off with him.

This is why God wanted us to stay home. There were times I could talk smack to my mom—this was not one of them. We waited and waited for a minibus to come by. Necessity being the mother of invention, black people created their own transit system, an informal network of bus routes, controlled by private associations operating entirely outside the law.

Because the minibus business was completely unregulated, it was basically organized crime. Different groups ran different routes, and they would fight over who controlled what. There was bribery and general shadiness that went on, a great deal of violence, and a lot of protection money paid to avoid violence. Drivers who stole routes would get killed. Being unregulated, minibuses were also very unreliable. When they came, they came. Standing outside Rosebank Union, I was literally falling asleep on my feet.

Not a minibus in sight. The driver offered us a ride, and we climbed in. A Zulu driver got out with an iwisa, a large, traditional Zulu weapon—a war club, basically. Another guy, his crony, got out of the passenger side. Why are you picking people up? I knew that happened sometimes. My mom spoke up. Leave him. We were the only passengers in the minibus. In addition to being violent gangsters, South African minibus drivers are notorious for complaining and haranguing passengers as they drive.

This driver was a particularly angry one. As we rode along, he started lecturing my mother about being in a car with a man who was not her husband. She told him to mind his own business, and when he heard her speaking in Xhosa, that really set him off. The stereotypes of Zulu and Xhosa women were as ingrained as those of the men. Zulu women were well-behaved and dutiful. Xhosa women were promiscuous and unfaithful. And here was my mother, his tribal enemy, a Xhosa woman alone with two small children—one of them a mixed child, no less.

Not just a whore but a whore who sleeps with white men. Disgusting woman. Death was never far away from anybody back then. At that point my mother could be raped. We could be killed. These were all viable options. Plus my mom stayed very calm. She just kept trying to reason with him. My mother sat next to me, holding baby Andrew.

When we came to the next traffic light, the driver eased off the gas a bit to look around and check the road. My mother reached over, pulled the sliding door open, grabbed me, and threw me out as far as she could.

Then she took Andrew, curled herself in a ball around him, and leaped out behind me. It felt like a dream until the pain hit. I smacked hard on the pavement. My mother landed right beside me and we tumbled and tumbled and rolled and rolled. I was wide awake now. I went from half asleep to What the hell?! Eventually I came to a stop and pulled myself up, completely disoriented. I looked around and saw my mother, already on her feet. She turned and looked at me and screamed.

It was animal instinct, learned in a world where violence was always lurking and waiting to erupt. In the townships, when the police came swooping in with their riot gear and armored cars and helicopters, I knew: Run for cover. Run and hide. I knew that as a five-year-old. Had I lived a different life, getting thrown out of a speeding minibus might have fazed me. Why are my legs so sore? Like the gazelle runs from the lion, I ran. We smoked them. I think they Album) in shock. I still remember glancing back and seeing them give up with a look of utter bewilderment on their faces.

What just happened? We kept going and going until we made it to a twenty-four-hour petrol station and called the police. By then the men were long gone. Once we stopped running I realized how much pain I was in. I looked down, and the skin on my arms was scraped and torn. I was cut up and bleeding all over. Mom was, too. My baby brother was fine, though, incredibly. I turned to her in shock. Why are we running?! You just threw me out of the car! I was asleep! I was too confused and too angry about getting thrown out of the car to realize what had happened.

My mother had saved my life. This was not thanks to God! I know you love Jesus, but maybe next week you could ask him to meet us at our house. I started laughing, too, and we stood there, this little boy and his mom, our arms and legs covered in blood and dirt, laughing together through the pain in the light of a petrol station on the side of the road in the middle of the night.

A partheid was perfect racism. It took centuries to develop, starting all the way back in when the Dutch East India Company landed at the Cape of Good Hope and established a trading colony, Kaapstad, later known as Cape Town, a rest stop for ships traveling between Europe and India. To impose white rule, the Dutch colonists went to war with the natives, ultimately developing a set of laws to subjugate and enslave them. When the British took over the Cape Colony, the descendants of the original Dutch settlers trekked inland and developed their own language, culture, and customs, eventually becoming their own people, the Afrikaners—the white tribe of Africa.

The British abolished slavery in name but kept it in practice. They did so because, in the mids, in what had been written off as a near-worthless way station on the route to the Far East, a few lucky capitalists stumbled upon the richest gold and diamond reserves in the world, and an endless supply of expendable bodies was needed to go in the ground and get it all out.

They set up a formal commission to go out and study institutionalized racism all over the world. They went to Australia. They went to the Netherlands. They went to America. Then they came back and published a report, and the government used that knowledge to build the most advanced system of racial oppression known to man.

Apartheid was a police state, a system of surveillance and laws designed to keep black people under total control. A full compendium of those laws would run more than three thousand pages and weigh approximately ten pounds, but the general thrust of it should be easy enough for any American to understand. In America you had the forced removal of the native onto reservations coupled with slavery followed by segregation. Imagine all three of those things happening to the same group of people at the same time.

That was apartheid. My mother, Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah, is black. My father, Robert, is white. During apartheid, one of the worst crimes you could commit was having sexual relations with a person of another race. Needless to say, my parents committed that crime. Race-mixing proves that races can mix—and in a lot of cases, want to mix. Because a mixed person embodies that rebuke to the logic of the system, race-mixing becomes a crime worse than treason.

Humans being humans and sex being sex, that prohibition never stopped anyone. There were mixed kids in South Africa nine months after the first Dutch boats hit the beach in Table Bay. Just like in America, the colonists here had their way with the native women, as colonists so often do. Based on those classifications, millions of people were uprooted and relocated. Indian areas were segregated from colored areas, which were segregated from black areas—all of them segregated from white areas and separated from one another by buffer zones of empty land.

Laws were passed prohibiting sex between Europeans and natives, laws that were later amended to prohibit sex between whites and all nonwhites.

The government went to insane lengths to try to enforce these new laws. The penalty for breaking them was five years in prison. There were whole police squads whose only job was to go around peeking through windows—clearly an assignment for only the finest law enforcement officers.

And if an interracial couple got caught, God help them. The police would kick down the door, drag the people out, Make It Slow (CD them, arrest them. If you ask my mother whether she ever considered the ramifications of having a mixed child under apartheid, she will say no. She wanted to do something, figured out a way to do it, and then she did it. She had a level of fearlessness that you have to possess to take on something like she did.

Still, it was a crazy, reckless thing to do. A million things had to go right for us to slip through the cracks the way we did for as long as we did. If you were a black woman, you worked in a factory or as a maid. Those were pretty much your only options. She was a horrible cook and never would have stood for some white lady telling her what to do all day.

So, true to her nature, she found an option that was not among the ones presented to her: She took a secretarial course, a typing class. At the time, a black woman learning how to type was like a blind person learning how to drive.

By law, white-collar jobs and skilled- labor jobs were reserved for whites. My mom, however, was a rebel, and, fortunately for her, her rebellion came along at the right moment. In the early s, the South African government began making minor reforms in an attempt to quell international protest over the atrocities and human rights abuses of apartheid.

Among those reforms was the token hiring of black workers in low-level white- collar jobs. Like typists. Through an employment agency she got a job as a secretary at ICI, a multinational pharmaceutical company in Braamfontein, a suburb of Johannesburg. When my mom started working, she still lived with my grandmother in Soweto, the township where the government had relocated my family decades before.

But my mother was unhappy at home, and when she was twenty-two she ran away to live in downtown Johannesburg. There was only one problem: It was illegal for black people to live there. The ultimate goal of apartheid was to make South Africa a white country, with every black person stripped of his or her citizenship and relocated to live in the homelands, the Bantustans, semi-sovereign black territories that were in reality puppet states of the government in Pretoria.

But this so-called white country could not function without black labor to produce its wealth, which meant black people had to be allowed to live near white areas in the townships, government-planned ghettos built to house black workers, like Soweto.

The township was where you lived, but your status as a laborer was the only thing that permitted you to stay there. If your papers were revoked for any reason, you could be deported back to the homelands. To leave the township for work in the city, or for any other reason, you had to carry a pass with your ID number; otherwise you could be arrested.

There was also a curfew: After a certain hour, blacks had to be back home in the township or risk arrest. She was determined to never go home again. So she stayed in town, hiding and sleeping in public restrooms until she learned the rules of navigating the city from the other black women who had contrived to live there: prostitutes. Many of the prostitutes in town were Xhosa. They also introduced her to white men who were willing to rent out flats in town. She met a German fellow through one of her prostitute friends, and he agreed to let her a flat in his name.

She was caught and arrested many times, for not having her ID on the way home from work, for being in a white area after hours. The penalty for violating the pass laws was thirty days in jail or a fine of fifty rand, nearly half her monthly salary. She would scrape together the money, pay the fine, and go right back about her business.

She lived in number He lived in As a former trading colony, South Africa has always had a large expatriate community. People find their way here. Tons of Germans. Lots of Dutch. Hillbrow at the time was the Greenwich Village of South Africa.

It was a thriving scene, cosmopolitan and liberal. There were galleries and underground theaters where artists and performers dared to speak up and criticize the government in front of integrated crowds. There were restaurants and nightclubs, a lot of them foreign-owned, that served a mixed clientele, black people who hated the status quo and white people who simply thought it ridiculous.

People would meet up and hang out, have parties. My mom threw herself into that scene. She was always out at some club, some party, dancing, meeting people. She was a regular at the Hillbrow Tower, one of the tallest buildings in Africa at that time. It had a nightclub with a rotating dance floor on the top floor.

It was an exhilarating time but still dangerous. Sometimes the restaurants and clubs would get shut down, sometimes not. Sometimes the performers and patrons would get arrested, sometimes not. It was a roll of the dice. My mother never knew whom to trust, who might turn her in to the police. Neighbors would report on one another. And you must remember that black people worked for the government as well. As far as her white neighbors knew, my mom could have been a spy posing as a prostitute posing as a maid, sent into Hillbrow to inform on whites who were breaking the law.

Living alone in the city, not being trusted and not being able to trust, my mother started spending more and more time in the company of someone with whom she felt safe: the tall Swiss man down the corridor in He was forty-six. She was twenty-four. He was quiet and reserved; she was wild and free. Something clicked. I know that there was a genuine bond and a love between my parents.

I saw it. All I do know is that one day she made her proposal. I asked you to help me to have my kid. I just want the sperm from you. Honor me with your yes so that I can live peacefully. I want a child of my own, and I want it from you. You will be able to see it as much as you like, but you will have no obligations. Just make this child for me.

She wanted a child, not a man stepping in to run her life. Eventually he said yes. Why he said yes is a question I will never have the answer to. Nine months after that yes, on February 20,my mother checked into Hillbrow Hospital for a scheduled C-section delivery. Estranged from her family, pregnant by a man she could not be seen with in public, she was alone. The doctors took her up to the delivery room, cut open her belly, and reached in and pulled out a half-white, half-black child who violated any number of laws, statutes, and regulations—I was born a crime.

They probably knew she was lying, but they accepted it because they needed an explanation. Under apartheid, the government labeled everything on your birth certificate: race, tribe, nationality. Everything had to be categorized.

And my mother, true to her word, was prepared for him not to be involved. The next week she went to visit him, with no baby.

To her surprise, he asked where I was. So the three of us formed a kind of family, as much as our peculiar situation would allow. I lived with my mom.

The only time I could be with my father was indoors. My mom and I used to go to Joubert Park all the time. My mother tells me that once, when I was a toddler, my dad tried to go with us. He panicked and ran away. I thought it was a game and kept chasing him. When I was a newborn, she could wrap me up and take me anywhere, but very quickly that was no longer an option.

I was a giant baby, an enormous child. There was no way to hide me. It was illegal to be mixed to have a black parent and a white parentbut it was not illegal to be colored to have two parents who were both colored. So my mom moved me around the world as a colored child. There was a colored woman named Queen who lived in our block of flats. When we wanted to go out to the park, my mom would invite her to go with us. Queen would walk next to me and act like she was my mother, and my mother would walk a few steps behind, like she was the maid working for the colored woman.

We lived in town, but I would spend weeks at a time with my grandmother in Soweto, often during the holidays. The township was a city unto itself, with a population of nearly one million. There were only two roads in and out. That was so the military could lock us in, quell any rebellion.

And if the monkeys ever went crazy and tried to break out of their cage, the air force could fly over and bomb the shit out of everyone. In the city, as difficult as it was to get around, we managed. Enough people were out and about, black, white, and colored, going to and from work, that we could get lost in the crowd. But only black people were permitted in Soweto.

It was much harder to hide someone who looked like me, and the government was watching much more closely. In the white areas you rarely saw the police, and if you did it was Officer Friendly in his collared shirt and pressed pants.

In Soweto the police were an occupying army. They wore riot gear. They were militarized. They operated in teams known as flying squads, because they would swoop in out of nowhere, riding in armored personnel carriers—hippos, we called them—tanks with enormous tires and slotted holes in the side of the vehicle to fire their guns out of.

You saw one, you ran. That was a fact of life. The township was in a constant state of insurrection; someone was always marching or protesting somewhere and had to be suppressed. My memories of the hippos and the flying squads come from when I was five or six, when apartheid was finally coming apart. I never saw the police before that, because we could never risk the police seeing me. Whenever we went to Soweto, my grandmother refused to let me outside.

Please, can I go play with my cousins? Children could be taken. Children were taken. The wrong color kid in the wrong color area, and the government could come in, strip your parents of custody, haul you off to an orphanage. There were also the blackjacks, black people who worked for the police.

My gran still tells the story of when I was three years old and, fed up with being a prisoner, I dug a hole under the gate in the driveway, wriggled through, and ran off. Everyone panicked. A search party went out and tracked me down. I had no idea how much danger I was putting everyone in.

The family could have been deported, my gran could have been arrested, my mom might have gone to prison, and I probably would have been packed off to a home for colored kids. So I was kept inside. I lived inside my head. I still live inside my head. I have to remember to be with people. Traveling around the world today, I meet other mixed South Africans all the time.

Our stories start off identically. Their parents met at some underground party in Hillbrow or Cape Town. They lived in an illegal flat. The difference is that in virtually every other case they left. The white parent smuggled them out through Lesotho or Botswana, and they grew up in exile, in England or Germany or Switzerland, because being a mixed family under apartheid was just that unbearable.

Once Mandela was elected we could finally live freely. Exiles started to return. I met my first one when I was around seventeen. You mean we could have left? That was an option?

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