Tilt Republic. Johannesburg. New York. Cape Town. London.

nic in new york

June 25, 2016 Early Tilt By: Nic Davies

There are all kinds of things to worry about, constantly. The neurotic self rendered spoilt at an ever widening buffet of injustice, indifference- mayhem upon selfishness. Drowning in devastation, cue gun shots, detonate squibs. A world too far gone and permanently fucked. Someone call somebody and quickly.

Those are the darker moments. Other times are sweeter, I often walk between the Bree street bustle. Beer drinking porters, Bangladeshi shop owners performing their cash register concertos and the hustling hawkers spraying their produce with little water bottles sporting modified lids. Does wonders for presentation and fly shit.
There’s feeling safe and then there’s actually being safe. A difference I can’t quite claim to understand. See Jozi has all the elements of hellishness, but once you’ve done some street walking nothing but the opposite is obvious. I still can’t decide if it’s me feeling instead of being safe though. The truth is I lead an irresponsible life, I keep weird hours and dabble in considerable amounts of contraband. So, the fact that I’m still alive is testament to something. Safety might not be at the top of that list but it features. I think, and I might be wrong, but I think this place works.

A makeshift economy operating on a peeling infrastructure, but where there’s hustle there’s hope. It’s not just the wanting that ministers to my misery, but witnessing the act of acquisition. That essential life giving motion. And motion there is a plenty, like the taxi drivers with loud hailers beaconing clientèle. A new group of vans have gathered on my corner, fat men take turns on their shiny loud hailer announcing their new route. The sweet distorted sound of progess. There’s grumbling about the noise, but nobody does shit, the men are working and these men don’t fuck around. Undefeated.

I once asked a driver, while sitting up front, somewhere I rarely sit- rhymes with white up fuckery, but I asked why criminals fear them so much. Something I’ve heard but also noticed. Nobody gets mugged in front of these guys. One night, about two am, on the corner of Bree and Mooi, I saw two vans chase down a cellphone thief. They disappeared from my eye line, but minutes later the perp ran by naked. True story.

Not too long ago I spent a weekend smoking crank in Grassypark with what can only be described as a policeman. This bonafide boy in blue was less public servant and more public consumer. There was nothing he wouldn’t or hasn’t put inside himself. The 48 odd hours we spent upside down was insightful and decidedly dangerous. After sifting the canon of conversation our jacked up minds produced I have but one line to report. “See bra, the police, they’re nothing but the country’s biggest gang,” a pearl right?

I pushed the driver for an answer. His whole head broke into a smile as he shifted comfortably in his well worn seat. I insisted. Scorsese couldn’t have improved on what he did next. He dropped the smile, looked at me with crackling eyes, then pointed his index finger at the wheel and made a hammer flick motion with his thumb. And people say violence can’t be cool. He then laughed thunderously, calmly, clocking my tumult I suppose.

These are the unofficial, but decidedly authoritative, sheriffs of Joburg city. Fuck I love this place, I feel safe & welcome- I really do. Yes there are muggings, I’ve almost been jacked twice, but the key to that kind of shit is to not take it personally. Too many people exaggerate their roles when they fall victim to crime, it really has little to do with them. It’s just economics, or the arse end of unfairness manifesting, there’s no sinister plot. It’s just crime, and I think that’s ok, because we have superheroes.

March 14, 2015 Early Tilt By: Christopher Steenkamp

glut [tedium on polyester]

glut [tedium on polyester]

I wave to the city, not the royal kind or even the friendly kind. A wave meant for a fly, or a beggar with a bossy tone. You know the kind of bum, that can’t help but be admired for his strange pluckiness. The deathly poor have no business with perspective, certainly not sharing it, fuck no. That kind of perverted behaviour unsettles us hard working- bill paying South Africans.

There aren’t many pigeons in the inner city. Hardly any. I guess the sceptic funk waves them off too.

That fucking bridge irritates me. Shitty little queen Elizabeth bridge. Some aged over privileged royal prune with her name on my shit. Fuck her.

I travel to the burbs for peace and quiet. Little eateries hemmed in by stretches of unique nest, rolling lawns, high walls, great tits.

Every driveway the center of attention, many of the locals behave in this landlocked fashion too. Too busy to notice anyone around them during the day, too drunk not to be noticed at night. It’s no easy feat, this exercise in middle class utopia, these perks are expensive. All those fiery hoops rubbed raw with over use and not for nothing. That right kind of perversity comes at a steep premium. The piper doesn’t do installments, cash up front and hurry, the queue looks edgy.

The heavy collusion between intent and reality becomes apparent. Our bluffs aren’t just called, but celebrated for the scale of their wrongness. Cunty dick starved princesses and dapper morally grounded rape faced glory boys all reach and plunge into the huddle. Socially acceptable orgasms all around. To deviate is a heinous crime against civility. Simon says call a priest.

What good fortune that hamster wheels come synced. Chauffeured trophy receptacle brood schemes a plenty. We fill but every hole. Shots fired, stretchers for snow collisions, everyone stare, everyone forget.

Cold baths work for alcohol induced shock. Smoke a touch of h to get lower. One up for the testosterone boys. Coffee for those on the monitors.

Right, everyone as they were.




April 28, 2014 Early Tilt By: Christopher Steenkamp

I ate the strong man 2

The perfect protagonists, a heady mix of mind and balls, a hypothetic über demos. Sure imperfections are tremendously significant with regards to authenticity, but they are no necessary evil, they are utopia’s pucker garnish.

So much chasing after symmetry, a why could be thrown at our collective neurosis, a bottle neck of millions of individual little fuck ups. To see perfection as a defect. Evolution friendly scar tissue.

Yes, messy is beautiful, shying from chaos remains the conservative’s defining attribute. I say conservative, I mean more, the prude, the thing that fears lack, rejection and being made to feel small. The shit part of us.

Conservatives aren’t wrong, they’re just boring cunts. Which is a far more damning anti-achievement. No idea held dear that isn’t written in some dead book or learnt from some creatively cripple club. It’s the perpetuation of the status quo that we’re all so very concerned about. Both those out of the loop and those who tie loops around the necks of the beatnik vanguard. We are not now that same thing we were years ago, we’re something else, a heftier slalom awaits the salvation seeker. Run bitch.

Menacing and effacing and proper beautiful.

The all in brigade, bully boy cigar puffing bellies crammed into Armani suites flanked by private bank plastic filled saddle bags. Elite, sure, original? Fuck no. The same prime locale square meterage reflected by vacant holiday tomes riddled with over fucked coke mistress receipts.

Residue blow powder mixed with cum with tears with death squady tendencies.

It’s meaning they want.

March 20, 2014 Early Tilt By: Christopher Steenkamp

– So who are you voting for? I ask.
He isn’t interested in me, but it’s nothing personal, a city bubbling with 7 million cases of potential small talk make our encounter intrinsically insignificant. If only we lived in some bumfuck outskirt, an endangered prattle district.
– Huh, he says.
– Who are you voting for?
It’s a tricky line to cross with a stranger, but fuck it, we were both standing in a queue after all. Modernity’s sweet revenge.

Eye contact, faint smile, engage, I’m going in for the interpersonal kill.

– The EFF, he says.
– The EFF?
– Yes.
My heart skips a beat, though the hat was a give away, finally a real conversation with the official radical left. I’d milk his rage and leave with a sturdy resolve, enthused. I inquire on.
– Why?
– Because the ANC has failed us.
Fuck it, I’m moving to Kakamas.

like a butterfly

A troublesome reason. Hardly the words from the transcendent left. A utopian vision pulled from dystopia’s anus?
Reactionary twaddle 101.

I smile and wait for my chips patiently. Bull dozing through our obviously obvious conversation.

The big house, the tender fraud, the lack of service delivery. Blah di fucking blah, I’ve had that conversation. Paint me a ‘new’ where, a vision.

The arc of Julius Malema’s political career is both fascinating and infuriating.

There is no external authority able to trump true political will. The judiciary may be integrous, but when it misses, it misses big.

The well read mob can be supplanted with rural desperation and the rest handled with well timed EFT’s.

Money, unscrupulous ignorant support and tailor made ego boosts for the ambitious are all stirred up to form this noxious cocktail called political success.

Don’t get me right, I’m proud of the EFF, they’ve mobilized creatively, struck nerves and shown courage.

But. But. But.

There is the question of authenticity and responsibility. Unfortunately the one is as boring as the other, probably why the EFF enjoys such popularity they don’t bother with incommodious reality. An economic freedom fighter with a 16 million Rand tax bill, from purple suits to the trenches? I don’t know how the spin succeeded, how did one of our greatest tendrepreneurs became the face of economic liberation? Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa, said Juju almost single-handedly plunged the Limpopo government into financial crises.

The Ratanang Family trust debacle.

Yet there’s no real concern amidst EFF ranks. These two have been crow barred apart for some obscure reason. Juju’s call to centralise our country’s mineral wealth, all of it piling into one coffer and his blatant fiscal fiendery are very much part of the same bag.

If any sort of socialist progression is to occur it has be made by someone unmoved by shiny watches and grape coloured suits. How voters could even consider handing over the pin codes to the treasury to a man who’s intergrity is in such blatant question is beyond me.


A bankrupt man, being investigated for serious fraud, running for president, on economic reform policies? My soul creeks with existential angst as I type this. What the fuck is going on? Another thing worth mentioning is that he allegedly stole most of his money. I know the lay term is colluded. BUT. BUT. BUT.

So, a man who stole professionally has still managed to run dry and now wants the top job?

I don’t understand.
I’m off to have a lie down.

February 20, 2014 Early Tilt By: Christopher Steenkamp

UntitledEntire hives buzzing around the simplest of activities. We cackle and bubble over acquisitions, gaudy hoarders roosting on meticulously curated piles of coma.

The shibboleth pit.

Or, to put it another way.
We’re fucked.

February 16, 2014 Early Tilt By: Christopher Steenkamp

There are all sorts of problems with nearly everything. I remember drunkardly walking out of one of those Saturday markets that sell everything you don’t need at prices only people who don’t need things can afford. Babbling incoherently about the dangers of sex to another comedian I once heard discredit god and existence through a hole that wasn’t his mouth.


“Then when it was our turn everything changed, DON’T FUCK ANYONE OR YOU’LL DIE! Nevermind, here comes MC Hammer.” -Dylan Moran

A man in a beard overheard me and agreed. He was old, possibly bitter and also white. Too many warning signals to not be suspicious. We moved on, eyeing the fucker knowingly. Apartheid nostalgia? Couldn’t be sure. Still, when the revolution comes he’ll be the first with his back against the wall. Poor fucker, probably doesn’t even see it coming.

Problems are one of existence’s key features. From unnecessary smells and people who chew with their mouths open to murder and people who chew with their mouths open and cat piss. Where ever you are there’s sure to be some or other minor or spectacular malfunction making itself known. Proud fuckers, these defects.

This is just something I’ve learnt to make my peace with, and by making peace I mean complain bitterly. My god, what a blessing overt protestations of displeasure are, to whine and moan and carp and grumble…bliss. The great middle class boil in my soul. Too green to lance, green as in rotten, not under ripe. The puss has made its way down my arteries and into heart and brain. I can tell, because every year I get another year older I hold a memorial service for failed aspirations. Without fail this happens, the getting older part too.

Our political system and its commentary are too often held hostage by extremes,wordy academies on the one side with racially charged militant pigs on the other. The great stand off between unpaid economic hostages of apartheid and anonymous vierkleur naaier bloggers and commentators. I see yellow. Should have lanced that fucker when I had the chance.

And sure, there are many good ones amidst the sludge, but it takes effort to find them. I rejoice whenever a new one turns the corner, my mind’s eye brightens. A “mind rise”, once described by an art lecturer who only wore black and only drank spritzers.

There’s a similarity between the individuals on my A list. They’re constitutionally soluble, sufficiently front footed, yet not too pushy and normally rather charming, or at the very least funny. Without humour this grand political debate turns tedious fast. Laughter fixes everything. Fascists don’t have five minutes. Democracy gave us comedy. Imperialism the cross. Look what that did.

There are always bits of advice wrapped in the great columns, sometimes masquerading as observations and always painted as a preferred state of affairs. It boils down to the pursuit of beautiful ideas and their eager assignment to actuality. From morality to leadership style to economic particulars to existential pursuits and the list goes on. Sometimes people say rude things about Jacob Zuma’s head in their professional unfunny capacity. This isn’t smart. Let the comedians do that.

I just think with all the political fuzziness, ideologies left unexplained or unattended and every other politico’s hand caught fisting the cookie jar, we might do well to distil a maxim that remains applicable across the board.

With one of the largest civil services in the world comes a million departments, committees and portfolios. Each with a very specific mandate. Add to that the fact that we have one of the most tolerant and liberal constitutions in the world, a beauteous feat, yet complicated for the matter at hand. How to fit all of that intent in one sentence?

With a myriad of constitutionally ordained dispositions, political agendas and spiritual leanings to filter before we produce an all encompassing aphorism that resonates with the South African condition, well it could take terribly long. We might as well coin the phrase ‘be nicer’ and get on with the rest of our lives.

Meditative interlude (wank).

I’ve spent some time considering this problem, between the previous paragraph and this one that is. Well I had a shit and insulted squirrels on twitter, but my process has come to an end.

The one phrase, the one bit of advice I think speaks authentically to South Africans without losing any potency is this, “try and be less kak.”

If every opinion blog, op ed, office wall and comment section had this pasted on its masthead, we’d surely see progress as a country. Except for squirrels, those stagnating artificial additions to the animal kingdom deserve whatever’s coming to them.

February 15, 2014 Early Tilt By: Christopher Steenkamp

People are always mentioning Lenny Bruce, his name is synonymous with this craft’s core, but I feel a stab whenever I hear it. Part annoyance that I’ve missed the real-time chaos that was his career, maybe I’m more vexed that I don’t fully grasp him. This him, this guy, this martyr, this pre-hipster anomaly that set the grandest of all balls rolling.

the bruce

Transgressive comedy, the soap box nihilism that’s solely responsible for my artistic awe, belonged to him first. Having looked quite fervently for modernity’s cure, all fucking over actually. I have to admit there’s nothing quite as effectively pungeant as stand up’s sweet stench for kicking a hole in this self-perpetuating delusional contemporary cesspit. This protestant work ethic chained to an insatiable desire for shiny things. “Has anyone seen the blue report, where’s my stapler, this cubicle layout is far more ergonomic, can we have a debrief on the executables”… can someone please tell all of these things to go “fuck their hands”.


That’s what the whole thing means.
Live rebellion.
The moral tight rope antics.
Razor danger observations.

In this year of our absent Lord offence is everything. Social currency has a black list and once you’ve cracked the nod you’re akin to fucked.

jazz & scag

That’s what makes stand up such a bizarre preoccupation, those of the transgressive disposition specifically, they’re in pursuit of the very thing that could end them. This medium, of the taboo, is civilization’s greatest weapon when it comes to ostracising the unwanted.

Sure times have changed. It’s not like religious zealots still have a voice, LGBT’s are still a punching bag or racism thrives on.

Sarcasm aside, times have changed, bigotry has left the building of popular consciousness. Lefty anything has lost its shock quotient and is no longer punishable by the judiciary… in this country. What our grand transgressives lose in courage for doing the permissible, they gain in evil genius for finding offence’s fault lines. It’s no easy feat to offend the über liberal, but entirely necessary. Apathy reigns still.

The neo-Bruces of our post-pig-nationalist-rainbow-themed-hugfest have a tremendous job at hand. That’s why comedians are venerated, these true adherents to that Brucian, ‘it aint a party till there’s heroin’ timeless spirit.

He went to the highest court for making a jerking-off motion with his hand. Our high court’s may ignore our jesters, but there’s another tribunal in receipt of what Vlismas calls, “the 702 morality”, and it’s itching for a fight.

Ah, the glorious stand-off, so tricksy to define, so beautiful to behold. Go watch Sex, Live at the Lyric to see what I mean.

Lenny lives.


February 5, 2014 Early Tilt By: Christopher Steenkamp

There’s a serious question to ask. Where to now for the DA and Agang. Not serious for everyone, but serious enough for those who care for a healthy democracy. The DA is too important to be fucked with on this level.

I believe in the ANC, in fact I love it, its calibre of grit has to be of the greatest the world has ever seen, but they’re fucking up.

Simply put Jacob Zuma shouldn’t be president, of the ANC or the country. He’s not the guy. Umsholozi doesn’t love us, nor we him. I want a piercing intellect with a heart of gold. These arent my president’s characteristics. He’s an old school chauvinist not in command of his faculties.  Especially alongside stately men like Cyril Ramaphosa, Kgalema Motlanthe and Aaron Motsoaledi.

the renege blues

That’s why the ANC, our glorious ANC, need an opposition with teeth. Shit like this weekend betwixt the Gogos simply isn’t good enough. That the official opposition let’s something as significant as a presidential candidate slip so obscurely, the mind boggles.

I’m peeved that Ramphele didn’t sweat it out because I, like many, feel the official opposition should be demographically congruent. Sure it is lower down, but as long as there’s a white face on the official opposition it’s going to struggle. We’re too near that filthy fascistic chapter called apartheid for anything else to make sense.

With Cope having sued itself broke, Agang rudderless and the EFF overflowing with the epitome of irresponsible lefty twaddle we need the DA. Not to lead, but to step on the ANC’s toes. Here in Jozi we have Musi Maimane, a solid DA’anite, that he wasn’t chosen above Mamphele surprises me. I know he’s young and still finding his feet, but you know who isn’t, Rampiepie, and look how well that worked.

With a big dick opposition comes the realization within the ANC that having Umsholozi as our president is bad a move. It’s time for a stately big hearted intellectual to fill those over priced shoes.

February 4, 2014 Early Tilt By: Christopher Steenkamp

Political commentators have a terrible habit of not using the words cunt or motherfucker. I understand that this could be a misogyny issue. So I’ll add cock and arsehole to the mix. I know arseholes aren’t gender specific, but it’s been accepted as a male orientated affair. Not that I haven’t met any female arseholes, I just find them so goddamn interesting.

My point is that formal political discourse need not be done in a formal way. Our country, with its decidedly poisonous hangover, is not peopled by the limp wristed. We’re tough, or, not to lose the intended thread here, a tough bunch of cunts.

Transgressive anything; comedy, fiction, film making or in this case, commentary or social provacateuring, remains a tricksy affair. It’s a little like BEE, not for everyone and polarising in merit. Though transgressive art forms have benevolent intent they’re almost always not encountered as such. I don’t want to oversell the plain old joy of being disgusting for its own sake. We’re a over stimulated & spoilt generation born into sin. With work environs that render ANYTHING permissible as long as the work is of a certain scratch.

I’m not trying to blame my environment, I’m trying to compliment it. It’s hands down the most exciting time to be alive, in the entire history of people. We have resources like no other generation before us. My outdated blackberry contains billions of ideas, every master ever published can be read through it’s scratchy little screen. A last word on this transgressive obsession, to better understand watch the comedy of Richard Pryor, Doug Stanhope, Bill Bur, Louis CK, Patrice O’Neal,George Carlin, Jim Jefferies and while we’re punting, Loyiso Gola, Trevor Gumbi, John Vlismas, Kagiso Lediga, Martin Evans and Alyn Adams. Thinking man’s filth.

The national political landscape is a complex affair, our shit stained past has made any kind of commentary a decidedly bellicose affair. Solidarity of intent and the difference of opinion are too often confused. Debates turn to racially charged fuck-tastrophes before you can say rainbow. We’re getting better though, I see consensus growing and old wounds healing. Stadiums filled with boos and colour blind alliances, not to mention the ever-growing throng of asexual, race ignoring, hipsters.

We are free, there’s no denying that. Some of us are hampered by realizing our freedom more than others. An economic divide the size of Khulubusa Zuma matched with the fiscal integrity of a tik addict will have that effect. Yet it’s not only the have nots that suffer this want of freedom. The walled in middle class social slobs whisper endlessly, “they’re coming for us”, “it’s not safe”. Inequality will always have a neurotic timbre, as Zack De La Rocha reminds, “hungry people don’t stay hungry for long.” But it’s not just hunger is it, a heroic dose of self actualization has been promised, yet the ball remains in the wrong tennis court.

That’s fear mongering.
Reckless commie braying.
Yes, yes it is.

So we must, like the brilliant Francesco Clemente, attempt to transcend the boundaries of self. Cry with strange mourners, feel hunger in the dependants of others and make many other crucial confrontations with the truth.

Where do we start?
By aligning ourselves to the tried and tested big dickery that has guided us this far.
Nelson Mandela, Chris Hani, Walter Sisulu, Joe Slove, Oliver Tambo and Steve Biko are the right kind of twisted genius for the job at hand.

Their ideas need to become ours.

What else? I guess we vote, with our eyes wide open.

So what’s the checklist. Read a lot, check. Vote, check.

Now, could there be anything else?

Perhaps the how, how we interact and engage. Style.
My hope is that interesting & transgressive intentions aren’t drowned out by the bulk of beige bullying that cotemporary muster buckles under.

That and a few dick jokes.
Peace out cunts.

February 2, 2014 Early Tilt By: Christopher Steenkamp

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