Oor Die Koppi
Love and loss in the dust of SA's largest festival. Oppikoppi, we love you.
by Kim Garner Posted: 2010/08/10
I've had a bit of a turbulent relationship with Oppikoppi for the last six years. There is a lot of love there, but we have to try really hard to make it work. In the beginning, I was nervous. I had heard stories about how Oppi had the tendency to be abusive, about how it left you feeling battered and broken, but I still wanted it. Everyone loves a bad boy; it's the same mentality that keeps getting Colin Farrel ass, even though he's not very smart, can't act, and looks like he needs a good scrub. That's how I started things up with Oppi; knowing that it would be a struggle, but worth it. And, for the last six years, we've had our ups and downs. Mostly, we laughed together, shot tequila together, danced together and partied together. Occasionally though, the love faded and resulted in headaches, heartaches (or, was that heartburn?) and memory loss.
This year, Oppi made all the promises it usually does to me. It swore I'd hear all the right kinds of music, that I'd get all the right kinds of drunk, and be surrounded by all the right kinds of people. And, you know what? It wasn't wrong. Oppi can have flaws (usually of the thorn and port-a-loo variety) but it doesn't lie. It never pretends to be something it's not. All the usual Oppi goodness was there this year, pulling me back in for another round of turbulent love. The sun was out every day, and everyone knows that a cold beer and the sun is probably the greatest union since Paris and Nicole. The music was loud, constant, and usually amazing, although I still do not understand why they insist on putting on all the death metal bands in the morning, or really late at night when I'm far too drunk for screaming, angst-ridden men. In fact, I'm not really sure why they insist on putting on death metal bands at all. Isn't growling very 1993? This is one of things Oppi and I argue about a lot; its taste versus my taste. Sometimes it is just so wrong. But, mostly, it gets it spot on. Like when Flash Republic rocked out the main stage like never before (yoh, that Tamara Dey sure knows how to keep a party going), or when Lucky Fonz graced the stage again and spent an hour making me feel like a giddy little school girl on a sugar high (call me, guy). And then there was Billy Talent, who made most of the crowd admit that they would have paid more, to see only them.
There were more great bands, sure, but it's not really about the music. The best thing about being involved with Oppi is the people it introduces you to. They were all there: the last of the punk-rock fans, the first-timers attempting to keep their pumps dust free, the very drunk, very Afrikaans boys standing on the side of the road shouting clever lines at anyone with a vagina (by the way guys, no girl is ever, ever going to sleep with you if you keep burping and then mumbling "Kom ons Pomp"). I know, they're so picky, but that's the way it is. And then, there are the three people camping next to you, who eventually move closer, until you're all sitting around the same fire, talking rubbish, smoking cigarettes and marvelling at how damn cool humans are.
And then, it ends. It's always so sudden, so unexpected. Oppi just shuts down, stops communicating, and leaves, and I have to pick my lip up off the ground and try to get over it. Again. Oppi, I love you. I do. But you make me hurt. You make me do stupid things, and eat bad food, and sleep on the floor, and have a three-day headache and week-long smoker's cough. I think it's better if maybe we don't see each other anymore. I'll never forget you, though. I know you'll make another girl happy soon enough. I'm net sommer oor die koppi right now. Of course, if you ask me again in a year, I'll probably be right back there. That's the problem with turbulent relationships; you just keep going back for more.