Thursday, 18 July 2013

It's like the Von Trapp family - minus the clothes made from drapes

It's like the Von Trapp family - minus the clothes made from drapes
18 July 2013

My family is a little bit like the Von Trapp family – minus the clothes made from drapes.  At least, it is nowadays.  Since Albert stopped doing his clothes shopping at thrift shops like the Hospice shops, Society for the Elderly shops, as well as Animal Welfare shops.  I kid you not.  During his late teens and early twenties, I suspect that he kept the thrift-shop-industry booming.  And surprisingly he pulled the whole image thing off quite well too.  Why most days he didn’t even look like a Bergie!  He rocked the whole trashy-chic look.  It was vintage and he owned it.  And combined with his long locks at that stage, the guitar case almost always clasped in his hand, as well as the odd clothes, he was actually a dead ringer for Julie Andrews.  Or should I say, Maria Von Trapp.  He even sang for goodness sake!  Not sure he would’ve batted for Captain Von Trapp, but still.  There were loads of similarities.

There are so many musicians in the family, it is simply astounding.  Ridiculous in fact!

I reckon my stepdad, Rob Nagel (or Daya as we all call him), could have doubled for Captain Von Trapp.  If you shaved off his beard.  And gave him a haircut.  Possibly put him in a naval uniform and sleeked back his hair.  And the reason I say this, is because Captain Von Trapp’s instrument was a whistle.  Which he blew constantly in an attempt to discipline his posse of kids.  And though Daya doesn’t blow a whistle, or have a posse of kids, he does play the harmonica (and actually the bass guitar too).  Good enough to make you weep.  And the saxophone as well.  So there you go, he is the master of wind instruments.  Yes, and the other wind too.  He’s a big man – it stands to reason.  Furthermore he’s German.  Yes, yes, so Captain Von Trapp was Austrian, but still.  It’s close enough in my books.  I am geographically challenged after all.

My brother-in-law, Robin, could also have been one of the Von Trapps.  Why if we straightened his hair, and dyed it blonde, he could easily have passed for the eldest Von Trapp son.  Simply add a pair of lederhosen, and he’d be your man.  In addition, we could have renamed him Hans.  Or Frederick.  Perhaps even Gunther.  He is a musical giant.  A story teller of note.  His wistful melodies and hauntingly beautiful tunes, are just so incredible.  And having heard them once, they’ll live with you forever more.

My grandparents, Oupa Willem and Ouma Helene, could’ve passed for Captain Von Trapp’s musical parents.  I’m sure he had some.  Or perhaps they would’ve been Maria’s parents?  Either which way, between the two of them they play the piano, the violin, the French Horn, trumpet, etc.  And Oupa Willem is particularly infamous for playing the fool.  I believe he has a knack for it.  He does this rather well and loves to entertain.

My uncle Jac (who plays the guitar), might have been Maria Von Trapp’s brother.  I’m sure she had one.  In fact, I’m guessing she had three of them.  As my uncles Dan and Willem (French Horn and the piano) could also have passed for her brothers.  No wait, my uncle Dan had been a naval man in his time.  Actually, Willem too.  In which case, given their nautical connections, it is more than likely that they would’ve been Captain Von Trapp’s brothers instead.  What with the good old Captain being a man of the sea.

My cousin, Gareth (yet another guitarist) would easily have passed for another Von Trapp son.  Perhaps Johann.  Or Heinrich.  His sister, Maria (appropriately named – so no need for a name change), would ironically not have been Maria Von Trapp.  But instead the cutest, youngest little girl.  My Maria plays the drums you see, and the youngest Von Trapp kid had oodles of spunk and would have pulled drumming off easily too.

My cousin, Adam (a bassist), could also be a Von Trapp brother.  Though his hair is rather dark and we might have to resort to a wig.  We could call him Ulrich.  Or possibly Ralph.  His sister, Roxy (the voice of an angel and man can she play the guitar too), would’ve been the third Von Trapp daughter.  The little girl in the middle.  She seemed feisty to me, and was not afraid to speak her mind.  And our Roxy is a feisty chick too.  Though we’d quite obviously have to rename her Heike.  Or maybe even Brigitte.

My cousin, Jacques (seriously hot guitarist), would be another Von Trapp brother.  The tall blonde one for sure.  We’d call him J├╝rgen or course.  Possibly even Klaus.  His brother, Christiaan (keyboardist of note – get the pun), would naturally be the youngest Von Trapp brother.  And he would be called Fritz.  Or Sven.

My cousin, Jaco (also a guitarist) would ironically still be called Jaco.  Hey, it kind of goes and fits in with the theme.  His brother Attie, would be the conductor of the Von Trapp family band.  Attie is exceptionally driven and is an organiser of note.  And we’d call him Dieter.  Or Bernd.  Their sister, Elaine, would be called Claudia.  Or Anja.  And she’d be a doop-doo-waa girl for the Lombard-Von-Trapp family band.

So who have I left out?  Well some of the Lombard-Von-Trapp family clan are not all that musical you see.  And so I’d have a chorus of aunts, Bettie (Brumilda), Charmaine (Martina) and Jan (Ute), who’d rock the triangle section of the family band.  My Mom (Martha), sister (Katja), stepsister (Karina – she’s actually got a really good voice and plays a bit of guitar and keyboards), as well as myself (Lena) would simply be there to add a bit of vibe.  And spice.  Perhaps we’d bang chopsticks together.  Maybe sing a bit in the background.  Without our microphones being plugged in.

Nephews and nieces, Kati (Katinka), Alex (Alexandra), Cory (Niklas), Honey (Helga), Bella (Kerstin) and Frankie (Ursula) would all lend their voices too.

My Grantie (Wolfgang) would be the bouncer at our gigs.  My son Luke (Werner) would provide the attitude.  My daughter Amber (Sabine) would choreograph it all.

And my littlest Cole (Christof)?  Well as it turns out, he’d be the drummer.

We could seriously pull this off.  Though can you imagine the performance fees for the entire family?  The number of band members might even rival the Soweto Gospel Choir. 

So much talent, in one “small” family.  It’s hard to believe.

I include a clip of young “Christof”.  On a recent visit to my mom’s house in Tulbagh (fondly called Muisnes), we unleashed him on the drums.  The drums that live in my mom and Daya’s bedroom.  My mom says she feels a bit like a teenager, what with having a drum kit in her bedroom.

Cole has often wacked the drums at Muisnes.  And Albert and Daya in particular have urged us to encourage him, as he shows true potential.  It’s been a while since the last time he played.  And on this occasion, I happened to stand by with a camera in my hand, and captured it all.

He is just nine years old and has never had a single lesson in his life.  I have grown up in a home with a drum kit.  And have seen many young aspiring drummers attempting to do their thing.  Friends of mine, my brother’s, sister’s, even my folks’ throughout the years.  It’s usually quite painful to watch.  Still Cole somehow rocks it.

My apologies for the poor lighting.  And the sound’s not that great either.  But, jeez!  He’s enthusiastic, has impeccable timing and has the rock star attitude down pat too.  Excessively flamboyant, and charismatic.  Theatrical.  Complete with flinging his sticks away at the end.  The stool is a bit high for him, and so he battled a bit with the bass drum.  Still he gave it a bash.  BTW – he had about eleven Chappies bubble gums in his mouth at the same time, hence the bulging cheek.  It’s a typical Muisnes treat.


Now about those clothes made from drapes…..  I'm sure I could find a supplier somewhere.
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Some of the Lombard-Von-Trapp family members.  I spot Martha, Ute, Heike, Brumilda, Christof, Wolfgang, Sabine, Jaco, Karina, Martina, Anja, Sven, Klaus..... Though sadly missing are Gunther, Niklas, Ursula, Alexandra, Katinka, Kerstin, Helga, Katja, Heinrich, Ulrich, Dieter.....

Aaahhh, the "delightful" drape outfits

The original master of the wind instruments - why if you straightened Daya's hair, flattened it, made it a bit darker, shaved his beard, put him in a similar outfit, perhaps made him a bit shorter and changed his eye colour, they could have been twins!  An uncanny resemblance!


1 comment:

  1. 'Loads' of fun, to quote our Honey!
    I had a great giggle again at our drummer bay!!

    By the way, Willie went on tour to Europe with the Stellenbosch University Youth Orchestra on French horn when he was about 15(?).