TheLoneRider
a nomad in search of Easter Eggs

Searching for Sugar Man (2012) Oct 7, 2020

Movie Review: Searching for Sugar Man (2012)

Rating: star star star star star (5 stars out of 5)
Cast: Sixto Rodriguez, Craig Bartholomew Strydom, Stephen 'Sugar' Segerman, Dennis Coffey
Director: Malik Bendjelloul
Writer: Malik Bendjelloul, Stephen 'Sugar' Segerman (article)
Awards: Oscar, Best Documentary Features 2013 | BAFTA Film Award Best Documentary Film
Genre: Documentary, Biography, Music
Run Time: 1h 26min
Premiere Date: 26 July 2012
Country: UK
Youtube Youtube full movie: Searching for Sugar Man

The Gist
This movie is a true-to-life Cinderella tale of Sixto Rodriguez, an obscure American musician, whose music fueled and inspired the anti-apartheid revolution in South Africa. His music became the rallying cry - a galvanizing anthem sung underground by an entire generation who revered but never knew him. Meanwhile, in his hometown Detroit, Sixto gave up music and worked as a construction worker, making ends meet, completely oblivious that halfway around the world in South Africa, he was bigger than life...bigger than Elvis Presley.

Searching for Sugar Man (2012)

Synopsis
The movie centered basically on the detective work of 2 people who were in search of the 'legend of Rodriguez' who was bigger than life but nobody knew who. Word had it that he shot himself on stage during a performance or doused himself in flames. Finally, they found him. What followed was a Cinderella story that defied a movie script. He traveled to South Africa and saw for himself just how big and how loved he was. He filled sold-out concert halls to a crowd who couldn't get enough of him. Fame didn't faze him. He still continued to live in a modest dwelling where he has been the last 40 years.

Music
Rodriguez had a folky feel to his music, sounding like a third Dylan, third Donovan and another third Jose Feliciano. His writing was authentic and gritty - dug deep from the trenches of depravity. His words were clear, his beat was engaging, and it felt like a conversation listening to him.

Ending Thoughts
What are the odds that an obscure musician's music travels halfway around the world, goes viral and becomes the rallying cry of a rebel generation catapulting the singer into rock-star status bigger than Elvis? And while he is deitified across the Atlantic, he's completely oblivious about his god-like status as he makes both ends meet doing construction work? This is art imitating life because you cannot script this thing.

There was something about Rodriguez as a person. Despite his poverty, he remained grounded in the face of fame. He continued to be modest in his life. I would liken him to a lotus flower - grounded in the mud but reached out to the grandeur of man. He took his daughters to museums and art galleries to underscore that places where rich people go are also accessible. While doing construction work, he would be in his tux. Yeah, quite a guy.

On another note, I learned about South Africa's apartheid through this movie. My lingering impression of apartheid (filtered through US media) was a wholesale divided white against black (correction made, thanks Carl Johnson) in South Africa - segregation similar to the lynching era in the South of the US back in the pre-civil rights day. But this movie told a different tale. That not all whites were segregationists. Most of the young white people who protested against apartheid were controlled by a repressive and brutal goverment.

See this film and get a glimpse of humankind's triumph. I already gave you the link.

--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
YOGA by Gigit Yoga by Gigit | Learn English Learn English | Travel like a Nomad Nomad Travel Buddy | Donation Bank Donation Bank for TheLoneRider

p.s. - 24 hours earlier, I never knew about Sixto Rodriguez. I was at My Secret Cafe with Alan, a South African who talked about an enigmatic musician who was wildly popular in South Africa but lived in obscurity back in the US, completely oblivious to his rock-star status half-way around the world. I looked him up and got consumed by him.


Movie


"Cold Fact" Album


"Coming from Reality" Album

Reader Comments:

Carl JohnsonCarl South Africa
(Oct 8, 2020) I worked the Cape Town end of his tours. I found him to be a victim/casualty of circumstances. What I'm about to divulge is known and implied but wouldn't have made great film content.

1st the music recording industry. As an artist who was represented, published and distributed, he was the victim (as are many) of the size of the industry (and the world) and of how his lack of basic business acumen was used against him. This applies to the industry on both sides of the Atlantic. Essentially it is proof of exploitation of a resource whilst adding as little investment as possible. His rebirth through the tours saw re-releases of his music in SA and they benefited again, but thankfully not his appalling original management.

The tours were organized speculatively and based the conditions in SA at the time couldn't have been timed better but no one walked away making a fortune off them.

Another film that explores the theme and exploits the 'ignorance' of artists is The Lion's Share covering the story of The Lion Sleeps or Mbube and the descendants of the song's original composer.

2nd and possibly aiding the above was clear evidence and affects of substance abuse. On his first tour his nativity of his fame and his insecurity of his own talent was heartbreaking. When initially faced with a backing band (who were also massive fans) that was way better 'technically' than him, he threw himself towards a bottle. This made backstage chaotic. He became paranoid about going onstage, he was terrified of the size of the crowds (around 4k - 6k max). He would go missing on the mornings of shows. Clearly years of poverty, hard manual work and substance abuse had dealt significant physical and mental consequences. He was often found hanging out with the casual labour on nearby building sites - aligning himself with people who related to what was his reality. They had no idea who he was ... and generally thought he was crazy. None the less, those in the crowds knew nothing of this and lapped up his unique voice and 'quirky' performance style.

His second tour led to him being more confident, but fueled by booze, aggression. The relationship with the backing band was fractious. Again this was not known by the fans. The love story of one of the 'detectives' and his daughter is my favorite part of the story and clearly she is the anchor of the story and his life.

I too had been brought up on his albums during apartheid, I think your phrase 'black against white' should actually be 'white against black' (corrected, thank you Carl) - black people were silent witnesses to white privilege whilst white people (unless they actively went and sought the truth - which was hard to do) were naive to the harsh realities of black existence. This in no way justifies apartheid, it was set up by the white Afrikaners' political elite in complicity with predominantly English white business. Roderiguez was very much part of the 'white youth experience' and as stated, did fuel thought of an alternative.

TheLoneRiderTheLoneRider
(Oct 8, 2020) Whoa!!!! That is quite an eye-opener, Carl...a insider view of what's happening 'backstage'. I think it would have added dimension to the movie narrative if those moments were included though. It simply made his humanity more real, grounding, and yes, tragic. Thank you for this remarkable insight!

Grant LawlessGrant Australia
(Oct 8, 2020) Great docu. A truly humble man. Thanks for guiding me to it. Had both his released albums back in the day. A great talent.

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Google Map

Chiang Mai, Thailand

important places in Chiang Mai IMPORTANT PLACES
Chiang Mai Bus Station Bus Station
Chiang Mai Train Station Train Station
Chiang Mai airport Chiang Mai International Airport
Nong Buak Hard Park Nong Buak Hard Park - free yoga classes daily

hotels in Chiang Mai HOTEL
Chiang Mai Arun Dara Villa Arun Dara Villa - 7 exclusive rooms, 1 swimming pool for every room, grand opening
Chiang Mai Nawa Sheeva Hotel Nawa Sheeva Hotel - big rooms, high ceiling, salt-water pool, restaurant, cafe
Chiang Mai Nawa Saraan Hotel Nawa Saraan Hotel - low density (4 spacious rooms), stone garden setting, Koi fish pond, Old City location
Arun Suite, Chiang Mai Arun Suite - 3 bedrooms in a 3-storie guesthouse within Old City, ideal for families

birds nest restaurants in Chiang Mai RESTAURANT
La Pizza Chiang Mai La Pizza Chiang Mai - Italian pizza, pasta, wine, dessert, coffee
Chiang Mai birds nest restaurant Natural Bird Nest by Burapa - authentic bird's nest soup

Thai massage in Chiang Mai WELLNESS
ITM  International Training Massage School ITM - International Training Massage School - Chiang Mai's most prestigious massage school
Float Chiang Mai Float Chiang Mai - sensory deprivation float pod
Chiang Mai, Royal Thai Lanna Massage Zira Spa - upscale authentic Thai massage and spa treatment

motorcycle rental in Chiang Mai MOTORBIKE RENTAL
Chiang Mai birds nest motorcycle Tawan Bike - motorcycle rental | +66 91 635 2863 | Si Phum, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200



USEFUL INFORMATION

Chiang Mai FYI / Tips
  • crop-burning season in Chiang Mai is between late Feb to early April. But laws change everytime. This year, 2019, there is a 61-day ban on burning so the farmers started burning early. When my plane was approaching Chiang Mai on Jan 24, 2019, there was already a thick blanket of smog covering the entire city (and beyond). But within the city itself, you won't feel it (but that doesn't mean the air is healthy). To monitor air conditions in real time, refer to site: Chiang Mai Air Pollution: Real-time Air Quality Index (AQI)
  • hot season begins March and lasts until June
  • wet season begins July and lasts until September
  • best time to visit Chiang Mai is mid-September to mid-February - after the monsoon and before the burning
  • you have to try Khao Soi, this is north Thailand's culinary staple
  • the tourist area where most of the hotels, restaurants, ticket offices, tour operators are, is located in the Old City
  • to exchange your dollars to Thai Baht, the Super Rich Money Exchange give the best rates. There are many branches scattered around Chiang Mai
  • get a red cab (songthao) outside the train station for Baht 50 (instead of paying B100 if inside the train station) to Old City - if you haggle nicely enough...I did!
  • shared red taxi (songthao) - B30 standard fare plying all over Old City
  • for only B50/day, best to rent a bike to go around the Old City - it's a 2.5km2 with lots to discover
  • FREE daily yoga classes from 9:00am to 10:15am at Nong Buak Hard Park (southwest corner of Old City). Resident and passing-through teachers take turns conducting yoga classes.
Blues/Jazz Bars in Chiang Mai
  1. North Gate Pub - at Chang Phueg Gate, great Tuesday jam session, Blues on Sundays by the 11pm band
  2. Taphae East - 88 Thapae Rd. (just north of Night Bazaar). Fridays at 9:30pm by Chiang Mai Blues Band
  3. Boy Blues Bar - at the Night Bazaar. Mondays at 9:30pm is open mic
Chiang Mai Cost Index
  • B60 Chiang beer
  • B250 1 hour drop-in yoga session
  • B200 one hour Thai body massage at WAYA Massage (highly recommended)
  • B50 noodle soup with meat
  • B50 coffee
  • B40 pad thai
  • B30/kilo wash-only laundry
  • B50/kilo wash+iron laundry
  • B100-150 dorm bed/night
  • B250 fan room/night
  • B30 internet cafe/hour
  • B170-190 Movies Sat-Sun and public holidays
  • B130-150 Movies weekdays
  • B100 Movies Wednesdays (movie discount day)
  • B750 1/2 day Thai cooking lessons
  • B900-1000 1 full day Thai cooking lessons
  • B400 Muay Thai boxing ticket
  • B2500 starting room rate at the luxury hotel, Nawa Sheeva (highly recommended)

  • Transportation
  • B450 bus, Chiang Mai to Bangkok
  • B160-180 bus, Chiang Mai to Pai
  • B1250 bus, Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang
  • B1650 slow boat, Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang
  • B210 bus, Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, 3-4 hours
  • B360 Green VIP bus, Chiang Mai to Mae Sai (Thai border town for visa run to Tachileik, Myanmar)
  • B50 bicycle rental, 24 hours
  • B200 motorbike rental, 24 hours
  • B273 #51 sleeping train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
  • B638 #7 a/c train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
  • B50 red taxi fare from point to point
  • B100 red taxi fare from train terminal to city

  • Tours
  • B2000 full day elephant sanctuary
  • B750 Chiang Rai one-day tour
  • B1500 mountain biking scenic ride
How to Get to Chiang Mai from Bangkok by Train from Bang Sue Train Station

For more train info: Bangkok to Chiang Mai trains - departing from Hua Lamphong - MRT (Bangkok)

(I'm using Bang Sue as a starting point because I was closer to it, but you may be closer to the Hua Lamphong station)

  1. take the MRT train to Bang Sue Station. Take the #1 Exit to the north provincial trains
  2. Proceed to Counter 2. You will see an information booth, a train schedule chart and the ticket counter. Choose the train and pay at the ticket counter.
  3. daily train schedule:
    • 8:48am - #7 Train, arrive Chiang Mai 7:30pm, not sleeper, B638
    • 2:06pm - #109 Train, arrive Chiang Mai 4:05am, sleeper
    • 6:31pm - #9 Premium Train, arrive Chiang Mai 7:15am, sleeper, B938 upper deck, B1038 lower deck
    • 7:56pm - #13 Train, arrive Chiang Mai 8:40am, sleeper, B768 upper deck, B838 lower deck
    • 10:22pm - #51 Train, arrive Chiang Mai 12:10pm, sleeper, 3rd class B270 (non sleeper), 2nd class B438, B728 upper deck, B798 lower deck
Bus from Loei to Chiang Mai
  1. From Loei town center, take a tuk-tuk ride to the bus station, B30. There is only one bus station.
  2. As of June 28, 2020 (still on Covid schedule), there are only 3 night trips: 8:30pm, 9:30pm and 12 midnight. 9 hours, B470.
  3. The bus makes the following stops at the following times from a 9pm Loei departure: Phu Ruea (9:50pm), Phitsanulok (12:40am), Uttradit (2:20am), Lampang (4:35am)
  4. Final bus stop is at the Red Bus Arcade, Chiang Mai, 9 hour-trip, arriving 6am (from 9pm Loei departure).
  5. Take a red songthaew to Old City, B50. They'll try to charge you B100, but they'll take B50 (just assure the driver you won't tell the other passengers).
Chiangmai Blogs by TheLoneRider
    Happiness Series
    1. In Pursuit of Happiness Aug 2020
    2. Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) Aug 31, 2020
    3. Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) Aug 28, 2020
    4. Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) Aug 25, 2020
    5. Lucious Annaeus Seneca (4BC–AD65) Aug 10, 2020
    6. Epicurus (341–270 BC) Aug 2020
    7. Socrates (470–399 BC) Aug 7, 2020

    Young Farang and the Older Asian Couple
    1. Public Display of Affection Aug 9, 2020
    2. Dad-Zoned Aug 18, 2020
    3. Intelligent Romantic Break-up Aug 25, 2020

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  8. Vinyasa Krama and Ashtanga Yoga with Aida Yoga Oct 18, 2020
  9. Deepak Chopra: author, lecturer, healer Oct 12, 2020
  10. Movie Review: Searching for Sugar Man (2012) Oct 7, 2020
  11. Movie Review: The Last Full Measure (2019) Oct 6, 2020
  12. Chiang Mai Peoplescape Aug-Sep 2020 Sep 30, 2020
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  28. Yoga Class for Strength and Muscle Jul 30, 2020
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  30. Yoga Class for Healthy Eyes Jul 27, 2020
  31. Hippie Night at Nawa Saraan Healing Space July 24, 2020
  32. The Podcast Series: Alan "Heart Math" Strydom Jul 17, 2020
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  40. Hiking the Monk's Trail Jan 15, 2020
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  43. You Spooned Me Jan 3, 2020
  44. 2019: A Year in Review Dec 31, 2019
  45. Friends, Coffeemates and Breadmates (Dec 2019) Dec 31, 2019
  46. Visiting Mae Sot Dec 27-30, 2019
  47. Let's Make it About You - an Epiphany Dec 17, 2019
  48. Movie Review: Knives Out (2019) Dec 12, 2019
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  57. Movie Review: Panic: The Untold Story of the 2008 Financial Crisis (2018) Nov 22, 2019
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  60. Sambhavi Mudra Nov 16, 2019
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  80. Mula Bandha Mudra Oct 21, 2019
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  83. Ling Mudra Oct 17, 2019
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  85. Jalandhara Bandha Mudra Oct 15, 2019
  86. Learning Thai with Cee Oct 13, 2019
  87. Uddiyana Bandha Mudra Oct 10, 2019
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  90. Maha Mudra Oct 7, 2019
  91. 20 Essential Mudras by T. Krishnamacharya Oct. 6, 2019
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  93. Cuddle Party by Abundant Love CM Oct 1, 2019
  94. Vayu Mudra Oct 1, 2019
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Travel Tips for Thailand

How to Get a 60-Day Thai Tourist Visa and then Extend by another 30 Days

    60-Day Thai Tourist Visa

    NOTE: There is no need to go back to your country to get the Thai tourist visa. Any major city with a Thai Embassy will do. Apparently there is also no need to have an invitation from a Thai establishment to justify the visa.

  1. Bring the following to the Thai embassy:
    a) proof of money (bank statement will suffice)
    b) flight booking to Thailand
    c) onward flight back to your country from Thailand
    d) filled-in tourist visa form
    e) 2 passport pictures
    f) hotel booking in Thailand (they didn't ask me for this but better be safe)
    g) passport with at least 6 months validity
  2. After handing over all the documents, they will ask you to come pick your passport with the visa the following day from 4 to 5pm. That's it!
  3. NOTE: after 2 successful attempts, I was already questioned the 3rd time.

    30-Day Extension

    NOTE: When your 60-day visa is close to expiry and you want to extend your stay. No need to leave Thailand.

  1. bring the following to the Immigration Office:
    a) passport (make sure your Tourist Visa hasn't expired yet)
    b) Baht 1900
    c) photocopy of your passport + visa duration date stamp + TM6 card (white immigration card) and sign all the copies
    d) completed TM7 visa extension form (available at the Immigration Office)
    e) one 4cmx6cm passport picture
  2. submit the above to the Front Desk. They will give you a stub with your number on it. Take a seat and wait for your number to be called
  3. when your number is called, your picture will be taken. Then go back to your seat. They will call you again.
  4. when they call you again, they'll give you your passport with your extended visa. That's it!
  5. when there are no lines, the whole process can take only 10 minutes
General Travel Tips
  1. arrive early - in case there is a snag (visa snag, documentation snag, transport ticket snag, etc.), you will have ample time to troubleshoot the problem if you arrive early (to the airport, to the bus terminal, etc.)
  2. put detailed itinerary on the Calendar apps of your smart-phone according to timelines - this is where you do all your thinking and planning. Once written down, you don't have to think anymore while you are on the journey...you just follow the steps. This frees your mind for something else that might happen while you are already en route
  3. avoiding scams - as a general rule, I ignore the touts or anyone I don't know who call out to me. The calling comes in many forms - "Hi! Where are you from?", "Excuse me! Excuse me!", "Where are you going?". I don't look them in the eye and I remain non-verbal with them. If you reply to them, you just gave them an 'in' to hound you. In order not to look rude, I smile and wave the 'not interested' hand to them, without looking at them.
  4. power bank - hand-carry your power bank. Do not check it in. You can be called in when you are already inside the plane to go all the way to the loading dock so you can personally remove the power bank...and chances are, you'll have to surrender it to them. And you might delay the plane departure!

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