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2008: A sneaky preview

Here’s what the coming year has in store for us, courtesy of Nostradamus’s greasy little ball. In January Saru announces what they call a “compromise candidate” to take over the role of Springbok coach. It is Andre Markgraaff, the former disgraced coach of telephone-tap/racist-comments fame.

The motivation is that the appointment serves the interests of transformation in the spirit of reconciliation. His remorse for his regrettable deeds has been overwhelming, it is announced, and his rehabilitation in the public eye is complete.

In his first press conference, the coach, who has grown a beard last seen on Jacob Zuma in the 1980s, announces that he is bringing in Rudolf Straeuli as technical adviser, having worked with him before. Chester Williams is the backline coach, along with Tim Lane. Markgraaff names Luke Watson as his captain, citing his natural leadership abilities on and off the field.

In February, Mike Tyson fails to meet his boxing engagement in South Africa, pulling out at the last second. Insiders claim it’s his fury at being denied an audience with Nelson Mandela.

Meanwhile, in soccer, Carlos Parreira throws in the towel in April, citing irreconcilable differences with the soccer chiefs. A replacement coach is announced in May. It is Philip Troussier, fresh from a successful coaching stint in New Zealand. He announces as his captain the forgotten man of South African soccer, Pierre Issa.

In May, part of the new Green Point Stadium collapses.

Abroad, in April, Cherie Blair announces her intention to run for the leadership of the Labour Party. In a live television interview on Rupert Murdoch TV, she claims that she has a vital understanding of the mechanisms of power and leadership, having been the invisible force that held Tony together in his more dumpy moments.

Wet Wet Wet are commissioned to write a campaign song for her. It is a cover version of Modern Talking’s Cherie Cherie Lady and has Neil Diamond as a guest vocalist. It reaches a position of 78 in the charts and then promptly vanishes to the boo-boo bins’ most lonely corners.

The Sun announces her decision to run by the headline: “The Blair Bitch Project.”

In June, the pressure gets to Gordon Brown, who trips down a flight of stairs. He is hospitalised and it is announced by spin doctors that he will be retiring from politics till making a full recovery. This is in much the same manner as PW Botha got booted out by FW de Klerk. Suddenly we hear of the dissatisfaction of his fellow party members at his frequent snoring during his appearances in the House of Commons. A coffin is practically prepared for him, but then again, he always did look like he had been asleep for the last three hundred years every time you saw him on television, with more rings under his eyes than Saturn.

The mood turns sour as Cherie prepares to become the second First Lady. “I stand for my lady,” announces a grinning Tony Blair in Japan.

In the internet world, a new site emerges in June to challenge Facebook. It is called Spacebook, and offers users the chance to create a fictitious online identity in space, dress up in virtual space suits, land on each other and post rude messages in each other’s shuttles. The site fails to capture the public’s imagination though, and slowly drifts into obscurity. When it emerges that the site stole Facebook’s poking function, the elimination is complete.

MySpace, meanwhile, dies a slow death. By September, the site has fewer than 10 000 members left, consisting almost entirely of wannabe supermodels and bedroom bands that no one wants to hear of.

In the art world, local artist Kendall Geers stages a controversial show in London featuring life drawings of testicles and things.

The top entertainment news in South Africa is the arrival of the Led Zeppelin World Tour in July. However, the tour is cancelled at the last minute due to the stand-in drummer, John Bonham’s son, injuring his wrist in a squash court accident at the eve of their departure. The rumour mill goes into overdrive.

The organisers, in a panic to placate the distraught fans, some of whom had been in queues for five days solid to get tickets, announce that rock icons AC/DC have been secured as a replacement. When it emerges that none of the original members of the group are still in the band, let alone alive, the tour is cancelled. No refunds are offered though.

To make up for it the sponsors stage a free concert at Rhodes Memorial in Cape Town in September featuring the likes of the Eagles, Yes, Jerry and the New Pacemakers, Peter Frampton, Wasp, Roger Waters, Peter Cetera, the Mamas and the Oupas, Steve Winwood and local rock icons the Jets. David Hasselhof is the MC for the concert. The concert is called “Rock-till-you-drop” but the press mockingly call it “Rock-on-a-drip”.

On the night, fewer than 200 fans arrive to tap into this sad spectacle. To compound the embarrassment, there is a sudden loss of power during Wasp’s set, leading to the drummer setting his hearing aid on fire live on stage in protest.

There’s some more stuff in the ball, but I best kick it out to touch. You really don’t want to hear about Jacob Zuma’s trial that gets postponed, do you?