From all the tributes I had to write in my life this is one of the hardest. The hardest one still was for my best friend who passed away 10 years ago but still this one will take a lot of courage to write.
Pierre Joubert, an unknown name too many but to the Cape Town music scene a very well- known name. The Black Market Riots from Somerset West/Stellenbosch is an established band for the past 8 years. I would have never known them if it was not for Pierre. I was on Twitter and I started following this guy @kitaarpeer. Quickly we started throwing tweets at each other and he soon told me to follow his band @bmrband, I must say it took me a while to get round to listening to them, but when I did I was blown away by them. Soon our chats moved to Google Talk (now Hangouts), we became online friends chatting most days about our lives, our work, our relationships, music and of course everything else. It was Facebook that kept us on top of things in between days we didn’t have a chat and I saw how hard he worked with his studies and the band.
I decided to interview them for Small Town Music since they were an interesting bunch of people and we share a love for Black Label beer. They were the first band I ever interviewed that was outside of Nelsparta and I’m so glad they were the first ones. I still remember how I struggled to hear what they were saying over the speakerphone in between hearing Pierre, Danie and ex-drummer Tim laughs. This was a band of brothers I spoke to, not just a group of people making music. I remember when he first told me about Karma and how awesome she is, my friend was in love again. He was also the friend that introduced me to Lana Del Rey music and I must say, it wasn’t a bad choice either.
The times that I was in Cape Town, Pierre and I seemed to miss each other with either the lack of transport on my side (taxies are expensive) or the timing wasn’t right or we both had pre-organized things we had to do. In February this year, I was in Cape Town again and he was busy again with work related things. I was happy to have met Danie de Villiers, the lead vocalist of BMR at Up The Creek music festival and all we talked about was the band and how awesome Pierre, Fano and Rudolph is. Then came RAMFest. They played the Johannesburg leg of it and they were thrilled that they happened to share the stage with one of their heroes – Billy Clyro. I wanted to go up to RAMFest but I had a light car accident and I was still broke from UTC. The days leading up to RAMFest I managed to speak to Pierre online about RAMFest and his excitement about the whole thing. I missed my final chance to meet a friend I already knew.
When I read about Pierre being in hospital I was shocked to read what it was. When you are young you expect to be either immortal or still have years ahead of you. I wasn’t the only one expecting Pierre to make a full recovery and soon be around again with his jokes and laughing blue eyes. We all waited to see the latest report from Karma du Plooy, his girlfriend. We read how he was diagnosed with genetic liver disease and we all knew it was going to be a battle, but our friend is strong … He will be fine…
To read on Monday, 12 May on Facebook that he had lost his battle against this strange yet known illness it was unbelievable. It’s still unbelievable, unreal, like a bad movie that has started and somewhere you play a part in it. I couldn’t sleep; I still can’t because there are a few photos of Pierre that keeps on running through my mind. I try to remember the times we spoke over the phone, I try to remember the things we spoke about online…I can’t…I now wish I wrote it all down. I get tears in my eyes thinking this beautiful soul left not only his fans and friends but his brothers, family, girlfriend and mother behind. He spoke often to me about his cats, who like me, saw them as his furry children. His space feels so empty and somehow I still expect him to update his own Facebook saying he is feeling better and thanks for all the support. Not going to happen. To me all of the sudden the music died…I struggle to listen to Black Market Riots, I watched their videos just to see our friend one more time.
This tribute is to Pierre, a friend to many, a brother to a few, boyfriend to Karma and a son to his mum. I might have not met Pierre in ‘die regte lewe’ as we would say, but I considered him a friend. A friend that I missed the last few weeks and the friend I will always miss. So every Black Label I toast will first be to him, where he sits with mister Hendrix and mister Cash having a jam. I will smile when I see Jagermeister because he loved it so, whereas I am a tequila girl. When I see the name Stellenbosch on my travels I will smile because I will remember how fond he was of his home. I got some rocks from Kaapschehoop that I wanted to send to him since I thought “Pierre will like the history behind this”. I will wear my Black Market Riots shirt with pride at festivals, gigs and just randomly. I will continue supporting their music as if he never left.
I swallow my tears as I can’t see through them. The small group that came to know him through me up here in Nelsparta will have our little send off for him. But in my heart, I will carry him with the rest of my angel friends I already have. I struggle to find a song for him, but knowing him he will kick my ass if I choose a Heuwels Fantasties song. So I had to pick between Foo Fighters and Taxi Violence (also local heroes to him), music I knew he loved. To his friends, family and band in the Cape, please know that although I can’t be there physically when we say goodbye, I’m there in spirit. Know that even as far as Mpumalanga his big heart was felt. Know that today is also the first day of the rest of our lives without him.
Miss you forever
Has someone taken your faith?Foo Fighters
It’s real, the pain you feel
The life, the love you’d die to heal
The hope that starts the broken hearts
You trust, you must