What a week it’s been… social media channels have been buzzing with news around South Africans striking over ludicrous road tolls and an opinionated radio jock that got locked up for speeding on the way home. I almost don’t think that I can cope with the excitement of it all.
So let’s talk about the bit of news that you all clearly care about, instead of wasting valuable time discussing economics and how a lack of foresight has gotten the Government and Labour Brokers into a little bit of trouble- that’s boring. Let’s chat about the man of the moment, Gareth Cliff.
Yes, the epitome of local celebrity. He’s done it all- radio, tv, a book and I’m almost sure there are one or two, not yet found Youtube videos floating around the internet of him dancing to the Macarena. Gareth was caught speeding at a tantalizing 182 km/h (in a 120km/h zone) on the way home from filming an episode of Idols SA earlier this week. Unfortunately, Gareth is no Kenny Kunene when it comes to avoiding the persecution of traffic police and for possibly the first time in his life, had his fame work against him.
As is the case with everyone else, Gareth was detained, charged and then released on R1500 bail, “a few minutes later”. Unlike most people though, some local users of one of the World’s biggest social media platforms started a hashtag dedicated to the Cliffster moments after news of his arrest began filtering through Twitter. The hashtag was a throwback to campaigns to free great political leaders from detention of the past – it was simply inspiring stuff. #freeGarethCliff is what all his many supporters feverishly tweeted as they waited for more news about their morning radio messiah to surface.
The case was postponed and Gareth, audibly quite irritated, said that he was bleak about the fact that the media had made it impossible for him to sign an admission of guilt, pay a fine, do some community service and get on with it- like everyone else. I tend to agree with him. Even though Gareth can at the best of times be described as a teenage schoolgirl with executive powers, he does deserve a shot at the legal process as it happens for you and I. The press shouldn’t make a big deal about it, as this is just going to play right into his master plan.
You see Gareth Cliff is not a stupid guy. He knows he’s about 14 times smarter than the rest of his morning radio team and about 25 times more brainy than the average 5fm listener. I’m tempted to think that much like a rapper who gets arrested for busting a cap into someone’s tour bus before the release of their next album, Gareth has used this as an opportunity to get some more free press to promote himself and string of projects he is involved in.
Let’s face it, the best thing you can do with Gareth Cliff’s book is use it to stop a table from wobbling or on a fire to keep you warm. What’s the bet that now he’s got the press chatting about how bad he is, his books will start selling faster than Kony can kidnap an entire village of children? Maybe people will even buy more Appeltizer (in the new plastic bottles) and all the Cliff-haters will be vindicated by him having to do a ton of community service for his indiscretions? Everybody wins.
I guess instead of giving him such a hard time, I should instead be rather honoured to be pictured next to Gareth as a contributor in a magazine… I literally am a sexual preference change, Top Billing appearance and radio show away from being a superstar just like him.