The South African Rock Music Digest
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Established January 1999.



The SA Rock Digest is a discussion forum for Rock music;
South African and International; past, present and future.

Read it, digest it, enjoy it, send in your comments
and tell your friends....

"Rock" is a very general term encompassing rock and roll,
pop, folk, rock, ethnic-rock, prog-rock, jazz-rock, country-rock,
soul, R&B, metal, indie, alternative, new wave, reggae, etc, etc.

Don't get hung up...if you want to say something about the music
YOU like, go ahead, say it.

Contributions and comments:


Karen de Vries

By now most people will have heard of the recent tragic death of
Josh Sithole at the age of only 53.
The concert which will take place on Sunday 1 August '99 at The River Club,
Observatory, is designed to pay tribute to this music legend who touched
the lives and hearts of so many South Africans. His unique blend of
guitar and voice made an indelible impression on people throughout the
country and will be a great loss to the music industry.

Josh's phenomenal career began 40 years ago busking on the streets of
Cape Town. A local success story, despite an unfavourable political climate
at the time, his irrepressible talent and irresistible stage presence led him its
become a household name and in huge demand for prestigious functions and
high-profile events nation-wide. Despite numerous overseas offers,
Josh dedicated his music to this country.

The concert, featuring some of the cream of the city's musical talent,
starts at 5pm. Bands, who will be donating their services, include: Sabre,
Alpha Set, Sudan, Brenton Blue, Gabriel Shai and the Blues Connection. All
musicians are welcome to jam at 11pm when the last act will complete their
set, MC's for the evening will be Alvon Collison and FMR DJ Andre Fourie.

Tickets are available at Paul Bothners, Werdmuller Centre, Claremont,
Soundworks, Kirstenhof Centre, Tokai. Alternatively, you can contact Karen
from Sterra Promotions on Tel 689 5138 or Steve from the Barleycorn Music
Club on tel. 083 4487292 A limited number of tickets are being sold, so
anyone who would like to join this incredible party should secure
their ticket for R35 now, Tickets sold at the door on the night will be R40.
(A limited amount of tickets will be sold)

All proceeds from this event will go to Josh Sithole's family who,
apart from an indescribable personal loss, have also prematurely
lost their primary breadwinner. The concert provides an opportunity for
Josh's many fans to say 'Thank you for the music'

Steve Murdoch
Tel: +27 21 6836144
Cell: 083 448 7292



Extra show added...

Sunday 1st August at the Three Arts Theatre - booking is open through

Ticket prices:
R130-00 (unreserved floor)

0860 400 500 - helpline

For further media information please contact:
Sandra Briar on (011) 788 8725 or


206   206 Louis Botha Avenue August 14th
Pancho Villa's Witbank     August 27th



Oppikoppi '99 - InFESTation 6-9 August

Watch Oppikoppi 99 live

This year ZA@Play and SLY bring you South Africa's biggest bushveld
blast live on the net at M-Web's webcams will
stream continuous live footage over all four days of the festival. And
all those ardent jollers making the annual pilgrimage to the temple of
rock can monitor Infestation's early progress as we film the five stages
taking shape in the days prior to the event.

Win free tickets

ZA@Play, SLY and Oppikoppi are giving away two pairs of tickets to this
year's Infestation. To enter, e-mail the name of our webcam sponsor to along with your e-mail address, name and telephone
number. Entries must reach us by August 2.

Besides streaming live images of SA's biggest rock festival, we'll also
be running soundbite sessions with bands and band members over all four
days. Check back in at to see who'll be grabbing a
soapbox, and when ...

SL magazine and ZA@Play bring you constant feedback and live reports on
the action, news and more ...

With fresh words and pictures every day, our on-the-scene reporters will
fill you in on the highlights and the lowlights of the 75 bands, and
numerous DJs, giving it their all across five different stages.


SLY magazine



Sunday 1st August 99 - Emerging Sounds Exposed. Morgans Cat Randburg
Waterfront 4pm

Tuesday 3rd August 99 - Roxy Rhythm Bar Melville: 10pm

C-A-R-G-O (previously “hybrid”- before the incumbent band) started out in
early 1998 with a singer, a guitarist and 10 great songs. Their idea had
always been to write great songs and perform them in interesting ways,
focussing heavily on lyrics, melody and cool sounds – splicing numerous
styles and genres with late 90’s abandon into a unique mix of what has been
termed “electro-dirty rock”. Making the necessary additions of bass and
drums, the band began to find their feet – the last member to join being a
Trance DJ/Performer who now fulfils the role of, as the band would say,
‘Sonix’. Making memorable debuts at the Roxy Rhythm Bar and at various live
venues in Johannesburg the band peaked with a great performance at the 1998
Gay Pride March.
Unfortunately overseas commitments and loss of their drummer to the
emigration wave forced the band to reconsider their future. In a lot of
ways this presented a unique opportunity to rethink their concept and apply
the emerging ‘cut and paste’ ideas to their production. The sampler
replaced the drummer and elevated the band to a unique position within the
Johannesburg scene where categorisation becomes hazy and sounds matters more
and more.
With more than 25 original songs completed and a finely tuned and intense
live act, the band is poised as one of the most exciting and freshest
prospects currently around.

The current line up is:
Steve van Staden - vocals
Steve Syrett - Guitar
Jeff Fletcher - Sonix and Soundz
Steve Savage - Bass



On Saturday 31 July the Overzicht arts village in Gerhard Moerdyk st.
Sunnyside will be blessed with a music concert not to be missed. It
is collaboration between Sidewalk Cafè, Up the Creek and the Vanguard,
all live music venues, and the main show will kick off at noon,
featuring the bands Urban Poison, The Lemmings, Shag and Valiant
Swart. Afterwards the party will move to the three venues where a
variety of other bands would also play, I know of Strange Weather in
Sidewalk Cafè.
Surely something not to be missed so get to the parking lot in front
of Sidewalk on Saturday morning, bring all your friends and party
‘till Sunday.
This Thursday night might be a good time to go check out the little
village if you don’t know it, you can catch Livingstone at Sidewalk
and I think Lucas Maree is playing at Up the Creek.

-- Duusman



New group in town!

When: Sunday 1 August 1999 8pm
Where:        Origin Cafe, Main Road, Melville
Couvert charge:        R10

(pronounced Dow as in Now!)

Come along and hear some great original acoustic, percussive, vocal
music - their first gig in Johannesburg, this duo astonish with a wide
range of music, and are very entertaining!

Jazz, world music, folk and percussion lovers will particularly
appreciate this gig.



Cape Town's premier Jazz/Rock outfit who ruled the roost in the late 70's and early 80's are to issue an anthology of recordings made by group. The album's will be issued on the Mountain label and should include material from all the albums and singles released.

The tapes have been prepared by Tully McCully and will be mastered and in some cases re-mixed in Hamburg, Germany where the label also have a base.

Pacific Express were a virtual jazz school under the leadership of Bassist, Paul Abrahams and drummer Jack Momple. Notable members whose performances are on the new release include, Jonathan Butler, Tony Cedras, Chris Schilder, Basil Coetzee, Zayn Adam and Robbie Jansen.

Considered by many one of the most important SA bands of the last 25 years, the Express (as they where also known) were the first Cape band to achieve a crossover status nationally, opening the way for many so called "non-white" acts into the white controlled media and live arena.

No date is set for the release though it should be before the end of the millennium.

Mountain records



Dear friends,
We are representatives of Georgian Radio “Audience”.
Our office is situated in Tbilisi, Georgia, Caucasus.
Our Radio is broadcasting 24 hours, on the 105.9 FM.
Georgian people knows and trusts us.
We would like to establish the new project, unfamiliar to any Radio in Georgia.
This will be a type of CD Library. Where all CDs will be from foreign countries.
Due to hard economical situation in Georgia we would like receive them free from charge.
I hope you will understand our great plans and consider carefully our new idea.
We appreciate your kindness in advance.
We will be very happy if you get in touch with us in future.
Thank you and God Bless!
Miss Lela Svanidze
The Main Coordinator of External Affairs
Aleksidze 3, 380093
Tbilisi, Georgia
Tel: (995-32) 985384 985563
Fax: (995-32) 990340 940880



ZX Dan - Radio Rats (Jonathan Handley) [4.36]
Jonathan Handley: vocals, guitar/David Davies: vocals/
Herbie Parkin: bass/Leonard Dixon: drums

The Radio Rats formed in Springs on the East Rand in 1976 and were the first group signed by Patric van Blerk's Jo'burg Records. ZX Dan, their second single, is a wonderful piece of new wave/space-rock, covering a similar theme to David Bowie's 1972 smash hit, Starman.
ZX Dan was released on their debut album Into The Night We Slide in 1978 and was a big SA hit. ZX Dan went to Number 2 on the Radio 5 charts in 1979 and is still considered one of South Africa's greatest pop/rock songs of all-time.

Despite this success, disillusionment set in, and the Rats disbanded in 1980. Jonathan Handley is now a doctor in Klerksdorp. Jonathan owns Radium Wreckords and is involved in archiving SA music and discovering new talent. Herbie Parkin lives and performs in Sweden and maintains The Radio Rats archive website.



Rogan Coles

What about the likes of Larry Amos and his Baxtop band and later projects? This is but one holy and unrecognised individual in the annals of RSA music. If I could, I would rate him as one of the greater axe muso's I've ever encountered and this opinion doesn't come lightly either - having seen, heard and photographed the best there is - and I mean this globally. Yes, Amos was indiffident, difficult deferal, unapproachable, bloody rude and poisoness to boot, but shit, he was good.

What about Tim Parr and Heather Mac? One of the better concerts I saw was in that hell hole in that Hillbrow hotel (the one over the basement swimming pool) featuring Tribe after tribe and the band that these two had put together at that time. Good stuff. There are people like John Oakley-Smith (I think that was his first name), a man from Zim and a bit folkey but played an excellent keyboard. I could go on down other path ways but these are a few folk who come to mind.

Look for Scatby Hud (I think it was spelt like that), the Kitchen brothers and others of the genre. Also, it might help if someone in that place of your's (RSA I mean) went and clawed at the door of one David Marks and his Third Ear Music and trawled through his frigging music archives - there should be a mountain of stuff that is seriously precious there - covering the music scene of the 70's and early 80's. He was all over the place with his recording - if not in the dives where people were pumping out their hearts then, through the concerts he promoted at the time. Check it out, he's your man.


Andrew Ziffo

I would like to inform Digest readers that Outlaw have opened a new branch in Claremont, just around the corner from Pick and Pay - in fact, in the spot that was occupied by Disc Record Library some years ago. (45 Main Rd., Phone 6717887). Unfortunately we do not have space to sell vinyl there, so it is just CDs. Jim, previously in Wynberg, is now the manager there.


Peter Rorvik

Did you know that Dave Marks was
a sound engineer at the original Woodstock;
and that he and his Hidden Years Band (big version)
played at the Woodstock reunion festival in '97?



In 1969 I was too young to go to Woodstock...
in 1999, I'm too old...oh well!

The Digest's man-on-the-spot Craig Ballen filed this report...

One of my first music memories and major inspiration was seeing the movie of
Woodstock around 1971-72 at age 12 (shown at that place in Hillbrow - forgot
the name) . How I wished I could have seen all those amazing performers in
one place - not to mention camping out with hordes of naked women.
Well this weekend I embarked on an adventure to Woodstock 99 in Rome, New
York. I was representing a local San Diego youth charity and arrived a few
days early to set up in a large tent along with 40 other non-profit
organizations like Amnesty International. We had a great position in front of
the West stage - the smaller and more mellow of the 2 main arenas.

The enormity of the venue was absolutely mind boggling. Ideal for a concert
of this magnitude. Griffiss Park, a former Airforce base, had been made
available to the Woodstock organizers in the hopes of stimulating the town's
dwindling economy. A large number of locals being recruited as security and
vendors, in exchange for free tickets ($170 value).

WEDNESDAY:On touring the relatively empty venue I was impressed by the
layout. A 6 mile wood and steel fence surrounding the site had already been
painted by artists and would greet the paying customers and hopefully keep
out gatecrashers. This was definitely a Wood$tock to make money and not the
peace protest, free love of '69. The 2 main stages, set up on opposite ends
of the venue, were pieces of art. The East ("main") stage enhanced by a huge
Peter Max mural covering the sound system. The West stage was a mix of
lighting trusses and speakers and topped off with a giant blown up dove.
There was also an "Emerging Artist Stage" which late at night would be
transformed into a huge rave area. A movie theatre, post office, fully
equipped hospital, phones, ATM machines, large beer gardens had been set up
along with a row of food vendors stretching a mile long. A huge campground
adjacent to the concert site awaited the coming hordes of campers. All looked
set for a great weekend of fun in the sun - but was this merely the calm
before the storm?

THURSDAY afternoon, as the general public was allowed in, the West stage
provided some local and lesser known bands the opportunity to perform. The
Main stage acts were only to start Friday afternoon. A crowd gathered as the
day wore on and I was struck by the apparent lack of any security. There were
a number of yellow t-shirt clad bouncers in front of the stage and the local
volunteers (mainly young girls and older folks) sitting and "guarding" remote
lighting and speaker towers - but no real force. The organizers had
apparently refused any outside security, possibly thinking a police presense
would antagonize the rowdy crowds or possibly purely to save money. Whatever
the reason this would prove to be a huge blunder.

FRIDAY: I was mainly present for the West stage acts with my favourite being
The Roots, an amazing hiphop act out of Philadelphia. The Main stage opened
with legend James Brown. During the Korn act I fought my way to the front and
was amazed at the energy streaming from the mosh pit as well as audience
members being allowed up on stage (something Korn encourages). The
performance was excellent and the band is really together. Other performance
favourites included Live, Sheryl Crow and Bush. Set change were extremely
efficient averaging only 15 minutes.The sound system, with remote towers was
very loud and audible all the way back, with some people complaining that the
vocals were inaudible.

SATURDAY: Premier main stage acts were Kid Rock, Limp Bizkit, Rage and
Metallica (who were apparently awesome).
At around 3 pm I made my way upfront in anticipation of The Counting Crows, my
favourite band. The afternoon heat was sweltering but who cared? This is fun!
Security were spraying water on the crowd (instead of letting them drink) and
the general atmosphere was very festive. As the Crows began their set, I was
appalled at the inaudible lead vocal of Adam Duritz. The sound man was
obviously clueless - an amazing concept at a concert of this magnitude. I
enjoyed the set anyway and experienced "crowd surfing" firsthand. A large
guy, with distinct Southern accent, landed on his head right next to me - and
merely got up, smiled, brushed of the dust and continued partying. I was also
treated to a photo with a girl from Texas - I new this since her nude
breasts were painted with that state's colors.

[South African-born] Dave Matthews, this now hugely successful artist was next in line.
As the crowd grew I was feeling very squashed and decided to work my way further
back - not an easy task in a crowd of over 200,000.
Saturday's West stage highlights for me were Mickey Hart Planet Drum and the
Chemical Brothers. The former being one of the Grateful Dead drummers with
music style emphasizing Latin and African rhythms. The Chemical Brothers
displayed an awesome array of techno grooves with stunning visual effects
displayed on 3 large video monitors.

VIOLENT UNDERTONES: Saturday night while walking to the main stage I
witnessed an eerie sight. A large number of frisbys had been provided by a
sponsor and placed on the ground. A group of approx 50 kids had created a
circle around a smaller group and were smashing and throwing these frisbys at
each other - which had by now shattered into sharp pieces. I could really
feel a build up of aggression which was fuelled by the large number of hard
core bands, all abusing and encouraging their audiences to throw bottles ( I
guess in an attempt to win their approval), the extremely high food prices (a
small bottle of water $4, Burrito $20, Beer $6 being 2 to 3 times normal
concert prices), lack of facilities, huge crowds and sweltering heat.
A drum circle had been started on trash cans and would continue uninterrupted
throughout the weekend.

SUNDAY: West stage saw performances by Rusted Root, Collective Soul
(great!), Godsmack (great!) and Megadeth (old!).
Main stage showcased Willie Nelson, Brian Setzer, Elvis Costello, Jewel,
Creed, Chili Peppers (complete with nude Flea).

The finale to be a Hendrix Tribute with rumours of surprise artist Prince,
Stones, Clapton.

CHAOS BEGINS: At around 10:30 pm youths began vandalizing the beer garden
right in front of our tent. Wooden wall pieces and metal trash cans were
thrown over the fence. This was the start of things to come. Apparently
during the Chilli Peppers set fires were started in front of the main stage.
The abundant trash was added as fuel. A group then began working their way
through the venue tipping over and burning vehicles, smashing open ATMs and
looting vendor booths.
Our end was pretty calm other than 3 fires which we could see and smell
coming from the neighbouring campsites. The largest of which surrounded by a
crowd chanting and drumming on metal trash cans. Very "Lord of the Flies".
This went on until around 2:30 am with absolutely no sign of police or State
troopers in our area. We were advised by a fireman to take precautions as the
vandals were working there way towards us. We placed tables as barricades
around our tent and waited. Memories of the '76 Soweto riots filled my mind,
although this felt worse - the kids in Soweto had a reason to riot - these
kids apparently did not... I had a sick feeling in my stomach. I fell asleep
around 3 am and woke up at a few hours later to a surreal sight. The misty
morning light revealed a long line of armed state troopers with dogs,
creating a barrier between us and the camping areas. Apparently the trouble
had been controlled. We packed up and left the site without further incident.

CONCLUSIONS: According to organizers there were no major injuries inflicted
- I have my doubts.
Generally the people I met were very cool. There were a lot of teenagers, for
some of which this was their first concert. The music was obviously geared
towards young, paying concert goers and it would have been nice to see some
older and more mellow acts. The organization was generally OK except for the
vital lack of a secure presence.
- I am glad I attended? - Absolutely!!!
- Would I do it again - I don't think so!!!

Visit Craig's new memorabilia website:
Images Of Rock


Brian Currin

If you are looking for a brief introduction to the history of
South African pop and rock music, look no further than Volume 2
of the excellent 3 volume "Best of SA Pop" set compiled by Derek Smith
from Gallo with help (and liner notes) from that guru of SA's pop compilers,
Malcolm Lombard.

Most of SA's all-time classic hits between 1964 and 1990 are included
here. From the A-Cad's superb reworking of Johnny Kidd and The Pirate's
Hungry For Love to arguably SA's greatest composition, Bright Blue's Weeping.

The only SA song to ever make the US top 20, Master Jack by Four Jacks
And A Jill is here (US #18 in May 1968), as well as Clout's Substitute which reached UK#2 for 3 weeks in June 1978 (held off the coveted #1 spot by You're The One That I Want by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John) and achieved #1 status in New Zealand, Australia, Germany, France, Belgium, Holland and South Africa.

Most of the movers and shakers of South African rock history are featured on this CD:
Trevor Rabin's Rabbitt, Julian Laxton, Ballyhoo, McCully Workshop, Omega Limited (wonderful version of Tchaikovsky's 1st Piano Concerto), the Radio Rats (with the inspired ZX Dan), the Afro-rock sounds of eVoid and Via Afrika and many others. SA's supergroup Stingray also appears here with their thundering pop-metal classic, Better The Devil You Know.

Some of SA's great pop artists are also represented: The Dream Merchants (featuring
Billy Forrest), The Dealians, Peanut Butter Conspiracy (NOT the US group with the same name), Graeme Begg's Charisma (with Mammy Blue), The Bats, Dickie Loader, Copperfield, Pedulum, Petit Cheval...the list isn't endless, but it's pretty comprehensive.

2 classic songs, that are far better known in SA than the original versions, are also here.
The Staccato's powerful, Billy Forrest-produced, version of Solomon Burke's Cry To Me (38 weeks on the Springbok Radio charts in 1969) and The Flames soulful rendition of The Impression's For Your Precious Love including the emotional spoken introduction.

All in all there are about 16 SA #1 hits on this 41 track compilation. Extensive liner notes
give details of each artist and every track.

Every home should have one!

So if you need a brief history of SA pop and rock on one 2CD set, buy this compilation CD...and then try and complete the set with Volumes 1 & 3. You won't be disappointed.


Stephen Segerman

'Bewitched' is an interesting hybrid of classic '70's heavy rock produced with a '90's feel. These 11 songs, 10 of which were written and arranged by Graham Pike, showcase Pike's '70's rock roots and influences. The sound is hard-rocking with vocalist Shane Jordan's powerful voice driving the accomplished backing drums, guitars and keyboards.
'Bad Tooth' kicks off the album with a Deep Purple-type guitar riff and thundering drums, setting the tone for most of these songs. Next up is the band's version of The Animal's classic hit, 'The House Of The Rising Sun'. Here the band replace Alan Price's famous organ sound with squealing guitars and Shane Jordan's Ministry-type vocals, giving the song a far more contemporary feel.

'Beermug' and 'Beggar' continue the onslaught before the ballad 'Dream Time' calms everything down. All these songs have an exhilarating live and fresh feel as on the the other ballads 'Dee Dee' and 'Come Tonight' and the speedy and spooky seven-minute title track. The album was produced by Graham Pike and Mike Stewart at M.M. Studios and engineered by Stewart. 'Bewitched' may be a slightly retro-rock album, but the variety of styles and material on display here will appeal to both old and new rock fans alike.

All SA CDs are available from One World.



And what a collection it is...

The bands and the songs are South Africa's finest, so if you're
South African, listen with pride....

And if you're not a South African, open your ears and your minds
to some new sounds and experiences.

Boo!, The Led, Springbok Nude Girls, The Usual, Amersham, Naked,
Sugardrive, Fetish, Wonderboom, Egyptian Nursery, Henry Ate
(featuring Karma) and a number of others are all represented here.

A showcase of current SA talent indeed.

SonyMusic SA have very kindly supplied, not one, but two copies
of this new CD to be given away on this week's Digest. So answer
this easy question and put yourself in line to win this great CD:

What is the name of the new Springbok Nude Girls album?

E-mail your answer to

This CD is available from One World


Visit these voting booths and cast a vote for YOUR favourite...

SA Rock albums, from the 60s to the 90s and beyond...

All-time Great SA Pop and Rock songs

McCully Workshop albums


The online archive for the History of South African Rock

Message Board for SA Rock

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5% discount for Digest members!
Type "Digest Member" in brackets
after your name when submitting info.

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Over 100 links relating to South African music

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News, reviews and opinions

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broadcast • film • commercials • video • music • interactive



One World has an extremely wide range of CDs including Afrikaans Volksliedjies, African Traditional music, music of the Kalahari Bushmen, Sounds of Nature, Kwaito, Johnny Clegg and a host of other genres, styles and artists.

Also unique releases like Chris de Burgh's "Live In South Africa" and the "Cosmos" TV series soundtrack CD which are very difficult to find anywhere else in the world.

SA Pop/Rock compilations like Benjy Mudie's Sharp Cuts series, the ultimate SA music collection, the 6-CD The Best Of SA Pop, and the anarchistic A Naartjie In Our Sosatie
are all available from One World.

If its Made In South Africa and its on CD, then its available at One World.

One World has also started introducing videos now as well.

Visit and remember SA Rock Digest members get a 5% discount off their purchases. Just put "digest member" in brackets behind your name when filling in the secure order form and they will do the rest.

Or e-mail your requests to and he will sort you out.

One Stop, One Shop, One World


Chris Chapman
(031) 3036466

Also available from Indie Music Explosion


An extensive selection of vinyl and CDs.
Big supporters of South African music.
Speak to Neil or Alan on (021) 5953220 or
email Neil at:


Vinyl and second-hand CDs.
Always something new.
Plenty of South African stuff.

10% discount for Digest members!

Branches at:
Cape Town Central:
55 Castle Street (off Long Street), Cape Town
Phone: (021) 4238145

3 CHB Building (opposite the entrance to Wynberg Hospital),
Maynard Road, Wynberg
Phone: (021) 7972482

45 Main Road (next to Pick 'N Pay), Claremont
Phone: (021) 6717887



Looking for Radio Rats, Popguns, Chauffeurs or Glee Club recordings?
Contact Johathan Handley for a catalogue at:

Radium Wreckords
Suite 207
Private Bag X10


by Annette Carson

The first and only definitive biography of Jeff Beck - published in South Africa in January 1999 and available by mail order from the author. Trade paperback format,
256 pages, with a comprehensive discography.

SA price R85,00, or R100,00 including registered p&p. International orders
by surface mail US$18.00 or 13 British pounds, by airmail US$30.00 or 20
British pounds. E-mail or call (011) 883 3619.


Back to Index

All Digest back-issues can now be downloaded as one
small zip file (less than 300kb).
Go to:


Brian Currin and Stephen "Sugar" Segerman.

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