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on 21. Januar 2016 at 15:00

Original article at http://www.sirenen-und-heuler.de/kapstadt-searching-for-sugar-man/

[Please scroll down for Google’s translation from German to English]

Eigentlich wollte ich einkaufen gehen. Dann sehe ich im Schaufenster dieses Platten-Cover. Im nächsten Moment saugt mich ein Zeittunnel ein. Ich treffe auf einen totgeglaubten Superstar, Südafrika in den Seventies, treue Fans und ein Stück Musikgeschichte: Searching for Sugar Man

„Was sind die wichtigsten Sehenswürdigkeiten von Kapstadt“, frage ich Stephen “Sugar” Segerman. Er lacht. „Der Tafelberg, Robben Island und Mabu Vinyl“, antwortet er und guckt mich aus seinen großen Brillenaugen an. „Kein Scheiß, wir haben hier richtig viele Besucher“, fügt er grinsend hinzu. „Besonders seit Sugar Man…“

Searching-for-Sugar-Man---Der-Plattenladen-Mabu-Vinyl-in-Kapstadt

Es gibt wahrscheinlich keinen Ort auf der Welt, der mehr über Sugar Man erzählen kann als dieser Plattenladen

Zurück in die Zukunft

Mabu Vinyl ist Sugars Plattenladen. Gemeinsam mit einem Kumpel hat er ihn aufgebaut. Ein paar Regale Bücher, ein paar CDs und DVDs, vor allem aber Vinyl. Überall Kartons mit Langspielplatten. Abertausende! Sein Freund Brian arbeitet auch hier. Sugar Man hat sie zusammengebracht. Und wenn sie von Sugar Man erzählen, dann ist das die Geschichte, die ihr Leben verändert hat.

Ich kenne diese Geschichte schon, als ich den Laden betrete. Ich kenne sie aus dem Film „Searching for Sugar Man“. Einer der besten Dokumentarfilme aller Zeiten, finde ich, und eine fantastische musikalische Entdeckung obendrein. Ohne den Film wäre ich niemals auf Sugar Man alias Sixto Rodriguez gestoßen, und das wäre jammerschade, denn dieser Sixto Rodriguez kreiert nicht nur geniale Songs, er hat auch wirklich was zu sagen. Trotzdem verschwindet er jahrzehntelang in der Versenkung – vielleicht, weil er einen spanischen Namen hat oder weil er aus den Slums von Detroit kommt. Doch dann macht das Schicksal einen dieser irrwitzigen Schlenker und katapultiert ihn aus dem Nichts wieder auf die Bühne, wie im Märchen.

Dieses Wunder verdankt er drei treuen südafrikanischen Fans: Sugar, Brian und Craig. Zwei von ihnen stehen jetzt vor mir und erinnern sich, wie das damals war. Auf einmal ist aus dem Film Wirklichkeit geworden.

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Stephen „Sugar“ Segerman in seinem Plattenladen: Vom Fan zum Musikunternehmer

Searching for Sugar Man

„Sugar man, won’t you hurry, Cos I’m tired of these scenes, For a blue coin won’t you bring back, All those colors to my dreams“

Sugar Man, der Koks-Dealer aus Rodriguez‘ gleichnamigem Song, wird zum Synonym für eine unglaubliche Gralssuche. Sie beginnt 1997. Rodriguez steckt zu dieser Zeit in einer Sozialwohnung in Detroit. Er entrümpelt Wohnungen, jobt auf dem Bau oder an der Tankstelle. Seine Gitarre hat er immer dabei, weil die sonst gestohlen wird. Ab und zu tritt er mit ihr in Kneipen auf.

Mit dem Musik-Business hat er nichts mehr zu tun, nachdem Anfang der 1970er Jahre zwei Alben gefloppt sind – in den USA! Was Rodriguez nicht weiß: Südafrika ist total verrückt nach ihm! Dort wird er zum Helden der Anti-Apartheid-Bewegung, seine Songs treffen das Mark einer ganzen Protestgeneration. Auch Sugar, Brian und Craig hängen am Radio, wenn Titel wie „Sugar Man“, „Cause“ oder „I wonder“ gespielt werden, tauschen Kassettenaufnahmen aus und glauben wie alle anderen, dass Rodriguez sich wahlweise auf der Bühne erschossen hat, verbrannt ist oder an einer Überdosis zugrunde ging.

Die Legende vom frühen Tod des Lieblingsstars hält sich im medial abgeschotteten Südafrika mehr als zwei Jahrzehnte lang. Dann fällt das Apartheid-Regime und das Internet boomt, beides etwa zeitgleich. Anfang 1997 setzen Sugar und Brian unabhängig voneinander eine Website auf. Der eine will wissen, wie Rodriguez nun wirklich gestorben ist, der andere will ihm ein Denkmal setzen und alles über ihn herausfinden. Sie tun sich zusammen. Der dritte im Bunde ist Craig: DJ, Journalist und natürlich auch ein glühender Fan.

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Von Anfang an dabei: Brian Currin am Tresen von Mabu Vinyl

Gemeinsam finden sie das Unglaubliche heraus: Rodriguez alias Sugar Man lebt! Was folgt, ist ein Jahr im Fieber. Schließlich machen sie sich auf die Reise und besuchen ihr Idol. Das Setting erinnert an die Weihnachtsgeschichte: Detroit ist Bethlehem, die schäbige Mietwohnung der Stall und die drei Südafrikaner sind die Könige aus dem Osten, die ihrem Heiland Ruhm, Glanz und Ehre darreichen.

Rodriguez nimmt die Gabe an. Gitarre spielen kann er noch und die harte Arbeit hat den 56-Jährigen in Form gehalten. Die Stimme ist auch noch da. So betritt er die Bühne.

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When we were young – Rodriguez und seine Entdecker bei seinem ersten Konzert in Kapstadt 1998. Der zweite von links ist der Sugar Man selbst, rechts von ihm stehen Brian und Sugar

Neustart in Kapstadt

„Kapstadt ist Athen, Joburg ist Rom“, sagt Sugar selbstbewusst. Wenn es um Kultur geht, sieht er seine Heimatstadt klar vor Johannesburg oder Joburg, wie hier alle sagen. Kein Wunder also, dass der totgeglaubte Sugar Man seine Wiederauferstehung zuerst in Kapstadt feiert.

Brian kann sich noch genau daran erinnern. Am 2. März 1998 betritt Rodriguez in Kapstadt erstmals südafrikanischen Boden. Nur einen Tag später beginnen die Proben, und am 6. März bringt er das Velodrome in Bellville ganz im Osten der Stadt zum Beben. Was das beim Publikum auslöst, fängt die TV-Dokumentation „Dead Men Don’t Tour“ ein – ansatzweise jedenfalls.

Kapstadt steht Kopf. Dasselbe passiert in Johannesburg, Pretoria und Durban. Ganz Südafrika liegt dem Sugar Man zu Füßen. Und Rodriguez kommt wieder, mittlerweile fast jedes Jahr. Ende Januar ist der nächste Termin, die Konzerte sind fast alle ausverkauft. Mit dem Comeback in Kapstadt hat sich das Leben des Songwriters komplett geändert. Er tourt durch die ganze Welt, hat jetzt auch in seiner Heimat Erfolg und füllt die Arenen von den USA bis Japan. Für Sugar ist klar: Rodriguez ist „der größte alte neue Künstler auf dem Planeten“.

Sugar Man ändert alles

Sugar und Brian erzählen, als könnten sie immer noch nicht glauben, was da passiert ist. „Du musst dir mal überlegen“, sagt Brian, „wir waren einfach nur Fans. Keiner von uns war im Musikgeschäft“. Doch die unverhoffte Begegnung mit Rodriguez macht aus ihnen neue Menschen.

Gemeinsam starten sie 1999 das E-Magazin „The South African Rock Music Digest„, vier Jahre später steigt Sugar mit der Gründung von Mabu Vinyl ins Plattengeschäft ein. Brian, immer schon ein wandelndes Musiklexikon, verdient da noch seine Brötchen als Sales Manager bei Panasonic. 2007 zieht er den Stecker und steigt aus. Heute steht er jeden Tag im Plattenladen, unterhält eigene Websites und Online Shops und bestreitet zwei Musiksendungen im Internetradio.

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Vinyl-Spezialist Brian findet jede Platte. Im April letzten Jahres setzte Mashable den Kapstädter Plattenladen Mabu Vinyl auf die Liste der 12 weltbesten Vinyl Stores

Dann taucht aus heiterem Himmel Malik Bendjelloul auf. Der schwedische Dokumentarfilmer hat von der wundersamen Suche nach Sugar Man gehört und will aus dem Plot einen Zehnminüter machen. Auf Zehnminüter ist er nämlich spezialisiert. Als er in Kapstadt ankommt, hat er nur eine Kamera samt Kamerafrau dabei, sonst nichts. Low Budget heißt die Devise.

Doch aus dem Zehnminüter werden rasch 15, 20, 25 Minuten, und immer noch ist der Film nicht fertig. Malik Bendjelloul ist fasziniert von dieser Musik, die mühelos Jahrzehnte und Weltmeere überbrückt. Er erliegt mehr und mehr dieser verrückten Geschichte mit ihrem theatralischen Knalleffekt.

Dazu kommt Sugar, der den Regisseur mit seiner Begeisterung ansteckt. In Südafrika ist Sugar Fahrer, Location Scout und Caterer gleichzeitig. Aus der Zusammenarbeit wird Freundschaft. Am Ende steckt so viel Herzblut in dem Film, dass die Preise nur so hageln. Sogar einen Oskar gibt es, 2013, in der Kategorie „Bester Dokumentarfilm“.

Film-Destination Kapstadt

Der Film „Searching for Sugar Man“ gibt dem Comeback von Rodriguez noch einmal einen enormen Schub. Und Kapstadt bekommt dadurch eine neue Attraktion: die Fahrt vom Stadtteil Clifton an der Küste entlang. „Die Route im Film nachfahren, das machen viele“, erzählt Sugar. Und viele kommen auch zu ihm und Brian in den Plattenladen – nicht zufällig wie ich, sondern weil sie als Sugar-Man-Fans auf der Suche nach Devotionalien sind.

Unter den vielen Postern und Karten, mit denen die Wände von Mabu Vinyl gepflastert sind, hängt auch ein unscheinbares, handgemaltes Blatt mit der Aufschrift „Malik was here“. Darauf ist ein Zettel gepinnt: R.I.P. 13 May 2014. Malik Bendjelloul ist tot? „Selbstmord“, murmelt Sugar, „keiner weiß, warum“. Seine Augen hinter den Brillengläsern glänzen feucht. Ich frage nicht weiter.

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„Malik was here“ – jedes Märchen hat seine traurige Seite

Service

“Sugar Man – the life, death and resurrection of Sixto Rodriguez” heißt das erst letzten September erschienene Buch, in dem alles über die “ Great Rodriguez Hunt“, die Jagd nach Rodriguez, steht. Geschrieben haben es Stephen “Sugar” Segerman und Craig Bartholomew-Strydom. Und Brian Currin? Der winkt ab: „Ich stehe nicht gern im Rampenlicht“, sagt er.

Wer das Buch bestellen will, kann das hier tun. Wer lieber online stöbert: www.sugarman.org ist die ultimative Website zum Thema. Dort gibt es auch jede Menge Infos zum Film „Searching for Sugar Man“.

Die nächste Kapstadt-Reise ist schon geplant? Dann unbedingt zu Mabu Vinyl in die Rheede Street gehen (kleine Querstraße zwischen Kloof Street und Orange Street im Bezirk Gardens). In dem Stadtteil ging’s mal sehr alternativ zu, mittlerweile hat die Hipster-Dichte zugenommen. Das Viertel ist reich an netten Restaurants und Cafés, außerdem ist das Programmkino Labia einen Besuch wert.

 

Cape Town – Searching for Sugar Man

on January 21, 2016 at 15:00

Actually I wanted to go shopping. Then I look in the window of this album cover. The next moment I sucked up a time tunnel. I meet a presumed dead superstar, South Africa in the Seventies, loyal fans and a piece of music history: Searching for Sugar Man

“What are the main attractions of Cape Town” I ask Stephen “Sugar” Segerman. He laughs. “The TableMountain, Robben Iceland and Mabu Vinyl,” he answers, and looks at me with his big eyes glasses. “No shit, we have right here a lot of visitors,” he adds with a grin. “Especially since Sugar Man …”

Searching-for-Sugar-Man --- The record shop-Mabu Vinyl in-Cape Town

There is probably no place in the world who can tell more about Sugar Man as this record store

Back in the future

Mabu Vinyl is Sugars record store. Together with a friend he has built it. A few shelves books, a couple of CDs and DVDs, and especially vinyl. Everywhere boxes of LPs. But thousands! His friend Brian also works here. Sugar Man has brought them together. And if they tell of Sugar Man, that’s the story that has changed their lives.

I know this story, as I enter the store. I know it from the movie “Searching for Sugar Man”. One of the best documentaries of all time, I think, and a fantastic musical discovery into the bargain. Without the film, I would never have one alias encountered Sugar Sixto Rodriguez, and that would be a shame, because this Sixto Rodriguez created not only ingenious songs, he really know what to say.Nevertheless, he disappears from the scene for decades – perhaps because he has a Spanish name or because he comes from the slums of Detroit. But then fate makes one of these absurd Schlenker and catapulted him out of nowhere back on stage, like a fairy tale.

This miracle he owes three loyal South African fans: Sugar, Brian and Craig. Two of them are now in front of me and remember what it was like. Suddenly has become a reality from the movie.

Searching-for-Sugarman --- Stephen-Sugar-Segerman-in-his-record store

Stephen “Sugar” Segerman in his record store: From Fan to music entrepreneurs

Searching for Sugar Man

“Sugar is, will not you hurry, Cos I’m tired of thesis scenes, For a blue coin will not you bring back, All those colors to my dreams”

Sugar Man, the coke-dealer from Rodriguez ‘eponymous song, is a synonym for an incredible Grail quest. It starts in 1997. Rodriguez infected at this time in a council house in Detroit. He cleared out apartments, Job T on the building or at the gas station. He has his guitar always with you, because that is otherwise stolen. From time to time he comes with her on in pubs.

With the music business, he has nothing more to do, after the early 1970s, two albums flopped – in the USA! What Rodriguez does not know South Africa is totally crazy about him! There he becomes a hero of the anti-apartheid movement, his songs strike at the heart of a whole generation of protest. Also Sugar, Brian and Craig depend on the radio, when songs like “Sugar Man”, “Cause” or “I Wonder” played, exchange cassette recordings and feel like any other that Rodriguez has either shot on the stage, is burned or from an overdose perished.

The legend of the early death of his favorite stars keeps more than two decades in the medial insular South Africa. Then the apartheid regime and the Internet falls booming, both about the same time. In early 1997 set Sugar and Brian independently on a website. One wants to know how Rodriguez is now truly dead, the other wants to put a monument to him and find out everything about him. Do yourself together. The third member is Craig: DJ, journalist and also an ardent fan.

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From the very beginning: Brian Currin at the counter by Mabu Vinyl

Together they find out the unbelievable: Rodriguez aka Sugar Man alive! What follows is a year in fever. Finally, they set off on the journey and visit their idol. The setting is reminiscent of the Christmas story: Detroit is Bethlehem, the shabby apartment for rent of the stall and the three South Africans are the kings from the east, the proffering their Savior fame, glory and honor.

Rodriguez accepts the gift. He can play the guitar yet and the hard work has kept the 56-year-olds in the form. The voice is also still there. So he takes the stage.

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When we were young – Rodriguez and his discovery in his first concert in Cape Town in 1998. The second from the left of the Sugar Man is himself, to his right are Brian and Sugar

Restart in Cape Town

“Cape Town is Athens, Joburg is Rome,” Sugar says confidently. When it comes to culture, he sees his hometown clearly in Johannesburg or Joburg, all say how here. No wonder, then, that believed dead Sugar Man celebrating his resurrection first in Cape Town.

Brian can remember still exactly. On 2 March 1998 in Cape Town for the first time Rodriguez enters South African soil. Just one day later start the sample, and on March 6 he brings the Velodrome in Bellville in the far east of the town to the quake. What triggers the audience, captures the TV documentary “Dead Men Do not Tour” a – to some extent anyway.

Cape Town is upside down. The same happened in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban. Southern Africa is the Sugar Man’s feet. And Rodriguez is coming back, now almost every year. The end of January is the next appointment, the concerts are almost all sold out. With the comeback in Cape Town, the life of the songwriter has completely changed. He is touring the world, has now also in his home success and filled the arenas from the USA to Japan. For Sugar is clear: Rodriguez is “the largest old new artist on the planet”.

Sugar Man changes everything

Sugar and Brian tell, as they could still not believe what has happened since. “You have to change your mind again,” says Brian, “we were just fans. Neither of us was in the music business. ” But the unexpected encounter with Rodriguez makes them new men.

Together they start 1999, the e-magazine “The South African Rock Music Digest”, four years later Sugar rises with the establishment of Mabu Vinyl into a plate business. Brian, always a walking music lexicon, there still earned his living as a sales manager at Panasonic. In 2007, he pulls the plug and gets out. Today, he is every day in the record store, maintains its own websites and online shops and denies two music programs on internet radio.

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Vinyl Specialist Brian finds each plate. In April last year Mashable put the Capetonian record store Mabu Vinyl on the list of 12 world’s best vinyl Stores

Then appears out of the blue Malik Bendjelloul. The Swedish documentary maker has one heard of the miraculous Search Sugar and wants to make the plot a Zehnminüter. On Zehnminüter he is namely specialized. When he arrives in Cape Town, he has only one camera case with the camera woman, nothing else. Low Budget is the motto.

But from the Zehnminüter be quickly 15, 20, 25 minutes and still is not the finished film. Malik Bendjelloul is fascinated by this music that effortlessly bridged decades and oceans. He succumbs more and more of this crazy story with her theatrical bang.

In addition Sugar, which infects the director with his enthusiasm. In South Africa Sugar driver, Location Scout and caterers at the same time. The collaboration is friendship. At the end is so much passion in the film that prices only hail that. Even an Oscar there, in 2013, in the category “Best Documentary”.

Movie Destination Cape Town

The film “Searching for Sugar Man” is the comeback of Rodriguez again a huge boost. And Cape Town gets thereby a new attraction: the drive from Clifton district along the coast. “The route in the film descendants, which make a lot,” says Sugar. And many come to him and Brian to the record store – not by chance as I do, but because they are as Sugar-Man fans in search of memorabilia.

Among the many posters and cards with which the walls of Mabu Vinyl are paved, and a nondescript, handpainted leaf hangs with the inscription “Malik was here”. Then a list is pinned: RIP 13 May 2014. Malik Bendjelloul is dead? “Suicide,” mutters Sugar, “no one knows why.” His eyes behind his glasses shine moist. I do not ask further.

Searching-for-Sugar-Man --- Malik-what-here

“Malik was here” – every fairy tale has its sad side

service

“Sugar Man – The Life, Death and Resurrection of Sixto Rodriguez” is the only book published last September, where everything on the “Great Rodriguez Hunt”, the hunt for Rodriguez, stands. Written have Stephen “Sugar” Segerman and Craig Bartholomew-Strydom. And Brian Currin? The dismissive gesture: “I do not like to stand in the limelight,” he says.

Who wants to order the book, which can here do. Those who prefer Browsed online:www.sugarman.org is the ultimate site on the topic. There is also plenty of information about the film “Searching for Sugar Man”.

The next trip is already planned and Cape Town? Then necessarily Mabu Vinyl go into Rheede Street (small crossroads between Kloof Street and Orange Street Gardens in the district). In the district’s times went too alternatively, meanwhile the hipster density has increased. The neighborhood is full of nice restaurants and cafes, as well as the program cinema Labia worth a visit.

DVDs, CDs, Videos, Cassettes and Books are all half-price!

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From Daily Maverick

Malik Bendjelloul, the Swedish director of ‘Searching for Sugar Man’, has committed suicide aged 36. It’s just over a year since the documentary about folk musician Rodriguez won Bendjelloul an Oscar and captured the hearts of viewers all over the world. REBECCA DAVIS spoke to Bendjelloul’s subject and friend, Cape Town record-store owner Stephen ‘Sugar’ Segerman.

The last time I interviewed Stephen Segerman in his den in Oranjezicht, it was July 2012, just prior to the official release of Searching for Sugar Manin South Africa. At that time Segerman gave the impression of a man both bemused and exhilarated by the success of the film, in which he features prominently as one of two South Africans who made it their mission to track down Rodriguez.

Shortly before the interview, he’d been to the Sundance Film Festival with Bendjelloul and Rodriguez, where the film received a standing ovation. “It was just a magical night,” he told me at the time.

Watch: Searching for Sugar Man trailer

Almost two years later, the fairytale seemed even rosier. Searching for Sugar Man won the Best Documentary Oscar at the 2013 Academy Awards. Rodriguez, who languished in obscurity for years, today has fame and fortune locked down. It was the ultimate feel-good story.

And then, on Tuesday, shocking news broke: Bendjelloul, aged just 36, was dead.

“You know, with some people you have inklings and maybes. With Malik? Suicide? Impossible,” says Segerman, shaking his head. “I thought he must have died in his sleep or something. When I heard, well…” he trails off. “I’ve been seeing the comments. This dude had the world at his feet, he had an Oscar…”

Malik Bendjelloul was a teen actor in his native Sweden, starring in a show which Segerman describes as the Swedish version of America’s Family Ties. As an adult he worked as a TV reporter for Sweden’s public broadcaster, specialising in making short films about visiting rockstars. Then he left to travel the world, looking for richer stories.

Segerman first heard from Bendjelloul in late 2006, when he emailed the record-store owner to say that he was coming to Cape Town, and asked if they could meet. He had learnt about Segerman’s involvement in the Rodriguez tale through a piece in the Guardian, and wanted to hear more.

“At that stage we had a shop on the corner of Long Street with lekker big glass windows,” remembers Segerman. “I can still see him coming around the corner and saying: ‘Hello, I’m Malik!’”

In an interview with Movie Scope Magazine in July 2012, Bendjelloul described the encounter:

“I met Stephen ‘Sugar’ Segerman, the guy who first started to look for Rodriguez in Cape Town, and when he told me the story I was just blown away. It was just so beautiful and touching. Just the one-sentence summary was pretty strong: ‘A man who doesn’t know that he is a superstar.’”

For his part, Segerman instantly warmed to the lanky Swede.

“He just had such a lovely energy: tall, bright-eyed…He reminded me of Tintin,” he says.

Segerman took him up Table Mountain and Bendjelloul filmed a short sequence of Segerman telling the story of the hunt for Rodriguez. Then he disappeared off to Sweden, and Segerman didn’t hear from him for six months. At that point, Bendjelloul emailed to say: that’s the story we like in Sweden.

Bendjelloul returned to Cape Town and shot a one-minute trailer in Segerman’s den. He took it to the Sheffield Documentary Festival, where aspirant filmmakers pitch their stories. Bendjelloul won. A full-length documentary was on the cards.

Segerman points to a photograph pinned to a cabinet. It shows Segerman, Bendjelloul and camera woman Camilla Skagerström. “That was the team,” he says. “Just them. They came here and shot, then went to Detroit. There was barely any budget. Just – excuse the cliché – passion.”

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Photo: Stephen Segerman, cinematographer Camilla Skagerström, and filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul, pictured in Segerman’s den in Cape Town.

In Detroit, there was the tricky business of persuading the reclusive Rodriguez to feature in the film at all. Bendjelloul worked his way in by meeting the musician’s family members one by one. He got his way eventually through sheer charm, Segerman says. Even so, filming Rodriguez had certain unique challenges. There’s a scene in the film where Rodriguez is fiddling with a video microphone while he talks. It still had to be used: there was no question of a do-over.

“There was always only gonna be one take,” Segerman chuckles. “No way was Rodriguez going to say all those things all over again.”

For over a year, Bendjelloul sat in his flat in Stockholm making the film. People promised funding and backed out. He ran out of money for animation, so he had to do the animation work himself. It’s the stuff of legends now that some scenes in the documentary had to be filmed using a $1 Super-8 iPhone app.

“That movie is sort of a bit jerry-built – kind of smashed together,” says Segerman. “I saw it for the first time and thought: That doesn’t look anything like movies I’ve checked, slick, beautifully-made documentaries!”

But the film’s sheer heart – and the incredible story it told – more than compensated for its technical weaknesses. Some suggested that the story was a little too incredible – that Bendjelloul had conveniently omitted aspects of the Rodriguez narrative that didn’t easily fit within the rags-to-riches trajectory.

“There were two main snipes about the film,” Segerman says today. “The first was that Rodriguez wasn’t actually an anti-Apartheid hero – which I never said. The other criticism is about Australia.” Bendjelloul’s documentary left out the fact that Rodriguez was aware that he had a major fan-base in Australia, and had toured there twice in the late 70s and early 80s.

“The simple explanation, which we spoke about, is that [Searching for Sugar Man] is about the search of two South Africans for Rodriguez,” Segerman says. “I found out about the Australian tour the night that I met Rodriguez for the first time, in March 1998. If I’d known, I would have tracked him through Australia! It was not part of our story.”

Segerman says Bendjelloul was unruffled by this criticism. “It made zero difference,” he says. “For him to create something which brought so much happiness into the world…Nothing could have bothered him about that.”

Segerman and Craig Bartholomew, the music journalist who also features in the documentary as instrumental in the hunt for Rodriguez, attended the Oscars with Bendjelloul last year.

From his wallet, Segerman extracts a piece of card on which he’d jotted down ideas for an acceptance speech for Bendjelloul, since the filmmaker hadn’t prepared anything.

“I’m superstitious about preparing speeches – this has been lucky for me,” it begins.

In the end, the laconic Swede didn’t need the prompt. “Oh boy!” Bendjelloul said when he won. “Thanks to one of the greatest singers ever, Rodriguez!”

There’s a photo in Segerman’s den of the three men tux-ed up, Bendjelloul clutching his statuette, at the prestigious Vanity Fair after-party.

“Just on my left side, over there,” says Segerman, pointing at the photo, “there was this old American dude. I thought: who’s that? He obviously wasn’t an actor.” He pauses. “It was Buzz Aldrin. For a baby-boomer like me, you don’t get any better than that. I met Buzz Aldrin, and then I went home.”

Interviewed by the New York Times in May last year as part of a list of ’20 Filmmakers To Watch’, Bendjelloul hinted at the surreal aspects of having made such a successful first film.

“Since everything was the first time for me, it was a bit confusing to understand what last year was all about,” Bendjelloul admitted. “To travel around with your film is a weird experience. Filmmakers are not musicians, they can’t perform their film; you don’t even need to load the projector. It was weird to think that that year was the reward for the work. But now I realise that it’s this year that is the reward. To feel free to do exactly what you want to do without feeling too scared that your ideas won’t interest anyone or worry about the rent or having to deal with people who think they know better.”

After the Oscars, Segerman says Bendjelloul was besieged with offers.

“Malik had been turning down a huge amount of stuff. He had a lot of offers of TV commercials, that kind of thing, but he wasn’t the type of guy to sell out. Your first full-length movie wins an Oscar! What the hell do you do for a second?”

In fact, for his next major project, Segerman said Bendjelloul had turned again to a South African story. He was working on a screenplay for a feature film inspired by the experiences of conservationist Lawrence Anthony, dubbed ‘the elephant whisperer’ for his work with traumatised elephants.

“He loved South Africa,” Segerman says. “I always say he should have been an honorary Capetonian. You have no idea how many people found out about Cape Town from his movie. He made it look so beautiful.”

Bendjelloul didn’t let his newfound fame go to his head, according to Segerman. “He always looked a little bit shy, a little bit awkward. It’s not an easy thing to deal with.”

Segerman was last in touch with the filmmaker last Monday, when the two had an email exchange about a legal dispute unfolding between two of Rodriguez’s old record labels. He says Bendjelloul gave no sign at all that anything was emotionally amiss.

“You know, through the film… My little record shop became a great little record shop. Rodriguez found his destiny. Malik, I thought, had found his,” Segerman says.

“You put something like that out there. The joy that I’ve got out of it – how much more so for Malik? And it wasn’t enough.” DM

This past weekend marked World Record Store day, which celebrated independent record stores and brought together music lovers from all over the globe. Now, despite a drop in CD sales and even music downloads, demand for LPs is the highest it’s been in decades. CNBC Africa’s Benedict Pather reveals why vinyl records are no longer a thing of the past.

http://www.cnbcafrica.com/video/?bctid=3497780358001

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