Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 13/12/2011

The Okovango Delta Blues…

Bearded Dragon, originally uploaded by

“I’ve got those… can’t get enough of those Okovango delta blues”*, it’s a bit like the Blues (as in the music genre) which hails from the Mississippi delta, USA – back in the early part of the 20th Century, but my weapon of choice is my canon 1D4 rather than my Gibson Les Paul and rather than my woman that done gone left me.. it’s the lack the fact that the Sun gone dun left me making me wish I was in one of the richest places (ironically not fiscally though) on the planet for wildlife, the Okovango Delta, Botswana. The delta is the largest inland delta in the world and is rich in all manner of wildlife, but especially birds with over 450 species present. Now if the delta is anything like other habitats I’ve visited before (**Closed down, much to the annoyance of home furnishers), then when I turn up all the birds will have been summoned away on a rare avian conference, and all I will see are a couple of feathers floating to earth, left over during the scramble to get away to their assemblage.

Of course, the rich abundance of water brings other African species to the Delta and you’re as likely to see the Big 5 there as you are in Kenya or South Africa. I had thought I would be torn between the Delta and Nambia as a possible destination, but the key species that would draw me to Nambia, as I’ve just found out, can be found around the delta… the Brown Hyena, a most distinctive as well as peculiar looking creature. I’m not sure this is a phrase often uttered (or even, infrequently) about Hyena but the Brown species is actually quite endearing and does seem to have the same sly look that it’s more common cousins, the Spotted Hyena, has. I don’t think they’re going to win lead role in a new Disney cartoon any time soon but equally it won’t be cast as chief evil protagonist (so in other words, it’s the Coldplay of the animal world.. bland***).

I have been listening to “Damned Damned Damned”, the first album released by…. drum roll.. The Damned back in 1977. The Damned where the first punk band to release a single back in 1976, but I’m not sure you could really call the album punk, even with the singles “Neat Neat Neat”, “Noise Noise Noise”  and “New Rose” on it (is she really going out with him?). You can hear the influences of the Stooges, Velvet Underground, perhaps even the Ramones in there – especially in terms of rawness and energy but the Damned were never anti-establishment in the same way The Clash were, and you could never compare them to the later noisier and nastier bands like Crass, Conflict or The Exploited. The Damned were, and are fun.. .well, what else can you be when you have a Rat playing drums, a Roman Jugg on guitar and a Cpt Sensible playing bass (and generally being the complete opposite of his moniker). The first album, in my humble (and worthless) opinion, rises above many of that generation and is more timeless than bands such as Sham 69, The Slits or UK Subs – it must be I’m still listening to it in equal measures to Half Man Half Biscuit, Goldie Looking Chains, or Cud. If nothing else, whilst the band themselves might “like a bit of a laugh” their name and their album is infinitely more sensible that the aforementioned band names!

* to paraphrase the advert (in the UK) for Blue Riband biscuit.
** Shop here – History here.
*** Have just managed to alienate even more of my readers but calling one of the most successful bands of recent times – bland. I used to like them, in the early days, in fact when we went on our world trip back in 2002 (what.. I’ve not mentioned that before.. oh.. how remiss of me.. well I’ve got 18 more days to shoe horn in as many stories from then as possible.. if I can remember) – it was “Yellow” that I first wanted to listen to when I returned to my music collection.



  1. Great macro portrait!!!

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