“Oi! No cutsies!”

Bob Dylan looks guiltily at Rod Stewart and says: “Aw c’mon Rod! I’m an old man…”

Rod scowls from his deckchair: “I’ve been here since Tuesday last week! Bono has had to cancel a private performance for the Queen of England just to keep his place.”

Bob looks at Bono who sleeps on the sidewalk and asks innocently: “All of this for a few minutes on the Orange Couch?”

Rod continues: “The Orange Couch isn’t just a couch Bob! It’s a rocket ship to prolonged stardom and a springboard for up-and-comers such as yourself. Here! Take my iPad and look at these vintage interviews with the creators of the Orange Couch.”

Bob slides one foot into the ridiculously long queue that has formed in front of TygerBurger’s offices in Bellville and watches the interview on Rod’s tablet.

A James Earl Jones voice-over sets the scene: “The Orange Couch is the brainchild of TygerBurger journalist, Louisa Steyl, and has been an instant hit among musicians and web crawlers alike. It first rocked the internet when the community newspaper published it on its website on 8 August, 2012. Musicians were asked to perform a song while sitting on this couch, which – you guessed it – is orange. Here’s how it all began…”

The video cuts to a 23-year-old Louisa, who says she remembers the moment of inspiration clearly.

“I was chatting to a musician friend of mine, Matt Roux, and he was telling me about the Rolling Stone magazine, where once a week a musician comes in and performs a song to the staff. This would then be put on their website. I thought this was an awesome idea!”

Louisa kept mulling over the concept until the day Matt came in for an interview. She told him to bring his guitar along and then the newspaper could generate some content for its new website.

“It just so happened that the best place to have him perform his song was on this orange couch. While I was working on the footage I thought to myself: ‘Hey… This could be a brand!’ We then naturally decided to name it the Orange Couch,” says the starry-eyed Louisa.

In hindsight it’s a good thing the couch wasn’t grey… Or a granny smith apple colour…

The website editor and TygerBurger deputy editor, Cecilia Hume, says it took a lot of elbow grease to get the concept off the ground.

“If it was someone who just came up with this idea and got only one or two on the couch then it wouldn’t have gone anywhere. It has, however, reached a stage now where we have booked a month or two in advance,” she explains.

Those who have been lucky enough to get invited to the Orange Couch included aKing, Van Coke Kartel, Marc Haze, Crushanda, Lucy Kruger and Philip Malan.

Cecilia is hesitant to reveal which musicians the couch will grace next, so it’s best for the reader to carry out a regular inspection for themselves.

Louisa smiles and says that it isn’t particularly challenging to get musicians to perform on the Orange Couch, since “they get the maximum exposure”.

She adds that it is also a matter of quid pro quo, because the website in turn gets maximum content.

Some of the musicians she has contacted have even pleaded with her to grant them a few minutes on the “famous” couch.

“The actual clip is very easy to watch,” elaborates Cecilia, before adding that every clip is kept short for this purpose.

“It’s also easier for the user to watch a video clip of a song than getting someone trying to explain it to them in words. I don’t think newspapers are going to die tomorrow or in the next ten years, but it is the future and we need to adapt before it’s too late,” states Cecilia.

Marita Meyer, the publisher for WP Newspapers, says it is a priority of Media24 to embrace the digital age.

She once told her colleagues that the best ideas “come from the floor”, so she was very proud when she could use the Orange Couch as an example to back-up her claim.

“People tell me it’s just brilliant! It’s such a funky name,” she exclaims exuberantly.

“Now we only need a funkier couch…”

The actual couch is, in fact, more flunky than funky. When one sits in the cube-shaped couch it certainly seems to envelope one in abject “flunkiness”, so a new one with loads of ambition is waiting patiently somewhere out there.

Back onto the subject of the importance of digital media, Marita reveals that there is something like a “newspaper extinction timeline”.

She admits that this is still a long way off, but in the meantime it is vital that the digital side becomes an addition to printed media.

These two mediums should, according to her, supplement each other.

“All the WP publication websites might be making profits in the future. At the moment advertisers world-wide still prefer television, radio or printed media compared to digital media,” she informs.

Cecilia reckons the best way to grow this untapped digital goldmine is to come up with innovative ideas such as the Orange Couch.

She is confident that the biggest reason why this brand will fly is because it will act as a platform for fledging musicians who come from the very community the website serves.

Marita agrees when she adds that TygerBurger’s “little Orange Couch” could become the perfect place where new talent is unearthed.

But Louisa dreams big…

“To get the Orange Couch exposed we need to attract popular, big names, so if someone asked me if I want Sting on the couch I would immediately answer, ‘Damn straight!’”

Bob Dylan hands the tablet back to Rod Stewart and asks: “So where is Sting?”

Rod smirks and says: “I think he’s grounded.”

An unknown local musician eases past them and occupies a space in the front of the queue.

Bob and Rod grumble harmoniously together.

***DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE AND PHOTO WERE PUBLISHED IN TYGERBURGER, A CAPE TOWN BASED MEDIA24 COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER. NEITHER MAY BE DUPLICATED WITHOUT ACCREDITING THE SOURCE – TYGERBURGER, MEDIA24.***

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