2011

Night Drive

I like poetry. I like driving. And being driven. And … i like adverts! Sometimes.

Here is Night Drive

WORDS FROM DYLAN THOMAS

Read the book maybe, this holiday. Under Milkwood. It’s the type of book you can read aloud, to someone. While dozing.

BTW- The Dylan Thomas Prize for young writers is 30 000 pounds (can’t find the pounds symbol). You have to be under 30. I am not! I shall never win this prize. Ever.

INVITE to my launch :)

Leopard: Restaurant Review

The Leopard opened a few weeks back and has been booked ever since. The shop is an eclectic mix of chairs that don’t match, tables that feel kitchen-y and waitrons that dress up every night, “because we can”.

The food is just what you would expect from Andrea Burgener, the ex-Deluxe & Superbonbon owner and chef. Thankfully. Luckily. And Amazingly. As we all know, too many restaurants get it all wrong, and here we have a place that has it all right. For starters a pile of asparagus (a now dish - i.e. still in season), smoked, charred a bit on the grill, a balsamic underneath, and a healthy grating of a creamy white cheese. For mains, mussels with an Eastern leaning - coconut cream, cream, ginger sticks, lime circles, and hot baby tomatoes. I wasn’t so sure about the tomatoes - I suppose they are supposed to pop in your mouth, delivering delicious mouthfuls of hot tomato yum-ness, but in that case the tomato was not actually sweet enough, and the rest of the mussels are already in a delicate bath of cream and balanced flavours, so I reckon the tomatoes are totally unnecessary.

On another occasion: Slutty Quail

Another time…

Incl Asian mussels, Caesar Salad, Beef noodles, cucumber and mint soup, Italian bread salad with cumin and chili, perfect spinach.

It may be a meet-n-greet (at any given time, it’s likely that you know others at other tables) at the moment, but it doesn’t have the stuffiness of air-kissing. The overall feeling is that it is a great place to visit on a regular basis.

It’s still bring your wine - tho there is a “gift glass” if you’ve forgotten and they make a damn good Negroni, which I can’t drink because I have that genetic gin-cry-button in me - even one tot of gin can make me bring out tales of woe betide. Despite keeping the cost down, bring your own also makes the outing exciting in that you really should take the time to visit that new(ish) bottle store at Dunkeld and find something interesting to enjoy with this fantastic menu.

Leopard telephone number: 011- 447 6012. But you can’t book.

The Bear Necessities

THE BEAR NECESSITIES

WISE WORDS FROM BALOO: The Bare Necessities will come to you :)

Re the book version of Jungle Book,

Did you know Rudyard Kipling was the first English person to win the Nobel Prize for Literature? And the youngest. Ever. Still. He was also the Poet Laurette for quite a while - but refused knighthood - and the Kiplings liked to holiday in Cape Town over Christmas (as one does) expect this was 1898 - 1908. If I was an Imperialist in 1898 that’s where I would holiday, too.

Chocolate & Hennessy

I have - not under duress - discovered that I really really like cognac. Hennessy in particular - maybe because I have been given two bottles now. But definitely because you can taste roses. Like those big stinky ones. And contrary to modern taste (orchid anyone?), I fn love roses.

So when I got invited to a Hennessy and Choc Masterclass I was v excited. I had just finished my last bottle - the end slopped into a roast pork gravy (served with wasabi mash, and a salad of grilled courgette salad with basil leaves and an orange-peel dressing) - and had no more for after-drink-servings, that time when the Lindt bar comes around. Chocolate + Hennessy = good thinking.

But, I was not excited because even tho I now have a 7.1 batting average for not messing up in the kitchen (3 mess ups out of 7 is quite a lot), I still cannot chop.

First I am late.

Second I have to chop. Cabbage. I cut it wrong - into chunks, thereby halving the amount of cabbage we have.

To get this shot of hot judges I had to crouch behind the stove. The French cognac specialist on the left is saying is: You r keeding me, a cabbage in chunks? I am not sure they are going to get thru to the next round … Stern food specialist judge: This is devastating hot French Cognac Specialist, she’s really let her team down.

Our chef, Spencer Sykes of Kream, was lovely - he didn’t shout at us once, even when I couldn’t open the fridge because there was no handle. My teammate was also nice, even though I introduced myself as a Food Blogger.

Watching over the food blogger.

Our menu entry:

Springbok carpaccio rolled with red cabbage and amurula jelly
Shin pie - this was really good, a sort of musty, tobacco-y stock
Seared venison rubbed in coffee
Plum-yum
All dribbled with Hennessy & Chocolate sauce!

We didn’t win the competition (robbed! I tell you, robbed!) but I did get a bottle of The Privilege Hennessy, which I definitely won’t use for cooking, anytime, but will be serving at the end-end of dinner parties, with that Lindt slab that goes around the table.

Nice.

PS_ You will notice there are product shots. Such is the nature of days like this, but when the day is fun and the people are lovely, well - such is the nature :)

Animalheads are so 2002.

I wasn’t planning on being a hater -- I don’t like Coldplay but I do have a lovely memory to that Yellow song, and everytime I hear Chris Martin’s voice I think Vegan Rock and i laugh. (Vegan Rock bwhwahahahhaha).

But this music video is AWFUL. You can’t do animalheads. Or animal suits. The insult “so 2002” is like the worst thing you can say about anyone, ever. Even worse than “so 1996”. But animal suits go further back to …

*
1999: Bloodhound Gang. Warning: This song has that “nothing but mammals” line in it. Catchy.

And then I can’t find the ref-ref but Spike Jonze went bananas for furry animals. And then made a crap version of Where The Wild Things are. And there are about 100 million “ironic” animal ads. CSI even had an episode. But with a sex n murder angle.

But let’s return to Coldplay. All the way to South Africa. They use the Karoo - one of the holiest of holy places in the whole world. And then they dance in crap elephant suits. And what’s more - they employ some hipster utensils. Stupid dance on stage? Check. Stupid dance in desert. Check. A UNIcycle? You betcha. Come on Coldplay - you’re old now. You’re bigger than U2. It’s also badly shot. And doesn’t use our scenery nicely. And a unicycle DOES NOT cost R8. I do, however, like the bakkie, parked outside a shop, with its hazards on. :)

<— Blow me down, but the link comes from the You magazine website and the youtube vidoe only has 301 views as of 9:38am.

The Great Gatsby w Tobey….

Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway. No! No! No! Nick is skinny and quiet but tall and a little bit insecure in a way that is endearing and a bit annoying. Tobey is a hobbit with big feet who likes to jump on beds with his gay hobbit friends.

BAZ LUHMAN’S CAST FOR THE GREAT GATSBY

And,

Robert Redford and Mia Farrow as Gatsby and Daisy.

Hard act to beat.

Info on cast of new Gatsby here.

Solid Potato Salad

I am just going to come out and say it:

One of the best things about being South African is a braai.

I would like to add that in the gender-battles, here I like my role neatly organised. Guys at the braai, braaing. If we like you enough, we know exactly where to find you. And will even bring you a cold beer, opened, if you know how to cook everything medium-rare. Girls. We can giggle and skinner in the kitchen, while drinking white wine and champers, while we make potato salad. You don’t have to like hetero-normative stereotypes, but me - i am rather fond of some of them.

I make mine - potato salad, not gender decisions - with white onion, flat leaf parsley, then I mix mayo with o-oil, chopped garlic, Bulgarian yoghurt, white pepper, and squeeze lemon and pour that all on top. Then I add capers. I can never remember how long to boil potatoes for, but always hope they will be slightly crunchy and glassy, like old school slap chips that came with the fish in the plastic packet doused in cheapo vinegar.

I like it when other people make po-salad with condensed milk and especially gherkins, but have never been able to open a tin of condensed milk and do anything other than suck it.

Which brings us to this video. (This is a trick often used in car journalism that is written for the Lifestyle section - use one word/concept to segue rather bluntly into other stuff). The video is called Solid Potato Salad. It’s really actually amazing incredible amazing!

SOLID POTATO SALAD

I’ll bet you’re not thinking about food anymore.

NB! If you did not watch the amazing Potato Salad Ross Sisters, I highly recommend you scroll back up and press that play button.

Sharks eat people. Yes they do.

In yesterday’s case, people’s legs.

At first, this video seems like it may be a bit boring. Titled “Events just after the attack …” and peppered with the sweet twittery sound of Afrikaans women watching from their balcony, I continued to watch because - well, I haven’t been to Fish Hoek for ages and it looks like it was a very lovely day.

…..

THE G WHITE

But hang on”, I said while painting my nails and reminiscing about Nahoon Beach in East London and how the usually calm and cool surfers used to emerge from the sea flapping hysterical every time the sharks bit one of their friends, “WHAT the FUCK is that?”

Ladies & Gents, it’s the G White.

Here are the formal Cape Town City details from yesterday.

Do read this - it’s interesting because:

  • someone has the job title of “mountain Shark Spotter”.

  • the attack is Eskom’s fault, because an elec failure led to reactivation of siren not being successful.

STILL HERE?

I wonder if it was the same shark that ate the granny in 2004? The Daily Mail called that shark “as big a helicopter”.

And here, in 2010, the Daily Mail’s Jan 2010 report where the shark is a dinosaur.

I reckon yesterday’s shark is the baby of the dinosaur mom and the helicopter dad.

I LOVE the circus

I have had a circus thing for way-since-forever. I had a Spain thing since I was tiny tiny. Maybe the dancing girls in the polka dot dresses. Or the bulls. And I loved the food. Then, at the age of 12 or so, I heard about the Conquistadors! I was furious! So I started reading about Mexico, and switched allegiances.

Mexico is also more alluring - the whole death and life thing. In 2005 I finally went to Spain, wandered around the high dusty streets, along the flat salty seasides, nuns, cider, paprika in everything, found St Anthony (my lapsed-Catholic family’s saint that we still use …) in as many churches, street corners and, once in a bless-ed gaggle of geese.

As a teenager the circus thing grew and grew. Then I read A Trip to the Light Fantastic and devoted all my high school art (insert requisite laughter) to the circus topic. I LOVE this book SO much. Looking at the cover still makes my heart move.

Today I saw this trailer; it made me cry. I don’t know what it is about circuses, Mexican in particular. I think it is a combination of magic and perceived magic, the travelling, the people, the rhythm of their lives but it’s also the tenacity of doing something that you and your family have always done, or maybe being born for something, or into something, for better or worse, their lives are handed to them. Fatalism I guess.

The original article here has an interview with the circus family in the trailer. More lump in throat stuff: “We brought the Ponces to Morelia for the screening, and I think all of us were a little nervous, as it is such an intimate film. When the film ended, the Ponces received a standing ovation, the well-known Mexican actor Diego Luna greeted them on stage, and during the Q&A they received so much love from the audience that a few of the Ponces were in tears.”

Nora, James & a bit of Emily

Don’t be alarmed, but if James Joyce could write Ulysses - banned in the States until the 1930s, in part by the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice* - then he could also write really dirty love (in all its forms) letters to Nora, the woman - as the link below mentions - that became his wife. I do hope his children didn’t ever read what Jim and Fuckbird, aka Ma, got up to late at night, and in the daytime, and in the closet, and elsewhere, but then I guess that’s how their kiddlie-winks got made in the first place.

Joyce, cocksure, even at age 6.

Ah, the Irish ” … is like the act itself, brief, brutal, irresistible and devilish.
Darling, do not be offended at what I wrote.” <– Totally NSFW. They are rather … dirty.

Once you’re done with them, here is a great summary of Wuthering Heights, just in case you need it for the dinner party conversation that occasionally comes up: that’s what real love is vs. that is not what real love is.

*Could you imagine the Johannesburg Society for the Suppression of Vice ….

James Joyce letters originally via Book SA

Go Forth

What you really want - in fashion, advertising and film, but probably not in love, because that would be tiring - is to be ahead of the zeitgeist. Just. If you are on it, there’ll be a hundred other versions being pulled from the air of the collective consciousness at the same time and everyone will think you’ve copied one of them.

Levi’s …. is sometimes on, sometimes behind, sometimes a tiny bit ahead. (Adidas makes zeitgeists, but that is another post).

Now, Levi’s have just been awarded the greatest accolade in advertising. Getting your ad banned. Just ahead of the zeitgeist this time, they have made a global campaign that was supposed to run from the 15 August 2011. It was pulled because it is, er, rather, thought to be, incite-ful (another great accolade, a brand that can make yout’s revolt against their silver-spooned govt). Whether it is or not, it serves its purpose even better if it won’t air on the television, but goes viral online.

As they do in poetry, identify the poet by the first line:

Your life is your life/ Don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission

Yes. it’s that old man so loved by young men - Monsier Bucowski - encouraging chavs to steal from High Street.

The campaign has been running for a while. In this one (2009 I think) we have Walt Whitman inciting the ‘Youths/ Western Youths’ by calling: O Pioneers! My Pioneers/Come my tan-faced children.

And here we have an actual movement, where the CSI programme and ad were made together. The difference is, I feel, in the authenticity.

Whether you wear their pant or not, whether u think it’s wankery or not, at least it reflects a little bit of the Western world zeitgeist of now.

Staring at the Sun

I loved The Face. I loved Miranda Sawyer. I wanted to be a journalist, I wanted to write about the anthropology of modern culture for magazines.

Then, when I turned the giant 30 (which my mother assured me would be the best of the best times of my life) I would start writing books. Because, surely, only people who have crossed the line of 30 would be wise enough to do big things like write books.

Here is Miranda Sawyer on turning 44. She mentions Staring at the Sun by someone called Irvin Yalom. It’s about not being afraid of dying. I look him up. You can too (the byline is rather dread-ful, if you’ll excuse the joke).

But most of all while contemplating how fleeting yet awesome life really is, I want you to listen to this song. And I want you to try and use your voice to sing the high wailing bits. And, while you’re at it, drum your hands on your knees. There you go :)