Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Month: August 2008 (Page 2 of 4)

Is stinginess a disease?

It’s been a bit since I had a good moan and today I am going to let rip on another kind of somebody I really struggle with. I specialists and psycho single mothers have come in for a bit of stick, but now I want to bitch about ‘people who have short fingers and long pockets’.

Apparently, people from Slaap Stad have a bit of a reputation for ‘shnoepness’, and it’s one of the times I get really proud of coming from Jozi. It’s the one quality that can really put me off someone. Don’t get me wrong; I have been in the theatre world for far too long to be unaware of how poor people can be, and how tough times can get. I too have stood at opening night parties and thanked my lucky stars I had been invited, just for the free meal and wine.

Generosity is a frame of mind, it is a spirit, it is a way of being. It’s my cheap philosophy that abundant thinking often creates abundance and generous behaviour to others means that you will get back. But try tell that to the guy who offers to buy the next round only to pat himself down and show how he’s ‘left his wallet behind.’ Or the person who decides to ‘split the bill’ when you had a coke and salad and he had the crayfish SQ and two bottles of Pinot Noir.

One of my all time worst things is the guy who rocks up to your house for a party or get together with something just big enough for him (like a mini bottle or a small packet of chips), keeps his half-jack in his pocket but uses your mixes, helps himself to your snacks and food, and then leaves taking what’s left of his stuff (which is usually a lot) with him.

I love a bargain, sale or special offer. I often compare prices and if I’m not brand loyal I’ll usually buy the cheapest thing. Sometimes, I’ll pay in petrol the difference for a cheap thing from Makro when Game offer the same thing for slightly more. Go figure. It irritates Big Friendly, who has usually already done the maths. But proper stinginess is just ‘sif’. And it’s one of the things that is always noticed, and spoken about behind a person’s back.

scrooge-mcduck-christmas-carol I hate it when people are stingy about food. I hate it when people manipulate others to pay for them; it’s embarrassing. I hate watching someone pretend that they didn’t see or hear when the bill came. I hate the ‘next time it’s on me’ for the sixth time in a row. Ok, I’m useless at doing deals, talking about money and even negotiating things like salaries; but what I’m talking about is the thing where people deliberately wangle to get out of paying for something, usually at someone else’s expense.

But this thing is my problem too because I don’t often call the short fingered person on it. Once or twice I have, either lightheartedly mentioned that I’ve noticed a bit of a shnoep thing going on, or had a heart to heart with a friend, and it definitely makes a difference, certainly in their behaviour when I’m around. But mostly I’m too skaam. And I leave it. And then bitch to Big Friendly about it later.

West Coast

Yesterday I fell in love

With this weird place,

The Cape, here on the Southern tip of South Africa.

I watched amazed as our two small boys from up North

Were invited to play on the shelly and rocky beach

By a bunch of local Langebaan kids.

There was running up rocks and shouting,

Screams and holding hands at the top,

And no negotiating as the littlest one was swept into the arms

of a bigger boy as they came hurtling down,

Again and again.

Not much was said; my boys don’t speak Afrikaans,

But the rules of the game were honoured and friendships were forged

to last in memories forever.

So when we went to call them to come,

"We’re leaving now!", little hands had to be held

And feet dragged though the sand, and we turned and waved,

"Bye!"                                                                                                                           

langebaan

The Twinkle Show

Our most magnificent nephews are here from Jozi and they really are educating me big time. If you are four and a half or two and a half there is a lot going on that a big somebody needs to know about. And I’m learning stuff, fast. I’m lucky that these two are so imagination free, and we can play complicated role play games for hours. They also have the most phenomenal memories, which means we can start something and then pick it up again the next day. In fact, big brother remembers the minutest detail from when they were here in March.

Yesterday we stomped off to the Iziko Natural History Museum and Planeterium. The museum is great. I remember my father taking us to the museum on rainy days, when we came down to Slaap Stad to visit my grandparents. Most of the displays of stuffed animals and skeletons are probably exactly the same as they were then! What I like is that it has become an active space; with kids and their parents running around and totally engaged. I was very disappointed that the Discovery Room was closed. It’s closed on weekends and only open on week days for school groups. I think that is ridiculous. What about the thousands of kids who come with their parents on the weekend?

Then we went through the museum and off to the planetarium for their special children’s show, The Twinkle Show. Now, the planetarium is an impressive building, and the special expensive projector looks like a very advanced Wall e type robot. The seats that bounce right back, giving and unobstructed view of the ‘night sky’ are also very cool. Everything is set up for a really good show. Wow, though. The woman who leads us through it is totally agonising. She follows a bit of a storyline, but most of it is ad-libbed, which is not fantastic for someone who struggles in English. She is also excruciatingly patronising and sing song. Judging by how full it was yesterday I’m sure that this little show is one of the few money spinners at the museum. Invest a little in this awesome product and make it a really fun and inspiring half an hour, instead of the dreary, confusing and boring little show it is.

Today it is bucketing down. We were going to motor off to Die Strandloper but I think it’s going to be koeksisters from down the road and DVDs.

Ear Worm

I’ve got really bad ear worm. You know, when a song sticks in your ear and plays from the moment you wake up until you go to bed at night. Sometimes ear worm actually wakes you up! At least the song I’ve got isn’t bad. It’s fantastic actually. It’s Gogol Bordello’s Dogs were Barking. It is my favourite song right now. The only problem with ear worm is that it very rarely plays the whole song through. It repeats the same phrase or line of music over and over again. So, I’ve got “Dogs were barking, monkeys clapping”, and that’s it.

I suffer from bad ear worm, especially when I am busy with a show. I’ll have the ear worm of whatever song, piece of music or tune the show has, in random order. I can never tell what’s going to be ear worm that day, or how long it will last.

I’ve also had weeks of really bad unexplainable ear worm; like Kylie Minogue’s ‘Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na ,na, na, na’. Oh God, even writing that could plant it in my ear. “DOGS ARE BARKING!!!!” Sometimes ear worm will latch on to the jingle of an ad or the sting of a TV programme. The worst one I’ve had recently is for a damn sitcom I don’t even watch, but that they advertise on TV, where they sing, “men, men, men, men, me-en.” Singing that for a whole week can make you insane!

I’m going to grab my iPod shuffle and play whatever it is that comes up. Na, na, na, na, na, oh, shit!

The most amazing Madame Zingara

We were lucky enough to be taken to the press night of the opening of Madame Zingara’s Tent of Dreams new show in the grounds of Montecasino up here in Jozi last night.

We did the experience in Cape Town, in its first incarnation, but the concept, show, new theme, food, sound and even fancy port-a-loos have so doubled in excellence we had a better time than before.

Richard is Madame Zingara and he is busy realising his dream. He has pushed for this amazing celebration to get bigger, better, slicker and it has paid off. The whole magnificent Spiegeltent, cast, crew, cooks and all other mad-crazies are flying off to London at the end of the year to do the whole thing there. it’s phenomenal.

The whole idea is brilliant. The five hours spent eating, socialising, watching brilliant spectacle, being served by superb staff, spending money on ridiculous hats at the shop and even dancing to eighties’ hits late into the night is the best fun ever.

Richard has done some really clever basic business and he has thought of everything. Firstly, he has the most loyal team working with and for him (apparently most of them have travelled since the beginning one in Cape Town). Then there is an attention to detail. The decor, entrance, costumes of the staff and performers, toilets, bar, shop, are all excellent, no skimping. The food is superb; and miraculous. I can’t believe that all that food is made and delivered impeccably to 500 people virtually at once. The wait-staff are firm and confident; the performers all help out at the tables. This guy knows what he is doing and it’s absolutely brilliant. The lights are pretty and the sound is excellent; crystal clear and loud.

The acts were superb. I also preferred the new theme which is more adult bondage. The last theme was more fantasy and I like the new shift. Everyone looks magnificent. Nicky Smuts has designed the most spectacular costumes and every tassel, frill, leather strap and sequin is perfect.

Well done all at the magnificent Madame Zingara and thanks for a brilliant time.

PS. We are up in Jozi for a fandamily thing, which we are off to right now.

Part 2 – Buried Child

For the company members of The Mechanicals this repertory story of Glengarry, Glen Ross on one night and Sam Shepard’s Buried Child on the next, it must be a bit of a wet dream come true. The two iconic American plays have got really juicy parts that most actors drool over.  And it’s great to see the exact same cast transform into entirely different people. Funnily enough, those that were more successful last night were less successful tonight, and visa versa. And that makes me think that two separate casts and productions might have worked better. But I get ahead of myself.

First, the actual play.  Buried Child survives its datedness because of the really beautiful raw poetry of Sam Shepard’s dialogue. The story itself is still a little shocking (but nothing like it was the first time I saw the play), and the some of the characters are so well drawn that if they are played well they take you with them on their journey. Still, I think the play is much more of a challenge for an audience to watch, especially if you kind of remember the story. And what was Sam Shepard thinking, writing in a character with a fake leg, that ends up in the wrong hands?!

Sam Shepard is director Chris Weare’s bottle of bourbon. He is entirely in tune with its rhythms and beats, its characters and its style. He is definitely the best guy for the job; but the play is still quite hard to get through, and my bum is still numb.

Nonetheless, Guy De Lancey was brilliant as Dodge. He was riveting and terrible. Gina Pauling (who remained unmentioned by me last night) was also remarkable as Hallie, aging up and physically changing to become her. Her accent was also the most successful and consistent. Tinarie Van Wyk Loots redeemed herself as Shelley. Her performance was layered and complicated and amazing. This is her role.

Less successful tonight were Scott Sparrow who was awkward and too young to play Tilden who is supposed to be crazy but not babyish, and Jason Potgieter who just didn’t manage the bad brutishness of Bradley and still had to be confined to the sofa and floor when his leg was took.

At the end of the night I walked away thinking how lucky the actors were to get the chance to do something like this; I mean, perform two different plays that alternate nightly. But I’m not convinced it’s the best way to do the plays, or to see them.

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