Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Month: May 2015 (Page 1 of 2)

My Heart of longing, place and being

Every time I come to Jozi I have a small internal tug-o-war. I love this city of my birth and growth, almost as much as I am deeply rattled by it. I have written about this before.

I love my family and friends here, and it is a different love from my close and loved ones in Cape Town. I can’t explain why, but it is.

I love the winter here; the clear, dry, frosty mornings and the ridiculously warm and sunny days, where the sun sets (and rises) too early. Don’t get me wrong; I love Cape Town winters equally, where I worship the wet and green, and light fires and make sure my windscreen wipers work.

I love the energy that people talk about here in Jozi, and the suburban relaxing that happens on the weekends. I love driving past my own haunts, and saying the names of the streets in Yeoville out loud. Kenmere, Dunbar, Fortesque, Cavendish.

It is also true that I wish there were more street lights; Orange Grove is scary and dark at night, and the Uber driver who took us to visit our friend seemed nervous about stopping outside his house. I am left deeply uncomfortable by a new style of begging here, where street beggars kneel or lie in the road in between cars at robots, taking it to a whole new extreme. I am shocked by how flippant the response to crime here can be, with friends being carjacked, and aquaintances having their phones stolen off them in mid-conversation.

I hate seeing buildings that I remember in complete shambles or ruins. I miss an accessible Hilbrow even though downtown is unrecognisably regenerating. I sometimes feel like Joburg is Cape Town in reverse.

I am drawn to and repelled by this place for totally different reasons from being drawn to and repelled by Cape Town. Every time I come up here I want to live here again but can’t wait to get back home, I want to do things here, and then remember that I do them at home, I am tugged.

And now it is our magnificent little niece who draws us here with the most powerful heart magnet. Sometimes the love for the small people of our family, who are all away from us, and not in Cape Town, pull our hearts out of our chests and drag us up country, away from our first loves, our furry animal babies, who we pine for and panic about every time we are away from them.

Like I said. Tug-o-war.

Tupperware Party

Hi Michelle

I am writing you this email because you never replied to my whatsapps and smses, and you don’t pick up when I phone you even though I know you can see my name and number and I know you are furious with me but how can I say sorry if you won’t let me? So I am going to say sorry in a email and maybe then you will answer your bladdy phone. Sorry Michelle ok? But I also really think that it wasn’t all my fault. I know I was supposed to help you organise it and everything but and how was I to know that it was gonna turn out like that Michelle hey? I mean when I said we could have your tupperware party at my house I didn’t know that Kevin was gonna have rugby at our house at the same time on the same day and he was gonna need the lounge because of the TV. I swear. Ok the change of houses was a big stuff up but YOU said we could move it to you and I thought that you would tell everyone and change the Facebook group Michelle!!!!!  I really don’t think it was my fault that only four people came Michelle and I swear on my and Kevins and my mothers life Michelle I did NOT tell Carol Anne to bring Melinda who we all know stole Dave from you and is a psychobitch. I can’t flippen believe she came to your house even though she said she didn’t know it was your house cos she didn’t even know where you lived!!! It’s NOT MY FAULT you didn’t see her standing behind Carol Anne when you buzzed them in I swear. And Michelle I know she is a psychobitch but it is actually true what she said about Paddington only I never told you before because I didn’t want to hurt your feelings. He does stink Michelle. And he is unhygienic. And his spit is on your couch Michelle but I don’t mind so much but some people don’t want to sit in dog spit Michelle. And of course I know that he used to be Dave’s dog Michelle and that he just left him with you!!!!!! But like I said she is a psychobitch. And Michelle I DID NOT tell her that it wasn’t real tupperware and actually the cheap stuff but honestly Michelle you could see that the lids were thin and didn’t fit properly and were hard to close. And it wasn’t MY IDEA to put bladdy beetroot salad in a tupperware as an example Michelle and then to pass it around and then when Melinda tipped it over and it spilled on her fake Looey Viton bag and she went hysterical I tried to catch it Michelle but it was slippery from leaking and I swear it just slid out of my hands Michelle and when Paddington jumped up it exploded on him and your flokati. I KNOW you can’t get beetroot juice out of a flokati Michelle but it is a mock flokati. I really think you were unfair to kick us out after that even though nobody remembered to bring cash even though you said on the Facebook group which YOU FORGOT TO CHANGE Michelle that we must bring cash. And of course I know you haven’t got a credit card machine Michelle I think Melinda was just trying to piss you off because like I said she is a psychobitch. And I know you saw the photos on Facebook Michelle because they tagged me even after I said they mustn’t cos I knew you would be upset and I didn’t want you to find out we went to Characters for a few drinks after you kicked us out but even though we did I SWEAR I didn’t say one single word to Melinda while we were there and I know I am standing next to her in the photos but they said from shortest to tallest and me and her are nearly the same height Michelle!!!!!!! And I know you saw us holding the tupperware shot glasses but we DID NOT STEAL THEM Michelle we honestly thought they were free samples. I am not a thief Michelle I am your best friend and I can’t believe you are gonna let a tupperware party be the end of our friendship. I thought we were better friends than that Michelle because you even said I was your BFF and now look and plus we were still friends when you said I could wear your purple dress to Laurens thing and its this weekend. Sorry Michelle. Please whatsapp me when you read this and please read it before its the weekend so I can come fetch the purple dress ok? xxxx

Barbs

This is the final tandem post of our series. Please check out these other fab writers who also wrote about Tupperware Party.

Sarah: https://medium.com/@ricegirl2

Dave: http://bloggsymalone.wordpress.com/

Nick: https://medium.com/@nick_frost

Brett: https://brettfish.wordpress.com/

Cath: https://cathjenkin.wordpress.com/

Scott: http://squidsquirts.blogspot.com/

Kerry: https://medium.com/@Kerry_Contrary

James: http://www.jamespreston.org/

 

Mumbai

A series of memories from my time in Mumbai in the late 1990s.

Midnight. Our SAA flight is flying over India. We notice the lights, tiny pin pricks flickering and golden in the blackness. There are millions of them, like stars upside down. This city, lit underneath us, goes on for hours. Someone in front of us whispers, “That’s Mumbai”.

Mumbai is a city of smells. I have a sensitive nose. I smelled Mumbai from the airplane. We were still flying when I noticed the smell. Something burning. Something huge, and foreign, and people filled. It was the smell of Mumbai reaching up to us as we made our way towards her.

3am. A miserable customs official indicates that our vaccine ‘paper’ is incomplete. My best friend and I are bleary eyed and tearful. “No, look, here is the stamp.” The official starts telling us how many US$ he will need to make the problem go away. I tell him that my friends in Malabar Hill (a suburb I have only read about in Wallpaper magazine) will hear of this. He lifts an eyebrow, shakes his head in what I will come to learn as the ‘yes’ of India, and waves us through.

3.15am. A woman on hands and knees sweeps the floor with a grass broom as we wait for our backpacks. Our absolutely smashed purser (a screaming, Afrikaans koffie moffie) takes a shine to us and invites us to spend the night with him in his hotel room, as well as getting a ride with the crew on their special bus.

On the bus. The crew are horrified that we are there, but they don’t question the purser. We start the drive to the fancy hotel. I look out the window of the air-conditioned bus and see bodies lining the road; row upon row of bodies, covered in thin fabric; it is muggy and hot. It is almost 4am and there is a total traffic jam; cars, busses, tuktuks and people. I don’t know if the bodies lining the road are alive or dead. I don’t know how this world works.

The fancy hotel foyer is quiet and empty. There is a man on his hands and knees, sweeping the floor with a grass broom. Upstairs the purser gives us half a sleeping pill each (Rohypnols, I discover the next day) and the three of us pass out in the massive bed, overlooking the Bay of Bombay.

The purser offers to show us around. It is a ‘quiet’ Sunday morning in Mumbai. We take a cab to Leopold’s. We order a Western type meal, and sit with other foreign travellers. Years later I recognise the place when I read Shantaram.

At the Gateway of India there are giant lights, thousands of dancers and speakers on trucks. We have stumbled on a shoot for a music video.

We stroll through a massive inner city park. There are at least 30 different cricket games going on, all at the same time. Hundreds of Indian men, dressed in white, scoreboards randomly set up, red cricket balls whizzing by.

We get lost on our walk and end up in a squatter camp. The shacks are three, four stories high. Tin shacks with rope ladders and wooden stairs.

We read a menu. Sizzlers. Cauliflower oh groutin. Soda lime. Mango lassis. We need to decide if we will stay in the city and look for other accommodation or whether we will leave and start our travels, south to Goa and then beyond. I am terrified. We have one more night of unreality in the fancy 5 star hotel on the strip. We go and sit at the pool overlooking the orange Indian Ocean.

In the evening a square parking lot fills up with bodies getting ready for bed. Row upon row of people sleep in a parking lot.

We pour through our Lonely Planet Guide. Nothing makes sense.

We are on the street. Shopping malls, sari shops, incense, marigolds, busses, scooters, beggars, music, shells of high rise buildings, covered in bamboo scaffolding. Traffic. People. Human waste. Dead crows. Live crows. Fresh bananas. A blind man. Children in rags. A dog covered in sores. A man pushes a cart of tiffin boxes. A man rides past on a bicycle. A woman in a blue sari stands behind the glass of a second story window. A family drive past on a scooter. A man glues a poster of a Bollywood movie onto a wall. A mountain of plastic bottles moves slowly down the pavement. School boys in full English school uniform run past.

Sparks from a welding machine cascade into the road. A sign for Lakshmi’s Shirtings and Suitings. A billboard for Thumps Up Soda. A roadside stall selling betel nut; the pavement alongside covered in blood coloured spit.

If it weren’t for my friend who witnesses me, I would disappear.  I am entirely alien and invisible here.

I blink in the sunlight. I drink water from a plastic bottle. Slowly I recognise the song from a movie soundtrack, playing on a speaker at the entrance to a shop. I sing along, knowing the sounds but not the meaning. I am in Mumbai.

This post is one of nine tandem blog posts, all with the same topic, Mumbai, and all released at the same time. Please check out the other offerings by these amazing writers.

Sarah: https://medium.com/@ricegirl2

Dave: http://bloggsymalone.wordpress.com/

Nick: https://medium.com/@nick_frost

Brett: https://brettfish.wordpress.com/

Cath: https://cathjenkin.wordpress.com/

Scott: http://squidsquirts.blogspot.com/

Kerry: https://medium.com/@Kerry_Contrary

James: http://www.jamespreston.org/

Bicycle Scene

Someone I follow on Twitter (@lkmnthali) is talking about the white cycling mafia in Cape Town and I had thoughts about this when I was writing my play Clouds Like Waves. This is the scene.

a scene – Transport

A

I’ve come to buy a bicycle.

B

Great, great, what are you going to be using it for?

A

Uh, I am going to ride it.

B

Ja, ja, I mean is it for fitness or leisure or competing?

A

For work.

B

Oh, are you, like, a professional biker?

A

No. I’ve been saving up for ages. I want to ride it to work. I work in town.

B

Oh, I get it. Off road or on? And, you’ll need some kit to go with that. Cycling shorts, a helmet, these amazing cycling shoes. Actually, these are the clip-on ones, onto these pedals. We can attach these pedals to your choice of bike if you want to get the shoes.

A

Look. I’ve got shoes. I don’t need shoes. I’ve been walking and using trains and taxis, and now I just want my own transport.

B

Oh.

A

Ja, to get to work.

B

Uh, I’m not really sure what to suggest. See, these are mostly specialist bikes. For mountain biking, racing, riding competitions like the Argus and stuff.

A

I just want something to get to work, and back. Just, you know, a bike, to use instead of walking.

B

Oh.

Tonight You’re Mine Completely

Big Friendly (my husband, for those of you who have come to meganshead only recently)  and I started the slide down the slippery slope almost three years ago when we got our pups Frieda and Linus. Up until then I had been successful in keeping our past animals off most of the furniture and all of the bed. But with the arrival of ten week old Frieda and Linus all resolve, reason, and general clarity disappeared. Now everybody is allowed everywhere all of the time.

I had a bad bout of flu this last weekend, which kept me in bed (even though it was our 11th wedding anniversary on Saturday) most of the time, and this is basically what it looked like. sickbedmashup

 

Sometimes there were more, and sometimes there were less. But, if I was in it there was at least one other being on or in the bed. At night, when Big Friendly was in it too, there was another cat added to the mix. Jasmine now sleeps between us, while Chassie stays close to my feet.

When I got up to wee I would come back to this. coneheadandcat

 

Or sometimes this.closeupsnuggles

 

 

Honestly, I am totally used to it. Some mornings Big Friendly and I have to pretend we are still sleeping because the slightest noise means we are up, and then Frieda and Linus, who have been draped over the couches, bound into our room, jump onto the bed and stand, sit or lie ON us.

When Big Friendly gets up to make coffee I have an ‘animal and me’ lie in.

So, every now and then I get to stay in a hotel room when I travel for work. When I close the door behind me I am utterly alone. No furry body follows me to the bathroom and watches me pee. No feline meows at me to open the shower door. There are no bowls to be filled, no cones of shame to take off or put on, no beady eyes asking for strokes, no Jonesie the part-time cat demanding to be let in then let out then in again. And when I finally climb between the sheets of the standard king in the hotel room, that whole bed, for that night, is mine, completely. There is no fur, no spit, no bloody speck from where Linus chewed his paw. No pulled bits of blanket where Chassie or Jasmine kneaded there furry heads off. No stinky dog or cat breath on any part of my body. No warm but immovable lumps making me contort into an unsleepable position. I say to myself with a gleeful sigh, “Tonight you’re mine, completely,” to a bed. I breathe. I flick through the channels on the hotel TV. I read a few lines on my Kindle. I turn off the light. And lie there. Awake. Alone. With all the space in the world, and missing each warm body.

This post is one of nine tandem blog posts, all with the same topic, and all released at the same time. Please check out the other offerings by these amazing writers.

Sarah: https://medium.com/@ricegirl2

Dave: http://bloggsymalone.wordpress.com/

Nick: https://medium.com/@nick_frost

Brett: https://brettfish.wordpress.com/

Cath: https://cathjenkin.wordpress.com/

Scott: http://squidsquirts.blogspot.com/

Kerry: https://medium.com/@Kerry_Contrary

James: http://www.jamespreston.org/

 

Illness and Inspiration

I have been waiting for the flu to pass. I have that seasonal flu that keeps kind of threatening to get better and then gets kind of worse again. I don’t like being sick, and I think that my immune system is a bit weak from the stinking tick bite fever I had, but more that 4 lines of sick diary is unacceptable, so.

I am trying to focus on some upandcoming good stuff, and the first one coming is this.

impromp2all

 

What this is is 5 performances of an improv show called impromp2, running at the Alexander Bar theatre at 9pm from Tuesday 19 May to Saturday 23 May. How it’s going to work is, every night I will be joined on stage by a different improviser from ImproGuise and the two of us will perform duets for 55 minutes. Some of us have had brief conversations, or email chats about what we want to do. Others haven’t had even that. All I know is that, with the best improvisers in Cape Town, we are going to make each other look good.

Here is a bit about each improviser that will be joining me, and the night that they share the stage.

1. Tuesdsay 19 May is Brett Anderson night. Brett is a crazy lateral thinker, clever wordsmith, multi-hair-do, Terry Pratchett fan, powerful force of good improviser. I love playing with him. We are going to try out a completely new format. So new we don’t even know what it is called. #nobobisnotinvited

2. Wednesday 20 May is Anne Hirsch night. Anne doesn’t need any introduction. She is her own hilarious brand of kook. Anne and I haven’t spoken yet. I am not scared. She is so funny and crazy and unexpected on stage. And on youtube, and on Twitter. Do not miss this. #iheartAnneHirsch

3. Thursday 21 May is Ryan Jales night. I love playing with Ryan, and it just so happens that the two of us have done some of our finest improv with and on each other at the Alexander Bar. Ryan is a writer, copy writer, comic maker, PR guy, and I think he is the only improv guy in Cape Town who knows how to use his iPad properly. #justsaying

4. Friday 22 May is Carolyn Lewis night. Carolyn was in the first ever TheatreSports course I ever ran, ever, in Cape Town. She is my cougar of comedy, my delicious of naughty partner. She is also gearing up to launch her stand-up career again, and I have had a sneak preview and it is high-larious. #watchthisspace

5. Saturday 23 May is Tandi (Bucket) Buchan night. Oh joy. Oh fun. Oh love of improv. Tandi and I have inherited improv genes. We met, fell in love, and have been married to each other through improv for over 20 years. When Tandi knew we were going to be doing this she sent me an email with 16 ideas for formats. I have no idea how we are going to choose from the crazy thoughts in her brain.

So, there is a lot to choose from. I decided to keep the tickets as cheap as possible so you can come to more than one. But I warn you. They are going to be so good (and different and unique) you will want to see them all.

What about Leon Clingman I hear you say. Well, when I got confirmation to do this gig Leon was away, shooting in Jozi, and all 5 nights were snapped up by people who were actually there. Damn I want Leon all to myself to play with. Leon plays my husband, brother, assassin, mad professor, clown lover like nobody else. I will arrange another run just so I can play with him.

Ok, bookings are now open on the Alexander Bar website and you get R10 off your ticket if you book for it online. And go!

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