Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Category: deeply personal (Page 1 of 95)

Vegan Musings

Yesterday my boet was in town and we went out for lunch. I chose Massimo’s in Hout Bay because I have never been and I know that they have an omni and special vegan menu. I had a most delicious vegan pizza (my only mistake was adding vegan cheese to it; horrible, unmelty coconut oil flavoured lumps) and everyone’s food was good. They even had a selection of vegan wines to choose from. I like that. It was all expensive. Eating out is expensive which is why I don’t do it that often.

It is so important for me that being a vegan isn’t about having to spend more money on food. Eating out is an absolute treat. Buying ingredients is not about buying expensive meat or dairy substitutes. In fact the only thing I don’t resent spending money on is cashew nuts, after discovering how they grow when I was in India.

Although I adore the brilliant sharing of information, recipes and advice on social media, the curse of belonging to Facebum vegan groups is that they can be both judgemental and snobby. This is a problem when vegans are trying to convince the average Joe that being a vegan is both accessible and affordable.

So when I am Facebum invited to a pop-up dining experience at R450 a head, or I read about a vegan high tea that costs the same as my weekly veggie purchase, I get a little antsy. When I read that soy milk is out and almond milk, at double the price is in, I do have a bit of a knee jerk response that omnis who might want to transition would find that off putting.

Big Friendly and I popped into De Waal Park on Saturday. I dragged him because I saw on Facebum that there was a vegan bake sale on and I wanted to support it. I want to support as many vegan initiatives as I can so that they continue to happen. I didn’t tell him that the teeniest crunchie and minute lemon poppyseed square cost R40. The poppyseed cake was ok. Big Friendly didn’t even remember to eat the crunchie I bought for him. It was too small to notice on the kitchen table.

And I am left feeling a little grumbly. This is what I think. Animal based protein is expensive. If a restaurant needs to ‘veganise’ a recipe they are leaving out the most expensive part of it. Vegan dishes cost less to make than omni ones. Soy milk costs only a teeny bit more than cow’s milk. Anything with cheese in should be more expensive, not less expensive than the non cheese version.

We vegans should be able to convince people that veganism is not a pastime for the well-heeled. But we need to demand that it is more affordable.

 

Taking Sides


I woke up nauseous this morning. At first I thought I was physically ill, but the minute I turned on my computer and went to both Facebum and twitter in two different tabs but simultaneously, I felt the bile and my temperature rise.

 

Of course I see what I follow. This morning it was, in no particular order, the Israeli defence force’s slaughter of unarmed marchers, the bombing of Syria, a racist conflict on an aeroplane, a few incomprehensible decisions by Donald Trump, the glorification and vilifying of Winnie Madikizela Mandela, the mountains of plastic polluting our oceans, the online abuse of women, nasty jokes about vegans, vegans abusing dairy farmers, and pleas to donate to gay rights, animal abuse, the Palestinian cause, making theatre, and a sick child.

No wonder it feels like end of days. The thing I hate about social media is that it is devoid of nuance. Everybody is shouting and everything is so extreme. It is like living with the volume button stuck on rage. Everything is about taking sides. And if you are on the other side of anything you are open to abuse, from the side it looks like you are against.

I started feeling a bit frantic. The feeling carried on while we walked the dogs; Linus seemed to be a bit under the weather.

And then I came home and I saw that the seeds I had sown, literally, in the tiny patch of soil in our weenie front yard, had started to spring up. Poppy seeds make the tiniest green sprouts, smaller than an ant’s head, and there are the tiniest tomato shoots growing from where tomatoes fell off the miracle tomato vine that grew by itself and yielded the most delicious and unusual pear shaped cherry tomatoes, and I think I saw some sweet pea shoots (maybe).

I am not going back to social media today. I am going to buy special dog food for Linus. I am going to water my shoots with grey water, and I am going to a live discussion and meet up about whether there should be a creative policy around BDS in support of Palestine.

I will just post this link on FB and twitter so you can read about it and take sides.

Twitler Helen Zille

I have been stewing over Helen Zille’s latest twitter debacle. This is what she had to say about the families of those who died or whose health was severely compromised in the Life Esidimeni tragedy. Zille tweeted on Tuesday: “It is good that the families of the Life Esidimeni victims have received a measure of justice and compensation. I would like an answer to this question: What did they do, before these tragic deaths, to raise the alarm about their loved ones starving + living in profound neglect?”

Now Zille is no stranger to the arrogant, ill informed, rude, racist, anti-poor tweet and has been rapped over the knuckles on more than one occasion. Her biggest tweet scandal (up until now), which she fought to justify in an embarrassingly tenacious fashion, was that not everything to do with colonialism was bad. She just could not see how that would be hurtful and offensive to every single person of colour and their allies.

This time however, she has, in a tweet, highlighted exactly how utterly out of touch she is with how unseen, unheard and helpless the poor are. She imagines a world where everyone has the same ability to shout loudly and demand to speak to the manager. She comes from that world, where she can complain about things and be heard, seen and taken notice of.

Recently I have been to both Groote Schuur and a private medical hospital and the difference is beyond glaring. I am not dissing the utter magnitude of the success of Groote Schuur and all who work there, I am merely comparing the difference money can make. Carpets, new furniture, new equipment, more staff, better equipped nurses, more space, more people to talk to, more attention, more value to life. There are very sick people at Groote Schuur, from all over the country, receiving expert treatment from exhausted, underpaid, over worked practitioners, but the queues at the clinics are long, public transport unreliable, resources scarce. I am in awe at how successful the labyrinthian maze of Groote Schuur is. And that is one, huge, subsidised public hospital.

Helen Zille’s tweet is so completely rude and vile because she has no idea what it is like to be helpless and dependent on what is available. She has no idea what it is like to not be able to keep a sick family member alive if you have no money. She has no idea what a world without insurance or a hospital plan or transport or food looks like. She literally cannot imagine it. And she is in charge of the Western Cape. It makes me sick.

In a Pit Latrine

Every word of that phrase

Incomprehensible

Not in English or any language

Should those words be allowed to be seen

Together

 

In a pit latrine should not refer

To anything

Nothing should be in a pit latrine

 

Menstrual blood should not be

In a pit latrine

The results of a cheap take out meal

Should not be seen

In a pit latrine

Old news should not be

In a pit latrine

 

Shame should not surround

A pit latrine

Like the lingering smell

Spreading out

And back down

Into deeper shame

 

A thing should not be in a pit latrine

Slipping out of a hand

Or pocket or sleeve

No thing should be in a pit latrine

 

A body should not be

In a pit latrine

A body should not be allowed to slip into those words

A body is was a person

 

If we destroy the words can we destroy the thing?

It should be easy. Like destroying a person.

Cheap cheap it seems.

Oh the Humanity

I was being chatted to by an actor the other night, and he was shooting the breeze, complaining about chancers in the industry who give the ‘real deal’ a bad name, and bitching about the Cape Town Joburg separation of power and ideology. He spoke about how the Fleur du Cap Awards are hamstrung by old thoughts, how certain directors have fallen into bad habits, and how most actors of a certain age are only just functioning alcoholics. The usual. Blah blah Shakespeare.

And then it happened. This respected and very super talented actor gave a thorough analysis and deeply thought out criticism of a play he had not, actually, in fact seen. There are few times when I am completely at a loss for words. Not that he noticed. His diatribe had come out of a moment where he inhaled mid speech and I had told him about a play that I had in fact seen; a play that I did think was hideous; based on actual first hand experience. On his out breath he started talking about this other play, that he had not seen, but, according to him, could never work because of 1. the director, 2. the cast, 3. the content and 4. how it has been done in the past.

I suddenly realised that this happens a lot. A lot of actors don’t see other work but have opinions on it. I see a lot of work. Some I write about, others not, but I never ever have an opinion on a piece that I have not yet seen.

Next time you get into one of those post-show, a few glasses of wine later monologues in pseudo camaraderie, ask the speech giver up front if they are talking about a play that they have seen.

Advice for recent Drama Graduates

This is an open letter to all recent drama school graduates who are trying to enter the profession, from a very experienced, not always successful, long time fighter in the field.

Dear almost made it,

Firstly, congratulations on completing the introduction to what will be a lifetime of learning, practicing, hoping, developing and waiting. Drama school (I include all of them) is the very beginning of your journey and, if you are anything like I was when I finished my diploma and degree at UCT, you have only just started to understand this world. Yes, it is a great start, but that is what it is – an introduction.

What next? Some of you will wait to get work, hope to get an an agent, go to castings, become bar tenders while you wait. Some of you will tech for other shows, stay part of a theatrical community, do courses, get drunk with your friends, or give up entirely and make a different choice for your life. One or two of you will land that job, make a name for yourself, fill your calendars, win awards and glow and succeed.

Some of you will be bold and take the initiative to create your own work. You will be both praised for this and warned; it is so tough on every level. It is tough to work with no money, and to get others to work for no money, it is tough to publicise a show with no resources, no name to go on, no past history to rely on. It is heart breaking to perform for tiny audiences. All of this is true. So, if you do decide to put on your own work, even with all these things conspiring to make it the hardest thing to achieve, you need to make sure you do the work.

Learn your lines. Rehearse. Rehearse more than you ever did at school. Make sure that you respect the space, the playwright, the director and most importantly, the audience, because there will be people like me, who have been there and done that, who will be sitting in the audience and who will know. We will know that you just haven’t done the work and you are trying to get away with it. Your raw talent, and recent knowledge of voice warm-ups will give you false confidence, but it isn’t enough to pull the wool over our eyes, and you do yourselves a terrible disservice.

Honour the theatrical space by giving it the respect it deserves. Honour your education by knowing that all those things you learned need to be put into practice. Make a commitment to putting on great work, and failing, rather than trying to get away with shit work, or no work.

Whatever you do, do not present shit work, half-baked work, work that shows you up as a chancer, as someone who doesn’t really take their craft seriously. I recognise talent, but I can tell you right now, I have only once ever casted someone because they were talented, even though I was concerned about their reliability and commitment, and I made the biggest mistake.

We see you, those of us in the tiny audience who know how it works, and we know exactly what you are doing. And your friends and family might not tell you the truth, so I am going to. Do not do the barest minimum of work and try to get away with it. It will not serve you.

I hope you know that I have your best interests at heart. I want you to succeed, make beautiful theatre and be brilliant. That is what I want to watch.

Megan

 

 

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