Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Category: reading (Page 2 of 2)

Hooked and Sitting Man – Two great reasons to be in Kalk Bay

It started with a beautiful drive from hot, sunny town straight into a wall of mist on Boyes Drive to get to Kalk Bay Books. Of course Big Friendly and I overshot the traffic by an hour and we got to Kalk Bay early enough to have cappuccinos in The Annex, a gorgeous restaurant behind Kalk Bay Books. Melinda Ferguson was also already there. It was the launch of her second book, Hooked, that we were attending. Melinda is one of my oldest and dearest friends so there was much love to go around. I am deeply proud of her and how she has actively and consciously made her life beautiful and meaningful. The bookshop was packed to the rafters and Melinda spoke straight from the hip and heart. She was entertaining, frank, outrageous in the most charming way, and she was patient with the many recovering and not so recovering addicts who had a million questions.

Armed with my very own, signed copy of Hooked, we marched down the road to what felt like home! The Kalk Bay Theatre. Man, I love that place. Honestly, I stomped up those stairs into the warm, loving embrace of some of my favourite people in my favourite spot. Now, I absolutely have been a bit theatre-phobic the last while, but I was amped for this show The Sitting Man, written, directed and performed by James Cairns. I saw and loved James in Brother Number, at the Kalk Bay Theatre a coupla years ago.

The Sitting Man is a fantastic one man show. With only a chair on stage to fill the brief of the title, James, by performing a series of characters who are linked by action, slides into a world of South Africans that are immediately identifiable, hilarious and tragic. He is so good at them it almost feels like he is channeling this weird bunch. His accents are spot on. His hands! They change subtly with every character. His face! Now, James has a distinct face, plus his head is totally clean shaven, but every character looked different. He is so adept at playing these human creations of his that he fills them with a rich emotional context, even though we spend so little time with each of them. The story, about a parcel that needs to get taken from Jo’burg to Cape Town, is a teeny bit convoluted, and there is a big, fat loose end that prompted Big Friendly to exclaim “It can’t be over! What happened? What was inside the parcel?” But it is a wonderful vehicle for stringing together these fringe, loser, weirdo men. My favourites were first, the drunk pool player, whose perfect Sotho accent was classic, second, the daggahead, a reminder of more than one smoker from my youth, and then, the poor farmer. James is brilliant, and I couldn’t take my eyes off him. I was sad when it was done! The Sitting Man has a three week run before James switches over to his other one man show Dirt. Do. Not. Miss. This.

Are South Africans that dof?

I have finally realised that if I want to be in a foul mood all week, then all I have to do is read the long, completely bullshit, shockingly spelled, grammatically retarded, sad, humourless and garbled vitriol that are the comments left by online readers.

I enjoy reading Chris McEvoy and Marianne Thamm a lot. Their columns appear regularly on News 24, and Chris’s writing is acerbic, often self-deprecating, topical and very funny. Marianne is plain very, very clever and totally hilarious. Both of them are not afraid to use a most misunderstood tool; irony. Unfortunately, this is just too hard for online readers to recognise. They don’t get that these articles are not news but opinions. They don’t get the jokes. They don’t get the point. It makes me totally hysterical.

Yesterday I read Chris’s new article on Big Friendly’s recommendation. He also told me to look at the comments. I promise you; it was a very bad idea. Nobody understands what columnists are actually doing when they write. I can’t even get specific. Literally every comment told Chris what an arsehole he was and how the ANC was dragging the country to hell.

One of the other favourites of comment leavers is to rage bitterly against limp, left wingers; you know, them being such strong…er…conservatives? Moral high grounders? Racists?

Update: Chris’s article that caused the comments that caused the moan here

rule no.1

rule I picked up a copy of Rupert Morgan’s novel Rule No.1 at a newish book warehouse in Retreat. It was cheap and his writing was compared to Ben Elton, who I love, so I got it. It is hilarious, crazy, deeply disturbing and totally prophetic, since it was first published in 2003.  It happens in another world, just like ours. President Bush is replaced by President Hedges who rules the United States of Atlantis and they go to war against the tiny, independent country of Errat. I couldn’t put it down, and when I came to this section late last night I got shivers.

I am going to transcribe the whole thing. (It’ll probably take me the whole day!)

"Teri. Every society has the right to defend itself, doesn’t it? That is the first duty of the State towards its citizens, for heaven’s sake! Self-defence is not  aggression!"

"But are  we defending ourselves if, by our actions, we only engender further aggression against ourselves?" she exclaimed passionately. "Right now, in the absolute worst-case reading of the situation, we are faced with a miniscule number of individuals, who have a genuinely murderous  hatred of our country. In every million people out there in the world who resent or even hate Atlantis, there is probably one fanatic who would think himself justified in killing an innocent stranger simply because the stranger was born here. These fanatics are needles in haystacks and, because it’s so hard to find them, our strategy is to set alight the damn hay! But in so doing, surely, are we not morally bringing ourselves down to their level? By allowing ourselves to be provoked into mass destruction, are we not in the process of becoming the very monster they accuse us of being? And once we’ve become that monster, won’t many ordinary people out there, quite rightly, see us as the aggressors who must be fought? what exactly are we saying to them, after all, if not "We have no problem with you personally , guy, but we’re going to bomb your family anyway"? Where is the moral high ground in that, for God’s sake? How can we claim to be the injured party if, twenty years from now, the problem has grown exponentially, as a result of what we do today. Do you know what I’m saying?

"I mean…" Teri hurried to explain, "obviously we do everything in our power to thwart terrorist plots, but beyond that perhaps we would do better to accept a small proportion of casualties on our side in the short term while concentrating all our energies on winning the moral  war here. If we show that we are doing all in our power to avoid exploiting what everyone knows to be our overwhelming military strength, then we isolate the terrorists in people’s eyes the whole world over and identify them as the true evil doers. Gradually, they find their own people turning more and more until they are forced, by the weight of opinion in their own countries, to renounce their course of action."

There’s more, and it’s all good, but I really connected with that in my sleepless last night.

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