Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: 567

What’s in My Bad Mood?

I have woken up with a rage hangover this morning. I am still fuming about my night last night and I am not really sure where to even begin.

Let’s go with why I was motivated to start meganshead in the first place. I wanted to warn Capetonians about bad theatre (and cheer them on to see good stuff, it must be said). Now this one is particularly hard for me because of how I feel about The Kalk Bay Theatre. It is categorically my favourite theatre in Cape Town. It is independent, beautiful, brilliantly managed. It is where I love to see theatre and make theatre. I want the theatre to do brilliantly.

But now I need to say what I feel about the first half of the show that opened there last night, “What’s In a Name?”. And here is a warning; if you loved it, do not read further, because I am going to be saying some very harsh stuff.

Right up front, I was absolutely relieved to discover that there were two halves. This meant I could leave at interval without making a spectacle of myself. Everything I say will only be about the first hellish forty or so minutes, but I swear it is enough.

What’s In a Name is trying to be a cabaret(?) performed by Delray Burns and Roland Perold and directed by Garth Tavares, and apparently choreographed(?) by Delray. What it actually is is a completely random collection of ‘trying to be funny’ songs that have nothing to do with anything, including the meaningless title of the show. What it is trying to be is a showcase for two young performers (like a live showreel to offer what they can do), but what it becomes is a beyond irritating, badly sung, horribly characterised, cartoon version of itself. Hell on an audience, not in the least funny, and so badly done I was squirming in my love seat in the back row. Fifty Delray costume changes later (a light up bra being the only highlight, ‘scuse the pun), a hideous “lights up” audience participation section where I could not hide my disgust in the dark, a complete mafferation of two songs I usually think are quite clever, Henry Higgins from My Fair Lady and Coward’s Don’t Put Your Daughter on the Stage Mrs Worthington, and other tragic, inconsequential, murderously bad versions of other stuff (including Snoopy I think!), meant I had to escape.

I feel I need to explain here. I concede that there is often stuff that is “not my cup of tea”. I don’t get big, mainstream musicals. Yet, I can totally appreciate them (and have even loved one or two) when they are well done. It is true that a collection of random show tunes is not that cup of tea that I would choose to drink, but I am entirely capable of drinking it, and enjoying it, if it is just warm, sweet and well made. “What’s In a Name?” is not that cup.

I am going to lose friends here. Brand new followers of meganshead on twitter are going to be upset. Friends of the performers in the audience last night were “loving” the show, and even tweeted me about it. I am going to be branded a bitch. I am going to set myself up for the harshest criticism of my own work. I wrestled with whether I was going to do this at all. But when I woke up at the crack of dawn this morning and saw what a friend had inboxed me on facebook, and realised she felt the same, I felt I had to speak out. Sies. What’s In a Name? In this case, absolutely zero, zip, niks.

Then, on my drive home (just to put salt in my wounds) I happened to flick the radio on to 567. The minute I realised it was Kieno Kammies I should have switched to 5fm for some retarded pop, but I was negotiating Boyes Drive and didn’t change in time. The moron was introducing what was going to be his late night topic; a ‘scientific’ study where caged monkeys are going to be fattened up so said scientists can study obesity. Kieno thought this was a great idea because, and I quote, “have you seen the fat kids rolling around the lawns?”. I. Kid. You. Not. Kieno Kammies thinks that caging and force feeding monkeys (natural omnivores quite capable of maintaining their own healthy weight) and fattening them up is going to help us understand why children are obese. Maybe Kieno, they are obese because they are caged, overfed (usually with unhealthy processed crap that monkeys would never eat) by their parents, bored and under-exercised? I actually could not listen to him for one second more. I had fantasies of finding images of his own children, hoping they were as fat as houses, and then using them in my own experiments. The drive home from KBT is long when you are having these murderous thoughts while listening to Rehane singing …”sticks and stones will hurt my bones, but whips and chains excite me” as if she wrote those lines herself! Bah. Humbug.


The Soli Story

I’m sure it’s mostly old news by now that Soli Philander was dismissed from 567 Cape Talk a week or two ago. I realised something fishy was happening when Shado Twala seemed to inherit Soli’s slot indefinitely. Although I have read Soli’s heartfelt rhyming explanation for what happened on face book, I don’t profess to having the ins and outs and I certainly haven’t tried to find out the story in more detail or even call out that he was unjustly treated. I just have some thoughts on how corporates just get things so damn wrong sometimes.

Soli is a transformer. He is able to change the way people think, manipulate people’s ideas and encourage them to do things differently. He is exactly what you want in a public persona; someone who speaks their mind with humour and conviction, and gets people to come along for the ride. Which is exactly why his Taxi Timeout was a genius idea and why he and his show were so completely valuable, both for Cape Talk, and for Cape Town.

Now I am not suggesting that Primedia management and the bigwigs don’t have a case against Soli (although I have no real idea about this) but I am pretty convinced he didn’t do anything outright illegal, like steal or cheat or do stuff that our politicians are so comfortable doing with public funds. I am sure they have very good reasons for dismissing him. It just doesn’t make sense.

I really believe that they needed to make every effort to keep him. They needed to pay him more, bend or break the corporate rules, change how they do things, and negotiate a different scenario to make sure he stayed; because he is who we want on our radio. He does it for us. He was their pot of gold, their valuable asset, their secret weapon (not their only one, I concede, but one of them). And instead of trying to make him and us believe that he is dispensable and replaceable they just needed to eat humble pie, recognise his extraordinary value (which comes with all the difficulties of being a huge, popular, magnetic transformer) and make a plan. But no, they pulled that corporate, contractual, businessspeak bullshit and got rid of him.

I loved Shado as a South Africa’s Got Talent judge, but to fill Soli’s boots on the radio as a talk show host? Aikona sisi. So, during that time slot I’ll listen to one of the few really crap choices we have on FM in Cape Town, as I am sure many Cape Talk listeners will. And that just seems so pointless. Cultivate, support and grow what people value and talent you have 567 (and all other corporates), instead of big sticking them out of there.

Talk talk radio

I’m off to talk to Soli on 567. I love it. Today we will be talking about the work we do with improvisation in the corporate world. I’ll feedback later. Eesh, I just tried to make links to Soli and 567 but I can’t make contact!

Will fix later.

let’s talk 567

cv_soli I’m having a week of radio stuff. Today I am marching off to the Cape Talk studio to have a chat with Soli Philander about stuff, mainly theatre reviews and blogging. I love chatting to Soli. I don’t know if anyone remembers the last time Soli had a show on 567 Cape Talk, I would join him on a Friday arvie for Meg’s Moan In, where I would complain bitterly about all sorts of things. A lot like, this blog actually. So if you’re near a radio at 14h30, give us a listen.

I love talk radio as well. I don’t know if anyone listened to the Cape Talk drive on Monday to raise money to feed and care for orphans? They raised a whopping three and a half million Rand! Children phoned in to pledge pocket money, grannies called in to give their few Rands worth. I wept. Capetonians can be amazing!

A bok by any other name

Yesterday I was listening to John Maytham on 567 while driving back from rehearsals and he was fielding calls from listeners who were hysterical about the keeping or chucking of the Springbok as SA rugby’s emblem.

Now I must say at the outset that rugby is not my game; I am a cricket somebody, much to Big Friendly’s continued amusement. (And I still manage to support a team whose name and emblem allows me to nickname them The Poepteas!) Nonetheless, Big Friendly has influenced me and I occasionally watch a rugby test match when SA is involved. (I love Naas and his pre, half-time and post show analysis.)

This name changing debacle is a fascinating one for me, not because of the name itself, but more, because of how it has been handled. More and more we see how a big stick approach just doesn’t work, on both sides. First of all, to demand that the name be changed is a leetle heavy handed, and certainly provocative. It doesn’t open a debate, it just raises hackles, voices and occasionally fists. Then the vicious "f you" argument for keeping the name becomes tainted with racial overtones and a throwback to a hideous, divided past.

I just don’t get it. The solution is so simple. Why can’t everyone just ask nicely? This is the conversation I would have liked to have happen.

Against Bok: We would like to change the hurtful name and emblem of the Springbok.

Pro Bok: We are so sorry that the name and emblem caused anyone any pain, and we understand how this is possible. We are working so hard to change the negative connotation of the Bok. We would like to ask you nicely if we can keep the emblem.

Against Bok: Ok

One caller on John’s show tried to say this yesterday but he got completely mangled. Dan was hurt by the arrogance of the Pro Bok team, who miss the point that the name can be hurtful, but he ended up calling them Afrikaners. Next thing he was being branded a racist. Hau Dan, I know what you were trying to say.

It’s all about being kind, showing respect and having a conversation. All the threats are just so dangerous, disgusting and useless.

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