Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: Long Street

A FUNdraiser, heart warmer, eye opener

1236549_10200673323223198_507707605_n I am sure you can imagine the reluctance with which I dragged my sorry arse out of the house last night in the hard, cold rain, to go and emcee Dance For Natalie. It wasn’t only the blastingly unfriendly weather. It’s been so long since I jauled in Long Street I don’t even know the places, and I had visions of not finding parking and having to dash though downpours and giant puddles and Long Street dealers and derelicts just to get to Zula Bar. It wasn’t half as bad. I found a parking less than a block away and I managed to have a short gap of light drizzle to make my dash.

To be fair, I was nervous that others would be put off and not make it, but in the end there was a fantastic turnout and it was a really brilliant evening for all, and a complete eye opener for me. Aside from the fact that the magnificent Nina van der Berg, Natalie’s care-giver, friend and now close circle of love family managed to arrange and host this event, it was how it was received by others, including me, that totally blew me away. First of all there were Natalie’s supporters; friends and family, who came to dance or volunteer at the door and merchandise table. Then there were the bands, dancers (swing, salsa, Cape Jazz, Burlesque), fire dancers and dance teacher, who all offered their services for absolutely free, and were gorgeous, talented and amazing. I am now totally in love with Manouche, a gypsy jazz band, and The Rat Rod Cats, a rock-a-billy trio: two bands I saw and heard live for the first time last night, who rocked the house and revived my interest in live music. (I am following them both on twitter now to keep in the loop about when and where they perform again.)

But mostly I was gobsmacked by Nina’s crowd of friends. I had no idea that young people of Cape Town; female and male, were getting together to dance swing. And it is beautiful, inspiring and happy. Jeannie Elliot of the Boogie Back Dance Co has been teaching them, and it is delightful. Cape Town is still full of surprises, interesting quirks and people doing other fabulous stuff. I got more and more into the evening, and was amazed as four hours flew by and I was hop skipping my way back to the car at 12 to come home.

Well done Nina. Well flippen done. This frenemy of swing is now a heart convert.

PS. I was a shocking emcee. Shocking. The funniest thing of the whole night was when somebody came to tell me that what I had thought was a heckler saying “show us your boobs” was her husband saying “show us your moves”! But, even though I got names all wrong, and people mixed up, I had the best time.

Long Street Delight

I have just finished reading Banquet at Brabazan by Patricia Schonstein and it has left me feeling really strange, and delighted and uncomfortable and sad and oddly uplifted.

Banquet at Brabazan could not be more Cape Town. It is set in and around Long Street and the City Bowl, but also touches on the suburbs and townships of Cape Town. It is another weird mix of fantasy and reality, images and characters from her previous book A Time of Angels.

Obvious references to existing people like Graham Weir and Not The Midnight Mass, or Pieter Toerien and Pretty Yende, to name a few, as well as actual buildings, streets and places, are interweaved with imagined characters, places and spaces and it’s strange and confusing and delicious and unsettling. It is also underscored with a weird nostalgia, abundance, and Italian decadence too odd to explain properly.

The characters are beautiful, and strange and awkwardly special. There is an angel who lives at the YMCA. There is the real dwarf who often stands at the robot in front of the Engen in Orange Street, only here he has an imagined wife and life. There is a cross dressing Jewish business man who has the most beautiful affair with his secretary. There is the Long Street we know, and the one we kind of know, or at least suspect, and the magical Long Street we wish we got more glimpses of, and the Long Street we fantasise about.

There is the disturbing reality of child trafficking and muti murders, of drugs and xenophobia, of the Angolan war, of Mozambican horrors. There is politics, and poverty and nasty human stuff. There are beautiful costumes, romantic paintings, beautiful light and music.

It is a really, really strange and totally haunting read. I want to be in the movie.

Dave Ferguson was on the roof.

five What could be better than spending New Year’s day afternoon on the trailer park rooftop garden of The Grand Daddy in Long Street?

We were packed on top of the roof to watch and listen to the funky sounds of lone man Dave as he looped his beats, breathed living soul into his suitcase of harmonicas and rasped over the mic. Sexy, sultry and very hillbilly chic. I love Dave. He just gets better and better, and even though he said it had been a long night and day (he had performed two sets at the New Year’s trance party yesterday morning) he got up in front of us and blew us away. White Girl is my favourite.

dave-ferguson The rooftop gig seems to be a regular Friday arvie thing. Get there early and grab a spot. We were too late for a really good spot so we had to squat on somebody’s trailer’s stoep. They were very nice about it. The gig is free, but the costs are made up for it in the drinks! I did have a really delicious chili popper on a stick though. The weather was perfect up there and it was a big, fat jaul. See you there next Friday for an early afternoon sundowner?

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