Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: Brett Anderson (Page 1 of 2)

2 Parrots and a Sandcastle

IMG_6968So, my way of starting the new year is with three improv shows at my fave Alexander Bar, this coming Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. I will be performing with a different improviser each night, for an hour of made up stuff, with no pre-plan or any idea at all about what we will be doing. I cannot wait.

The line up of performers joining me is unbelievable and I am so lucky to have these people to come and play, and fulfil my dream and first love, improv.

Tandi Buchan, AD of Improguise, our improv troupe, joins me on Thursday night. We have been improvising together for over twenty years now. In fact, Tandi is like my improv wife. We are so safe with each other, but still continue to surprise each other. Tandi is imagination. Tandi is a storytelling machine and brilliant characters. Tandi is Noel Coward and South African Soap. I love being on stage with her.

Friday night is Brett Anderson night. It is also the night of his birthday, so double celebration. Brett ‘take it and run with’ it Anderson is a different kind of partner in crime. Wordsmith, rhyme guy and creative punster, Brett gives me a run for my money with quick thinking and wittiness. I so enjoy being on stage with him.

On Saturday it’s Leon Clingman’s chance to join me. I have been waiting for a chance to share a stage for an hour with Leon. We really get each other as improvisers. With Leon I can take risks. With Leon there is conflict and drama and relationships. Leon is my improv husband. I know it is going to be interesting, and amazing.

I don’t want you to have to choose which night to join us. Come to all three. It’s cheap as bad gossip. R80 if you book online.

An open letter to my friend and ally Brett Anderson

Dearest Brett

I thought of you today. It was a constant thought that ran parallel to my most extraordinary experience, and so I am writing to you, and for everybody else to see.

I’ll start with the facts; with what happened, and then I will tell you what it has done and how I feel.

I went to the periodontist’s hygienist today for my regular teeth cleaning. I go every five months because I am prone to gum disease. It is the one area of my health I am vigilant about. Life is weird. I have a good relationship with her; she chats to me a lot while she scrapes the plaque and tartar off my teeth. I have heard all about her kids and their lovelinesses and she knows I have a niece of a similar age to her daughter. I like her very much, this young, hard working, serious, kind hearted, sensitive, religious, intelligent, white, Afrikaans woman.

Today the conversation swung in the direction of the student protests and she sighed out how disappointed she was in the violence and burning that to her mind was so counter productive and inappropriate. I hesitated for one tiny moment before deciding what to do, and then, I breathed in (it helped that her fingers were in my mouth, which gave me that extra nano-second of refection) and asked for her permission to hear my radical point of view. She said yes and I started explaining.

At first her responses were lots of ‘yes but’s and I persisted. She told me how hard she and her husband had worked for what they have. She told me how her 25 year old brother, who has a degree, is discriminated against and can’t get a job. She told me about her mother who had grown up with absolutely nothing in an orphanage. And there was my way in. I said, “When your mother was in an orphanage there were only white children in the orphanage.” She stopped and said firmly, “Yes, poor white children.” And all I said was, “there were no orphanages for black children then.” Her mouth opened. A tiny penny dropped. I took the gap and changed the subject. I asked her how many cars her family of four owned. She said two. Basically, a car per adult in the family. And then I told her how she was in the less than one percent of the richest people in the world, who owned their own car. I told her about the many millions of people in the world who would never ride in a private car in their lives. And her brain clicked. I saw it happen.

She bravely held back and stopped her white tears. She thanked me. She thanked me for talking to her. She told me she would never, ever see the world in the same light again. She confessed how naive she had been, how insular, how shortsighted. She thanked me, and I received her thanks.

I spoke to one white person today who utterly, totally heard something for the very first time ever, and she will never ever unthink those thoughts. And I am so excited and moved and inspired. Oh yes. It can be done. One person at a time. One engagement at a time. One white person at a time.

So, Brett, I thought of you, and how you do things, and what you hope for, and how usually I am the one with zero patience or tolerance, and today I must have channeled you, and it worked.

I am not reformed. White people’s ignorance of their own privilege pisses me off beyond explaining, but something tiny happened today, in the right direction and it is as teeny as the furthest star, but it is a shining light.

PS. I just thought you should know.

Improv Inspiration

Not that I need it, but yesterday is living proof that improv is the most extraordinary tool and philosophy in the corporate environment.

A few weeks ago I was approached by an international company who wanted to find out about the possibility of doing some industrial theatre at a conference. They had a product (a data system) that needed to be launched, and they wanted us to spice up the launch and make it fun and exciting. After a lovely chat, they were broad minded enough to consider my suggestion that we run an improv workshop/show shop with the delegates (instead of doing rehearsed sketches), and then pepper the presentation with some improvised interventions. (I must add here that the terrifying idea of trying to understand the product and then deliver accurate content around it was the main reason why I wanted to avoid writing a script and then rehearsing the stuff).

Only after I had sold the idea to them did I hear that there were going to be 200 delegates. 200! That is 200 people in a room, 10 at a table, 20 tables.

So when we (three veteran improvisers) arrived at the venue yesterday and started setting up while everyone was at lunch I felt like an imposter. How were we going to pull this off? I shouldn’t have worried. It was magnificent, and energising, and hilarious and potent and unbelievably barrier breaking. It worked. It was amazing. My fellow improvisers Tandi Buchan and Brett Anderson were superb, and we managed to change and charge the room.

Now this is all I want to do, for the rest of my life. So, if you need us, let me know. Send me a line on


The Age of Outcry

imagesChapter 9

Thank you readers, for coming this far. Let me remind you. You are now on day 17 of my home rebirth deep mindfulness and being present meditation preparation experiential process.

In summary, I have, up to this point, introduced the skills and insights of being still, asking ourselves a genuine ‘how are you?’, inner listening, inner answering, pause, forming a mental picture of every word, finding the colour and form of the emotion, and doing the simple loud bang brain rewire. You are in a good place.

You have l-earned the in-breath of self control (chapter 6), the filling of the lungs of expansion and growth (chapter 7). You have l-earned the hold-breath of enlightened focus (chapter 8). You are ready.

You are ready for the out-breath of the age of outcry. The out-breath is the release. It is the expression and it is the letting go. The length of your out-breath determines your age. Of course this is not your physical age, it is your developmental age. And the outcry is the sound of your rebirth. The outcry is the tear of pain, the separation, the rebirth canal journey to your more free self. Are you ready?

So, get comfortable. Relax. Let your mind(full)eye(I) focus on the inner self. Make inner i-contact with your self. Acknowledge, silent greet, meta-physical hug. In-breath. Love is an inward expression. Self-control. Hold-breath. Enlightened focus. Now your first ever out-breath of the age of outcry. Let it go. Let it pass your vocal chords on the way out. Let go of the gender specificity of the soul sound. Release your outcry into the physical world.

The physical manifestation of the age of outcry will be tears, breathlessness, possible sore throat. You may see red, in dots or just metaphorically. This is because your molecules will be readjusting. No need for further action, just acknowledgement without judgement. Awareness without achievement oriented masculine thinking.

You have accessed the next stage in the meditation preparation experience. You have arrived at the outcry. It is the expression.

If your tears were put under a microscope now, the shape and form of the water configurations would be sharp, black and violent. They would form a physic-neural number, written in DNA. It would be calculable. It would be the age. The age of your outcry.


It is a bittersweet end to this series of tandem blog posts. I have loved these, and found them challenging. Please check out the others here. Dave Luis and Brett Anderson, thanks for all the words.




To Mrs Northwick

Principal of Bizzy Beez  pre-primary nursery school and early learning centre

Re: Saffron Burger’s report

Dear Mrs (let it be noted that we would have preferred Mz) Northwick,

Thank you for your detailed comments on Saffron’s first term report card. My wife and I were rather surprised that you, the principal, would have that much of a hands on approach, and expected to hear more from Megan and Ntombesile, Saffron’s class teachers, about her progress. They are always the ones to hold her when she screams as we leave her, and the ones that help us get her into the RV when we pick her up.

I hope you don’t mind, but I think we will tackle your points one by one.

1. “Saffron is generally bigger than her classmates, and can be boisterous and physical on the playground.” Thank you for making mention of her size to us, but please do not say this directly to her. Her psychologist has asked us to protect her self image by refraining from any discussion about her size, weight, or strength lest it manifest in another eating disorder.

2. “Instead of playing with others on the jungle gym, she lures them up and then throws them off.” My wife and I have discussed this and we are comfortable that ‘luring’ indicates a form of consent from the other 4 year olds. No problem here, we think.

3. “Saffron has not been able to make the transition to stainless steel eating utensils since she still uses her plastic knives, forks and spoons as weapons.” Thank you for bringing up Saffron’s creativity here. We are just concerned that you seem to have put a negative spin on this. We are quite proud that she has developed her motor skills enough to stab, prod, gouge and slice so effectively with mere plastic utensils.

4. “Saffron is very affectionate, a wonderful quality in any child, but she needs to learn the difference between hugging and squeezing.” Isn’t that your job? I mean, learning is what needs to happen at the school. My wife and I believe you are trying to bring up the squashed bunny episode even though it was settled out of court on condition it was never discussed again.  She is only used to Denver our Pyrenean Mountain dog when it comes to animal affection, and she can’t get her arms fully around his neck. Obviously it is different with smaller animals.

5. “Saffron’s competitive spirit turns every singalong into a screaming session.” She has spoken to us about her classmates’ passivity and how she feels compelled to get them to sing louder. Go Saffron!

6. “Alan Higgins was brought to my office in tears after witnessing the de-limbing of all the dolls in the dress up section. Saffron told him she was doing to them what she would do to him if he didn’t agree to become her boyfriend forever and ever.” Alan Higgins? We will have to have a serious chat to her about that. My wife and I do not believe he is good boyfriend material at all.

7. “Colouring in is not a favourite activity for Saffron. Unfortunately, she does not appreciate that others might enjoy it.” Old news. Did we not replace all the crayons, crayon boxes and colouring in books when the incidents happened? And, “Hand prints in blood on the curtains are not, as Saffron declared, “works of art”.” My wife and I are deeply concerned here. Whose blood? Was Saffron allowed to touch someone else’s blood while in your care?

Which brings us to your last comment. “In conclusion, it is clear that Saffron has issues with boundaries, respecting the property of others, and sharing, making it impossible for her to retain her place at Bizzy Beez.” My wife and I get the feeling that once again you are declaring your incompetence at educating the young and impressionable of this world, but we have decided to give you another chance. We have decided that, against all our natural instincts to protect our child, she should remain at Bizzy Beez to turn around your track record and help you make a success of the place. So, when we arrive tomorrow, please do not hide in the building and pretend that nobody is there. We can see Ntombesile’s weave sticking up out the window, and we can hear the loud moaning of the other children. I know you said it was them crying in fear, the last time you tried this, but at this point I am sure you will say anything.

Thank you for your time. I am comfortable that we have the boundaries in place for a healthy relationship going forward.


Andrew and Sylvia Burger

PS. It has come to our attention that you refer to us as the Buggers, and not the Burgers. I am sure this is just a silly mistake.

This post is one of a weekly tandem blog post. There are three of us this time, writing on the same topic, and today’s is Boundaries. Please check out Dave’s and Brett’s take by following their links.

PS (of my own). I have no idea why this week’s post was the difficult one for me. I started it three times, trashed my first two ideas, and struggled through my final effort. I had writer’s block, idea insecurity, laziness and lack of commitment. I like my final piece, but it was a real struggle, and I think that it is worth mentioning that. It isn’t always easy.



37 Million Light Years

imagesThe distance between desire and swallow

The space between frightened heartbeats

The wait for the unwanted answer

The way to describe an inconceivable

I sat on the plane, waiting for the usual ritual of things before we would take off and head home. The flight had been delayed, so the whole trip would happen in darkness. The air hostess went through the emergency exit rules with us in her sing song, ‘this will never happen in 37 million light years’ voice. I imagined the feeling of the red rubber handle, and how heavy 20 kilos would be as I pulled the door out and turned it on its side. I also thought how glad I was that people with compulsions don’t sit in the exit rows.

The air outside, through the double plastic windows, was frosty, and so crystal clear that the lights on the runway were bold and had no halos. The engines started up and the plane crawled to the runway. The notion of flight for this giant metal tube with wings, and all the passengers, with their bags and suitcases, and telephones and laptops, and 300 jackets, and toiletry bags filled with more stuff, seemed as unlikely as another earth 37 million light years away. I knew that this was nothing short of a science miracle, and yet, I was irritated that we would be 45 minutes later than expected; our dogs were waiting. People are funny and strange. We had stood in the boarding queue and tapped our heels and checked our phones and glared at the people in their winter airport coats behind their little ticket desks, urging them to hurry it all up. Like hurrying up a cake that is baking. Nobody says, “We are going to be flying in the air. Let’s make sure this is all safe, and can happen.”

The lights dimmed in the cabin, for take-off. It was magical and beautiful and very sad. We had gone up country to say final goodbyes to one family member and to spend time with others, especially our freshly growing little niece. Now we were going in the opposite direction. I know Cape Town is only 1 264km away from Johannesburg, but when there is a niece that distance away it feels like 37 million light years.

The giant bird tilted in the low sky and started to climb. The lights. 37 million light years of lights below us, like a mirror to the unseen sky above. The two hour stretch of time pulled out in front of us; a rubbery string of endlessness made worse by cramped seats and totally taken for granted expectation. The pilot announced that he would take short cuts, and get us there 20 minutes early, only a half an hour later than scheduled. The distance between irritation and relief. I imagined a mouth, just a mouth on its own, chewing patiently at the rubber string, bite by bite, bringing us home.

Then, like a quantum leap, black hole warp drive, an eternity was suddenly reduced and the plane was readying for descent. Tray tables were put away and the last few bits were thrown into the moving trash bin. Humans are experts at creating waste. Physical, emotional, spiritual. Then, 10 minutes to landing. Then landing.

My heart was split into 37 million light years of pieces. A joyous reunion with home – 10 million. A pulsing longing for what we had left – 10 million, a what if 7 million, and another lost 10 million, lost to how easily we take things for granted.

We’re doing this post as part of a weekly tandem blog post. There are three of us this time, writing on the same topic, 37 Million Light Years. Please check out Dave and Brett’s take by following their links.



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