2013-09-12

on a summerley day...


Although the novelty wore off ages ago, 9/11 will be remembered for the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington DC. For me, I remember the date for Jbird’s birthday.

Without fail, the build-up to the day involves deciding whether to do ‘something’ or not, me twisting the arm, organising a guest list for a party of some sorts, cancellation of the event because organising it is just too stressful, further 

twisting of the arm, she succumbs, the big day comes and she wants out one last time, but its far too late because the event is upon us.

It’s a lot of fun.

She decided she wanted to go to Jakes on Summerley for dinner, which was perfect for me since its my new local, and I’ve had a birthday party there before, and most importantly, is crawling distance from my coop. Then came the guest list.

For once this was pretty easy going, or so we thought, until a few hours before her party a friend suggested she does a dinner party for her birthday and we realised we had left her off the guest list.

Awkward.

To her friend’s credit, she still pitched up regardless of the ‘pity’ invite, present and all. Jbird being Jbird, she was now sweating over whether all the guests would bother coming. Again, credit where it is due, considering it was a bloody freezing Tuesday night, all but two people pitched, and they had pretty good reasoning for giving the dinner a skip. We even had a party crasher who gave a very good rendition of the Happy Birthday song.

There wasn’t any shortage of entertainment, with a live couple’s quarrel playing out very

conspicuously, various personalities bunched together with a bit of booze to enhance them, made for a great evening.

Most importantly, the birthday girl was having a right jol. She wasn’t dancing on tables or anything, but she let her hair down and flashed her brilliant smile in abundance.

Now fully recovered from Tuesday, I travel to Jo’burg for my sister’s wedding tonight. I’m glad I’m going to be a passenger for this one, because the stress levels are on another level with that crowd. Besides the wedding, I am seriously excited to see my ‘sister from my other mother’, Aviwe.

That girl is trouble.

2013-08-26

much to be missed...



It’s quite disconcerting having people “pop in” unannounced as it is, so when you answer the doorbell and the visitor announces himself as “your father” on the intercom, one can understand why I initially laughed. I thought it was someone pulling a fast one with a play on Darth Vader’s immortal words. The shock, horror and panic when it dawned on me it wasn’t Anakin Skywalker outside, but in fact, my father, can hardly be put into words.

I can only thank the big man upstairs for inspiring me to clean my room a few days earlier, otherwise I wonder what he would have thought of me had he walked into the mess that masqueraded as my room.

My sabbatical in the Eastern Cape was a roller-coaster of emotions. No doubt my brother and I will never ever forget the day we were sat waiting for a traditional doctor with the old man the whole day, sans any sort of food or means of entertainment. Never mind we weren’t told our destination until we were in the car, with our house fast diminishing in view in the rear-view mirror. Otherwise, we would have grabbed a banana at least to entertain our stomachs and a book.

What made the wait most intolerable, and I must state, I become very intolerant on an empty stomach, was the fact there was bugger-all cell service in the area. So we were sat with our own thoughts to entertain us, imagining all sorts of foods we were craving at the time. Mind, when it was all over, I could only stomach a drumstick and chips of my Nandos after my stomach had shrunk to the size of a marble.

Katiso’s energy is surely unprecedented for someone who isn’t taking some sort of supplement. He ran, harried, pulled, yanked, pushed, shouted, sang, danced and walked all over me for four straight days. He loves a good tickling, which is quite a procession, because he has to be chased down first. It was fun at first, his unbridled laughter quite a joy to behold. But the novelty quickly wore off when I realised I couldn’t sustain the chase for long.

Getting back to Cape Town was emotionally daunting. I missed being back home, but was happy being back “home”. The first few mornings I was home I certainly missed getting up and being coerced to put on Ben 10 on the telly. This process would occur again in the afternoon as well as the evening, and if ever refused, would be followed by either guilt tears or incessant pleading, both of which bore results more often that I would like to admit.

There was much trepidation about my first week back, which coincided with my first dance classes in four months. It turned out to be so much fun, immediately after the jazz and ballet classes, I was looking forward to the next week with excitement.

Mind you, the next few days after that I had to walk as if I was carrying a basketball in-between my legs. The combination of the classes; although I suspect ballet was the chief culprit; left my muscles in a state of micro-trauma. The “oohs” and “aaahhs”, and the occasional yelp every time I left my desk at the office, became part of the ambiance.

We have approximately eight weeks left until the end of year show. This is as going to be a particularly unnerving show, since I will be going in cold turkey since I haven’t been on stage this year. Compared to last year, when I felt like I was living on the stage, this will evoke memories of my debut year, one that is not remembered with much fondness, but much mortification.

My nephew was the most heart-warming feature of the trip. As soon as I got home, until I left, I belonged to either Katiso, my mom or my dad. Katiso demanded all my time, when my parents hadn’t claimed a bit of it. Hence I never made any inroads into any of the books I was reading after I got off the plane.

2013-08-07

Sabbatical...

It has been some 3 months since I last pranced around in front of a mirror at a dance studio. The sabbatical has been more than fruitful, providing plenty of free time to dedicate to extra hours of work and studying, and those days I am feeling super lazy but would otherwise have been obligated to attend a class, I can waste those watching series or reading a book guilt-free.

The biggest winner out of the sabbatical is finding my passion for reading again. Although I have only rediscovered the joy of burying my head in a book recently, it’s some of the most fun I have had in ages, especially on cold nights (of which there have been plenty). Come 8pm, I will move from the bed to the steaming bath, which will be an hour’s worth of bliss, often with a sandwich and cold drink for company.

I am busy immersed in Steve Waugh’s autobiography, Out of My Comfort Zone. Autobiographies by sportsmen who were either at the very top of their sporting codes, or respected captains of excellent sporting teams, tend to be my favourite. What makes them tick is what I am after, and Steve Waugh was as tough as they came.

The great thing about this book is it obviously covers Waugh’s career, which spanned from the late 80’s, when Australia’s cricket was in dire straits and the West Indies were the most dominant side, until the 2000’s, when the Aussies were at their pinnacle.

The biggest disappointment is the book doesn’t really go into detail of how Waugh, one of the most resilient batsmen at the crease, would go about grafting through one of those innings it was obvious he was out of nick and looked ungainly, yet would come up with a match defining century at the end of it.

The other upside to my sabbatical has been finding a steady curfew and sleeping pattern. “In bed by 9pm and up by 6am” has been consistently adhered to, especially the last two weeks, which has also helped with my punctuality issues at work. Eyebrows are raised when I clock in 25 minutes early, and it is quite pleasant not rushing in and having to solve a hundred queries on the spot in a state of haste.

Now the biggest challenge is to actually get out of bed at 05h30, so I can be at the gym by 6am. I am unlikely to manage that feat on a consistent basis as long as it is still pitch dark at that time. Even the early morning birds seem reluctant to chirp away so early on.

2013-03-07

sprained bodies...



I made my long awaited return to dance class on Wednesday after a few weeks spent blowing off steam. In my absence, life has gone on, as it does, and there is nothing worse than being behind and having to catch up on a dance everybody knows. Luckily for me, I can pretty much fake knowing what I am doing as well as a girl can fake an orgasm.

Ballet class was a most chastening experience, and the stretching session was close to inducing tears. It may have been laughs and giggles while I was curled up in the fetal position while my stomach muscles cramped to no end, but the stretches had the feel of rugby pre-season boot camp. Normal order will resume soon enough; I give it a week.

I missed out on a lot of what was happening in general around the world. I do not own a TV; I gave mine away years ago fully confident there would be nothing on government telly that would have me spending another dime on my sister’s salary (she worked for the SABC at the time) that I couldn’t catch at my local. Anyways, I would have missed the whole Oscar Pistorius saga had I not overheard a couple of shop attendants yacking on about the whole affair. Not that I cared much for it, but I like to be informed.

That’s why I was quite broken-hearted to have missed the Champions League first leg matches, as well as the Proteas crushing Pakistan. Again. That is the kind of news that matters, to me at least. I would be damned if I was going to miss the Sharks’ opening game of the Super 15 though. That would be like missing my own birthday party.

My sister came down to see the mountain a few weeks ago, and it ended up being a Sunday not dissimilar to those the Bolihope Gang used to orchestrate on far too regular occasions. She brought her fiancé along, a very likeable fella from up north. The couple were in rather festive mood, and certainly not because organizing their wedding has been fun. In fact, the poor fella has had some insight into some of the nuances we deal with when it comes to the parentals. Especially the definition of negotiation, which means they hear you out and then get what they want anyway.

I digress. It was a beautiful Sunday, and Vaarlies desperately craving time near the beach (there had to be a tared road separating them from sand), we headed to Camps Bay for lunch. A long lunch, consisting of a starter, two mains and dessert. They can pack it down, no doubt about that. Then we headed off to Bar One down the road for cocktails and, of course, dinner. Which was followed by drinks in Long Street at The Dubliner, which was oddly rocking, considering the day of the week. By now we had crept over to Monday morning and long been slurring, my sister dragging some poor dude called Q outside so she could compare our ‘fros, and “owning” the dance floor. According to her anyway.

Everytime I have seen my sister during the past two years, a hangover is usually part and parcel of the reunion. With her equally pint-sized partner-in-crime, our “other sister”, Aviwe, coming back home for good from foggy London, things will certainly only get more and more interesting. And that is before the wedding shenanigans kick off!

I certainly can’t wait!

2012-11-02

30 years old and we're still counting...




Well, it was inevitable. I finally turned 30 years old! The big 3O. Of course not everyone thought I would get there. I’m sure there are stages of my life my parents thought my life wouldn’t extend beyond 21. Or I would celebrate my birthdays from prison. But here we are...

Having said that, I wasn't too keen on bigging up the whole fiasco. I was more interested in the Sharks/Province final than my birthday. Nothing much has changed. To be honest, I don’t feel too different since my birthday. Apart from a few mysterious and uncomfortable stomach aches, and a sudden increase in injuries suffered during dance classes, I feel like the same ‘ol sack who tries not to take anything too seriously.

Through boredom, Jbird and I ended up at Inside on Friday night, where we intended on making it a short stay. The one drink rule is infamously flawed, as we realised when we swayed out of the joint at 2am. This was a large spanner in the works to my Saturday, something I realised as I finished my fifth drink. Nonetheless, I marched on like a true trooper.

The hangover was severe in the morning, as it always is. Too severe to negotiate my way out of bed to China Town as was the plan the previous day. After a decent stretch of shuteye, feeling a little more human, I roused myself for the weekend’s raison d'etre, the Currie Cup Final. For the past few years, the Sharks have been involved in the Final and kept my interest in this weekend sustained purely for that reason, the fact my birthday more or less coincides with the Final has been auxiliary.

The fellas at Inside were kind enough to organise us a table with the best view in the joint, with flatscreen TVs posted in every direction, and my short-sighted eyes didn’t have to strain to see the score. The grounds were well set for the Sharks to win this one; overwhelming favourites with home ground advantage, it was almost my birthday, and Province couldn’t buy a Currie Cup trophy for love or money for the past 11 years. But this is the exact reason I was nervous; the favourites tag tends to wear a side down in finals.


And so it proved, the Sharks failing to turn up on the day. It was bitterly disappointing, but it wasn’t going to quash my spirits. I joined up with Connie and his cronies at On The Roll, fully aware the entire contingent are avid Province fans who had been through 11 years of hurt. I figured I may as well get the WP gloating over and done with early on. Disappointingly, they went soft on me. They were more interested in drink and chivalrous behaviour.

The drinking was intense, the mood being celebratory and all, and I was still feeling the effects of the previous night, which was intense itself. A few choice words were directed at me when I announced my departure at 10pm. To be fair, I wasn’t to blame. The girls behind the bar were very liberal when pouring the spirits, as was Justin with the shots after he won the ‘guess-the-score’ competition at Rascals. Perhaps I should have been more discreet about my birthday on arrival, but there were perks involved.

I recovered sufficiently to be awake at 9am on Sunday, or it might have been the flurry of texts and calls that wouldn’t let me be. Nonetheless, I was in good spirits, and it got even better when I was inundated with nice presents from Max, Matt and Jbird. She’s always more excited about my birthday than I am, and she was quickly on the tequila agenda when we were sat at Rascals. It was pretty much the perfect way to see out the weekend, sat in the sun, smoking Matt’s little cigars, drink at hand…

Jbird and I weren’t done, of course (are we ever?). There was still a bottle of JC to knock off, which pretty much sealed a fresh hangover for the next day. It was a pretty enjoyable birthday, although it wouldn’t have killed the Sharks to remember how to play the previous day (what was one more year for WP after so long without a trophy?). All the same, thanks to everyone who made the weekend what it was, and for the pressies. Special thanks to Jbird, Friday and Sunday were awesome.

2012-10-26

show's over...



Apartment 107 came and went, sadly, with tears welling up in my eyes. I was cutting onions,,.

I found myself with a lot of spare time I had no idea what to do with. The rest of the cast didn’t have the same problem, making up for the lost time we spent rehearsing with their partners or family members. Before I sound like I’m in the doldrums because I had no one to spend my time with, not so.

I enjoyed waking up Saturday and having absolutely nothing to do. No obligations, no commitments, I was free to do whatever I wanted like the carefree bachelor I am. It had been a long bloody week, despite dancing once, but the regular grind wore me down. Which explained my reluctance to do anything on Friday night, and the weather invited a night in watching series.

With a friendly push, I found myself at S&E’s for a farewell drink with Kwis. At first it was reminiscent of a wake, but the vodka skops livened the place up a bit. I can be set in my ways when it comes to cuisine, hence I was circumspect when Ernie offered me a boerewors roll with scrambled egg inside. I prefer my egg in the morning, but now I’m not sure I can have another boerewors roll sans the egg. It will be a disappointment.

Saturday was an absolute blockbuster of sporting activity on the telly, and I did not miss out. I spent the morning planning my day, a rarity, before a light training session and breakfast at Rascals. Using the pros/cons method, I figured out the rest of the day.

From 12pm until 9pm, I was stuck in front of the tube at S&E’s with Kwis, joined periodically by Sanchez, who was still on duty at work and could only hang around for a couple of drinks at a time. It is quite tiring, nerves on edge all the time, especially when the Sharks are on show.

The evening was rounded off by a solo dance of the duet ‘Obsession’ from the show, by yours truly. S&E and Kwis didn’t come see the show, which they would have thoroughly loved for it was a massive improvement from those they have seen, so I was giving them a taste of what they missed. Needless to say, at 10pm, I did a great disservice to the quality of the dance. The evening was pretty much ruined after that, and I spent the rest of the weekend convalescing, which actually took two days.

This weekend should be pretty painful as well seeing Sunday is my birthday. The big 3-O. Watching the Sharks game is top priority. I mean, it’s the Currie Cup Final. Against Western Province! It doesn’t get bigger than this for me.

After that, well, que sera, sera.

2012-10-23

Apartment 107 - Kalk Bay Theatre



If the last rehearsal before the show was anything to go by, then by God, the show would have be one hell of a stinker! But there is an adage I kept hearing amongst the dancers; bad rehearsal, great performance. I think everybody clung to that for peace of mind, especially Dani, to keep her sanity. At times I’m really not sure she has much of it, and the performance of Gabrielle at the rehearsal would have been enough to take it all from her.

Surprisingly, we didn’t have to call the men in white coats to transport her to Valkenberg. Instead of a backlash, we got a peptalk, which is in line with the toned down attitude of the teachers I described in my last post. The comedy of errors committed on that stage made for great comic relief afterwards though. Whitz, Jbird and I were in stitches on the way home recapping an account of our errors, ranging from forgotten steps, costume mishaps, to Jen running onto the dreaded pole.

As it was, the show was a thorough success. We had a full crowd for the last night of the show, the first time a show has been fully attended in 9 months at the Kalk Bay Theatre. Considering the size of our studio, and what little reputation we have, it was quite a feat. The night before that, the KBT was about 98% full, and only the 2nd night was poorly attended.

Considering such attendances, and family and friends were often amongst the crowd, nerves were a major feature backstage. But the nerves never made it past the wings onto the stage. As soon as we got on stage, we transformed into whatever character was called for. The show ran like a well oiled machine, and the dreaded quick changes were never an issue.

The only worry amongst the dancers was always performance. How much energy, stage presence and character could we bring onto the stage? Would we make mistakes? How would those mistakes affect the rest of our performance? Would the audience enjoy our performance?

It wasn’t at all surprising that the first night’s performance was characterized by nervous energy. Nonetheless, I felt it was by far my best performance. My impression was backed up by numerous positive reviews from the audience afterwards, as well as Drew. My performance was full of energy, my steps were sharp and on time, and brought the right amount of character.

I may have been assisted by the can of Play I drank as well as the two Bioplus sachets. At times I felt like I was buzzing. Unfortunately, I could not sleep when I went to bed and managed only half an hour of shuteye. After the first night’s show, we had three or four much needed drinks. If there had been any doubt that we could pull it off, it was erased and we toasted the success of pulling off what we thought was a great show, as did the audience.

We went down the road to The Vic, which we were told was dodgy as hell. I’m not impressed. The Fishoek peeps need to come down to the Southern Suburbs, perhaps Hobnobs would redefine their interpretation of dodgy. I was tired as hell, and after the one drink Jace and I promised would be our tally at The Vic, we headed home, and I spent the next 5 hours unsuccessfully trying to get some sleep.

There was the small matter of the 8 to 5 to attend to in the morning, and I regretted not putting in leave for the show days. As it was, it was an excruciating 9 hours on the back of 30 minutes of sleep. I had no idea how I was going to pull of a decent performance under such conditions. In the end, it wasn’t so bad, although my performance lacked bite.

I wasn’t the only one who felt the way I did, and we put it down to the dreaded 2nd performance syndrome, which distinctly always lacks vigor. The audience was very poor on the 2nd night, and it was something of a relief it was on such a night.

The third night, Friday night, was a big one for Jace and Whitz. Their parents were in the audience and their nerves were shot as a result. They’ve been dancing long enough not to be affected by nerves though, and Jace probably had her best show that night. It was the first time her mom had watched her perform since her late teens, and after that performance I’m sure they’ll be dying to see her again.

Sometimes as dancers, we are very harsh on ourselves. On the third night, I made a mistake I had been making earlier that day when going through one of the dances. I still have not forgiven myself for that error, and it completely ruined the whole night’s show. That night was probably also the worst performance of the duet Jace and I did. We hadn’t been happy about the duet on any of the nights so far, but it started badly and never recovered.

As much as we’ll be unhappy about it, the other dancers will watch it and rave about it. Being my favorite dance, and I’m guessing Jace’s as well, it had to be perfect every time we did it. If anything was slightly amiss, whether it was energy, connection, or we made a slight error, it would ruin the whole thing. That was the case Friday night, and I went home grumpy as a result.

I woke up Saturday with mixed feelings. I was rested, a rarity during this run of shows, I was excited, but also sad, for it was the last night of Apartment 107. There were rumors we might do the show again at some point, but I was really loving every aspect of this show and really didn’t want it to end.

The end was inevitable, as it always is, so I wanted to go out with a bang. We were pleased to learn we would be performing to a capacity crowd. There had been quite a few cancellations on the night, but those tickets had been snapped up as well. How the show had gained such a reputation in a few days is beyond me, but it filled us with confidence, and the mood was buoyant backstage.

As it was, we had a killer last show. We did not care if we made mistakes. We just went for it. Some of us were going on Adrenalin alone. Between dances, my legs would be searing with pain, my lungs burning and seemingly incapable of taking any more. But I would be on for the next dance and I would find the strength to dance full pelt for another 4 minutes or so.

I was relieved when we got to the finale because I knew I had given everything I had to give. I was also sad because it was over, just like that. There was a huge lump in my throat, and I fought off the tears best I could. Only afterwards when we were backstage and Jace and I embraced in congratulations did I start chopping onions.

I was also happy because for the first time, Jace and I got the duet somewhere near the standard we have set for ourselves. At the end of the duet, I couldn’t believe it was over, and lingered for a couple of seconds longer to soak it all in. In the review done on the Bizcommunity website, the duet was hilariously described as a powerful domestic violence scene. It was intended to be a simple barny between a couple, but I guess Jace and I took it to another level.

I had the time of my life during the run of Apartment 107, one which I will cherish for a long time. The cast I shared backstage with was a group of outstanding characters, and there was never a dull moment back there. Whether it was Dani and Annetjie humping a pole to Cry Me A River, Ant putting his costumes on the wrong side, Jace dealing with her nerves, or Mazi… well, being Maz.

A relative of Carleybear’s commented we were dancing out there as if we’re a bunch of friends. Little did he know we actually are a bunch of mates.  It seems this is not the end of Apartment 107, with possibilities of another stint at Kalk Bay Theatre or even taking it on the road.

The moment of the show has to go to the dialogue between Maz and Annetjie during the dress rehearsal at KBT. Describing her close encounter with one of the very awkwardly placed poles on the stage, Annetjie told Maz, “I almost dived into the pole.” I was sat in close proximity, minding my own business, sorting out costumes for the 2nd half of the run, so I wasn’t even listening. Poor Maz is hard of hearing on her one ear and utilizes a hearing aid, which leads to many a slapstick moment such as this (she takes it in great spirit, to her credit). Looking utterly bewildered (and it was her face that killed me), she politely asked Annetjie, “You want to die in a hole?”

I was done! Annetjie and I were on our knees clutching our midsections in absolute stitches for 5 minutes after that, tears streaming out my eyes. Of course my laughter being a tad loud, the other dancers curiously streamed in to check what the commotion was all about, and Annetjie had to explain because I was still killing myself. It’s a had-to-be-there moment, and you had to be there to fully appreciate it, and you have to have a grasp of the personality that is Maz, which I think made it all the more funnier.

It’s pretty hard to single out individuals when a show has gone as well as ours has, but Jace was the best dancer by far, with Mazi a close second. Jace on stage is quite a marvel to watch, a pity I could only watch two of her dances. Carleybear would certainly be the most promising dancer. I never got to watch her in the hip-hop routine, but popular consensus has it she was amazing. Just as she was in the ballet piece.

Now we work towards the end-of-year show. This week we’ll still be coming down from the Apartment 107 high, so it will be slow going when I eventually make it back to the studio. I’ve decided to take a day or two off to recover from the various aches and pains I picked up on the KBT stage. It is a rest that is well deserved.