Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Shoot days 2-5 including curry.

 The days passed in a whirl of early mornings and late nights, split shifts, helicopter dust, flat tires and finicky props. At the stone cottages we left behind a field of crushed snowdrops.

 Somehow I managed to fit in the August dinner club at The Cookshop on friday night. 'A Feast of Curries'. They keep these affairs small - it was like going to eat at someone's house. The okra was really good and the chutney the best I've EVER tasted - tamarind/date/chili/ginger, thick and jammy.
I like The Cookshop and the people who run it. Definitely be going back there for breakfast.
The Cookshop 117 Hatfield Street, Gardens 021 461 7868

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Shoot Day 1.

 Philadelphia. Drove there in the dark and the rain. Bitterly cold. Deep mud. First shot: between the road and a wheat field. When the sun came up the wheat started to sparkle. Watched some sheep being herded.

 James has this Super Stand-By Cart. Anything you may need on the fly:

 Sweet little people. I showed them the pictures on my camera's display and they ran away laughing. Then they hid behind things and followed me. The tiniest one's name is Poekie.

  Drove back through dazzling fields of luminous alfalfa and canola. Just before Van Schoor's Drift a farmer has gone to the trouble of putting up three colourfully painted signs in a stubbly meadow. They say HARD, LUCK and BAFANA.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

We saw the towers fall.

  I remember childhood holidays driving on the N2 from the Eastern Cape to Cape Town, me and my sister with our Archie comics and Tina annuals in the back seat, my parents up front. There was always the thrill of spotting the Athlone Cooling Towers and the mountain. Without fail we'd wrinkle our noses as we passed through the steamy smoke.
Today we watched from the end of Table Mountain Road as 21 600 tons of concrete went down in thirty seconds. It was reminiscent of chocolate - that moment before it melts completely, when it becomes all bendy and soft. People whooped and dogs barked as a huge cloud of dust slowly passed over to the right. Immediately it started raining.
This great photo by Andrew Brauteseth.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Stuff I learnt about cars and glue.

The big car wouldn't start. So I took the little car to the shop and bought some jumper leads (they call them booster cables on the packet. R70 at Hammer&Tongs). I studied a tutorial on wiki-How. Once I had the cars in a favourable position - that is, 'working' up against 'disabled', I found I needed to phone a friend. Lacking the proper terminology, the conversation was peppered with 'red thing, black thing'. What had me in a mild state of panic was something I'd read earlier: As a last resort, you may connect the other black (-) clamp to the negative (-) post of the dead battery, but this risks igniting hydrogen gas coming off the battery. They suggested connecting it to the engine block. (where is that?). Also, they urged the donning of safety goggles and gloves. I don't have any. In the end I risked the gas explosion and five minutes later the big car was growling. Girls, I gotta tell you - your hands will get dirty, but the feeling of satisfaction is sublime. 

wiki-How also helped me with that other can of worms - how to apply false eye lashes without getting glue in all the wrong places. Result: a night on the town with demi-whisps that stayed stuck and a big car that goes.    =)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Torch Bearer.

 The first thing I saw when I ran in from the rain was a slightly murky fish tank with one large, stationary fish. Then, under a skylight in the kitchen, a family-size aviary, with some cockatiels and budgies. Drifting feathers, trailing plants... I'd heard a rumour about a guinea pig, but today he was absent from his post.
This is The Torch Bearer, they've been in business for seven years, but it's kind of hush-hush. The clientele was mostly men in their sixties, talking about their ex-wives and taking calls from their bookies. But they left me alone and there was plenty to look at. I would have taken a photo, had it not been for one of the ladies of the house watching me with a gimlet eye as I sipped my wine and scribbled in my book.
You can have a substantial meal for R30. Chicken/chops/steak/prawns/no vegetarian and there's a fully stocked bar. This is not fine dining, but I'll definitely go again. It's the kind of place where they'll remember your name, in fact there was a little chorus as I left of bye bye Lily! Warms the heart.

  9 Essex Street, Woodstock. 021 447 2639

Monday, August 16, 2010


If one more person had to say to me: WHAT? You haven't been to Truth yet? So I went along this morning and had a flat white - self-service only and this includes all-pervading inertia.
While I drank my lukewarm coffee, I cast a glance at my stars of the day and they hinted at discord, lost friendship, jealousy... just more of your run-of-the-mill bad blood stuff. Not having much time, I mentioned the tepidity as I left, only to be met with more shoulder-shrugging torpidity. All of this entertainment at twenty bucks only. Oh well. The names of the coffee blends are appealing: Resurrection, Vengeance, Antithesis and Donde's Chaos, but my caffeine-addled heart remains true to Giovanni's.
On a much lighter note: when last did you see a vegetable so fresh, it's leafy crown all perky, the whole thing dewy and delicious? My friends harvested radishes in the garden this morning.
(This photo courtesy of The Architect)
It's making me excited about the garden I'll have when I move next month. Dreaming of carrots and pea tendrils... 

Friday, August 13, 2010

A lucky, warm Friday the 13th.

 I can't think of a better thing to do than being taken out for lunch at George Jardine's new restaurant at the Jordan Estate, this side of Stellenbosch. We sat on the terrace overlooking a lake full of geese and ducks, blue mountains in the distance. The air was heavy with the fragrance of fynbos, the pilsner glasses were chilled, service was impeccable and each dish was a perfect little composition of the finest Spring ingredients.

 So happy to spot Cavolo Nero (black Tuscan cabbage) in the herb garden and on the menu - it's a wonderful vegetable, but people are easily put off by it's odious smell whilst cooking. And I was delighted to eat pea and broad bean blossoms for the first time. They're like a delicate incarnation of the vegetable itself.  

 Thanks T.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

"The Big Hole" at the Kimberley Hotel.

The blurb promised "a madcap art exhibition and party". Not. The art was badly displayed (ie. in piles on the floor) and badly lit.
And where were the Kentridges? No-one knew.
The Kimberley reminds me of those hotels in Grahamstown in the late eighties. Downstairs there are still signs of a grander heyday - pressed ceilings and beautiful old tiles. Then follow the brown carpeted stairway all the way to the top and see the refurbished bedrooms. In former days this was a brothel. We did an impromptu little shoot:

 And discovered some psychedelia.

 There was a good crowd of people, but I wouldn't call them revellers. Everyone seemed a little low. We're blaming it on solar flares and the proximity of Mars... 
A photographer said to me: "August is the darkest month."
I said: "Bring on September."
Kimberley Hotel, Corner Roeland and Buitenkant Streets, Cape Town, Tel: 021 461 2160

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Trendy/Not So/Lebanese

 Two picky Virgoans and a Sagittarian went for a leisurely ramble on the pier yesterday afternoon. We're thinking: where shall we have a party? Drank a caiperinha at The Grand Café & Beach. 
(Haul Rd off Beach Rd, Granger Bay, 021 425 0551)

 Then went slumming on the other side of the fence at the Oceana Power Boat Club. They've been under threat of eviction by the V&A Waterfront since 2002! They have the only slipway for private boats in the precinct of Cape Town. Cocktails, maybe not, but a brandy and coke costs a laughable fraction of the prices next door. Atmosphere charming in that old-school clubby way.

 As we were about to leave, this Ford Zephyr Zodiac II pulled up. 1963. Mint.

 It had seats of the most brilliant red I've ever seen. The owner was suitably proud.
We uhmmed and ahhed about cooking and then, on a whim, went for an early supper at The Cedar. Still the same after all these years: family run, fantastic service, splendid food. We had Foul m'Dammas, Hoummous with fried lamb and cinnamon, freshly baked pitas and the best fried cauliflower in the world. Once I've figured out the secret sauce, I'll share the recipe. I could taste sumac, browned garlic...  
76a Main Rd, Sea Point. (across from Laughtons) 
021 433 2546

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Making Manti.

 I spent a few hours yesterday afternoon making Manti, or Turkish style Ravioli. Following the Moro recipe, I made and rolled out the dough, made the filling (finely ground lamb with mint, parsley, oregano, shallot, allspice...) and stuffed about forty little triangles of thin dough. Cooked them in hot chicken stock, served with garlicky yoghurt and caramelized butter. Worth all the trouble? Definitely, we ate them with much happiness and a big chopped salad.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Some people think you're an Alien.

 After reading an article about a study they did at Princeton, I've been giving some thought to snap judgments. "We may be taught not to judge a book by its cover, but when we see a new face, our brains decide whether a person is attractive and trustworthy within a tenth of a second. Princeton University psychologist Alex Todorov has found that people respond intuitively to faces so rapidly that our reasoning minds may not have time to influence the reaction - and that our intuitions about attraction and trust are among those we form the fastest.
The link between facial features and character may be tenuous at best, but that doesn't stop our minds from sizing other people up at a glance..."

 As I wrote to someone last night: "I understand all about the things that turn a person on and off. It's like the flick of a switch and the mystery of it lies only in particularities." We're all unique, but we're not that different.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

*The Jardine Bakery*

Surely by now everyone in Cape Town knows of the Jardine Bakery. But just in case you've forgotten... 
 The only difficult thing here is deciding what to have, as I'm of the opinion that these people can do no wrong. My favourite sandwich: roast lamb and tzatziki on sour dough. The croissants are rolled by hand. The pastry crimped by somebody's careful fingers. The Moroccan lamb pie I had the other day shines down from Pie Heaven. The chocolate brownies I would engage in fisticuffs over.

 Jardine Bakery around the corner from Jardine Restaurant. Corner Bree and Bloem.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Apes and Heels.

We need a full-body gorilla suit for the commercial I'm working on. I went to a costume place this morning that has the separate bits. Head R450.00, hands R125.00, feet R125.00.

 They also have self-adhesive chest wigs. I heard the other day that the majority of women have something in their wardrobe that they have never worn. I wear my clothes to threads, but after some thought I remembered that I have this pair of shoes... they are still wrapped in green tissue and I've had them for more than a year. Maybe I'm saving them for a date with a gorilla.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

...and Sunday Afternoon.

The Lovely Friend and I went for a very brisk walk on the Promenade. Passed these cuties near the Sea Point Pool. Their moms are in the background braiding one another's hair.

 After the walk we met the Production Designer at Beta Beach. He was waiting there for us with an ice-cold bottle of Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel. As the sun set, we watched the cormorants feeding their babies on the big rock. This is where I would insert a sigh of well-being.

Saturday Night.

The gang met up at hospital supper time yesterday, ie. 5pm... we'd all prepared different fillings and then we wrapped them in tortillas at the table. This was the smart plan of the Architect's Wife, who also saw to it that we made it down the road in time for the last performance of the Mechanicals' "Cosi" at the Little Theatre, Hiddingh Campus. 
"Cosi" is an ambitious two and a half hours long and did not disappoint. It is set in an Australian Insane Asylum, where the inmates decide - with the help of a green drama school graduate, to perform their own version of Mozart's Così fan Tutte.  The final act - the actual performance of the opera - was particularly hilarious, as well as very touching.
The Mechanicals are a repertory company who perform different plays in rotation, taking care of everything from front of house to ticketing and bar tending. They were all brilliant, but Guy de Lancy's performance as the pithy, manic-depressive inmate 'Roy', was outstanding.
We were all trying to place him - I knew I'd seen him in a couple of commercials. Turns out he's a set designer, photographer and ex-commercials director. He is quoted as saying, about the film industry: "It is a world I would much rather not inhabit."