Monday, January 31, 2011

There once was a nightclub in Stockholm...

But actually it's in Salt River, Cape Town. There are scantily dressed extras dancing there right now. With the windows blacked out, it's a strange netherworld to walk into after hours spent driving in a sunny car. Yesterday morning it was an empty warehouse, today it looks something like this:

Tomorrow it will be empty again, but with glossy black walls instead of white. And we'll be on a rooftop in Camps Bay, pretending that we're in Morocco. 
This is what we do.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Making Lemonade.

Excuse the silence.
The Art Department is taking strain.
The director is an egomaniacal prat.
We throw our hands in the air, roll our eyes
and get on with it. 
(Only seven more days and six more sleepless nights.)
Had a quick stroll through one of my favourite shops in town today - Onsite Gallery
Some beauty to soothe the soul.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Balkan Beat Box.

6h57. That's when I stumbled home this morning.
I admit to believing that the whole Balkan thing is passé, but last night's party was dazzling. Even though I still won't rush out to buy the record, Balkanology now has my undying support. This is the kind of music that you need to see live. You need to feel the booming against your breastbone. Get swept up by the crowd of Gypsy Funksters in their nimbus of patchouli and dope smoke.

Kudos to the belly dancer on stilts. And to the friendliest crowd I've ever come across. And to my darling friends: I'm so lucky to know you.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sunset & moonrise, Table Mountain.

Capetonians: do you all know that there's a sunset special on tickets up the berg? Half price after 6pm = R90.00. We went up with the idea of watching the sun set over the sea and the moon rise over the mountains.

A big fog rolled in and obscured the city. 
Alas, also the wolf moon. 
We howled none the less.

Young Sania. Her hair was like ink in water.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hesheng Dim Sum.

Stufted (sic) Pork Bun, Fried Cake Of Leek, Pork Potstickers... 
 A kind of rolled pork pancake with crispy bits. 
Steamed dumplings with a whole shrimp in each one. 
Flavour and texture overload. You wait until the dumpling is cool enough to eat the whole thing in one go, that way you experience the delicious explosion of fragrant liquid surrounding the filling. 
I often hear the judges on Masterchef say: the flavours sing in the mouth. 
Well. At Hesheng, try and stop the choir.

Many thanks to the lovely family who took me out to dinner.

Hesheng, across the road from the Adelphi Centre, Sea Point Main Road. No bookings.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Imagine you lived a different life, part two.

My assistant's hands, after the murder scene in Hout Bay.

A week ago, when I wrote about my friend's idyllic existence on the mountain in the winelands, the last thing on my mind was a shack in the townships. But someone lives here as well. Three people in fact.

There is no bathroom. Water gets carried home in gallon jugs. I stood alone in this shack for a few minutes, while the crew were setting up outside. The wind made it creak and settle. The structure so flimsy, I could hear breathing through a shared wall.
If there's one thing I've learnt over the years, it's that people are infinitely adaptable. But when I came home late that night, my apartment felt like a small palace and I felt infinitely lucky.

The children made me happy. They told me their names and led me by the hand.

The next day, I went straight onto another job. Location: a luxury penthouse in the city. A Nivea commercial with a beautiful girl rubbing lotion onto her legs, over and over and over again.

This is my life.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Another day, another tech recce.

This is the usual scenario: eight people in a minibus. The chaperone up front with the director. In this case, a suave German who looks like an eighties pop star - sunbed tan and floppy hair. He had the Emmanuelle soundtrack on a loop.
Then you have the first AD, the DOP, the Key Grip... assorted grown men in death metal t-shirts and knuckle tattoos. And, back corner, the reserved art director. In the sundress and pink nail polish.
At some point they always forget I'm there and I learn interesting things about stag parties and juggling girlfriends. Oh, and hours of sport talk.  Y a w n.
Today we did a demented zig-zag from Hout Bay to Tokai and all of the in between.
I've worked on a few shoots in the townships. People get nervous. But my experience has always been the same: utter friendliness, big smiles and a lively curiousity. I took these pics in Guguletu today, in an area called Barcelona.

Temba is the style king. He works for and wears clothing label "Darkie", available from the Long Street shop.
Towards mid-afternoon it gets hot in the car, everyone gets drowsy. The soft porn music isn't helping. Heads nod and jerk. I once read somewhere: the male has to snore, to frighten away predators. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

What do you do when you're feeling blue?

You take a last look at photos of a place you'll probably never go back to, have a good long cry and decide:

Then, you go and see a rockin' rockabilly band.
Them Tornadoes. I'm their number one fan.

How can you not like this trio of madcaps? Simon Perry on the bull fiddle with teeth. Matt Ferguson - he stands and bangs the snare. In a kilt. And the inimitable Ian Arrow, main snake charmer. Him with the rubber limbs. They were joined for a few numbers by Lonesome Dave on the harmonica. That man is the king of the harp.
Their happiness as they make this music is ridiculously infectious.
And the roof of the Grand Daddy Hotel was the perfect place for it.

She wore them with a popeye dress.
Spotted in the stairwell: a dress made of maps. One flight up there is a suit.
Oh. And: happy birthday Elvis!