Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Hello Sailor!

As my friend Smutty so succinctly puts it: hou my vas!

Finally made it to Hello Sailor for dinner.
We had:
Chicken liver paté with sourdough toast.
Disco Fries.
( skinny fries, mushroom gravy and cheese, melted under the grill. So wrong and yet... so right )
Vetkoek - light as clouds with crispy edges, curried mince and sambals.
Lamb cooked slow in a complex gravy of tomatoes, rosemary and cinnamon.
A bottomless glass of Merlot.
A toast to my dear Mom who turns 75 today.
A toast to Winter and tummy rolls.

That's chef Maggie in the background, like a dervish in the kitchen. This is my kind of place.
Twas a perfect rainy night in Observatory. Hipsters and muscle cars. Dragon breath walking back to my car.
Full as a tick.

and Fi. This is for you.

What it feels like to fall.

It's a bipolar world that I find myself in - this film industry. There are moments of elation and unequaled camaraderie and there are times of sheer angst and loneliness. Calms and sudden storms.
Last winter was lean. My heart hurt.
My friends are points of light. They cooked me meals and poured me drinks. We huddled around fires, there were companionable silences, there were hugs. Things got better by small increments and then suddenly in leaps. Now it's a year later and things are good. There's writing and the freedom it brings. Time for long lunches and music and books.

There are nights when I lie awake for hours, not from horrors that gnaw, but a buzzing excitement at being alive. The smell of the rain and the earth as I walk out the door. The crackle of vinyl. My heart in your hand and you play it to the beat.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Lonesome Dave and his magic box of tricks.

We went to see Dave Ferguson at the Granddaddy last night as the sun set. A true one man show. Nary a roadie in sight. There's a man, his voice and a harmonica. A flesh and bones beat-box. An array of tiny controls at his feet. He records live loops and then he layers and overlaps them to make songs. A silent projection behind him shows old blind blues singers, couples dancing swing, people clapping on a night similar to this one, lost in black and white.
Oh, what a crooner is he.
It always surprises me that there aren't hordes of girls throwing underwear, at least.

Watch the video to see how he turns a familiar song into something new. Last night it sent shivers down my spine.
Listen to some of his own great songs at myspace.
 And if you missed him last night, there's one more chance to see him before he leaves for Europe.
Saturday 30 April at the Harley Davidson Club, 64 Canterbury Street, 9pm onwards.
Along with Them Tornadoes and Peachy Keen.
See you there!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lay down in the tall grass.

1. "Creepers". The songs that grow on you after a few plays and become keepers. This is how I came to love TV On The Radio, Arcade Fire, Eels, The XX, Electrelane, Dead Man's Bones, Angus & Julia Stone... a never-ending list.

2. Then there are the songs that have you from the first beat. Like falling in love. They have that elusive something that's missing from the others.
Tindersticks: Tony Soprano watches his beautiful neighbor from an upstairs window. She's hanging up laundry in the wind to Tiny Tears.
Can: dancing under the stars in the Hex River Valley to She brings the rain.
Captain Beefheart: driving alone through the Karoo to Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles.

It's very seldom that a band makes the hairs on the back of my neck rise, song after song.
Performance in it's truest form. In the old days Taylor Kirk would have been a troubadour. Poetry to music. This music could be the unreleased soundtrack to True Blood. It's cinematic, dark and brooding. There are violins, an organ, lap steel guitar, rattlesnake percussion, a discordant saloon piano...
The arrangements are sparse, stripped down, permeated with the sonic left turn, full of sway.
Stripped down, yes, but with moments of lush orchestration and exquisite crescendo. Not one to shout, the man croons intimately about love, loss and the abyss. Not a single note in excess. Even the silences in-between have weight.

This is music of spectral beauty.
Shocking in it's sincerity.
It glows in the dark.

Image from Abandoned Theatres, by Julia Solis.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Let's talk about knives.

The photograph that Karl Lilje took of me and the big knife has been commented upon, written about and questioned. For the compliments, I thank you. As for the rest - let me put your minds at ease: I love cooking. I like sharp knives to cut things up with in the kitchen. Dicing and filleting. That's it. This trait runs in the family, but we don't throw knives at other people. At least not without good call.
My personal hell will be filled with blunt knives. I'm the kind of person who takes a Swiss Army and a Victorinox paring knife to picnics. Longer than a day? I'll pack the medium chef's knife too.

I keenly wished to love him. It's possible to learn a myriad of skills, from new languages and swimming, to being a calmer person. You can bend and mold your body - build muscles and mind power. But there is simply no way to make yourself love someone, even if it seems like the best idea in the whole wide world. We spent hours together reading recipes, cooking. Even now, the smell of freshly ground cardamom takes me back to that kitchen with the scary-sharp Sabatier knives, the blades flashing like sunlight in his hands. He was an adventurous cook. He delighted me with irreverence.

He took me on picnics in the forest.
Outdoor opera.
Shaolin Monks.
Veuve Clicquot in misty cold glasses.
Morello cherries, picked by us.
Blue blooded cheese from France.
His heart on a plate.
Figs stuffed with nuts and honey,
in golden paper pastry.
Dark smoky wine, the scent of chocolate and coffee.
A salad of the tiniest baby leaves. Spanish ham, translucent and salty. Spindly mushrooms, pale and delicate as ghosts. Walnut oil. Pomegranate molasses...

At the dinner table, he held my hand gently, rubbing the pillow of my thumb. I used to listen to him talk, lulled by his beautiful deep voice. Fears banished, doubts quelled. Lazy eyed and full bellied. But somehow it wouldn't last - despair would slowly take hold within me, the way ink spreads in water, and I would leave. Again and again.

The last time I went to his house, he wasn't there. I stood wretchedly looking at the fruit trees in the garden. Wishing for a different world and something else. I left the lime tree at his door. Pitiful I know, but it was something that could grow. 


Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Oracle of Google

cure for lightning fingertips
wat eet perde
bond with bitter lemon
sometimes look at someone instead of touching
where are cape town sluts
efrim menuck in a suit
writing is like kissing
woman flying a horse
imagine sun setting over water and man flying
een oomblik in wolke volgende in modder
moon beating heart
dancing on the floor
deeper inside the pool
knife-throwing family

Strange are the searches that lead people to my door.
(Via Feedjit.)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Am I lucky.

We entered the lottery at enmasse tonight.
Fifty two massages. Imagine!
 I've just been for my second Thai massage.
I am adrift.
Two more things:
1. to have your shoulder blades stroked to Felix Laband's Miss Teardrop is a singular experience.
2. there is a pressure point on your upper arm that makes your fingers curl, involuntarily.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bringing back the slow dance.

A few weeks ago at a party, a friend walked up to me and asked: "May I have this dance?"
We had a good whirl around the dance floor - real dancing - with ballroom flourishes.
It was fantastic. It reminded me of my teens and it brought back memories of the slow dance. Why did we ever stop doing that? 
So this is the deal. Next time DJ Appletart plays music at a party, there will be slow numbers in-between. That's your cue for holding your honey tight and doing the shuffle. Gazing into each others' eyes. Maybe even having a bit of a smooch.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Hy Sê Sy Sê goes live today.

Hy Sê Sy Sê (He Says She Says) is a bilingual e-mag and I'll be writing over there once a month, in a column called Kos Manewalus.
Read my musings about Dim Sum here.

Wishing my friend Elsibe and the rest of the HSSS team double luck and prosperity!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Animal coffee and other urban adventures.

A dreamy day, this.

It started with a lily unfolding with an audible pop as I watched, dazed in skull'n'bone pajamas.
Then the beauty and the horror that was Black Swan.
Then new places with Shonah - she of the raw food delights.

In my lucky packet today: ginger-almond-spice stars. I ate three in a quick row. Well, "ate" is putting it politely. Not to mention the raw chocolate with roasted cocoa nibs and hazelnuts. Good gracious. This woman has talent. We had a really good coffee at Haas in Rose Street, though not the eighty buck cup of Kopi Luwak...

 We spoke about the travel bug. I was told in the nicest way possible to get on with it.
This great procrastinator still hasn't renewed her passport.

I highly recommend a visit to Haas. It's an interesting, friendly place with a gallery full of quirky and lovely things.

We regrouped this evening at enmasse for a Thai massage. It was like stepping into some serene kind of underwater laboratory. And thank the Lord - no crap spa soundtrack of wailing sea creatures or ethereal choirs. Nouvelle Vague, Mirwais, John Martyn, even some dub. In white Thai pants and tunic, you're massaged on a comfortable white mattress on the floor. There are pillows and fluffy white blankets. The scent of aniseed. Deep rocking and rolling of pressure points. Stretching and kneading. At times you float like a skydiver. At times it feels as if a big and gentle jungle cat is walking all over you. At times it hurts, but in a really good way. Afterward, amazingly I could still walk and talk - in a fashion. Sipped Turkish apple tea from a beautiful glass.
Back next week, same time.
A devotee.


your light
can't help but
through the cracks
of my boarded up soul
in shafts of colour
you turn me into a disco

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Food that sticks to your ribs.

Someone said to me the other night that eating warm marrow, scooped from the bone and spread on toast, is better than a first kiss. It's been on my mind ever since. Scientists believe that during evolution, our brains started growing when we began sucking marrow from bones... so we had some last night at Societi - they've just added them to their Autumn menu. Sourdough toast, salsa verde and two 18" bones on a plate. Not a pretty picture. But darned delicious. No wonder Anthony Bourdain wants this as his last meal. Many glasses of red wine later, we all piled into and out of the Fish's newly refurbished 1969 Mini Cooper, aka Minnie Driver. She is pale blue and white and heaps of fun. Helter-skelter and all the way home.
After a night like that, it seemed only fitting to go to the Natural Goods Market for lunch today.

I've been wanting to try my friend Shonah's raw food for some time now. It was delicious. The overruling thought as I ate that first mouthful: clean
I sat at a big communal table and ate, tapping my foot to Soft Cell and LKJ, catching snippets of conversation about hyperactive grandchildren, muggings in New York, olive chutney...
In my bowl: raw Pad Thai, black-eyed bean Thoran with coconut milk and a very unusual and moreish sweet potato and avocado salad. A dessert of macadamia truffles and cranberry brownies. Equals one happy Lily.
And all of that for the price of a Big Mac and a Coke.
Mr Bourdain rants amusingly about this phenomenon in his book The Nasty Bits:
"Whenever possible, try to eat food that comes from somewhere, from somebody. And stop eating so fucking much. You may as well stop snacking on crap while you're at it. Save your appetite for something good! Take a little more time! All that rage and frustration, that hollow feeling so many of us feel - for so many good reasons - can be filled up with something better than a soggy disc of ground-up assholes and elbows. Eat for nourishment, yes, but eat for pleasure. Stop settling for less. That way, if we ever do have to get in there and "smoke evildoers out of their holes," at the very least, we'll be able to squeeze in after them."

Friday, April 1, 2011

Very hush hush.

I've been working on a commercial shrouded in secrecy. The actors are very famous - you know, they have entourages.
We've spent the last week milling about in the rain and the mist and the dark. Imbued with the scent of lemon trees and lavender, and wet grass. Outlandish theories on making a St Joseph lily open faster. (use shower steam)
The Cure on a loop in my car.
A room with seven hundred and forty four lit candles.
Egyptian cotton sheets.
Sports cars.
White doves bickering.
And fire on set.
Lots of it.