Alone With Everybody

The flesh covers the bone
And they put a mind
In there and
Sometimes a soul,
And the women break
Vases against the walls
And the men drink too
Much
And nobody finds the
One
But keep
Looking
Crawling in and out
Of beds.
Flesh covers
The bone and the
Flesh searches
For more than
Flesh.

There’s no chance
at all:
We are all trapped
By a singular
Fate.

Nobody ever finds
The one.

The city dumps fill
The junkyards fill
The madhouses fill
The hospitals fill
The graveyards fill

Nothing else
Fills.

A paradise where everyone, is there just to be there.

 

Dorothy had her Oz, Alice had her Wonderland and Bastian had his Fantasia, I have my Ubud.

Having been accosted by a number of Bintang breathing Australians, being taught to samba by a handsome Italian, and having to constantly refuse requests such as: “you come look my shop” and “ey luv come ‘ave a dring with us”; I was done with the  shoddily built group of clubs that is Kuta.

I sat on my surprisingly bug free bed in my bungalow trying to find the opposite of Kuta, and what did all the guide books say (along with a discerning Julia Roberts)? Ubud!

The peace and quiet of Ubud is truly indescribable with only intermittent calls for “taxi, taxi” I was able to wonder the streets filled to bursting with art galleries and a ‘shot left’ of the road landed me in the most beautiful rice paddies I’ve ever seen. My plans of stopping in a new town everyday fell apart as soon as I entered the laidback Art Cafe, filled with stereotypical travellers nibbling on humus and either reading a book or clicking away on their computers or phones.

There was the European looking woman on her Mac with armpits in desperate need of some attention from a razor…where’s an Australian sheep shearer when you need one? A group of stereotypical young Americans with fake dreadlocks and i phones were talking loudly in the one corner. Across from me what looked like a mother and her daughter were sitting glumly at a round table, food untouched, throwing daggers at each other each time their eyes met.

I shared a bench with a Swedish woman who had sold everything she owned after she caught her husband cheating and had been in Ubud for 6 months, not feeling the need to go anywhere else for the moment. I could see why she wouldn’t want to leave, after all who wants to leave paradise?

A paradise where the cool mountain air takes away the edge of the constant heat, where the mud from the surrounding rice paddies feels like velvet between your toes and the rain on your face doesn’t bother you but is a welcomed refreshment.

A paradise where everyone, is there just to be there. With not a frown in sight I whiled away the five most fantastic days of my life, all the while knowing that one day I would have to return and stay for much longer, because that’s what Ubud does to you.

How to paint sunlight

I asked a hundred painters and a hundred poets
how to paint sunlight
on the face of life
Their answers were ambiguous and ingenuous
as if they were all guarding trade secrets
Whereas it seems to me
all you have to do
is conceive of the whole world
and all humanity
as a kind of art work
a site-specific art work
an art project of the god of light
the whole earth and all that’s in it
to be painted with light

 

And the first thing you have to do
is paint out postmodern painting
And the next thing is to paint yourself
in your true colours
in primary colours
as you seem them
(without whitewash)
paint yourself as you see yourself
without make-up
without masks
Then paint your favourite people and animals
with your brush loaded with light
And be sure you get the perspective right
and don’t fake it
because one false line leads to another

 

Dreams are for free

 

I had a friend once who told me that the worst mistake that you can make is to think you are alive, when you’re really asleep in life’s waiting room. The trick is to combine your waking rational abilities with the infinite possibilities of your dreams. ‘Cause if you can do that you can do anything.

Did you ever have a job that you hated? Worked really hard at? A long, hard day at work, finally you get to go home, get in bed, close your eyes, and immediately you wake up and realize that the whole day at work had been a dream? It’s bad enough that you sell your waking life for … for minimum wage, but now they get your dreams for free.

Let’s face it

Photo: Russell Lee 1938

“I will have a medium Quarter Pounder meal with a coke please,” I said in a rehearsed tone to the woman standing behind me at the counter, already dreading the way I would feel after guzzling my meal down. MacDonald’s is the heroin of the fast food world; you want it even though you know how it will make you feel and could very possibly lead to your arm having to be amputated due to gangrene (enter Jarred Leto in Requiem for a Dream…it wasn’t heroine people it was a Big Mac that did that to him).

Weighing up the consequences of my actions I walked with my tray of steaming food and attempted to find a table to no avail. Clearly I wasn’t   the only poor soul trying to get my fix. Eventually I found a table where an elderly man blasting old jazz standards from a radio was sitting; he very graciously made space for me, perhaps an understanding amongst fellow addicts perhaps.

We made the usual small talk:

“ How are you?”

“What do you do?”

“How about this weather ey?”

“Where are you from?” I enquired admittedly only half interested.

“From Limpopo,” he replied, “I’m here because my granddaughter, she want to go to university here, she’s very clever, she teach herself matric because the teachers there, they don’t teach. Her parents they die of AIDS so I raise her, maybe one day she become a doctor and fix AIDS, make it better for South Africa.”

As he said this he wiped his mouth, smiled at me and got up from the table while pointing to his radio and said: “I love music.”

All it takes is a simple encounter with a simple man to bring you back down to the harsh realities we tend not to face in South Africa every day.

You whoever you might be…you need a raise!

Let do it!

 

So it’s no secret that I’m not the biggest fan of what I term ‘commercial’ music… let the ‘you’re a hipster’ comments roll in! I am always keen on some electro or dup step…pretty much that doesn’t include that drunk woman from Barbados some like to call Rihanna, or anything that the cast of Jersey Shore would listen to, mostly from sheer fear of turning orange and losing my ability to string a coherent sentence together.

Those of you that have had the pleasure of enjoying my company on a night out can attest to this as I usually protest to songs by swearing as loudly as possible at them or sending bottles hurtling towards their head especially when anything by Katy Perry comes on and on occasion I’ve been known to stand still and repeat “This place is so hectic,” over and over again much to the dismay of my friends passed out on the couch next to me.

Nothing in the world annoys me more than the sound of the swishswish  a jocks matching Adidas tracksuit makes as he attempts to impress ‘chicks’ with his two stepping ( something that he has spent years in front of a mirror protein shake in hand perfecting). All the while the ‘chicks’ gyrate and jiggle their bodies in ways that even the performers at Cirque du Soleil would be impressed by while randomly making shouting out ‘let’s go girrrlz’ or the window shattering ‘ooowaooo’…perhaps a mating call I have yet to learn.

But I digress! So it’s clear I’m not the biggest fan of commercial (code for crap) music. Because of my open hatred for really bad music I generally bury myself in anything ska/punk/rockindie etc that I can get my hands on…and NO Prime Circle and the flipping Parlatones do not count as rock, or music for that matter and should join the likes of New Kids On The Block that mislead younger generations into thinking the noise they make is music. A trial similar to Nuremburg should be held for such ear offenders!

Slowly but surely I have been opened up to the awesomeness of electro through some rather late nights at Truth and forced participation on a number of holidays. My mind was blown however when I watched the official Tomorrowland after movie last year and revisited it again this year. Holy smokes it looks like the best time ever, let’s call it an Oppikoppi on ecstasy! Whoever made that video needs one big high five and one big raise.

Let the saving commence! It’s going to be a wicked three days, and who knows maybe a few ‘oooowaooos’ will slip out…at Tomorrow land anything looks possible.

What the video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7CdTAiaLes ! Be prepared to lose your face…and dignity.

 

Mr Fixit I presume?

A glamorous girl walks down the street tugging her chic Louis Vuitton  luggage across the cobble stone street, her elegant high heel slips on the smooth stones sending her stumbling into the strong arms of a dark skinned exotic looking man, they spend a wonderful evening together and then embark on a tumultuous holiday romance.

I met a man on my travels, I was not wearing high heels and he wasn’t what one would call handsome, yet he had a rather big impact on my life. Hi name was ‘Mr Fixit’.

It all began at the end of my holiday, after travelling by myself to Indonesia then partying with some of my oldest friends in Thailand I returned to Bangkok a lot more tanned, and a lot more clued up on the effects of Thai Red Bull and the partying habits of the lesser spotted Australian man. I was walking along the street when a middle aged man whom I had seen along Khao San road numerous times called out to me.

“Hey you! Hey you!” he said from his dirty plastic chair positioned in the street making it difficult for passersby to squeeze past.

“Mai tawngkaan khrap,” (No thank you) I replied. I really didn’t feel like buying anything more after a full day spent in Bangkok’s oversized shopping centres.

“Hey you!” the man continued to shout in a thick Thai accent, “You f*#ked in the head, you come sit here,” he shouted as he grabbed my hand and pulled me into the seat next to him.

“I fix 5 000 women and some men. They all have shit, you have shit,” he explained to me as I sat bewildered wondering what he was actually talking about. Not giving me much of a chance to say anything he looked at me, cocked his head and said “ You have operation on knee, your left side fucked,” (something that he couldn’t have known as I was wearing long pants which covered my scars) “Your kidneys fucked”   ̶ another thing he couldn’t have known just by looking at me, either that or my Full Moon party hangover was a lot worse than I thought, I made a mental note to check for any remaining neon paint left on my skin when I returned to my hostel room.

The conversation continued:

“You come with me; I fix you only 1 hour, I fix everyone.”

“No I really shouldn’t, I have to be at the airport in about an hour”

“You so F*$ked in the head lady, I fix you, you must let past go, I fix your chakra you too f*$ked in the head!”

After a while a got tired of Mr Fixit telling my how ‘f*$ked’ in the head I was and agreed to go with him for five minutes so that he might fix me. Next thing I knew I was being led down a dark alley way far from the chaos of KS Road and ushered into a room about the size of my bathroom at home. I think it’s safe to say that alarm bells going off in my head were shouting: “maybe you are f*%ked in the head! What are you doing here you stupid stupid girl. ”

Every surface in the room was covered in little Buddha statues or charms, with a huge TV on the one end and a seedy looking bed with cigarette burns in the sheets on the other.

Perhaps sensing that I was extremely uncomfortable Mr Fixit looked at me and asked: “You fear?”

“Yes a little bit,” I replied when what I wanted to say was: “Of course I fear I’m about to be murdered! I never got the chance to say goodbye to anyone! …Man my parents are going to be so rich from the payout of my travel insurance.”

“You no fear, look how many people I fix, they all happy, you look,” he assured me as he took out a huge photo album which consisted mostly of topless smiling girls on his bed after he ‘fixed them’. Needless to say my fears were all but subdued, yet somehow I ended up lying on Mr Fixit’s bed, politely refusing to remove my clothes and being told all about my life and how to fix it while getting poked and prodded with the odd ‘You f*%ked’ being thrown in.

After he was done he looked at me expectantly and asked: “You take top? You take photo now?”

“No! NO!!” I half shouted while choking on the lump in my throat.

“Okay, Okay you just smile then!” Mr Fixit said with a somewhat disappointed smile on his face.

He gave me a huge kiss and a charm to attach to my existing Buddha necklace I always wear…which accounts for the clinking noise every time I walk, although the sound may be annoying it’s a constant reminder of Mr Fixit and to relax and take life as it comes… or as he puts it: “You so f#*ked, you need to chill out lady.”

…right now a nervous girl alone in Bangkok is staring at my face in a photo album wondering what she has gotten herself into…trust Mr. Fixit he may be f#*ked in the head but in his own special way he changed my life!

KS Road at dusk - one of the most interesting streets in the world

What Burger King and the Internet a have in common

“There is a lot of talk about what Johannesburg is, what it was and what it is becoming. It is a city in, perhaps eternal, transition. This is a privilege for us, the people who call it ours. We can make Johannesburg whatever we want it to be. The city is here, asking us to shape it. While some look to European cities and envy their long established routines, venues and structures in the arts, there are those of us who see the blank canvas and embrace it. We see what we want our city to be, we see its place in the world, and we see the importance of our contributions. We have a dream and we want to make it reality.”

Look how pretty my home is!

On my recent trip to Thailand I decided to stick to traditional Thai food, starting off with a little restaurant in central Bangkok called Burger King, well known for their perseverance in upholding Thai culture…I ordered a Whopper…when it came I thought they had made a mistake as the meal on the tray could have fed an average sized family at home. The burger was the size of my face and the coke was taller than the elderly Thai woman begging for change outside the door.

After I had lugged the huge weight of the tray over to a table which buckled under the sheer weight of the burger I settled down to eat, halfway through my meal I was full but dissatisfied, filled with a meal that really didn’t have any substance to it. The Internet is much like Burger King, you can get anything you want, but you hardly ever leave feeling satisfied, and yet you keep going back over and over again only to be filled to bursting with useless information, sometimes the internet should just be ‘switched off’ as a friend of mine said the other day.

Having said that sometimes you find some real gems…for instance my fantastic blog! But seriously I stumbled across the most fantastic mixtape called the Sound of Johannesburg on http://www.domusweb.it/en/mixtapes/

The mixtape was compiled by the BLK JKS and Athi-Patra Ruga. The mixtape includes a really cool narrative that weaves a powerful and challenging narrative that jumpstarts from the streets and shines light on the unlit corners from houses to basements, warehouses to skyscraper.

Here is a snippet of part of the narrative: “…it’s not that they needed my purse” said the Shangaan queen as she scraped herself of the pavement. In this neckothawoods woods…Pritchard Street, this is a common sound at this time…Pikitup…the chariot that makes sure our streets are clean…for just a few secs… makes sure that …clean from whom…what?”     ̶ thought evoking to say the least!

So it seems it all depends on how long you are willing to stand at the counter carefully picking out what you wish to ‘eat’ that makes your experience worthwhile.

The Sound of Johannesburg -Listen NOW!

Tracklist
1. LETTA MBULU — NOMALIZO / Athi-Patra Ruga #1
2. SPIKIRI — MONEY TALKS
3. Athi-Patra Ruga #2
4. DIRTY PARAFFIN — EXHIBIT A
5. SKELETON CREW — INVISIBLE CITIES (the burning piano David KRUT eBOOK podcast interview)
6. GIVAN LOTZ — EASY NOW
7. FELIX LaBAND — JESUS AT THE TABLE
8. CHLLNGR ft BLK JKS, MO LAUDI of the very best and SPOEK MATHAMBO — ASK FOR (remix)
9. US KIDS KNOW — PROBLEMS
10. HUGH MASEKELA — NIGHTS IN TUNISIA /Athi-Patra Ruga #3
11. PROFESSOR — IJIMAPI LEWEIGHT
12. Athi-Patra Ruga #4
13. TSHE TSHA BOYS — UYAKWINI NA ROSE (where are you going?)
14. POLYPHONIC&SERENGETI — LATELY (remixed by JOAO ORECCHIA)
15. Athi-Patra Ruga #5
16. BLK JKS and THANDISWA MAZWAI for the ZAR ORKESTRE — UKUTHULA (cover)

My kinda’ girl

She’s not your average girl    ̶ I guess this is an understatement when it comes to Tank Girl. She’s basically a girl with a tricked out tank fighting against all the ‘baddies’ controlling the worlds water supply…doesn’t seem to farfetched with what the worlds facing at the moment does it?

Originally a comic created by Jamie Hewlett and Alan Martin her character was later thrust onto the big screen in a bone crunching, ripped stocking, post apocalyptic masterpiece. Let’s just say Tank Girl kicks ass in style!

I met a girl once while I was at university who had shaved her hair exactly like Tank Girl did in the original comic; it looked amazing and inspired me to do the same…something I’m hoping to leave behind as a youthful mistake.

But if you’re bored grab a comic or get the movie, it’s really over the top and fantastic…and maybe not everyone’s cup of tea

Thigh highs and the end of the world

J’adore Iris Apfel

By the time most women are 90 majority of their closet consists of nighties with baby food stains on them and green cross shoes that have extra space on either side for the bunions (after-effects of decades of high heels). Their days consist of breathing through an oxygen mask and playing bridge and talking about the ‘good old days’. This is everyone except for Iris Apfel. I pray that by the time I’m 90 (an age that seems to be hurtling towards me faster than a taxi trying to make a yellow light) I will be as chic and regal as she is.

M∙A∙C has released a colour collection featuring Lipsticks, Beauty Powder and Eye Shadows with as much flair and joie de vivre as the woman who helped create it.

 

When I grow up I want to be just like you Iris!

It really is a fantastic range. My favourite is the Robin’s Egg Eye shadow, available at a M∙A∙C store near you! And don’t be scared by the rather ghoulish but ever so fabulous looking picture of Iris in the window.