Tag Archives: humor

The Wonderful Recruitment of Mrs. Whistlefarb (A Short Story)

27 Sep

Maggie Whistlefarb passed away due to complications relating to hip-surgery on May 27th of the year she was to celebrate her sixty-first birthday. Sometime after her death, she found herself walking through a thick fog that made her squint in hope of penetrating the grey color surrounding her. Maggie knew she was dead, but that fact seemed inconsequential to her, and she worried more about the anesthesiologist who gave her an incorrect dosage and caused her to aspirate into her oxygen mask and drown on her own vomit. He would feel horrible about his actions and attempt to alleviate his guilt by drinking too much and colliding with a station-wagon carrying a father of four who was being fellated by a rent boy. The anesthesiologist would survive, but the prostitute would die from head trauma and the father of four would succumb to his injuries two days later, having lost too much blood when the rent boy bit off his penis as a result of the sudden impact. The scandal would cause an unflattering light to shine on the dead father and his children, who would all suffer abandonment issues and battle substance abuse for the rest of their lives. The male whore was not mourned by anyone, except for the anesthesiologist, who would go on to resign from the hospital, move to the coast and drink himself silly until his liver gave out and his body remained undiscovered for two weeks.

Maggie had no idea how she knew this, but the need to investigate her ability to know all things, present and past, did not strike her. She merely moved through the fog and saw her entire life as if it was on a plate in front of her. Her husband, Dennis, was the manager of “Time 4 Bed”, a furniture store that also sold novelty clocks that were imported from Belarus. He was introduced to Maggie by her father, Michael Bensozia, when she was twenty-three and the two were married eight months later. Maggie knew she was the prize given to Dennis to buy the favor of his father, Lucas Whistlefarb, an industrialist who subsequently invested in Michael’s business (an import-export consortium specializing in the shipping of empty freight containers.) Maggie’s marriage to Dennis was a continuation of her relationship with her father, minus the obvious intimacies that come with married life. She served him well, as her mother had served her father, and as she served her father after her mother died from a heart attack in the middle of a farmer’s market. Maggie and Dennis never spoke in depth about anything; he never sought her council; they fought only about domestic issues; they stopped sleeping together after the birth of their daughter, Candice. Maggie hated the name, but Dennis and his family insisted on naming the child Candice, as they had an affinity for it. The Whistlefarbs had four other Candices in their ranks.

Candice Whistlefarb was raised as well as Maggie could raise her, but the child took after her father in ways that left Maggie out of influence’s reach. Candice treated Maggie as Dennis did: courteous, given to occasional false interest and hidden disdain. When Candice left home at nineteen, Maggie was relieved. When people asked her if she suffered from empty nest syndrome, she lied and told them she did. However, she wished her home was emptied of Dennis as well. She did not desire company, nor did she fear it. She merely ached to be alone, far from the noise of the world. Her life continued unabated as she continued to lie her way through social occasions and conversations with her husband. When her daughter got married, she felt happy only because she would no longer have to feign worry about Candice’s life. She’d met the groom only once before the wedding and he struck her as an unspectacular human who thought Chinese tattoos made him an individual and went on tirades about he, and only he, could revolutionize the advertising industry. Maggie was not surprised when he lost his job and went to work for a company that sold billboard ad-space near the airport. A few years later, he become a re-born Christian and divorced Candice and moved to small town in the mountains to become the reverend of his own church. He was murdered by an obsessed parishioner who believed the reverend was Christ arisen and who attempted to eat the body before the police, responding to a report of screaming and blaspheming coming from the rectory, pulled the mad believer off the loin-cloth dressed corpse.

Candice never re-married and she would move in with her father after Maggie’s death. The two would bicker constantly and be miserable at all hours of the day. Maggie felt neither woe nor pleasure at her husband and daughter’s predicament, and for the first time since she found herself in the fog, wondered why she no longer felt anything. It did not bother her, but it made her curious. She enjoyed feeling curious as she had never been curious about anything before, save for the obvious curiosities of adolescence. She had not been surprised by anything since the wondrous discovery of her own sexuality and those warm afternoons and cold evenings when her fingers would travel across the mounds and valleys of her body and cause her to tremble and marvel at her wet fingers dipping in and out of her and stroking her to orgasm. As she thought about herself then, Maggie realized she could still feel. She stopped walking through the fog and imagined pleasuring herself. She only had to think about the glorious feeling when she erupted in climactic ecstasy. It had been remarkably easy, and she gave credit to the surrounding fog and emptiness beyond.

With Maggie still in the throes of self-administered passion, it took her a few moments to realize a figure approaching out of the haze. The figure was that of a man, but not any type of man she had ever seen. He seemed to be made of the emptiness he emerged from. Maggie straightened up and waited for him to speak.

“I am Abraxas.”

“I’m Margaret. Please don’t call me Maggie. I’ve always hated it.”

Abraxas smiled and offered his hand for her to shake. She did.

“Where am I?” Margaret asked.

“You are where you want to be. It is important to realize that.”

“Can I be other places as well?”

“You can be wherever you want to be. It is important to acknowledge that.”

It was Margaret who held out her hand this time and told Abraxas that he should lead her to where she wants to be. He took her hand, interlaced his fingers with hers and guided her further and further into the fog. All that remained of Margaret was the previously rare sound of her giggling and the lingering aroma of her orgasm.

 ***

 It was three weeks after Margaret’s death that heaven realized its error and sent Samael into the fog to investigate. When Samael emerged from the fog and reached the gates of hell, he saw Abraxas sitting at the grand entrance peeling a mineola. The minor demon smiled up at the minor angel and the two greeted each other as old friends. Samael sat next to Abraxas and accepted half of the deceptive fruit.

“You already took her, did you not?” Samael asked with a sigh.

“I did.”

“Did you lie to her?”

“I didn’t have to.”

The two beings stood up and Abraxas pointed through the gates into the netherworld. Samael saw Margaret and what she had become.

“She’s vying to be Queen,” said Abraxas, “Doing pretty well in the polls, now that I think about it.”

Samael could see Margaret Whistlefarb was doing well and she had found a place among the upper echelon of demons and bringers of death. Abraxas informed him that she had gone back to her maiden name, Bensozia and everyone referred to her by that name. They sat down again and looked at each other with affection. They shared a laugh, toasted their friendship with the fruit and said their goodbyes. As Samael was leaving, he turned to Abraxas and said, “Some you win, some you lose.”

THE END

The Saigon Five (A Short Story)

30 Aug

When Ingrid Ballflower celebrated her forty-third birthday in her usual fashion, dinner at “Saigon” accompanied by those who thought themselves to be close to her, she already knew about her husband’s philandering. If interrogated about the evening, Ingrid’s guests would say they knew something was behind her green eyes the entire duration of the dinner, but in truth they neither suspected her of harboring doubts about her marriage, nor did they anticipate the unique way she viewed the situation she found herself in.

Among the invited guests was Ingrid’s closest friend and colleague, Anna Sapstein, who carried herself in a manner akin to a grey hound suffering from hemorrhoids and occasionally shot looks of guilty desire towards Damian Ballflower, Ingrid’s husband. Ingrid had found out about Anna and Damian’s affair a week earlier when she happened across a series of e-mails on the Ballflower home computer. Damian had forgotten to log off of his “Gmail” account and when Ingrid opened the browser the first e-mail she saw had the subject line, “My holes ache for you.” Attached to the correspondence was a photo of Anna bent over faux-bamboo two-seater couch, spread legged with chipped fingernails resting on her perineum (to leave unobstructed the holes that ache, one would presume.) Ingrid said nothing of this to Damian or Anna, and instead dedicated the slow hours of her week to finding out more about her husband’s secret sexual indiscretions.

Damian had never been much of a lover. In fact it was Ingrid who suggested perverse adventures in the bedroom. Damian would occasionally be tipsy enough to follow her commands, but the alcohol would wear off and he’d end up spending himself with two grunts while engaging in a missionary position hump. She’d pat his back, wipe his drool from her collar bone and open her book in preparation of a late-night read. He’d sweat in the night, get up to pee once or twice and always, in the darkest hours of the early morning find her awake, reading books he neither understood nor wanted to understand. Theirs was not an unhappy marriage, but not much more than a facsimile of a happy one. In the week before Ingrid’s birthday party, Damian did not sense a change in his wife. He could not see her studying him as if he were brand new; not quite shiny or interesting, but the way one would investigate the motives and nature of a lizard perching on a branch, dead-still, seemingly without the concern for time passing. Damian also didn’t realize that Ingrid had, by some miracle act of private investigation, managed to track down the bevy of women he’d been seeking and receiving sexual congress from.

The first woman she found was an administrator for an amateur theatrical company. Her name was Frannie and she had the thinnest hair Ingrid had ever seen on a woman. The auburn color made it seem fuller at first look, but upon closer inspection one could see her scalp and the little fluffy tufts that endeavored to conceal the patches of naked, barrenness. Frannie tried to hide it by pulling her hair back in a tight bun, which gave her the look of a frightened child, which in essence she was. Not in terms of age, but in composure. When Ingrid introduced herself and explained who she was, Frannie didn’t cry but grinned with such terror that Ingrid would’ve preferred it if the tiny, slightly round woman had broken down in tears. They spoke about Damian and the length of the affair (two years) and they shared a laugh when the subject of Damian’s habit of complaining about the malfunctioning printers at his office had come up. Ingrid asked Frannie whether she knew Damian was married, and with a sheepish nod and a subdued whisper she admitted that she did, but found out only recently. Her loneliness had prevented her from objecting to seeing the only man who wanted to spend a significant amount of time with her. Ingrid and Frannie parted ways without agreeing on a course of action and it would later occur to Frannie how strange it was that Ingrid sought only information for the sake of knowing it.

The third and fourth of Damian’s lovers used to work with him and the affairs only started after they had left his employ. The two women, Alice and Shandra, knew about each other, but never saw Damian at the same time. Ingrid had to admit disappointment when she realized that she had not uncovered a salacious threesome and confessed this to Alice when the subject came up. Alice fessed up that she had suggested the idea to Damian, as she had doubled up with Shandra on men before, but Damian appeared uninterested. They spoke it about it only once it was never brought up again, Damian apparently being happy in the way he and Alice fucked, which by all accounts mirrored the way he and Ingrid bedded each other: moments of adventure and spice, but closed down as quickly as it had arisen. It was only with Shandra that Damian appeared to let himself explore the boundaries of his sexuality. Shandra told Ingrid that Damian requested every so often that she insult his manhood by shoving her thumb up his rear and call him names like “Faggot Boy” and “Mommy’s Little Bitch”. This made Ingrid giggle and when Shandra joined her, the two women ended up laughing hysterically for what seemed to be the whole afternoon.

The fifth and final woman on Ingrid’s list was a widow living a half-hour outside the city. She had no idea that Damian was married and began to cry when Ingrid told her who she was. When she’d calmed down and had a cup of sweet, milky tea Ingrid made for her, she informed Ingrid about the nature of her relationship with Damian. They made love, but only on special occasions like birthdays and promotions, but what they did most of the time was watch television and eat meals that Damian would prepare for them. Ingrid shared her surprise about Damian going anywhere near a kitchen with the widow and was even more surprised to learn that the widow considered Damian to be a great cook, if not quite a chef. Damian had never cooked for Ingrid, and the thought of him doing so for someone else caused her an unusual amount of pain. The widow swore she would never see Damian again, and Ingrid left her by saying she didn’t care much either way. Ingrid had treated the widow with more cruelty than she did the other women, but she knew she did this only because it was easy to do so.

Ingrid had found and interrogated all of Damian’s lovers within a week and by the time she arrived, on Damian’s arm, at “Saigon” and greeted her friends with either a hug or a peck on the cheek, she felt at ease with the new knowledge about her husband, her marriage, her sexual proclivities, and her plan for the future. Upon first viewing there was nothing strange about either her arrival or her decision on where to sit and where to place her friends. She positioned herself far from Damian, but made sure that he and Anna were close enough to feel uncomfortable but apart enough as to not give the game away. She placed her family on the other side of the long table so as to not have to deal with them and she surrounded herself with the people she enjoyed the most. She seemed to pick a random place among the intimate group, but it is in this narrator’s opinion that she had a plan all along.

When the second bottle of wine arrived along with the sweet duck wrapped in thyme pancakes, Ingrid Ballflower placed her hand on my thigh and smiled at me over a raised glass of sauvignon-blanc. As the evening progressed and my hand found her exposed thighs, she parted her legs and allowed me to finger her under the table. Our affair didn’t last long and we never really spoke about it afterwards, but one moment we shared gave me an indication as to her motives. We were making love in the back of my blue-grey 2001 model Honda Civic and when Ingrid reached climax, she said with a shudder of pleasure, “One down, four to go.”

The End

Backslapping As A Theatrical Form Of Self-Abuse (Not to mention entertainment)

4 Aug

Cape Town – Last Weekend

On the second day of the Directing Symposium, I arrived with a demon called Abraxas straddling my head and calling himself the master of all lies and both God and the Devil. He cleverly disguised himself as a hangover and seemed determined to haunt me for the rest of the very long day. I knew then that somehow I had made the mistake in thinking that any good could come from this symposium.

The Directors and Directing gabfest, presented by The Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA), was meant to serve as a forum in which the art of theater directing and the role of the director could be dissected and discussed by means of expert panels, selected pieces of work, lectures and interrogation by the audience. This was the intention and in some way, it was executed. The devil, as we all know and what Abraxas kept reminding me of, is in the details. The fault does not lie with GIPCA. In fact it does not lie implicitly with anyone participating in the forum (they are who they are, and that’s the way it is,) but rather in the fact that from such a seemingly important and much desired event came nothing but the growing divides between the “I have, I haves”, the “I want, I wants” and those of us stuck in the middle. The “I haves” are the ones that have made their names and are considered to be deities of the theater. The “I wants” are their disciples, their groupies and the ones who desperately want to be liked by those they count as important. The rest are, well, the rest: Those who do the work, worry about the work and want to participate in the evolution and not the devolution of theater.

The first evening was an indicator of how things would go, but only in hindsight. The audience was greeted by the very affable Jay Patha (who, throughout the weekend, was trying to stave off the apocalypse) and we were then treated to the mad ramblings of Gay Morris, who seems to be vying for the role of the Mad Cat Lady in the live-action “The Simpsons” movie, albeit with a better vocabulary. Following her was Aubrey Sekhabi who spoke with unadulterated joy and a modicum of intelligence of his time spent in the theater world and surprised the audience (or at least me) with his enthusiasm, especially in an industry and a town where showing your love for something is considered severely un-cool and is reserved for bloggers, children and retards (one and the same, some might say.) The true high-low-light of the evening was revered theater veteran and Grand Dragon of the Market Theater Malcolm Purkey, who displayed such supreme gas-baggery that he started to resemble a person farting into a bottle and trying to sell it as perfume. The audience was then invited to sniff at the bottle and the response was one of gratitude and reverence. He claimed to be a populist and displayed that fact by not saying anything of importance, but merely put on a clever magic show that fooled the “I want I wants” and impressed the “I have I haves” in a manner that Hitler was impressed by Napoleon. (Not that I’m accusing the theater Gods of being Nazi’s or warlords. No, no, no. That would be egregious.) Cheap red wine and awkward flirtation with American tourists seemed to be the only way that I could wash the evening off my skin. I suspect this to be the invitation Abraxas needed to cuddle up to my brain.

Day two, as I said, was hellish in its opening. Little was I to know that soon the state of my hangover and the invasion of my headspace by the demon would prove to be respite compared to what awaited us at the first panel: The Director’s Signature. Six directors were invited to speak about the idea of director as auteur and explain, in as many words as possible, what their specific signatures were. Janice Honeyman, that money-making machine behind the pantomimes that have strangled Johannesburg’s theater industry, started off by oinking her theories and success stories to the nine o’clock crowd. I didn’t much care what she had to say and instead amused myself by trying to find look-alikes of “Homicide: Life on the Street” cast members. (I found a Richard Belzer, a Melissa Leo and a Kyle Secor. Alas, no Yaphet Kotto. Not that that’s indicative of anything… or is it? No, it’s not… Or maybe it is.) Claire Stopford decided to bore the living shit out of everyone by reading from some sort of thesis that explained, very academically, her approach to theater. She used Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” as an example of how she would dissect a play, which seemed as relevant as quoting the Bible when asked to advise on a rape or a hate-crime (too much?) Master stylist and Kabuki, Noh and all things Japanese obsessed director Geoffrey Hyland found an excuse to refer to himself in the third-person by reading an essay written by an ex-student of his that examined his work. Wouldn’t we all like to oversee our own reviews, dear reader? Uncle Loo definitely didn’t agree with Hyland’s tactics. It was at this point that one of the shining moments of the weekend happened to me. Theater stalwart and force of nature Diane Wilson leaned over to me, who she doesn’t know, and whispered, “I came in late. How many of these fucking people have spoken already?” I informed her that we were half-way through the panel and she exhaled loudly, rubbed her face and said, “Ah, Jesus Christ! What the fuck are they talking about?” The last part wasn’t a question, but an insider’s comment about the circle-jerk that was happening before us. James Nqobo showed youthful exuberance and excitement about the craft and Mandla Mbothwe proved that he didn’t belong on the panel by actually making sense and explained his process without using the opportunity to fuel his ego.

The director’s panel was the most important panel of the symposium, but it showed the cracks in the industry, which are ego, self-obsession and a certain out-of-touch with reality viewpoint, with the exception of the last two directors I mentioned. As much as my bitterness might come across as gleeful, I was saddened by the fact that we learnt nothing about what these people do to improve the industry that supports them. They did manage to put the audience at ease by implying gratefulness to being listened to, but all in all the façade was left unchallenged as I suspect most of us prefer the status-quo. And we absolutely motherfucking shouldn’t.

The second panel of the day was one where veteran actors speak about directing and directors. This was mostly uninspiring and boring, except for three moments: Dawid Minnaar sounding like a cross between Marlena Dietrich and William Shatner (“I… have been working… in… theater for… a long… time.”) Diane Wilson (my new crush) spewing bile and not giving a shit about anyone and showing off a wonderfully vulgar mouth. And the moment Nicholas Ellenbogen decided to berate Chuma Sopotela and Faniswa Yisa for talking about how they still make “struggle” theater and plays that explore their cultural identities and what it means to be a black woman. The audience went very silent as Mr. Ellenbogen went on his mini-tirade and exclaimed that they (the two actresses) need to move on and “who cares if you’re black or white or whatever.” A clearly infuriated Mandla Mbothwe took the microphone and laid into Mr. Ellenbogen in a way that was reminiscent of the rebuke that Joseph McCarthy got from the U.S senate in the 1950’s (“Have you no decency, sir, at long last?”) Except that Mr. Mbothwe looked like he might jump up and cold-cock the old actor, which would’ve served as a fitting end to the day. Which it was, for me at least. The hangover had won, and I decided to retreat to my hovel and battle with Abraxas without the distraction of the theater community trying to make itself feel at ease about becoming redundant in its complacency.

Day Three started off with brunch, coffee and a performance directed by Sanjin Muftic that was capable, intelligent in its argument as an example of rehearsal technique and of absolutely no importance to anyone trying to make a living in theater. It was too academic; a trend that was emerging from the symposium.

The first panel of the day was given to young (emerging) directors and was a relief after the ego-driven nonsense of the previous day’s panels. Amy Jephta spoke with an authority and a clarity that seemed out of place for a twenty-three year old and I found myself respecting her despite not being a fan of her work (and I needn’t be in order to think she’s bright, you naysayers out there). Neil Coppen was the only person throughout the conference who brought up the lack of good writers in the industry and brought up the possibility of the old guard standing in the way of the new. He didn’t elaborate too much and I suspect this is because he doesn’t want to ruffle too many feathers in the industry that has now embraced him (ruffle, young man, ruffle!) The great moment of revelation came when audience member, trouble-maker and father of one Adam Neill asked what pisses these young directors off. It was as if a valve had been released and the pressure to be a pretentious theater dickhead had been relieved. The young directors became more animated as they started to bitch-slap industry sacred cows and conventions, but were too quickly halted by Janni Younge who seemed determined to smooth things over and bring the discussion back to what she thought was important: positivity, unity, smelling other people’s farts, bullshit, bullshit and bullshit. It was a pity, because for a few brief moments the bitterness and righteous anger that a lot of people have were allowed to shine through.

Side note: One can still be possessed of anger and bitterness and not hate theater. The one does not mean the other. Those who think that complacency has provided forward momentum in the arts should shuffle back to their happy caves and continue their metamorphosis into trees.

The final panel was made up of journalists and critics and an immediate truce was declared. “We’re on your side. Say it with me now: We’re on your side.” That was the summary of what was said. This is not the fault of the journalists, but the fault of the perceived audience. They did not want to hear from journalists that they could do better, but merely that the journalist were there to make them look good. Thank fuck for Marianne Thamm who, when asked how she could better serve the theater-makers, said, “I do not serve you. I serve my readers.” That was met with a very careful applause by some, and disgruntled snorts from others. Abraxas, my brain-drilling demon, wanted to jump up and kiss that feisty lesbian Ms. Thamm right on the lips, but I kept him at bay with promises of future forays into drunk-town.

Nothing much was learned at GIPCA’s Directors and Directing conference, at least not by me and most of the people I spoke to (those I enjoy speaking to) feel the same. What was a revelation was the theater industry’s ability to ignore the bigger problems (lack of good writers, audience pandering, archaic modes of communication, class-systems) and the fostering of a new breed of complacent rule-followers by those who wish to keep theater in their very slippery grips. To go back to Ms Thamm, who said it the best, “We are in crisis.”

Cold-Cocking As A Means of Progress (A Call To Arms)

14 Jul

The annual exodus from Grahamstown is in full swing as I sit down to write this. Those returning from performing or watching new (Fresh! Vibrant! Yay us!) theatre at The National Arts Festival are flooding the internet with Facebook updates and Tweets about the genius work they saw, the best of times they had, the glory of our unified nation and the general nonsense that comes with that sort of back-slapping, artsy-fartsy, communal experience. People are vomiting sayings like, “It changed my life,” and “It reminded me of how great our country and our theater has become.” The offence these people commit are not that they believe what they say, but that they say it so freely. Innocent as it may be to openly volunteer inane enthusiasm for what is clearly not as glorious as the bouncy, wide-eyed idiots would want you to believe, it is endemic of a larger problem that faces our fragile little artistic community: the ruling class of this community are so used to saying whatever comes into their sub-fame contaminated minds that the idea of anyone telling them to shut up will be tantamount to a serf’s betrayal of a royal’s trust in times long forgotten (by general society.)

Allow me to offer an example that may clarify my rant: there is an old actor who lives in Cape Town and remains a fixture on the stage and on television. He is a respected, beloved old codger who carries with him the aura and grace of a theater sage; he has seen it all; he knows all the angles; his public adores him. He believes, I assume, he has earned the right to say whatever he wants. I was acting alongside him in a play and one evening I found myself smoking a cigarette while waiting to go onto stage. Smoking with me was a young actress of immense talent who should command respect from her co-actors (and does, for the most part.) The elderly actor “God” walked outside to continue his voice exercises. He nodded to us, looked my friend up and down and said, “If you stopped smoking, your tits would grow back.” I stood mouth agape, not knowing what to say. My friend was so embarrassed that it affected her performance and the comment certainly didn’t stop her from smoking. A few years earlier this “Christ-on-a-Cross” of the stage was acting alongside another friend of mine, and just before the two took to the stage, the old fucker turned to my friend (another very talented person. I know, I know, I’m so lucky…) and said, “My boy, you should be in musicals. You have no place in serious theater.” He said that. Just before the lights went up. And… nothing… happened. Both those stories are well known in the Cape Town theater industry and there are many more incidents attributed to this man. What enrages is me is that nothing happens when he says these awful things.

Shift your imagination, for a moment if you will, to an office environment or any working environment that isn’t inhabited by ineffectual artistic types. Let the aforementioned incidents play out within those environments and try to imagine some sort of violent act not being committed in response. You can’t, can you? Sure, you can say stupid shit to whomever you want, that is everyone’s inalienable right. God bless free, offensive speech. But there has to be an expected reaction. Generally, a well placed “Go fuck yourself” can ease all ills, but what if you inhabit a world where no one dares to say that? Where acceptance of severe insults (to your person or by means of lame artistic endeavors) is met with nothing more than a wide-eyed stare, a contemplative gaze into the abyss and perhaps a drunken rant to those who will listen, but not spread, your pain? What then? Could there be a way out of this? A path to enlightenment?

Yes. Punch the cocksucker in the face. He might think twice about opening his trap around you ever again.

We cannot function in a sub-genre society that is seemingly dedicated to artistic freedom and the right to voice opinions, but refuses to accept that a public rebuke to any statement, by a person or stated within a work of art, forms part of what makes an open-minded community work. My argument is not against the dumb-as-shit, talentless old fart who offended my friends with his words; my argument is against me and those of my ilk who did nothing to make him think about whether he should offend us or not. There are no consequences to what people say within the artistic community. The answer is not censorship, but debate. However, before a debate can begin, the revolution must be jump started by extreme acts that might cause debate to be a more acceptable consequence. The violent French Revolution was the reason the British revolution was a peaceful transition from monarchy rule to some sort of democratic republic (Dig that comparison, motherfuckers!)

This brings me back to the people returning from Grahamstown. Of course they are allowed to say whatever they want, but they must accept that there will be those who openly doubt their blind devotion to a festival that has done more damage than good in the world of theater. This is not negativity, but merely a refusal to see it your way. You don’t have to shut-up, but I will tell you to shut-up. That is my right. And if you feel offended, we can have a debate.

If you refuse to debate any form of artistic expression, or if you think your opinion is above any sort of debate, then you deserve to get punched in the face.

If your ego is driving your work and public persona, then you should get punched in the face.

If you think your work and opinion is a revolutionary act (and you’re not an armed, with weapons or intellect, revolutionary) then you should get punched in the face.

If you abuse those beneath you or those who are following in your footsteps, then you should get punched in the face.

If you use race or racism to excuse your shoddy work, you should get punched in the face.

And, fuck-it, I will say it: If you do anything half-arsed and promote it as being important, then you deserve to get punched in the face. (That goes for you Janice Honeyman, Pieter Toerien, Malcolm Purkey, Bobby Heaney, anyone who misdirects Maynardville and those who fuck things up for the rest of us.)

PS. Anyone who disagrees with what I’ve said, can debate me. If I don’t want to debate you, you can punch me in the face.

We need more rumble in this jungle.

Why “The Muppets” Should Go On A Raping Spree

16 Apr

I have worked, on and off, in children’s television for ten years. I qualify that with “on and off” in order to keep the shred of dignity I need to wake up in the morning. South African Kids TV is used, by some, as an entry into the broadcasting world and most manage to leave it behind within their first two years in the industry. Some, however, remain stuck in this swamp of mediocrity, populated by misanthropes, fuck-ups, amateur politicians and teenage presenters who one wishes would be targeted by vicious molesters or Am-Way salespeople. There are a few dedicated producers, directors and writers who struggle everyday to lift the genre into the realm of non-offensive, harmless entertainment, but they are thwarted by the broadcasters who sit in their offices over-looking the Johannesburg sky-line, masturbating furiously as they listen, obey and service sexually the unions and government lackeys ruling the industry.

Children’s TV is budgeted as low as educational TV (both are budgeted as if they actually were in the educational department), but is policed more heavily than any other department in the broadcaster’s line-up. “We’re doing it for the kids,” they say, “We need to protect them.” Protecting the kids apparently means giving them sub-standard programming about inane subjects while educating them to be exactly what the higher-ups think they should be. A bit like Outcome Based Edutainment brought to your child by commissioning editors who are equally afraid of progress as they are of their bosses, channel heads who preach government sanctioned propaganda and production companies looking to make a quick buck. Atop all of this sits the mighty broadcaster: a large, drooling, malfunctioning monster sucking up cash and thinking of new ways to convince the South African viewer that they are as stupid as they’re being treated.

The primary culprit in this pig-fuck of a situation is, of course, the SABC; that most disastrous of public broadcasters that has, since its inception, been a slave to whatever power hungry mongrel calls itself the master. This dysfunctional organization loses money every year due to corruption, incompetency, bad management, loss of advertisers and a line-up that consists of soap-operas (no argument from me if you like them, they are there to be liked) and a menagerie-like mix of slanted news and harmful “entertainment.” The middle management of the SABC is made up of television-illiterate scaredy cats and chicken shits that are placed there to halt any progressive idea to come from an individual or company with the willingness to make good television. This attitude filters down to the lowly worker bees that walk around with permanent scowls that can only be achieved by the knowledge that one has made a life-numbing mistake. This affects the work, as one can see when viewing any three of the SABC channels at any given time. But it’s especially true for Kids TV.

A few years ago I attended a Children’s Television Content Hub Conference (ooh!) which contained two telling moments that should sum up the approach the SABC takes when deciding on programming and the people who sit behind the approach. We (all downtrodden producers and directors with born-to-lose tattooed on our foreheads) sat in a cavernous auditorium and were shown an immensely depressing documentary about two orphans taking care of each other in a Chinese metropolis. The youngest orphan was three and his older sister was nine and the documentary followed these kids through one day of getting ready for school, preparing food and survival against all odds. As we sat there, teary eyed and depressed, we were then lectured to make South African Kids TV more like this slice of fuck-me-why-life. The higher-ups missed the point of the documentary and thought of it as an uplifting, communist wet dream of self-sufficiency, instead of a heartbreaking expose of children being left behind in a crumbling society. I looked around the room to see if anyone else was pissing their pants out of frustration like I was, but I was surprised to see people nodding in agreement and taking notes as if someone just pitched “The Sopranos” to HBO. I don’t know, maybe I’m just a moron who thinks that kids TV should be a happy, safe place to lose one’s self in.

The second moment occurred when we were taking a drinks break. While we were shoving Tennis biscuits down our throats and swallowing it with lukewarm Oros, I overheard a colleague of mine talking to one of the heads of the Content Hub. This “decked out with Truworths Man gear” little political animal was talking about taking the SABC into the future. When my colleague asked this gargoyle about his favorite TV show, the man said, “I don’t watch television. I don’t allow televisions in my house.”

This man, this officious little prick, is one of the people who decide what gets shown on South African television. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why you should get DSTV so that your kids can watch Looney Tunes.

A Perceval McGiggins Mystery: Case #104

16 Mar

I sat in my barely furnished office, waiting for the day to approach. I hadn’t slept in two days. Two days. Jesus. Well, not counting the four hours I fell asleep while watching a “Mythbusters” marathon. But besides from that, two days. Two days. Technically. Also, I take a half hour nap after each wank. Up to three a day now. Good for you, goddamnit, I tell myself. So, in essence I hadn’t slept for two days. Felt like it, anyway. Maybe a day. Point is: I was tired. I was tired of waiting for the case that would make me a big time player. I stared out of my office window and saw the sun ascend towards the heavens. I didn’t notice her entering my office. Which was strange, because the door was right next to the window I was staring through. She moved so quietly. Like a cat. Or a panther. Or a very well trained super ninja. I removed my ear muffs and regarded her closely.

She had shapely legs that seemed to go on for hours. Perhaps 45 minutes, if I was being unkind. Her hips swayed to a supernatural rhythm, which was odd, because she was already sitting down in my favorite camping chair. Her breasts were nothing short of marvelous, and they were highly functional because they attracted attention away from her lack of collar bones. Her face was okay. I decided that staring at her for a half hour was enough and might be considered rude for someone not in the habit of being ogled by a hard boiled egg… uh, detective.

“Can I help you?” I snarled.
“Are you Perceval McGiggins, the famous detective?” she whispered in a voice laced with sex and cough medicine.
“I am not. He was my father.”
“Are you his son?”
“Not related, sorry.”
“I need a detective”
“My father is dead.”
“May I speak to him?”
“Do you always answer a question with a question?”
“I didn’t…”

I cut her off with a wave of my hand. I conjured up a smile from my bowels and looked into her eyes, which I hadn’t been doing, since I was staring at her gumboots. I told her I would take the case.

“The case?”
“That’s right. The case.”
“I haven’t told you…”
“I have a nose for these things.” I did also have an ear, throat and spleen for such things, but I failed to mention it. I must remember to mention it, I told myself in my staccato mind voice.

“Four rand a day… minus expenses” I said in a tone that I would later recognize as something I forgot as soon as I recognized it.

“Mr. McGiggins…
“Mr. McGiggins was my father” I shouted, “You can call me Perceval McGiggins.”
“Perceval McGiggins…”
“Mister. Please. I don’t know you; you don’t know me, lady.”
“Mr. McGiggins, can you handle a case of such magnitude?”

I gave a confident nod, even though I didn’t understand what magnitude meant. I wondered if it had something to do with the case. Magnets? Magneto? X-men? XXX? Pornography?

I felt myself getting hard and sleepy at the same time. I assured the lady I would take care of her case. She said something about “explaining” but I was too busy playing with myself through my pocket to notice. She left in a huff, and I knew I hit a nerve.

Strange thing is, I never saw her again. Did the evil that exists out in the world, the evil she asked me to investigate, finally catch up with her? Perhaps I would never know. But I will investigate. I will always investigate…

For that is what I do.

The Best Little Whore in Cape Town… (is not an actor)

14 Mar

The empty bar in the glowing theatre lobby wakes up at 7pm. With a refreshing yawn she prepares herself to be entered by those that matter. The bar knows she is a whore, but takes solitude in the fact that she is a respected, beloved, well-taken-care-of whore. She is the first to be fucked and those who penetrate her feel comforted by her non-judgemental embraces and tender acts of mercy. She is also the last to be fucked. Her clients wash themselves clean of what they had just experienced and run back to her as she greets them with open arms. She sympathizes with their pain. The mixed look of fear and exhilaration she sees in her clients’ eyes reassures her that she will be the bottom bitch for years to come. She is the main attraction, the real introduction. She lives for opening night. For this is the night when the fat, wealthy, important clients arrive and seek her comfort. It is not the respectable, but modest, second night clients, whom she adores, but ushers through at a hurried pace, nor is it the duration of the spectacle when she is entered night after night by the simians who are paid to perform and whose antics inspire others, as well as themselves, to visit this comforting whore; either out of sheer disappointment or occasionally, a delight in watching (or being) exceptionally talented performing monkeys. This is the opening night. The grand first march of the campaign. The assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand. The bombing of Pearl Harbour. The eloping of Paris and Helen. This is the big one, the first train to Fat City, the breaking of the levees. And Madam Whore, the savior of most, the damnation of some, is ready for it. She whispers, “Let the fucking commence.”

Her minions dolly her up. She knows she needs to be pretty for this crowd, for they will feel the need to judge her as well. She smiles knowingly. They need her. They need what she has. But she plays along. Give the client what he or she wants. Make them think they are in charge.

The first people arrive. They stagger into the lobby with a wild look and whisper angrily that they knew they were too early. They showed their hand and their eagerness augments them immediately; they will judge harshly this piece of entertainment they are about to witness. The discomfort passes as soon as they see our heroine, the whore, and partake in her services. They sip unlabeled wine, slowly calming down and coming to terms that they are just as important as the rest who will arrive soon. The joint heats up as more royalty arrive. “Oh, I’m on the list. I’ve been invited,” says a faux-modest voice that inhabits an industry type, dressed in expensive clothes that makes the wearer believe that he or she is passing as a fully-formed human being. The false back and forth continues as more guests slither in. “I think I’m on the list.” “I’ve been invited.” “I’ve been comped… I think”. The whore smiles. They’ve all been invited, they’re all on the list. And they all know it.

The Johns and Janes dive into our heroine’s on-display fruits. The first round of pleasure is on her. She gives them just enough to prop them up for the show, to keep them awake and wanting more, drooling for the next taste of her loins. For when they pay, they know (or hope) it will be sweeter than the teasing lick they received for free.

The doors to the theater open and a very insignificant person waves the theatergoers into the black chasm of the auditorium. With uncertain shuffles, the patrons enter the abyss looking around wearily as if they expect an unclean, frothing at the mouth actor to jump from the blackness and take a bite out of their decorated arses. The doors close and the whore gives the “ready-to-be-disappointed” audience a wave and blows them a kiss, knowing that they miss her already.

As time passes, the whore finds delight in the sounds coming from the auditorium. The coughs, giggles, groans, shifting seats, cell phone ringtones and, of course, the muffled dialogue of the puppets made from meat, hope, longing and (for the after taste) disappointment. Picking herself up from the comfort of emptiness, our beloved lady of the night stands ready as she anticipates the obligatory applause and the rush of warm bodies ready to release themselves into her womb.

She lets out a whisper, “Here they come.”

A veritable orgy commences. Thirsty souls drink from her breast and finger her fine oak corners. Wrapping their moist hands around her goods and gulping down her milk greedily, they now await the emergence of the director and the actors, but for that they need lubricant, and Mother Whore obliges. The director comes out first and is met with applause and an offer of the whore’s tit. He/She takes a big sip and everyone seems pleased. The actors wait their turn and their patience is awarded with a lick and a suck from our heroine, who gives a lascivious smile with a wet, dripping mouth and an eager, gaping chasm between her legs into which she invites all those who dared to leave the comfort of their lives and enter into a deal to be bored stiff.

They’re all fucking now. Left and right. Up and down. Handjobs, blowjobs, ass-fucks, snow-balls, fistings, muff-dives, brown noses, sixty-nines, toe licking and the ever present “orgasm by compliment”:

AUDIENCE MEMBER: You did a great job.

PRACTITIONER:  You were a great audience.

The Best Little Whore in Cape Town listens, and gives a bit of a groan, as everyone comes over one another. She knows her job is done. Like the best therapist in the world, she has made it possible for these people to relax by doing to her what they would like to do to each other, so that they can, in the end, do it to each other. Good job, old girl.

As her minions wipe her clean and put her to bed, the well fucked, satisfied whore closes her eyes and awaits the world of tomorrow. For, in essence, it will be the same as today. And that’s why she loves South African theater.

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