Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Mugg & Bean, Melville

Wednesday 31 July 2002

A SASWA meeting at Mugg & Bean straight after work.

Work was long and arduous, with some very enjoyable moments. Edited two ECO-CHALLENGE NEW ZEALAND promos, one for THE HOOP LIFE (the best television drama series I've seen, and, I can tell you this, working for SABC3, I've seen a LOT of television), and two for INSIDE SCHWARTZ. Then dashed across from the Henley building down to the bowels of Radiopark to pre-record my Sunday night "Computer Gig" slot with Tony Lankester. I'm the "Priceless Advice" dude. Followed by a quick drive to Melville for this meeting.

Blonde super-babe sitting a coupla tables away from me in Mugg & Bean. Jill looks back over her shoulder once I'm finished the sketch and says, "You're good, Roy!" I don't disagree too vehemently.SASWA. The South African Scriptwriters' Association. I'm the co-deputy chair, and we're meeting to discuss getting funds for "Nuts and Bolts" -- an intense two-day script development masterclass hosted by Clare Downs, the celebrated British script development guru. The council members present agree that we'll have the meeting done and dealt with in half an hour. We do pretty well by only taking one-hour and forty-five minutes.

When we finish, I decide to stick around and chat with Jill Kruger. She's also on council, and she makes documentaries. Her latest -- MY SON, THE BRIDE -- is on two screens at the Earth Summit International Film Festival. A huge honour. And it's also doing superb business on several other film festivals. Of course, she sees no money from all this interest, since, like all filmmakers in South Africa, she was forced to sign away her rights when M-Net invested in it.

But hey. At least she gets a warm glow.

I make eye-contact with Adele, our waitress. We flirt lightly. I don't take it too far, cos that's not polite with Jill around. But still, Jill seems to notice the way I inadvertently glance at Adelle's bum as she walks to and fro. Nobody says anything though.

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Cinema Nouveau, Rosebank

Tuesday 30 July 2002

Devastating news. Leon, the head projectionist at Cinema Nouveau, is leaving. He is the chief reason that cinema's so popular. Since he's been there, I've not had to complain about focus. Not once. Which is more than I can say for Nu Metro Hyde Park, Nu Metro Sandton Square, Ster Kinekor Cresta, Ster Kinekor The Zone, Ster Kinekor Sandton City.

And talking of cinema problems. I would advise you to stay out of cinema 2 in The Zone. Aside from a really bad problem with focus (the screen seems to be slanted, making half of the picture fine, and the other half fuzzy), that particular venue also seems to have a lip-sync problem. Most people can only notice when the soundtrack and the visual track are separated by three frames. I can spot when they're a frame out. Cine 2 is often up to 5 or 6 frames out. So when someone bangs a glass down on a table, the sound of the bang happens a good deal before or after.

But wait! There's more! At Cine 2 at The Zone, one of their big bass speakers is smashed. So when the climactic scene in the movie comes up, and the orchestra is at full tilt, that speaker is crackling and hissing and protesting. I first drew their attention to the problem fourteen months ago. No change. So now I don't go there.

Incidentally, if your movie is shown in anything less than perfect conditions, you're fully entitled to get a cash refund or free movie vouchers from the cinema manager. It's about time these people started taking responsibility for the movies they show. So watch your movie, and if the sound was odd or the picture was out of focus, ask to speak to the manager, and be firm yet insistent.

Anyway, back to Cinema Nouveau. Let's all wish Leon all the best in his next gig. He's an adept video camera operator, and he'll be pursuing that for a living. Good luck, dude.

Saw an Italian movie tonight. 100 STEPS. Amazing. A true story about a kid who grew up in a little town in Sicily and decided to stand up to the Mafia. Unfortunately, some of his family members were also Mafiosi. A very cool film. Flawed. Suffers a bit from sticking too closely to the facts. But I give it a respectable 6 out of 10.

My flat, Cresta

Yay! Dan Selsick just called! He's only got one piece of music left to record for ARIA, the short movie I wrote and co-produced. Once his music is finished, we take it into the final-mix audio suite at Henley, and we'll have a little movie to show to the world! Good on yer, Dan!!!

Monday, July 29, 2002

Cafe TriBeCa, Rosebank

Monday 29 July 2002

I'm grumpy. Finished work late. Low blood sugar. Full-ish moon. And my backgammon teammates decided that it wasn't important to train tonight. So they just decided not to pitch for tonight's tournament practice session.You can't see the sunglasses perched on top of her hair, but they're there. They just blend in well, since they're the same shade of black.

So when I get to TriBeCa, I really need to eat. And I've got to do it before my movie starts, else it'll be way too late to eat.

The waiter's pleasant enough. Dreadlocks. Clean smile. Offers me the menu. I choose the famous TriBeCa Chicken Tramezzini with Sundried Tomato Mustard and Mozzarella. And a grande latte.

The latte arrives while I'm sketching a mega-babe with sunglasses perched on top of her jet-black hair. The waiter doesn't know where to put it, and he's not taking any initiative. This irritates me. I put my pen down on a napkin and sort it out. This bodes ill.

I drink the latte. Delicious stuff. Halfway through, I realise that I forgot to do the decaff bit when I ordered. I know because I've got the shakes. Only coffee does this to me. So now I've got low blood sugar, full-moon lunacy, and caffeine poisoning. Not to mention a waiter who just isn't quite gelling with me.

So the food arrives. I can't believe I'm seeing this. The tramezzini looks tired. The dough looks like dough, and there's white gungy stuff oozing out of it. I don't remember this dish looking like this. And the garnish. There's a piece of lettuce slightly smaller than a computer mouse. On it is a single black olive, an onion ring, and two bits of very wilted English cucumber.

"You're kidding," I say. "Is this supposed to be a salad??"

"It's the garnish, sir," he says, smiling. "Would you like some salad?"

"This is an embarrassment," I say. "Tell your manager I said so."

He laughs and skulks off. I eat. The tramezzini is awful. I consider sending it back, but I'm way too far gone on the caffeine and the low blood sugar, so I HAVE to eat the damn stuff. And it tastes like I'm chewing blubbery chicken skin. I quickly work out that it's actually just the rubbery mozzarella cheese that's giving me that sensation, but I'm nauseous.

I leave a quarter of the dish and decide to do something about it. "Call the manager, please," I say to my waiter, after I manage to catch his eye.

This is the woman behind the bar at TriBeCa. At least she's worth coming back for.The manager comes. Turns out he's one of two people at the next table. He and his buddy were watching me sketch the uber-babe a little earlier.

He is massively apologetic, and immediately tells me that I don't have to pay for the meal, that he's striking it from the bill. I feel horrible about this. "I didn't come here to get a free meal," I say, taking my wallet out.

"Sir," he says, "I know you didn't. I'm taking it off the bill because I think it's a mistake, and I want to rectify it, and I'd like you to come back here. We made a mistake, and we'll sort it out in the kitchen, and this won't happen again. And I really would like to take it off the bill."

I've eaten, so I'm kinda sane again. So I agree. "Okay," I say. And I thank him after I've packed away my drawing equipment.


I head to the movies, and end up watching NOVACAINE, starring Steve Martin. Awesome movie. Neil, the manager of Cinema Nouveau, tells me before the show that noone's coming to see the movie, and that they have to pull it off the circuit. I give it an 8 out of 10. Good stuff.


After, I head for The Zone. Maybe I'll see a late show there. But I desperately need to take a leak. But as I approach the toilets at The Zone, I see a small crowd gathered around one of the television sets suspended from the ceiling. It's tuned to SABC1, and it's the Commonwealth Games highlights package. So I stand for three-quarters of an hour, and watch the Namibian dude, someone-Fredericks, win the 200 metre dash. I feel proud. And I also feel paralysed from the waste down. I limp to the loo, and see the world's longest pubic hair in the urinal. Gross.