Saturday, August 31, 2002

Grande Cafe, Rosebank

Saturday, August 31, 2002

Service: * * *1/2
Food: * *
Ambience: * * *1/2
Babe Count: * *1/2

Alistair and I are playing backgammon here today. He's now the doubles champion, after beating sixteen other teams, including the one I was in, to take the trophy. It's a gaudy glossy plasticcy thing, that only a mother could love. And boy oh boy, Alistair definitely had some birth pains to deliver this one. So hey, Alistair -- congrats, boyo! Hard work pays off.

Alistair's game has notched up to a new level. He's been taking lessons with one of South Africa's top players, Tony Matsouris. And it shows.

Except for today. Cos I thrash him. Not once. Not twice. But thrice! Three matches up to 13 points, and I take him each time. With no Vaseline.

As compensation for the butt-stubbing he's just suffered, Alistair takes to gazing in authentic doe-eyed goofiness at the manageress. Blonde. Petite. Hair chopped in one of those bobs that gets motorcycle helmet designers wet around the extremities. Trouble is, Alistair is a romantic. So he doesn't want to find a way to take her home and shag her. He wants to make her like him so he can marry her and have children. Maybe she'll be a trophy wife. Then their children will look like little backgammon trophies.


After backgammon Alistair heads off, I decide to see a movie. I wander down to Cinema Nouveau and find that THIRTEEN CONVERSATIONS ABOUT ONE THING is on. I pay my eight bucks (whah whah -- I'm a Vitality Club Platinum Card Holder) and go inside. Pretty darn empty for a Saturday matinee. It can't possibly be Rosh Hashonah yet, can it??? Nope. Just art movie time.

I settle down to a month or two of tedium. Well-acted, mind you, but tedious. I give it a yawn, and 4 out 10 on the Roy-o-meter.

The high point of my evening is when I come out of the movie and see Carmen studying the reviews pinned to the Cinema Nouveau board. I glance around the place, now fairly crowded, to see if her boyfriend is around. She seems to be alone. We chat a bit. Namely about the movie. Unfortunately, she's about to see the same one I've just seen. So I don't pan it. I just mildly encourage her to see AMELIE.

"Nah," she says. "We've already booked. And Alan Swerdlow said it was cool. So hey."

And then I notice the boyfriend, lurking around in the background. He doesn't look too difficult to get rid of.

Thursday, August 29, 2002

The Blues Room, Village Walk, Sandton

Thursday, August 29, 2002

Service: N/A
Food: N/A
Ambience: * * * * *
Babe Count: * * * * *

I've invited about 10 buddies to come see Wendy New launch her first album. Masses of people are crowded into the Blues Room. Possibly to see Wendy New launch her first album. But more likely, to get laid by authentic South Africans.

See, there are about ten thousand WORLD SUMMIT passes hanging around the necks of their owners, and about a trillion languages and dialects are contributing to the Bable Babble of the Babes in Battle-gear.

I see Carmen, looking lovely with her long red hair and tasteful slacks. It's astonishing to me how a woman like Carmen can tear herself away from the mirror in the morning. If I looked that good, I'd own a mirror collection. Incidentally, have you ever noticed how mirrors steam up when you kiss them?

"So do I get to meet the mythical boyfriend?" I say, hoping she'll say something to the effect that he IS mythical, and that I'm actually next on the boyfriend list. Instead, she tells me that he only SEEMS mythical, and that he simply couldn't be at the gig due to a last minute emergency something or other.

I'm flitting between my various guests, paying not-enough attention to anyone, and trying to catch the eye of the Bulgarian diplomat called Fiorentina (it says so next to her photo on her neck-slung World Summit pass). Between her ample Bulgarian bulges.

But I lose interest in her when I spot Damon Berry in black leather pants. He's my best buddy, and he's here from Cape Town for just this one night, having been collected at the airport by his loving parents at 6pm. He's one of the puppeteers for TAKELANE SESAME STREET, and they've let him off for the evening. Schmucks. Wouldn't even reschedule him so he could have Friday free. Ah well. That's showbiz.

So I approach him, but he's seriously stressed. He gets like that before he performs. Which makes me glad. Cos that means he's going to be doing his rap on the song, Three Minutes Thirty, which he co-wrote with Wendy.

We agree to touch base after the gig, and he disappears into the little room behind the bar. I pop my head in to say hi to Wendy, and to tell her to break a string. (That's the musicians' equivalent to the actors' break a leg.) She smiles and then bursts into tears and hugs Damon. I disappear double quick and wait for the gig to start.

A long tall woman dressed in black, dressed in black, dressed in black, dressed in black black black. With white panties. Yummy. While I'm waiting, a killer babe with bum-length black hair sits on the bar stool opposite me. I'm in the VIP lounge at this point, chatting to Carmen and a Slovakian forestry dude. So my eye is directly in line with her crotch. The raven-haired sylph is talking to her boyfriend. And forgets that she's wearing a miniskirt. A black miniskirt. With a black blouse. Emphasising her black hair. And she crosses her legs. And it's a Sharon Stone moment for me. From one-and-a-half metres away, I get the full benefit of her smooth white panties.

And the fact that I'm staring at the siren's crotch might just explain why Carmen hasn't ditched her current boyfriend for me.

All goes well with the gig. Except for the fact that the sound desk can't get Wendy's vocal volume high enough, so they take the volume of the band down, which reduces the impact of her terrific songs. Makes them feel a bit energy-free. And she gabs too much between songs, losing lots of the audience not there for the launch.

I buy the cd at the door after, once I've left, after being snubbed by Fiorentina. Not to mention Liesl and Suzelle, the babes I met in Cresta's Seattle Coffee Co. And I play the cd three or four times before going to sleep. And it cooks. It really really cooks.

I send Wendy an SMS that says, "Remember -- I knew you before you were a superstar!"

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Seattle Coffee Company, Cresta

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Service: * * * *1/2
Food: * * * *
Ambience: * *
Babe Count: * * * * *

My life is complete. Paycheck firmly in my account. Decaff coffee in hand. And some delicious writing ahead of me.

I get to my table, the one I slapped my books down on before getting to the counter to place my order, the usual, the one the guys at Seattle Coffee Co all over Joburg know by now to be "One Harmless Grande Latte", and find that a Palestine has been perpetrated on me.

My table's been colonised.

But do I look like I'm complaining? Not on your father's nelly I'm not. The two uber babes I noticed earlier on while I was walking through Cresta pondering watching a movie instead of writing my own are camped out in my territory.

But hey. I'm armed. In the boot of my car is a brand new book I've just gotten my slick hands on. It's called DATING: A Survival Guide From the Frontlines. And I've read the back blurb already. And the table of contents. So I know what's what. Gottit? (I bought the book cos I've just had a little meeting with my far-too-gorgeous ex-babe, Antoinette. And after one-year of being broken up with each other, we're certainly not getting back together. And she refuses to have break-up sex with me. So what's a boy to do, eh?)

So I'm vaguely pleasant about the hostile takeover, and the two babes seem not unhappy with my demeanour. So we chat a bit. "I'm in marketing," says Liezl, after I figuratively press her for information.

Suzelle says, "I'm a griller at Nandos." Yeah, and I'm a frying pan consultant. So I press her, also figuratively, though I could get into doing it beyond metaphor, given half a chance. Turns out she's a tax accountant doing her practical year and finishing honours at Unisa.

"And you?" I say to the dude they've got with them.

"Marcus," he says, and I make a snap evaluation as to how much punishment I'll have to deliver to get him to detach from Suzelle. (I assume they're an item.)

I'm not allowed to mention this aloud, but they all hail from Krugersdorp. And the two babes are sharing a bed housesitting a place in Parkhurst.

"But not the way you think," says Suzelle.

"I don't know what you mean," I say, preparing a mental snapshot to be recalled at will late at night, alone, in my futon-nest in my cozy flat in Cresta. With my hot water bottle.

Suzelle catches my attention. "Roy," she says, "...and Liezl. Since you're sitting at the same table, this means it's your first date."

I almost ask Liezl if she believes in sex on a first date, but I've only been sitting with her for about 300 seconds, and I don't want to try setting any records tonight. And besides, I've still got to read that section in the Dating book. Not only that, you simply don't get mattresses in coffee-shops. Not in Cresta, at any rate.

But all of this shouldn't really matter, since I'm in a Cresta coffee-shop to get some more writing done on my screenplay. Right? Yeah. You know about the road to good intention being paved with Wonderbras.

While I'm wondering what witty wondrousness to whip out to impress the two babes, Liezl gets a call from a buddy, and has to leave.

Which would have been reallllllly sad if Suzelle and Marcus had actually been the item I assumed they were. But they're apparently not. So we spend the evening sitting in the coffee shop talking about tax issues, and how I need to fire Tax Relax, and take them to the consumer council to get my money back since they haven't actually rendered any services over the two years I've been with them.

And it dawns on me that I can leverage my famous friends in order to squeeze a real date out of Suzelle and Liezl.

I invite her and her friends to The Blues Room in the Village Walk for tomorrow night's launch of the latest mega-talent on the block. Wendy New will be releasing her cd in a one-hour gig for invited buddies and moguls only. And I'm way up there on the guest list. Important guy, huh?

So I'll be seeing more of Suzelle tomorrow night. And Liezl. So here's hoping that the dating book can give me some more pointers.

And maybe I'll be able to muscle out a couple of scenes of my movie before I go to sleep tonight. But it might be a different movie to the one I'm writing. And it might be set in a house in Parkhurst. Starring two uber babes. Taxing stuff, this.

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Wiesenhof, Cresta

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Service: * * *
Food: * *
Ambience: * *
Babe Count: * *

Let's face it. I don't come here for the ambience. It's Cresta, for godsake! And I don't come here for the babes. It's really the convenience, and the size of the tables, and the privacy, and the fact that it's a five-minute drive away from my flat, or a one-minute walk (parking takes up the rest of the time). Not that I'd dream of walking.

Sometimes it's the food that draws me here. They make a really nice mince on toast. Their scrambled eggs on toast are respectable too.

But tonight I decide to do the Europa Cajun Chicken Salad test.

They fail miserably. Sorry, Kobus. You've GOT to get the salad right, broe! (I'm addressing this to Kobus Wiese, the exceedingly large Springbok Rugby prop who owns the franchise and whose name is in the restaurant moniker. I'm doing it via the internet because then I face very little chance of personal injury. Though he is a nice guy. He even said hello to me once, when he used to spend a lot of time in his own coffee-shop. I think he got too big for the chairs though.)

The chicken in this case is sliced VERY thick, making it tough and stringy, and a little on the -- uh -- let's say, squishy side. One of the pieces I cut open is quite pink on the inside. Not raw, but just past it. However, they do get the feta content right -- there's a fair amount of the crumbly white cheese, and it's got a great texture.

But everything really gets overshadowed by the dressing.

The dressing.

How do I talk about this stuff? It's bright orange, like those terrifying mounds of chips you see on the side of the road in one-metre long plastic packets. And it has some kind of curry powder in it. Perhaps this is meant to impart a Cajun ambience to the dish? I dunno.

This salad dressing comes across like one of those karaoke singers with too much nail polish, jiggly breasts pumping out of the tank top, and a hairdresser who belongs to the Misogynist Haridresser's Guild Of South Africa.

On the bright side, their coffee is delicious, and served in generous portions (I drink decaf, and get one of those Bodum plungers that holds two big mugs of coffee.)

And hey. The salad dressing helps me conserve power on my palmtop as I write a scene of my movie. It's bright enough for me not to need the screen backlight.

Monday, August 26, 2002

Europa, Norwood

Monday, August 26, 2002

Service: * * *
Food: * * * * *
Ambience: * * *
Babe Count: * * *

I'm sitting here with my index cards spread all over the place. The babe count is disappointing, since Norwood's normally full of lovelies. But hey. I'm here because of the doubles backgammon tournament I'm in tonight, and I've got to get some food into myself before we play, and I've also got to get some writing done.

I order the Giselle, a Cajun chicken salad.

It arrives. I'm bowled over.

I measure all of my Cajun chicken salads against the one served at JB Rivers in Hyde Park. And you know what? From now on, Europa is the king of Cajun chicken salads.

It's quite simply a thrilling dish. Nothing overtly unusual about it. Simply a generous helping, not too overwhelmed by lettuce, but with tons of avocado, and the chicken sliced thin, well-spiced. Carrots and other veggies. And delicious slices of woody smoked cheese which might be pecorino or parmesan.

Saturday, August 24, 2002

Mugg & Bean, Eastgate

Saturday, August 24, 2002

Service: * *1/2
Food: * * *
Ambience: * * *
Babe Count: * * *1/2

The two-day script development masterclass is over. I'm sitting in the Mugg & Bean with my spread of index cards across the table. They form a map of my movie script. I've got Clare Downs's notes open, and I'm checking whether my instincts were right on my story. Seems like I'm spot on.

I've been waving the menu around while studying the cards, and now I want to write a bit. It's been -- I kid you not -- six minutes and thirty-seven seconds since I started waving the menu. (My palmtop computer has a handy timer on it.) There is a cluster of six waiters and waitresses standing neart the entrance. I'm near the cake counter.

At the eight-minute mark, the manager happens to glance my way, and springs into action, pointing at me. A waitress scurries up to me, bright smile, hands clasped in front of her. "May I please have a decaff filter coffee --"

She almost runs off to get the coffee, before I can order the Beef and Chicken Pockets. But I manage to call her back before she hits the kitchen doors.

While I wait, I write a short correction to one of my early scenes in my script, and the waitress arrives, sans coffee.

"Did you want beef AND chicken?" I'm baffled. That's what's on the menu. Why should I want anything different if I didn't actually stipulate? She notes my nodded 'yes' and rushes off.

My timer's no longer on, so I can't really tell how long it takes to get the coffee. But it arrives. It's a decaf cappuccino, not a filter coffee. I say nothing, cos I actually like cappuccino. But it's not what I ordered.

When the waitress comes back to bring my beef AND chicken pockets, she doesn't take away the little open brown sugar packets. But hey.

What I don't really enjoy is the fact that here at the Eastgate Mugg & Bean, they give only a tiny amount of guacamole dip to accompany the food. And they've already spooned sour cream all over the pita sachets. And the tomato salsa sauce is very wet, so the pita is already getting soggy. When I had this dish in Melville, they had all three accoutrements in separate bowls, in generous portions. Maybe rent is more expensive in Eastgate.

Despite all this, the food is delicious, and I'm seriously hungry.

So I eat up like a good boy, and take the time to study the people around.

It's not very busy for 9 o'clock on a Saturday night.

There's a group of 13- or 14-year old girls beside me. They have Linksfield King David accents.

One of them answers a cellphone with a long, exhaled, "Yeeeeees?" Must be her mother on the other end. "Ya, we're all at Eastgate." She's subconsciously rubbing the underside of her fledgling breast, where the trainer-bra strap is cutting in. "Later." Click.

One of them is really tall and slinky, with a very pleasant shape to her face. She's got an alarmingly husky voice. She's the reverse of the boy-with-a-breaking-voice. Hers has gone down to a low tenor. She's going to be the man killer when she grows up.

At a certain point, all the girls lean towards the centre of their table, elbows on the edges, their heads almost touching. "It's Mark's hair I like," says one. "His HAIR?" squeals the tenor, followed by "Shhh!" from the other three.

At another table, a married woman, out with her three friends, is playing with her wedding ring. She's been taking it off and putting it on all night. She catches me looking at her, and pointedly puts the ring back.

Moments later she's studying the cakes, her midriff right near my nose. But for some reason I can't smell her. She's anonymous. A married woman in the sexiest labia-parting jeans I've seen in a long time, leaning over my table to peer at the cakes. My palmtop computer's on, its screen glowing green. I pretend I'm not interested, and type a few lines of dialogue in.

She swaggers away after a while, a married woman who knows she's goddamn irresistible. I hope for his sake her husband knows the goldmine he's found. But judging from the way she's been playing with her ring, I don't think he does. She makes quarter-eye-contact with me all evening until the four of them leave.

I sit there for a total of four hours, leaving only when the waitresses theatrically bring out the mops and the manager starts checking his watch every thirty seconds. I'm not the last to leave. The restaurant is still a third full when I saunter out, doing my best to look like a single screenwriter on the up-and-up.

Friday, August 23, 2002

Gramadoela's, The Market Theatre, Newtown

Friday, August 23, 2002

Service: Not Applicable -- Buffet
Food: * *
Ambience: * * *
Babe Count: * * * *1/2

We're having a celebration for the presenters of the script development masterclass. I'm part of it cos I'm the co-deputy-chair of SASWA, the Scriptwriters' Association.

I finally get to meet Amy Moore. She's the head of NAM -- New Africa Media. They're South Africa's biggest hope in reaching international superstardom in making feature films. She's short, blonde, piercingly pretty (slicing blue eyes), appealingly plump, and the most powerful woman in the Southern African film hierarchy.

Probably because of the Earth Summit taking place in Joburg, Gramadoelas seems to be hopping with foreign beauties. It's a pretty exotic looking place, filled with all sorts of colonial decor. It makes the place quite pleasant to be in, but the proliferation of copperware is a bit overpowering for my senses.

And the food is not to my taste. But my colleagues seem to enjoy the prawns and calamari and crap like that. Around seafood, I'm basically a little boy: "Yuck! Gross!" Spit spit spit!

Speech time. Luiz de Baros, SASWA co-chair, starts by thanking everyone and handing out bottles of South African Export Quality Port. Luciano Gloor (the Berlin-based part-Italian Swiss producer who made TOTO THE HERO) glows and beams. Clare Downs (the Bridget Bardot lookalike based in London, but with a world pedigree, who is one of the world's best script editors) is up. Amy Moore (I've mentioned her already, hmm?) and Steve Francis (co-creator of Madam & Eve, and co-writer with Gus Silber of SLASH, the latest NAM Films feature, the one that's about to return double the investment to its investors, the one that made a huge splash at Cannes recently) are elated.

But it's when Luiz pulls out two surprise envelopes that the night kicks into high gear. We're honouring two of the industry's biggest supporters with honorary SASWA membership, and they have no idea they're about to be singled out for adulation. Mfundi Vundla and Elsje Stark, two of the people responsible for the most popular soap opera South Africa has ever produced -- GENERATIONS -- are overwhelmed. Gasps, ooohs, aahs. A vigorous round of applause.

The food still sucks, but even though I go home hungry, I've got some very cool business cards in my pocket. Looks like I'll be giving Amy a call sooner than later.

Thursday, August 22, 2002

Almar View Bed & Breakfast, Nelspruit

Thursday, August 22, 2002

Service: * * * *1/2
Food: * * * * *
Ambience: * * * *
Babe Count: N/A

I was supposed to arrive here at lunchtime on Tuesday, but, because I was still in bed at home in Cresta at lunchtime, I couldn't quite make it. So I got here just before sunset.

It's my first long drive out of Joburg in my li'l red sports car, and I had a thrilling drive. Kept it down to 160km/h most of the way, but did venture up to 180, twice.

It's a real pity, but I have to go back home just now. I've finished typing a breakthrough scene of my screenplay, and I'm about to pack up. Lunch is almost ready. And I've got a two-day script development masterclass to attend from tomorrow morning.

Pity I'm four hours out of Joburg. If I were closer, I'd probably spend the night, get some more writing done, and leave very early in the morning.

Marely calls me for lunch. She's in her early sixties. Her husband, Theo, is in his mid sixties. They've always lived away from big cities, having worked in the mining industry. Theo was a mining engineer, now a farmer, and Marely a teacher, specialising in kids with learning disabilities, now a B&B operator.

Next time I take a mini writing break, I'll probably be back.

Mainly because of the food.

Lunch is a delicious chicken and risotto affair. My mouth is full, and I point at the nuts, a question mark in my eyes. "Yes!" says Marely. "The pecan nuts. The trees are just behind the house.

I swallow. "And what about the chicken?" I'll ask Marely to put about half of my food in a doggie bag for supper tonight. I could eat food like this every day of my life.

"No. That comes from Pick 'n Pay in Nelspruit."

"No!" I say, alarmed. "You've got to tell the city-slickers that EVERYTHING comes from the farm! We can't tell the difference."

Just then the wild hippopotamus runs inside from the garden, shaking his wet, shaggy, black fur. I'm not entirely certain, but I think I once saw a dog like him. A Scotty. "Liefie!" says Marely, "Go to your box!"

Saturday, August 17, 2002

Europa, Parkhurst

Saturday, August 17, 2002

I'm having supper with Jason Ashberg and Dion Scher. Jason's a filmmaker. He made one of the one-minute Quickies, one that I co-wrote with him, called THE FIRST MOVE. Dion's a movie writer. He and Jason have just finished making PENDULUM, a short that Dion wrote.

The three of us are pretending we're in Hollywood, and we're waiting for photographers to burst through the door to try and steal pictures of us together to print in the society pages.

Jason tells us a story about our mutual buddy, Akin Omotoso. He's an actor on GENERATIONS, a daily soap opera, and the most-watched show in South Africa. He's also the director of a feature movie that's doing very well on the international film festival circuit: GOD IS AFRICAN.

Well, Jason phoned him last Sunday to say, "Akin -- you've made it, huh?"

"What do you mean?"

"C'mon, Akin. Don't you read the Sunday Times?"

So Akin scuffles with a newspaper, turns to the gossip pages, and finds a picture of himself and some society babe, along with a story about how they were seen in a restaurant together, and how they may be romantically involved, and how Akin dived under the table when he saw the reporter.

Akin fumes to Jason. "It's all bullshit!" he says. Yeah, of course he was at the restaurant. No, he's not involved with her.

Once Jason's finished telling us the story, I reckon that you've got to expect stuff like that if you want to be a soap star. I also caution him that we've got to learn to expect the same treatment in a little while, when we're also high profile celebs. We drink to that.


Earlier in the day, I meet with Kim briefly, before the SASWA Feature Film workshop run by Jeremy Nathan, the renowned guerrilla filmmaker. As a member of council, it's my turn to be the Master of Ceremonies.

But back to Kim.

She fixes her eye on a point between my eyes and my lips and says nothing. I've only spoken to her on the phone since meeting her the other day for lunch, after her rape. We're a little uncomfortable. I don't want to encroach on her physical space in any way. She's probably feeling unsafe, and I'm a man, and I just don't want her getting any ideas that I might want to rape her.

She keeps looking at my nose and says, "I'm pressing charges."

"Good for you," I say, and touch her shoulder.

She flinches. "The bruises," she says.

"Haven't they healed yet?" I say. I'm concerned. The rape was two weeks ago. She should be physically fine by now, surely?

"They're new." I look at her. I'm aware that I'm shaking my head. I don't know what I'm about to hear, but I've got a sick idea that she's going to tell me she's been raped again. She says, in her candy-voice, her best little-girl voice, "Don't be cross with me." And I know I'm going to be very, very cross with her. She says, "He did it again. You know last weekend was a long weekend? Well, I went to a dinner party he held. And basically, I was out for the whole weekend. I mean, out, knocked out. Unconscious. The same drug, it seems. I went to the doctor on Monday, and this guy definitely raped me again. The whole weekend." She points surreptitiously at her crotch. "I'm -- torn. Inside."

I can't be hearing this. Is she having me on? "Kim, are you telling me you WENT TO THIS GUY'S HOUSE?"

"Don't be cross. It's all the drugs I'm on."

Where I come from, I believe in that adage: "If you cheat me once, you're at fault. If you cheat me a second time, it's my fault."

Now, Kim's multiple-rape and bruising and vaginal lacerations at the hands of a sociopath armed with a drug that paralyses women is certainly not a bag of laughs to me. And I certainly do have some sympathy for her. But not as much as I had the first time this happened two weeks ago. Right now, I think she's an idiot.

"I've got to go to my SASWA workshop," I tell her. "I'm the MC today."

"Don't be cross," she says, and there's a vulnerable, drugged, stupid look in her eye that makes me want to go on a killing spree.

Instead, I introduce Jeremy Nathan with an unnatural amount of zeal. "Roy's too kind," he says, and I smile, settling back for an afternoon of learning about the state of feature movies in South Africa today.

Friday, August 16, 2002

Seattle Coffee Company, Cresta

Friday, August 16, 2002

I've just been to Exclusive Books next door and bought my very own copy of the AA's HOTELS, LODGES, GUEST HOUSES, B&Bs, and I'm standing in the queue for coffee. It's not the longest queue in the world. But it's one with impact.

That's because it contains three female redheads, one male redhead, and one brunette. Two of the female redheads are around eight years old, and they have similar dresses on. They could be twins. But I'm not looking at them.

I'm also not looking too hard at what must be their mother and father, though, from the corner of my eye, I can see a certain resemblance in the set of the jaws, and the way their shoulders slope.

The brunette. She's much prettier than this sketch suggests. But hey. I've always found it hard to get likenesses when I'm drawing someone I'm attracted to. I'm looking at the brunette. She's with them. But doesn't look anything like them. And it's a puzzling arrangement. The mom and dad are in their early forties. The brunette is around 24. She's highly tailored, in a slick pair of black slacks, stylish boots, a creme jacket, and something sheeny-shiny underneath. The rest of the family are Mcullough & Bothwell casual. Big bucks, but serenely so.

I recognise their style. They can only be from Germiston. A kind of small town friendliness, an air of naivety.

The mom asks me what coffees we have.

"I don't really know," I say.

"Oh! Don't you work here?"

It's easy to see how she might think I work at Seattle Coffee Company. I'm dressed all in black today, right down to the underpants, right up to the spectacle frames and black cap. That's because it's the 25th anniversary of the supposed death of Elvis Presley. (I say "supposed" because it's a well known fact that he actually died of an Oreo Chocolate Biscuit overdose in a Seven-Eleven in Texas three years ago, and a bunch of Japanese tourists mistook him for a mound of Ben & Jerry's icecream and ate him, leaving behind a gold medallion and a pair of blue terry-towelling slippers.)

And the reason I'm mourning for Elvis? Because Lorraine at SABC2 sent an email around to selected colleagues threatening death and castration and some really horrible things if we DIDN'T wear black today.

The dad says, "Haha! Look -- he's carrying a bag of books. You don't work here!"

He then goes on to tell me that he discovered a brilliant second hand bookshop in Rosebank. He describes the locale, and I tell him, "Bookdealers of Rosebank." I know, because it's one of the best bookshops in the world. And I design their plastic bags.

And all I'm trying to do is work out what his relationship is with the brunette. Is he seeing her, and out with his ex-wife and kids? Is she some kind of seriously overpaid au paire? Is she a colleague? Is this one of those heterosexual male fantasies involving two women?

I'm also trying to keep making eye contact with her. She keeps smiling at me all the way through the dad's explanations about the bookshop, and how he collects Africana. "There's one shelf in my study," he tells me earnestly, while we're all waiting for his daughters to make up their minds about what they're going to drink, "that's insured for R47 000!" He looks impressed.

I'm not all that impressed. Because a couple of years ago an insurance type came to my place to make sure that I'd valued my goods properly. When she left, I was reeling. My business books, creativity books, film books, and advertising books would have had to be insured for R80 000. The poetry, novels and literary theory books didn't interest them.

I told them to forget it, and cancelled my policy. I would have valued my collection at well over a billion. Not rands. Dollars.

Look, I know I have vaguely obsessive tendencies, but I've read almost everything I own, and I love what books contain. And they have a great effect on people. My ex-girlfriend's five-year-old nephew once walked into my flat and raised his arms in wonder. "Roy!" he said, "You live in a library!!!"

The redhead mom, in the meantime, is dimpling as she smiles at me. "Can you recommend any of the cakes?"

"Oh yeah!" I say. "That --" I point to the Venetian Cheese Cake, "-- hurts!"

"So it's good?"

"Yup. It's what I'm having."

"I'm a tax specialist," says the guy. I suspect it's connected to some or other post-rationalisation he's been making about why he collects Africana. "But I also just love Africana," he appends. "You learn so much."

At the end of a very pleasant ten minutes in the queue caused solely by one family and a brunette, I get to order my Harmless Grande Latte and slice of Venetian Cheese Cake. I sit.

They're seated one table away from me. The brunette keeps looking at me. And I keep seeing how our children will have cute little upturned noses, and they'll be gorgeous-looking, intelligent brunettes, who'll all turn out to be filmmakers obsessed with self-promotion and books.

And I still have no idea who's connected to whom.

After drawing for a while, and looking through my B&B book to try and find a suitable place for me to spend next week working on completing my screenplay, I briefly consider firing Tax Relax. It's not because they're doing nothing for me -- which, as it happens, they're not, and I really MUST fire them. It's because firing them will allow me to get intimate with this dude, see his Africana collection, talk more about bookshops. And at some point, I could pop the question: "Who's the brunette, and is she single?"

But I'll stick with Tax Relax for the meantime, and dream about the brunette fiddling my books while I'm in Groot Marico.

Sunday, August 11, 2002

Mugg & Bean, Sandton City

Sunday, August 11, 2002

Oooooh baby. I'm sizzling. Cooking. Burning up the pre-midnight oil. Been doing so since about seven o'clock when I got here. I'm talking about my screenplay. The one I've just spent three hours on tonight. And the progress I'm making on it over this long weekend.

Yesterday I broke its back by heading for the Grande Cafe in Rosebank. Whipped out my trusty Psion 5MX palmtop computer, and wrote for four hours straight, with only two pee breaks, and several pauses to send self-congratulatory SMSs to my three main filmmaking buddies.

Cracked the scene where Jules gets forced by his mother to do a tarot reading for the lady across the road, and Lesley-Anne -- their Christian cousin-by-marriage who lost her parents in the same car-crash that put her in a wheelchair, the cousin who has just come to stay with them since she's now an orphan -- displays her shock and horror at this terribly satanic thing Jules is doing. And Jules's brother catches her praying over her crucifix, and he warns her that his father doesn't like anti-semites.

And tonight I go into the actual tarot reading. The best thing for me is that I'm not writing on-the-nose. My script is rich with subtext. And I believe I'm fulfilling the fundamental rule of screenwriting. Each line must do two things at once -- it must further the action and deepen character.

But it's really hard to concentrate here in the Mugg & Bean. There's a table of matric students over against the opposite wall. An alarming display of young couples in make-believe-love. Eight 17-year-old girls. Eight 17-year-old boys. Very few pimples. Lots of money. (This is Sandton, the money capital of Africa.) They look so fresh. So commanding.

Two of the girls are exceptionally beautiful. No. Not beautiful. That will come later. They're breathtakingly pretty. One is blonde, and it's clear she's the one they all defer to and want to be. She wears green-rimmed spectacles and a white blouse. Her hand movements are not extravagant. She's not trying to control the table. It simply happens. The other is black-haired. Small. She's the one I'll marry. When she grows up.

They both remind me of my foray into Fournos Bakery in Rosebank yesterday.

I'm sure this guy's harmless, but with the four women standing behind me giggling as I sketch him, I'm almost certain he'll notice that something odd is happening. Then, if he comes up and sees the sketch, I might just find myself hearing Notre Dame's famous bells after being decked in the timpanum by Quasimodo's less-understanding brother.I'm waiting inside for Alistair to arrive with his "mine's bigger and better than yours" backgammon set. If there's one item I want most in the world, it's his backgammon set. I'm going to try to get him to change his will and leave the thing to me. Then I'll kill him. Anyway. I'm waiting for him, and I feel the need to juice out a quick sketch. There's a hunchbacked huge guy sitting outside, right against the window, and I have to capture him before he leaves.

So the pen comes out. The ink comes out. The book opens. And the table of four women beside me goes quiet. One of them giggles. I'm aware of having an audience. It doesn't normally happen. Mostly, when I sketch in coffee-shops, people are so predictably self-absorbed that I can sketch away with impunity. It's normally only the waiters who notice.

This time, all of the women notice me, and watch. I've been looking at them too. Two very young women. One intermediate. And a divorced mother with a Wonderbra and the top four buttons undone. With that crinkly, soft, delicious cleavage skin that only fifty-plus women can boast. Hmmm.

While I'm preparing my materials, they pay their bill, stand up, and all four of them stand behind me. I sketch the hunchback. He has the grace not to notice me. Which is a very good thing, since he's well over six foot tall (if he could stand straight), and he's very beefy. And my sketches are never very flattering. Which means I'm in danger of a flattening.

Oohs and aahs from my new entourage. Then three of them leave. And the cleavage queen comes round to the front of my table to chat. Blah blah yack yack. "Yeah, I sketch in coffee shops. No, I'm self taught. Though I did have a friend who's a damn good artist. Blah blah etcetera." And then I say, "Do you make art?"

"Well. Not really. But I do go for art lessons." And before I ask who her teacher is, I know. I know that she goes to Miriam Stern. Miriam and I haven't seen each other for ages. But we knew each other for a good while. And she taught me pretty much everything I needed to know in order to understand art and form my own opinions.

"So who's your teacher?" I ask.

"Miriam Stern," she says.

"I have two of her pieces in my home," I say. Then I introduce myself by extending my hand, saying, "I'm Roy."

"Renee," she says, and puts her soft hand in mine. I want to keep holding her. I want to take her home. I want her to have sex with me in her divorce-settlement Mercedes. I want her to remind me how gorgeous older women are. But I let her go. Even though the look in her eye says she's trying to figure out a way to get me into her Mercedes.

"Bye," she says.

"Bye," I say. And I stare at her rolling hips. In blue jeans. And I think of Miriam.

Thursday, August 08, 2002

My flat, Cresta

Thursday, August 08, 2002

Long day yesterday. Edited some promos. Started nine in the morning. Left the edit suite at quarter to ten at night. Gruelling. Knew it would be, cos my old faithful editor, Edzardt Joubert, is no longer able to work with me.

And today it was Babe's Day celebrations at the office. Because we're SABC3, and because we're the Coca Cola Popstars channel, our marketing woman has been able to secure the services of two of the guys who didn't make it into the final five. They come and sing some stuff for us.


I'm impressed. And manufactured media superstar hype doesn't normally impress me in the slightest. Which is a way of saying that Popstars -- in my opinion -- isn't hype. These guys are the real thing.

And tonight I head off to gym for the first time in about a month. Not to train, mind you, but to ask a personal trainer whether or not it's safe for me to start training again. I'm still in the after-grip of this nasty flu. So I have a nice long chat with Saranne, a blonde fitness maniac babe who grew up in Klerksdorp. You name the sport, and she's not only played it, but she's probably got colours and trophies in it. "I even have provincial colours for Table Tennis," she says.

She looks a bit like Kim (not her real name -- see below, Tuesday 6 August for details), my friend who got date-drug-raped on Sunday. And if you're interested, Kim's okay. She did the whole AZT anti-AIDS cocktail shock treatment, with tons of other drugs to counteract all possible sexually transmitted diseases. She's also in therapy now, and she's going to be all right.

But before gym, I have a long email chinwag with the Mweb types. I've been having serious trouble using the Mysites tools, and have been unable to upload large files to the server. So I've been up to my consumer activism tricks -- threatening Mweb with serious negative publicity on my radio slot.

It's interesting what the power of publicity will do. Whole teams of techies spring into action and answer the very real concerns I've had with this site for the last week or so. It turns out, after I call the helpdesk for the seventh time, that the email address listed on the Mysites help page actually doesn't exist, and that the woman who set up the address has left the company. So my emails weren't reaching a human being.

All's well that ends well though, cos I've decided that they'll get some very positive spin when I do my show next week. They've really come to the party, and have communicated well with me, even if I had to threaten them to do it.

So here's a hint -- if you have trouble with any techie sort of issue, tell them Roy said they'll be in trouble with him if they don't sort it out. Tell them Roy's a media animal who lives to expose bad service. Tell them Roy's got a radio show on SAfm's Computer Gig every Sunday night, somewhere between 8:30pm and 9:00pm. You go tell 'em that. Cos if you don't, I certainly will.

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

My flat, Cresta

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

An intense coupla days. Sitting here, thinking back, listening to Travis, it's really been quite weird. Take today.

Before lunch, I get back to my office in TV Block at SABC3 and find a six-page document lying on my keyboard. It's a survey questionnaire on sexual harassment at work. Before filling it in, I spend a moment chuckling to myself at the pun potential if 'harassment' had only been spelled 'herassment'.

So I fill it in, killing the few minutes before I make my way down the long tunnel to RadioPark. I'm meeting Kim (this isn't her real name, for reasons that will become apparent) for lunch. She's just broken up with her longtime boyfriend, and I'm cautiously thinking of hitting on her, maybe, possibly. I'm cautious cos I'm also out of a long term relationship, and I'm still partially hooked on Antoinette, even though it's been a year since we split. I'm cautious also cos Kim's a little bit on the manic side, and I'm not sure I want to spend the energy.

Anyway, I drop the survey into the special box in the foyer, and there's Kim sitting in the shortest miniskirt I've had the privilege to observe close up. Jeepers. This chick's hotter than the inside of a Woolworth's Thai Chicken with Chili after twelve rounds with my heavyweight microwave. What's worse is that we're sitting at a glass-topped table, and all I can do is pretend not to stare at the white 'V' of her panties.

I sit next to her, keeping my eyes peeled. I'm a bag of laughs today, so I open conversation by saying, "Wow, Kim! Beautiful dress. I'm sure wearing something like that constitutes grounds for a sexual harassment case."

She sorta smiles. Nothing too committed. I've just blundered. Bigtime, as it turns out.

I ask how she's been, what's happening in her life, how the breakup's treating her. "How are you?" I say.

She looks at me for a long time, and I can tell that she knows I'm looking at her panties. She says, pointedly, "You DON'T want to know."

Red flag time. "No, I do want to know," I say, putting on my crisis counsellor voice.

She says a few more times that I don't want to know, and I insist I do. Eventually, she says, "Well, very awful, in fact. Sunday night I had some friends round for supper. I don't usually drink, but this time I had a glass of wine. About eleven o'clock, I started feeling a bit weird, and I was quite surprised when everyone started leaving. It was like a signal had gone off. They all went home, except for one guy. By this time, I was finding it hard to move. In fact, I felt paralysed. I couldn't speak, even though I tried to."

My eyes are no longer on her crotch. I'm doing full eye contact with Kim now. My face is all scrunched up, like someone's about to hit me, and I'm waiting for the punch.

She says, "And then everything went very woozy, and all I remember is feeling utterly terrified. I've never felt that before." She pauses, and I'm wondering if she's going to cry, but she's actually quite numb. "I woke up at five in the morning, and this guy was still with me. He said I had some kind of epileptic seizure, and he stayed with me and helped me through it. I asked him why he didn't take me to the hospital. He said I was in good hands. Then he went home. I slept most of the day, and when I woke up, I found bruises all over. I'm wearing a load of foundation on my neck today so you can't see the bruise."

I'd noticed a bruise on her bicep when I sat down, but tastefully refrained from making some quip about nights of passion. Thank goodness I've got SOME restraint.

"I think I was drugged," says Kim.

From the way she's told me this story, I know she was drugged. And I know she was raped. But I know that she hasn't been ready to know this yet. "Uh," I say, trying to figure out a non-crude, non-threatening way of saying what I'm about to say, knowing that I've got to say it regardless of how it sounds. She's my friend, for godsake. "Uh," I say again, "when you woke up -- were you sore -- I mean -- you know -- uh --" and I point at her crotch, and whisper sort of the next bit, "your -- your vagina?"

She nods.

"Who is this guy?"

"No, I can't say. Cos you know, maybe he didn't do it. Maybe it was a seizure."

"Kim, it wasn't a seizure."

I take a breath and go into fullscale crisis counsellor mode, right here in the middle of RadioPark, between Metro FM and 5FM, in the lunch hour rush. We talk a lot, for about an hour, and we formulate a plan for her to follow. Step one involves going to a therapist. Step two involves talking to the therapist about the need for all the medical tests. Step three involves getting supportive people around her tonight.

I drop her off at home and she promises to let me know what's happening. Later, while I'm viewing an episode of RELIC HUNTER III for editing tomorrow, she lets me know she's seeing the shrink in the morning, and that she's called her ex and told him what happened, and asked him to be with her tonight. I'm relieved, and happy that she's taken control of this hectic situation.

I want to break things. I want to find this guy and rip his eyes out through his nostrils. I want to hurt him. I want to force him to take AIDS tests. I want to force him to say whether or not he used a condom. I want to make him feel the things I'm feeling. And the two things that stick in my mind are the bruises on her body and her vagina, and the terror she experienced. My imagination tells me that this sonofabitch was probably hurting her really badly and doing seriously psychotic things to her drugged mind.


Then later this evening, I'm watching an episode of MANCHILD, the new British sitcom that's going to start on SABC3 in a month or so. I'm working late cos the inervention with Kim took a really big bite out of my day.

So who phones me while I'm in the swing of things with this wondrously funny comedy about a bunch of 50 year old dudes living out a second adolescence? Yup. My ex. And boy, is Antoinette sounding sexy? Yummy. Reminds me why I loved her. Why I suspect I love her still.

So we speak for half an hour. And then, near the end of the conversation, I mention why I was peeved with her last Saturday. "It's because you tried to coerce me into coming to your party," I say.

Her voice instantly changes from bubbly-babe-in-a-bikini to hatred-Queen-of-New-Orleans. This has pushed her button. She's furious with me for being angry with her. So we end up saying goodbye to each other a bit more forcefully than either of us is happy with, and agree that we'll speak to each other again. Someday. One day.


Before Carine arrives, I whip out the sketchbook and flick out a pic of the woman at the next table. When a hard babe in cycling gear and shades looks at you while you're drawing her, it's hard to tell where her eyes really are. Most people don't notice me capturing them in my sketchbook. She does. Says nothing. Just hardens her mouth and keeps those shades staring at me. Thankfully, Carine arrives, and I've got beauty to look at.Which reminds me of this past Saturday. Sitting in ClockWise in Rosebank with this intensely lovely babe I met at the Herbert Evans sale the Sunday before. Carine. She's a pharmaceutical marketing person who paints. She's recently divorced after a long marriage that she really tried her hardest to make work. No kids. One of the nicest bodies I've yet to see.

"What gives you the most joy in the world?" I ask her after we've been connecting hard over lunch for an hour or so.

She ponders. "That's a reallllly tough question," she says. She's wearing stunning horn-rimmed spectacles, because she can't wear her contacts at the moment, since she's still recovering from the flu, and her eyes are scratchy.

I nod. What's the use of easy questions when you're connecting with someone?

She says, "Being with my friends, with people who know me, love me. Being myself." She nods. "How about you?" Her hair is looking ravishing. She's just been to her appointment at Terenzo's. She sees Terenzo himself. And he's done his salon proud.

"When the September 11 thing happened," I say, "I told myself that if a plane hit the building I was in, I would want to be doing something I love. So I've created a motto for myself. 'I live my art in prosperity and abundance.' What gives me the most joy in the world is a set of two connected things. Creating and connecting."

"I'm going to change my answer," she says. "I wish I'd said that."

We're most certainly going to be seeing more of each other. And I really hope to peruse that body more closely. Maybe she'll let me sketch her.

Friday, August 02, 2002

My flat, Cresta

Friday, August 02, 2002

Just beat Jellyfish 50% of the time over about eight matches up to 11 points. I'm a happy chappy. My life is complete.

As is Guto Bussab's. That's because, in addition to being an up-and-coming superstar director, he's also the dad of a two-week-old baby. I popped in at his place earlier to say hi and see how daddyhood's treating him.

He's got black rings under his eyes.

"Kid keeping you awake?" I say.

He laughs at me. "It's all the partying," he says. He's the director and fellow co-producer of ARIA, my short movie.

I laugh with him.

"No," he says, "seriously. I've been partying a lot. Lianne and I kinda had a fight." They live in separate houses within walking distance in Melville. "But it's cool. We're on speaking terms, and I stay at her place every now and again."

He asks if I want to see the baby. Of course I do. When he SMSed all his friends to announce the arrival, he mentioned that it has his nose. This is significant news. Cos it means that he doesn't have to be paranoid about paternity with DNA tests and hair follicle analysis or anything. See, Guto Bussab has a vast nose. An uber specimen of Brazil mixed with Lebanon.

We hop in my car and arrive at Lianne's spot about thirty seconds later. She's happy to see us. And she's holding a funny little putty sculpture wrapped in a white blanket. "Are you sure it's human?" I say.

Lianne smiles. "Guto wants to do a DNA test to make sure Aliks is his." I look at the little thing in her arms. Nothing paternal stirs in me, and I'm relieved. I'm also disappointed that it's not scathingly ugly. It's actually quite a neat baby, with hair and eyes and hands and things like that. And it's nose looks kinda normal to me.

"Looks like MY nose," I say, covering my own nose in alarm. Guto slits his eyes at me.

"When will our movie be ready?" he asks.

I pretend I haven't heard, since our movie is in the very final stages of audio post-production. But we're still waiting for our composer, Dan, to give us the very last bits of music. And then we're going to submit papers to the National Film and Video Foundation so we can collect our massive grant.

"So," I say, trying to change the topic, "I hear Guto's been a bit of a bad dad?"

"Nah," says Lianne, snuggling up to the film director with a nose for paternity suites. "He's a great dad. Just a shit boyfriend."

Thursday, August 01, 2002

Primi Piatti, The Zone, Rosebank

Thursday, August 01, 2002

It's wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. There's a woman sitting behind me to my left, her back to the big glass door at the coolest coffee-shop in Johannesburg. But this is no ordinary woman. This is sweetheart-material. You know -- beautiful face, a slightly offset nose (for interest), rich blonde hair, silky voice, curves.


She's wearing low-slung blue jeans. So low-slung that I can see the whole top of her lacy g-string, as well as at least four centimetres of the single strand that descends into the furnaces. She's leaning forward, talking to a lunk, a jerk with a smirk. And I'm staring at this woman, twisting my neck. And so's a passerby. He's standing with his nose smeared against the glass. Sheesh.

This isn't even nearly a representation of Damon Berry. He looks a heck of a lot like Billy Idol right now, what with his dyed white hair. And he's trying a facial hair experiment. Aside from a blonde moustache and some fluff masquerading as burns, he's also got a bit of a beard. It looks like a bleached version of an Oral B toothbrush, recommended by dentists. I'm sure Wendy New, his talented musician girlfriend loves him for it.Of course, I didn't notice her on my own. It took Damon's dropped jaw and mumbled alert for me to turn around and look. Damon Berry is my good buddy who is about to head for Cape Town for six months to be a puppeteer on the next season of Takalane Sesame Street. We're having a late night cheerio session.

I'll see him tomorrow at ten, since he does voice-over work for my promos. Tomorrow, I'm punishing him for leaving Joburg for so long by giving him a serious tongue-twister. He'll attempt to say: "Should Schwartz schmooze with the schmaltzy schmucks? Get Inside Schwartz, Wednesday at nine, only on Three."

But back to the babe. She gets up, and her top rides right up too. This is shameless. I think she should be reported to the SPCA for Roy-abuse. After all, I'm just an animal at heart.

Earlier, I was at home playing backgammon on my computer against Jellyfish, an artificial-intelligence neural-net simulation of the best backgammon player ever. It's beating me to a pulp approximately eighty percent of the time. Not bad. Even the best human players only beat it fifty percent of the time. So I'm playing when someone knocks on my door.

Knocking on my door is different to ringing the buzzer. If you knock, it means you're actually standing right outside my front door on the third floor. It means you're in the building. If you hit the buzzer, you're outside in the freezing wind. If you hit the buzzer, I ignore you if I'm not expecting you. And I hope you freeze to death. If you're outside my door, standing on my welcome mat, I can't easily ignore you, cos I know you can hear the Red Hot Chili Peppers playing loudly on my hifi. If you're standing outside my door, you probably want to speak to me, and you know that I'm home. There's just no hiding.

So I take a guess at who it is and open the door. Yup. Gillian is standing there. She's a distant neighbour from around the corner, also on the third floor. She borrowed my hammer the other day, so she could hang up pictures. She's only been in the block for about two months. I think she may possibly be attracted to me. I know I find her almost irresistible. Not that she's ultra-babe-material. She's a normal, flesh-and-blood woman. But there's something about her that I warm to.

Which is a hassle, really, since I have this policy of not having sex with neighbours or people I work with. Or sisters of friends. Or wives of friends. It's an inconvenient policy, actually, since I find so many of those people almost irresistibly attractive.

So Gill tells me that she's sorry to disturb me, and asks if I'd mind helping her out with something. Her nostrils are pink and flared, and I can swear that she's a little hot and bothered. I invite her in, and she asks what's new, and I send her into my bedroom to admire the framed print I got from Ray Coombs this morning. It's the artist's proof of my rubber stamp edition of coffee-shop drawings. She asks me why I chose those three images.

Now Gill has a very loud voice. And she talks quite a lot. I consider just kissing her to shut her up, but I reckon that would probably count as rape. Anyway, I'm NOT going to do anything like that, since it goes way against my policy. You know the one. About not sleeping with neighbours. But there's a kicker to this. She's also a devout Christian, and she's probably not interested in the deed anyway. So I'm not even going to try. While I might be a lout, I try not to be an offensive lout.

Turns out the favour she's asking is for me to help her take a vast pile of books down to her car. She's a teacher, and she's got about eighty files. As we walk to her flat, she explains that she doesn't want to make two trips in the morning. She also says, "I'm sorry! I have to admit something -- I might be a little bit tipsy. I've had a bit of wine to drink." She giggles.

I wish I didn't have this policy. But nah. I'm resolute. I take the files down to the car, and I race off to Primi Piatti before I can persuade myself to knock on her door.

A narrow escape. And then a reminder of just how single I am when the g-string goddess leans forward to talk to her pet gorilla.