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Got a phone call from Damon yesterday morning. "Roy, I need your help, urgently! Have I woken you up?"
I was still half asleep. "Uh, no, it's cool. The phone was ringing anyway."
"Roy, Wendy's car's broken down in Nelspruit, and I'm supposed to be the MC of a poetry slam at St John's. I'm not gonna make it. Can you stand in for me?"
"Absolutely!" I was now wide awake. "Uh... what time's the gig?"
"Two o'clock. Can you make it?"
"Sure," I said. "What happened to Wendy's car?"
Damon and Wendy were down in Timbavati, visiting the White Lion project. One of Wendy's friends runs the thing. So they were delivering a benefit concert for the lions.
"Oh man. We blew a head gasket."
Luckily I was wide awake, so I could respond properly. "Jesus dude! I hope you were in the back seat when this happened. Did you have something to wipe off the fluids?"
"Very funny Roy."
Damon was sounding a little tense. Which happens when you're stuck four hours out of Joburg, and you're not likely to have your own head gasket blown for a while cos your girlfriend's also tense and you're about to spend R5 000 to fix something that shouldn't need fixing.
So I went to the slam, and had huge amounts of fun. I was compering, which is a good thing, cos I haven't performed poetry in a long time now.
After the slam, Kgafela oa Magogodi performed. He had a bassist and a drummer backing him, and his show was simply outstanding. Awesome is the word. Rock 'n roll, bebbe. He's gonna be South Africa's next big star.
In the meantime, I'm waiting for M to get back from Dakar. She was there on business, and she's arriving tonight. We'll be having supper together. Hehehehehe.
I've made myself a sandwich on pumpernickel, with double gloucester cheese and Woolworth's salami. Hmmmmmmmm.
We've had some serious discussions recently. She's glad that J is no longer on the polyamory scene with me, and would prefer it if I don't get a replacement girlfriend. I'm in serious panic mode around this. Makes me feel all tunnel-vision monogamous again, and all my anxiety responses are up. Eeeek. I dunno if I WANT just one girlfriend!!!
Not that there's anything wrong with M! She's hot as heck! And I like her. I like her a lot. Enough to be her boyfriend. But I'm just not certain I'm cut out for monogamy. Ah well. I'll have to play this one by ear.
I've also decided that I'm on the employment market. I've lived a very enjoyable freelance existence for a decade or more, but I'm starting to want some more financial stability in my life.
So here's my plan... I'm going to sell my services on long term contract to anyone who can make use of a serious maverick with a broad skills palette. My resume follows below. If you know anyone who can make use of me, let them know, or let me know.
I'm quite flexible about the work. As long as I'm exercising my creativity, I'm happy.
ROY BLUMENTHAL -- Writer, Artist, Filmmaker, Radio Presenter, Amateur Coffee-Shop Critic, Ka Huna Masseur, Trouble-Shooter, Maverick
Phone: +27 82 659 3165
o Currently working as a freelance writer/director/producer in television and corporate videos.
o I'm a trained crisis counsellor (back in the old day of the 702 Crisis Centre, I was a volunteer).
o I'm an ex-advertising writer/art director (freelanced most of my working life as a self-contained writer/art director team; was a permanent copywriter at Hunt Lascaris FMC for a while).
o Studied half of an electrical engineering degree at Wits, where I was a journalist and satirist on Wits Student newspaper, edited the RAG mag one year, and was a DJ on Voice of Wits Radio.
o Worked as a sound engineer/controller on the Stan Katz, Chris Gibbons, and Barry Ronge shows on 702 back in the day. Thanks to Voice of Wits for that.
o Was a photo journalist on Paratus magazine, writing satire unbeknownst to the people in charge. (Was a religious objector, of all things. Refused to carry a rifle.)
o Studied eight tenths of a literary theory degree at Unisa.
o Sold advertising space on a weekly newpaper called THE HERALD TIMES for Publico.
o Started doing performance poetry at the Market Theatre Flea Market, and in Pretoria and Verwoerdburgstad (now Centurion). That's where Barefoot Press was born.
o Worked at Exclusive Books Hyde Park as their computer geek, in charge of the database when I left the army. Lasted three months, but organised their literary theory shelf.
o Created a project called "Performance in the Park" at Joubert Park. It was a collaboration between COSAW (the Congress of South African Writers) and the Johannesburg Art Gallery. Every Saturday at noon, I got a bunch of street performers to come in and do stuff for an hour. It was hugely successful.
o Got employed by a telephone dating service for about 7 months. Catered for allllll sorts of people. Men looking for women. Women looking for men. Singles looking for couples. Couples looking for couples. Gay men. Gay women. Affairs. The gamut. By the time I stopped working for them, I could tell EXACTLY what line people were calling by simply listening to their intake of breath before they spoke. I was right a hundred percent of the time.
o Left dating to become a direct response copywriter.
o Stayed with advertising for about eight years before leaving it for the film industry.
o Co-edited a book that went to number one on both Exclusive Books and Facts & Fiction bestseller lists. A WRITER IN STONE was in honour of Lionel Abrahams, the doyen of South African literature.
o Numerous published poetry, and television appearances as a performance poet.
o Started Barefoot Press, a poetry publishing house. Started printing poetry on cloth.
o Started running creativity seminars for RAU and WITS. Still run these.
o Taught copywriting at AAA School of Advertising, and later at VEGA.
o Edited GADGET, the online magazine that Arthur Goldstuck started. Got the readership up from around 800 people a week to approximately 10 000.
o Wrote all of the content for Yaron Assabi's "Digital Mall" while I was there. Also saved Incredible Connection from losing R150 000 in a credit card fraud perpetrated from Malaysia. Spotted what looked like a pattern in ordering, and turned out to be right. Hehehehehehe. Crime Buster Blumenthal. That's me.
o Became a "Production Assistant". This is a glorified term for "Runner", the lowest rung on the filmmaking ladder. Had several very surprised members of the ad fraternity saying, "Roy! Blumenthal!!! What are you doing giving me coffee???? And picking up my cigarette stompies?????"
o Progressed into production. Wrote and made a few short films, notably ARIA (a ten minute film about some ancient ex-Nazi opera singers who have their past confront them) and NOODLES (a one-minute quickie).
o Popped onto the radio as the disher out of "Priceless Advice" on SAfm's Computer Gig. Did that for around 7 or 8 years.
o Ended up at SABC3 on contract for three years as a promo producer. It was my job to get people to watch appalling shows like BUDDY FARO. And better shows like SURVIVOR and THE AMAZING RACE. And I can tell you that it's almost impossible to get a voice artist to say the phrase "Relic Hunter" with a straight face. Say it out loud ten times. Heheheheheh. I learned how to edit at Three. Very cool. I made about 900 promos in that time, 450 of which I cut myself. And that translates to my having directed 900 voiceover sessions.
o Started blogging, turning in irreverent and pointless coffee-shop reviews, and have been doing so for three or four years. Cult following. Have used the phrase, "Do you KNOW who I am???" more than once in an effort to terrify the staff into ensuring that the coffee they give me is indeed decaf.
o Joined Memar as a producer on their Ethiopian education project. Turned the chemistry team around. It was haemorrhaging, and it was my pleasure to fire six people and fix the entire screw-up. Endured a death threat in the process. What a tough skin I have.
o Started taking my art seriously. First exhibited at Gallery 111 in Bez Valley. Then the Spaza Gallery in Troyeville. Then Gordon Froud's Gordart Gallery in Melville. My pictures were also part of the erotica exhibition at Merely Mortal in Craighall.
o Directed half of the episodes of GO-OPEN, a tv series about the Open Source Movement. Mostly magazine-style inserts. One or two studio shoots. All across the country.
o Produced a video soliciting funds from Oprah Winfrey and other sponsors for the SOUL BUDDYZ CLUBS, a social phenomenon that arose around the tv series.
o Did pre-production on a travel and tourism DVD aimed at South Africans in South Africa.
o All sorts of writing odd jobs all the way through.
o Am a level-two Hawaiian Ka Huna massage practitioner.
o My motto: "I live my art in prosperity and abundance."
Now. About the service in this place. "Roy!" I'm saying this aloud as I type. "Bring me some orange tea!"