Friday, May 28, 2004

Joe Parker's Comedy Express, Carnival City, Brakpan

Friday, May 28, 2004

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

In the babe count, I'm not counting Bianca, since that would bias the reading. She takes it right up to five stars, seeing as she's so gorgeous, and we've kissed and stuff.

We're in Brakpan, and, granted, only the rich-ish Brakpanners and Boksburgers and Benoni-ers and Springs-ers come to Carnival City, and only the ones with some sort of taste come to see stnadup comedy, but hell... no matter how much money these women are spending on hairstyles, I'm convinced that this part of the world has a Misogynist Hairdressers' Guild. Ooooo bebbe! We're talking prime poodle cuts with frizz on these buxom chicks.

Martin Jonas is last on tonight's bill. He's really funny. And warm. The audience just loves him, and even the hecklers are smiling at everything he says. Very nice energy.I'm here with Bianca cos we've made an early escape from the Memar TV farewell party. Most of the staff have finished their contracts, and it's only the producers and other key staff still active on the project. I'll be one of the last to finish, seeing as I'm in charge of getting the last chemistry lessons sorted. Sigh. Hanging on till 11 June.

The party was at the Horror Cafe in Newtown. Great venue. Free drinks supplied by Memar. Which means that all of my ex-colleagues are getting horrendously pissed. Vomittingly so. And I don't drink or do drugs, so this is just nasty to me. And Bianca's not drinking cos she's going to be performing a little later. At Joe Parker's Comedy Express. At Carnival City. In Brakpan.

So we've made our escape, and I'm sitting at a table on the edge of the action. Prime view of the stage and all of the punters. Sitting next to Hendy, the scrumptuous sound engineer. But believe me, even with Hendy and Bianca to give a guy hot flushes and sticky underpants, this room is dog-city.

Even uber comedian Joe Parker avoids making jokes about how the women look. He knows it's just not funny to these desperate men.

Bianca's second in tonight's lineup. Which is quite a tough slot, cos the audience is only starting to get warmed up. And it seems to me that they're a little rowdy, and possibly a tad hostile. The first dude, Alistair Plint (I think), has had a very hard time. And one dude wearing a baseball cap heckled him interminably.

Joe Parker puts him in his place when he comes on to introduce Bianca. "Hey," says Joe, "this cap you're wearing. Why does it say 'The Lounge'? Cos it's so spacious in your head? Is that it? Huge sofas sprawled around the inside, huh?" The guy shuts up. Then Joe yells, "Put your hands together for Biancaaaaaaaaa Jaaaaaaaane!" And the crowd roars. Cos everyone loves a babe with supreme breasts and a short skirt and black-rimmed glasses.

And her on-stage personality is a winner. The crowd loves her immediately, and she's funny, and they're laughing, and, before it's even started, her set's over, and she's off stage, and someone else is at the microphone. And then, moments later, she's leaning against me and breathing deeply cos she's so wired from the adrenaline.

I've done standup comedy three times in my life. Twice at the old Drum Cafe when it was in Greenside, and once at Carfax in Newtown. All three of them worked well for me. I got the people laughing, and kept them laughing, and stopped talking before they stopped laughing. And I'm addicted. And I'm convincing myself that I oughta get up there and do more of it. Trouble is, it's one of the most vulnerable-making jobs in the whole world. Very very very dangerous for the psyche to stand up there and make people laugh.

It's one of the reasons I've kinda stopped being a standup poet.

But now that I'm on kissing terms with Bianca Jane, standup comic extraordinaire, and on chaste hugging terms with Stacey Sacks, standup comic whose work I haven't yet seen, I'm getting tempted BIGTIME into giving this a serious try.

Joe Parker, a comedian who can whip a hostile crowd into bubbles of laughter. What a gentleman. He likes this portrait of himself even though it looks nothing like him.After the gig, all of the standups still there gather in the sports bar for a drink. Joe Parker sits on my left. Martin Jonas straight ahead. Bianca on my right, with her leg over mine. Alistair Plint beside her. A Cape Town comic whose name I simply cannot recall beside him. A few hangers on like me.

"What's that?" asks Joe. Someone's been trying to talk to him over the noise. "When I worked in a bar band," Joe says, "I developed this uncanny ability to listen to the audience from the stage. It's a survival thing. You've got to hear what they're saying, and nip situations in the bud. It's odd. Nowadays, after years of doing that, I can hear conversation across the room, but I honestly can't hear what people right next to me are saying."

I'm sketching Martin Jonas on my palmtop. I finish that, and start on Joe. Like last night, I'm having a bit of an off night with the drawings. Though I did dash off a really accurate one of Alistair earlier, on a torn piece of a brown paper bag. I gave it to him, and he says he wants to use it for his cd. "With absolute pleasure," I said. He wanted to know my address and stuff, so he can offer me royalties. "Nah," I said, "go for it. Use it with pleasure. No royalties needed."

Joe looks at his portrait. "It doesn't have to look like me," he says. "It's more an indication of what you're seeing as the artist."

Drinks are finished, and everyone limps off into the very late winter night.

It's a long drive back to Bianca's place, and we're not yet in the kind of intimacy where it's okay for me to come in and have coffee. Mainly cos her mom lives with her, and her dog is a jealous bastard called Chester. The beast has a reputation for biting Bianca's manfriends. When I picked her up earlier, he did some very snarly growling, with lots of jowl-juice flying. Eish. This could be a bad omen. I'm a cat person myself. But hey. Bianca's no dog, and she's got assets I wanna raid. I'll do my best to impress Chester. No bites yet.

So we sit in my car for ages. And it's cool, cos it's a cul-de-sac, and we've got a good view of the street, so we can tell if any fierce strangers with guns are about to raid us. Until, that is, the windows fog up from the heavy breathing. Coming down from comedy can be quite a lot of hard work.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Spaza Gallery, Troyeville

Thursday, May 27, 2004

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

A supremely unflattering picture of Bianca. For some reason, I'm having an off night tonight. The drawings are each looking worse than the next. But Bianca gets to walk off with a portfolio full of pics. Lionel Murcott's ones are awesome.Bianca is posing for my portrait circle. We've just taken our first break, and Bianca and I have snuck off into the small exhibition room, the one where my 78 pictures are hanging. Out of sight momentarily, we cop a quick kiss, and a smouldering hug.

"Naughty!" she whispers as my hands cup her firm bum.

And then it's off to eat wholesome soup.

The way the portrait group works is this. We take turns every week to bring a model. The first sitting session comprises five three-minute poses, during which all of the artists do quick loosening-up drawings. At the end of the first sitting, the model gets to choose one of the quick sketches from each of the artists. Then we break for soup, which Drew Lindsay, the gallery owner, supplies. Followed by two long posing sessions of thirty-five minutes each.

Posing is fully clothed, unless the model insists on taking his or her clothes off. Yeah. Wishful thinking!

Friday, May 21, 2004

Grace Hotel Foyer, Rosebank

Friday, May 21, 2004

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

Jacqui and I have sat in this very sofa, sipping tea together. But I'm not with Jacqui tonight.

Bianca and I are on our first date, and we're curled up on the sofa together, very intimately indeed. There's a group of schoolkid types sitting across the room, and they keep looking at us and giggling. They think we're having sex or something.

We started out at Sophia's, which was lekker, apart from them getting our tea order wrong. It tasted like dishwashing liquid mixed with pool chlorine. And then it took them twenty minutes to bring a replacement pot, cos they had to use a different kettle, seeing as the original one seemed to have chlorine in it or something.

Anyway, here at the Grace, everything's very civilized, apart from the way Bianca and I are entwined.

"It's WAY too early for me to be thinking about a relationship," I said earlier, while we were strolling around Rosebank, chatting.

"I'm afraid of being hurt," she had said.

"Me too. But one of the things I'm trying to do is get out of this celibacy/slut/monogamy cycle I've been in," I tell her. "It's one of the things I'm working on in therapy. I think that's what happened with me and Jacqui... I was IN relationship mode when I started up with her, and just leapt in, assuming that this was a relationship. With you, I just want to be, and let you be, and explore this with you."

"Sounds good," she says.

She's also just ended a relationship. When we met at Memar, the Ethiopian educational tv project, we were both still involved. And while I found her attractive, I'm an ardent monogamist when I'm in a relationship, and I had no reason to believe that within a few weeks I'd be hitting the tarmac without a parachute, dumped by Jacqui like a Ugandan war prisoner flung out of a helicopter.

So we'd been polite with one another, and Bianca and I passed like ships in the night.

Until we both got dumped.

So I gave her my card in the parking lot one day, and said, "When are we going on a date?"

And she said, "Once I'm out of this project. I don't do work colleagues."

"Neither do I," I said. "But we're not really colleagues, seeing as you're on the biology team, and I'm on the chemistry team. But it's better that way. Call me when you're ready!"

So here we are at two in the morning, causing matric students out on the town in their uber sophistication to crane their necks and giggle.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

My Flat, Cresta

Thursday, May 20, 2004

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

The babe count above is misleading. It's an accurate measure of the babeage. Problem is, the babeage isn't physically with me in my flat. She's on the phone with me.

This afternoon at work, I used my palmtop to check my email, to see if there was anything else from Jacqui, any follow-up daggers to the heart. Zilch from her. But... oh joy! A message from Bianca, telling me she's curious about me, and offering me her cell number.

So, on the way home from my portrait circle, at around ten o'clock, I called her from my car.

I've been at the Spaza Gallery all night. That's where Lionel Murcott has decided to host out portrait circle. A bunch of artists get together once a week, and one of us brings a model. We have three sitting sessions, and some really amazing art gets produced. The model keeps his or her clothes on, unless we hire a proper nude model. But it's winter, and we'll probably only do that in summer.

The way it works is that our first sitting is a warm-up session where we all do very quick sketches. From next week onwards, the model will get to choose one quick sketch from each of the artists present as payment.

Which is how I persuade Bianca to model for us next Thursday.

Bianca and I have been speaking for three hours straight, with me having sat in the garden, then strolled around the dark neighbourhood streets for an hour or so, then gone upstairs to my place to turn my computer on, then headed for my bedroom, then slowly, item by item, took my clothes off at her request.

Hmmmmmm. Yummy. If we're this good on the phone, this could turn out to be one gorgeous adventure. With or without nude models.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Steve's Edit Suite, Memar, Highlands North

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

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

I'm cooped up in Steve's suite, viewing chemistry lessons that will educate Ethiopia's children. Actually, the stuff is so complicated and hard to view that I'm willing to make a prediction... I'll bet that after a year or so of watching these programs -- and it's not just chemistry... it's grades nine to twelve of chemistry, physics, maths, English, biology and civics -- I predict that the school suicide rate will go up dramatically. They're gunna be saying to themselves and their friends, "I'm so so so stupid! I can't understand any of this stuff! It would be better to die!!!"

But maybe it's my mood. I'm waiting for Jacqui's promised email, the one with my good points. Therapy was tough tough tough this morning. Oh man. And Zahava is pregnant. So therapy is going to come to an end in about two or three months.

Jacqui sends me an sms at around 7pm.

I download my mail onto the palmtop. There's an email with an attached document. I read the email feverishly. And it's addressed to "The Red King of the Flower Valley". That's Jacqui's pet name for me. 'Flower valley' is a direct translation of my surname. 'Roy' is French and Gaelic for 'king' and 'red'.

In the covering letter, the email, she thanks me for our ten months together. And she's very generous about that. And she asks me not to contact her again. And she says sorry for changing her mind about resuming couples therapy, and that we won't be doing it.

The attachment itself is beautiful. And luckily I've got my spare jersey with me in the edit suite, cos I bunch it into a ball and wail freely into it. And I don't give a damn if anybody hears me anyway. Fuck them. I'm a man in the throes of deep grief.

And you know what? I'm NOT going to honour Jacqui's request. This whole thing has been entirely on her terms. She's the one who has called all the shots, defined all the parameters. Well, fuck her. I'm also part of this. And her request for me not to contact her is utterly ludicrous. She said some RADICAL shit in Tuesday's email, and she's got some stuff to answer to. She's not getting off that easily.

I don't know if she's reading this or not. In the attachment, she ends off saying that I can write whatever I like about our relationship and breakup, and that she won't be following this site anymore. But I'm curious about something... she's still signed up to receive the email update telling her when content on the site has changed. So who's she fooling? Does she mean to say she's going to receive the update but not look at the site? Why does she want to receive ANYTHING at all from me?

I wonder if she's sent me this confusing stuff as a way of repelling me? Maybe she figures that the best way for me to get over her is to be damn harsh? I dunno. That doesn't feel right. She came across to me in our relationship as a seriously caring and compassionate woman. Why she would write stuff like she did on Tuesday is beyond me. Specially seeing as tonight's email is so love-filled.

So I send her an sms. It says that I reserve the right to make up my own mind as to whether or not I'll contact her. I know that I'm in serious reaction here, and that I'm not about to leap into any decision, especially not one that simply buys into her one-sidedness.

Right now, I've got to stop crying, and start focussing on managing Ethiopia's school suicide rate.

Cafe Nescafe, Rosebank

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

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

I'm sure there's a modeling agency somewhere nearby. There is just way too much prime babeflesh jauncing around. All thin and bony, hence, not quite what I'm after, since flesh is what I dig, not the marrow. But heck, it's good to sit here on a weekday morning feasting the eyes. Cos hey, even if I'm nowhere near bedding any of these babes, watching is lovely.

I'm not at work cos I know tonight's crunch night. I've got to sign off the majority of this week's episodes tonight, and it's going to be a late one. It's Steve's last week, and he's got a crushing load of programs to edit. I can only go in at lunchtime, once he's finished, cos I need to use his edit suite to do my viewing, seeing as I do quite a bit of re-editing to get the stuff into the shape I want it in.

So I'm sitting here reading the last few pages of Rushdie's THE GROUND BENEATH HER FEET. A superb book. Highly recommended, though nowhere near the absolute miracle which is MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN (one of my top three books, along with Nicholas Moseley's HOPEFUL MONSTERS, A.S. Bayatt's POSSESSION, and John Irving's THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP and HOTEL NEW HAMPSHIRE. Okay. That's five on my top three list. But who's counting?).

However, I can't concentrate. I'm still burning up over Jacqui's unbelievable gutshot of an email.

I send her an sms. "Please send me the email you promised to send me ages ago in which you list my good points."

She messages me back that she'll do it tonight. Great. I'll be waiting.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Primi Piatti, Rosebank

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

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

Phone: +27 11 447 0300

Ian Henderson and I are meeting to talk about running workshops together. He's a musician by night, and a trainer by day, amongst other things. And he's just come home from a two-week session in Burundi, doing some kind of strategic intervention.

This morning I was at Wits University, delivering my creativity workshop to the Wits Post Graduate Internship program students. Fourteen high calibre individuals hand selected for an intensive one-month series of seminars, workshops, lectures, all aimed at preparing them for work in the real world.

And it was a delicious experience for me. Serious amounts of supreme babeage in the class. Yeow. Something about being back at varsity. Ah. The hormones.

Over lunch with Stacey at the Hard Times Cafe in Melville, I read through the feedback forms. Seems like I came across as universally excellent, with my name tag game being the big hit of the day.

But for me the big hit was to come around 5 o'clock, in the form of an sms from Jacqui telling me she'd sent me email explaining her aversion to my being in touch with my feminine side.

So, in the edit suite at work, with shaking hands, I clicked my phone to bluetooth, unsheathed my iPAQ palmtop computer, connected to the internet, and downloaded my mail. And there it was. Something from Jacqui. The subject line: "A Hard Letter to Read".

Not kidding, really.

I've agreed with her not to divulge the details of the email, but what I can tell you is that I'm still reeling. She's decided not to go into another session of couples therapy with me, seeing as we're no longer a couple, and her decision is final. And she elaborated on how my being in touch with my feminine side has made her feel over the nine months.

You know the taste you get in your mouth when your filling hits a piece of tinfoil? That electrical nerve-burst? Well, add that to being mashed in the solar plexus by a prize fighter. Then add a squash ball to the right testicle.

Seems that over our nine months together, my feminine side so repulsed her that she had to call it quits. Never mind the supreme sex she readily admits to have enjoyed with me. Never mind the many times she told me, "Roy, I've NEVER felt so loved by ANYBODY!" Never mind the little notes on my bathroom walls from her telling me how much she loves being with me.

Well. Yeah. Never mind those things.

And at the end of the email, a kind of a disclaimer, saying that she realises these feelings are her feelings, and that it's her shit, and that she's dealing with it in her own therapy. Her saying how terribly sorry she is for her role in hurting me. And asking me for my feelings on her letter.


Double jeez.

I'm just totally dazed. I'm reeling. I've never in my history of failed relationships been hammered this hard by anyone. I've never fallen this far in love. And I've never fallen this far through love, to crush myself against the bottom.

Triple jeez with a major goddamn thrown in for good measure.

So I pack it in for the night at work. I can't edit. I can't concentrate on chemistry lessons for Ethiopians. I can't stop shaking, and I'm crying in the edit suite. Not good. Not good at all.

So I fire off a couple of smss to Jacqui as they occur to me. Things like reminding her of instances where her email was inaccurate. She smss me back to say that she understands my anger, and that it's justified, but can we speak about it in a few days, cos anger scares her so much.

Quadruple muthafuckin jeez! Who is this chick??? It's clear to me that I don't know her at all.

So I sit in my car and feel dazed. Then I head for Primi Piatti to make my appointment with Ian. He tells me his sister's here from London. And she's back for good. Gonna stay in South Africa. That she's going to join us for our chat, cos she's got a few ideas of her own.

"I'm still reeling a bit from an email I got from Jacqui," I tell him.

He puts his hand on my shoulder. He's just gone through a painful breakup, but he's now reconciled with his babe, and they're making a go of it. "Oh man," he says.

"So," I say, "is your sister single?"

She arrives. Hoo boy. Blonde bombshell. Self-assured. Bright. A delight.

But I've kinda got this silly rule... Don't do friends' sisters. Don't do friends' ex- or current-girlfriends. Don't do their mothers either. Don't do work colleagues. So unfortunately, I won't be looking at Bridget in that way.

But I WILL be looking at Bianca like that. Yummy. She's also babesville. And she's sent me an email, seeing as her role in the Ethiopian project is over, and we're no longer colleagues. I've sent her one back, and I'm hoping she'll send me her phone number.

"I must apologise," I say to Ian and Bridget. "At the moment I'm far too in touch with my feminine side."

And I eat a quarter of the pesto rossi burger I've ordered, since my appetite has hit the pavement along with my heart.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

The Spaza Gallery, Troyeville

Sunday, May 16, 2004

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

Phone: +27 11 614 9354

I'm at the opening of my first art exhibition. I am now officially an exhibited artist. Back in the old days when I defined myself strictly as a poet, I had no idea such a thing could happen to me.

But looking back, I was always peeking over the shoulders of my artist buddies and learning their tricks. I definitely have Miriam to thank for the grounding, and Lionel Murcott for commenting on my stuff, and taking it seriously, and engaging with it over the years.

I've been at the Spaza Gallery since about 3pm, and I'm bored out of my skull waiting for the official opening time of 5pm. Four coffee-coloured children are sitting around me drawing, asking me questions about what it's like being an artist.

Rosa Mabaso, daughter of the artist, Dumisani Mabaso. She loves my work. But doesn't really think this sketch looks much like her. She helps out at the gallery. So I take out one of the extra prints I've made. Show it to her. "Do you like this one?" I say. "Yes," she says. I flip it over, write, "For Rosa, love Roy," and hand it to her. "This is for you," I say. "Wow!!!! Thanks!!!!!" she says.Suddenly there's a stomping sound down the passage, and John appears at the door, wild-eyed.

"HAAAAAAA!!!" shouts John. He's a tall chap with a moustache. Looks like there could be a touch of brain damage there. "HAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!" he shouts again. He's very tall, with black hair, a Beatles-style mop. But he's also very skinny. With vast, bony hands.

A very plump woman runs down the passage and tackles him. "Shut up, John! You're getting excited, and you're not allowed to get excited! Shoooosh!!!"

"I'M NOT GETTING EXCITED!!!!" shouts John.

"When you get excited you shout, and you're shouting," she says, her arms still wrapped around him. He leans down and kisses her on the mouth.

"I'M NOT SHOUTING!" he shouts. "I mean," he says, "I'm not shouting."

"That's better," she says. "Now just calm down, okay?"

He bends down and kisses her again. This time, when he bends, his butt sticks through the door. Maya grabs my arm to show me, and she giggles. All of the kids start giggling, pointing at John's bony backside.

My part of the exhibition consists of 78 prints of my digitally originated sketches, the ones I draw on my iPAQ 2210, using NeFa Studio's MOBILE ATELIER freeware. (These pics are the full colour ones you see on this site. The black and white ones are done in ink, in a sketchbook, and those don't get exhibited.) The gallery is selling them at R95 per print, which I'm happy about, cos I just want to get some of them out there into the world.

The opening is quite weird for me. A mixture of terror, banality, boredom, blather, indifference, joy, pride.

The terror comes from knowing that Jacqui will be joining me. After quite a lot of hard thought, I sent her an sms asking her to come to my opening. She's the most significant person to have entered my life in recent history, and I want to share this with her.

My phone warbles. It's Jacqui. "Oh Roy," she says, "I'm lost!"

Dumisani Mabaso, one of the artists exhibiting at the show. Two of his works are the standout pictures. When I show him this sketch, he says, "That colour blue is my favourite colour. In all my pictures, if they don't have that blue in them, then they're not complete."I talk her through getting to the place, and walk out into the street, down to the corner. I see her car and thrust my thumb out. "Turn left at the corner, and give the hitchhiker a lift," I say.

"I see you!!!" she says, and stops to pick me up.

Oh man. Oh me oh my. She is looking so darn fine. Jeeeez. Ouch. Oh.

Tears immediately before she even manages to park.

I decide that I've got to lay things on the line. I don't really care if she wants to hear this or not, but I have to say it. I've told her in the past that I'm not one for giving up easily. And she knows that I love her. And from our few conversations through the breakup, I know that she loves me. So I say what I need her to know.

"Jacqui," I say, "I want you to know this. I want to be with you. I love you and you love me."

"I love you too, Roy," she says. Her hand is on my cheek, tender. "But I don't want to be your girlfriend. I want to be your friend."

"Are you absolutely sure that we can't try?" I ask.

"I'm not sure," she says.

"Was it something I did?" I ask.

Little Maya, sitting with her buddies on the gallery floor, drawing. "Here!" she says, thrusting a picture under my nose. "Can I hang it on the wall next to your's?" she says. "Hmmm," I say, "very nice. Maybe you must go and ask Drew." "Who's Drew?" "He's the gallery owner. That big guy with the beard." She makes a gesture over her tummy, describing a pregnant tummy. "Yeah," I say, "the guy with the very big stomach." All the kids giggle.She hesitates. Changes the position of her hand on my face. "It's been almost three months," she says, "and I've had time to get some perspective. And I think one of the things that makes you not right for me is that you're very in touch with your feminine side, and it brings out my masculine side, and I'm not comfortable with that."

Jeepers! This is an eye-opener, a jaw-dropper, a ball-breaker. Women want men to be sensitive. They want them to be in touch. She gets one who's sensitive, in touch, and it's too much for her. But this can't really be it, cos in terms of our sexuality, we're a magical combination. Well, for me, anyway. But from what I can tell, lovemaking for her was also supreme. I dunno. This is weird-out time for me.

I DO know that in the beginning of our relationship, she was a bit of a John Gray adherent, he of the book, MEN ARE FROM MARS, WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS. I happen to be of the school that believes John Gray should be hanged and all of his books burned, because he's really about gender stereotyping, and he causes beautiful women like Jacqui to doubt their own femininity if it doesn't fit within his prescriptive mould. The bastard!

"I've been thinking though," says Jacqui, "that maybe we should go back to Zahava for a few more sessions of couples therapy?"

"I've been thinking that too," I say. Of course, I haven't said anything like this to her before, because I've been giving her the time and space and distance and no-contact that she's asked for. In a very manly kinda way, I thought.

"But I just want you to know that my intention in going to Zahava with you isn't to resume the relationship. It's to decode the things I've been thinking and feeling."

"I understand," I say. "But you're not completely closed to the possibility of us getting back together?" Clutching at bubbles.

She looks at me with a flinch of pity. "Not completely closed to the possibility," she says. She rummages around in her bag. "I've got something special for you," she says. It's a posy of flowers, heart-red, fragrant. "They're the very first sweetpeas from my window-box," she says.

More tears. The window box is her project that I was helping her plan just as we broke up. She's told me that the Travis song on the cd I made for her makes her think of me. It's called "Flowers in the Window", and it's about love and growing old together.

I want to shake her, and get some sense into her. Can't she SEE that she wants to be with me??? Doesn't she KNOW it? Can't she HEAR herself??? Ayee!!! Maybe I can ask John to get excited around her, and she'll see what a catch I am in comparison.

We go into the exhibition, and she's thoroughly proud of me, loves the way the work's been hung. "I helped hang it," says John, his moustache slightly damp with drool.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Hendrik & Neeltjie's Place, Parkhurst

Saturday, May 15, 2004

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

One of the babes at Antoinette's baby shower. She's a colleague of Antoinette's. The advantage of being an artist is that when you have nothing to say to anybody, nothing in common with ANY of the people at a gathering, all you need to do is pull out the tools of your trade and sketch. In this case, my sketching tool is my palmtop computer, and it causes hearts to flutter and panties to flap. Yeah. Who'm I fooling?Okay, so I'm exaggerating the babe count. Dramatically.

This is because I'm at a friend's baby shower. Sheesh. I thought baby showers were like weddings... places to pick up chicks. Chicks desperate to shag, seeing as they're broody and all that.

But no. What I didn't really figure into the equation is that the babes who go to baby showers are mostly married, with children, and wedding rings, and houses, and dogs.

Antoinette's opening all her presents. I can hear her going, "Ooooooooo! This is beautiful!!!" It's a tiny purple babygro. I can see its reflection in the mirror. I'm in the dining room, eating my seven-hundredth cold sausage roll. It's not that I'm hungry. I'm just in terminal soft-on territory.

A baby shower must be one of the most effective forms of male contraception available to humankind.

Although, the redhead with the platinum ring and the husband who drives a BMW Z3 is quite appealing. If only I could get rid of the husband. And any yearnings on her part to have babies.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

My Flat, Cresta

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

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

Forgot to mention what I paid last night at Baglio's, and thought you might just like to know. The beetroot-nosed manager voided the food portion of the bill, but I still had to pay for the Grapetizer. So, for one single tin of Grapetizer, I spent a mere R12.90.

And for that, for the sheer meanness of the gesture from our wondrous manager, I will not ever go back to Baglio's.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Baglio's, Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

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

Burp. B-b-b-burppp! Yulp. Uhmp.

This is so uncouth. This smaller-than-life-size, yet extremely huge statue of Nelson Mandela is watching me attempt not to retch.

Now why would I be doing such a thing in Sandton, the swishest lap of luxury this side of Cape Town?

Well, it could have something to do with the delicious chicken kebab I've just eaten. Or the nicely cooked, tasty, rice. Nah. I don't think so. Could it be the slice of lemon in the white Grapetizer? Nah, doubt it.

Ah! I've got an idea. Maybe it's the side salad I've saved till last? Yeah! That could be it!

I'm out on the piazza, where the little oil lamps burn, and the babes sit with their equally babeish friends. It's dark. And the lamps flicker gently enough for me to be able to get through a good few pages of Salman Rushdie's THE GROUND BENEATH HER FEET. I'm about halfway through when I start on the salad which I've healthily decided to save for last.

And because I've been trying to spot if it's an engagement ring or a wedding ring on the slinky black-haired Italian-looking cashmere babe two tables away, I'm not entirely observing the state of the salad.

So I pop a slice of cucumber into my mouth and chew. My teeth slide off it. This cucumber is so rotten that my teeth can't actually get a grip on it. Jeeeeeeeeeeeez!

I retch a bit. Get it under control. Sit there staring at the salad for a while. Move the oil lamp closer. The tomato quarters are in exactly the same state of putrefaction. This "salad" may very well have been sweating under a gas heater since the restaurant opened for breakfast this morning. Or, even more likely, it was taken out of the fridge at lunchtime, where it may have been stored after being ignored last night.

The whole pile is rotten.

B-b-b-b-b-burppp! Hands over mouth. I don't want the raven-haired beauty with the dimples to see me vomiting. Far too unslick.

I sit and stare at the salad for a few more minutes. Sip some Grapetizer. Amazing how things lose their taste, isn't it?

Read a Rushdie paragraph eight times.

There's a waiter clearing away some plates. "Excuse me," I say, very politely, very quietly. I'm not at all in the mood for causing a scene tonight. "Could you please ask the manager to come to my table?"

He nods, sees my almost empty plate, and attempts to clear it. I go into tai chi mode, and deflect his hands away, using his own energy to spin him away from the table, in the direction of the manager. He turns again, and tries to take my plate. I try the ice-hockey goalie stance, basically covering the plate with my entire body, praying that my beret will be protection enough against head-injury.

He gives up and goes away.

No manager.

Another waiter. "Please call the manager!" I say.

He also tries to take my plate. But this time it's no more mister nice guy.

I raise my finger, glare at him, and say, loudly, "Uhnhuh!!!! Bring the manager! And leave this plate ALONE!"

The Italian looks up. I burp into my hand. Smile at her. She smiles back. It's definitely an engagement ring.

The manager comes. He's got an alcoholic's nose and cheeks -- red lattice of smashed veins, snarled pathways to confusion and oblivion. A toilet-brush of a moustache.

"Yes sir," he says, in what may very well be an accent he hopes will make me like him. Some kind of faulty upper crust British accent. "How may I be of assistance?"

"I was going to ignore this," I tell him, "but I've decided not to. The rest of the meal was delicious, and I left the salad till last. And took a bite of cucumber. And it's severely off. Fermented."

"Oh my goodness, Sir. I do apologise. Yes. I can see from here that something's amiss. I do apologise. I'm going to follow it up with the kitchen staff and report back to you. But is there anything else I can get for you in the interim? A salad, perhaps? Or something else? A drink?"

His nostrils flare a little when he says "drink". I can tell what he's going to do when this little emergency is over.

I say, "No, nothing thanks. I've lost my appetite."

He goes away. Comes back. "The kitchen staff apologise profusely, Sir. And I do too. I'm really very sorry. This is unacceptable. Totally unacceptable. Can I get you anything else, Sir?"

"No," I say. "I don't want anything else. I'd like to leave now, thanks."

"Well, when you're ready to leave, Sir, please just call your waiter to settle the bill."

"I'm assuming you're adjusting the bill?" I say.

"Oh yes, Sir."

There are several things I can say at this point. I could say, "You actually expect me to pay ANY part of this bill? Are you crazy??" Or I could say, "Nah, an adjustment won't be necessary. The kebab was lovely, and I like the way the retching brings the taste back to me." Or I could say, "Yes, well, can you bring me my adjusted bill then?"

It's the last option I choose.

"Oh, yes Sir," he says.

And my waiter brings me my bill.

"Douglas," I tell him, before opening the bill, "I'm not going to be tipping you tonight, and here's why. It's YOUR job as my waiter to make sure that the food on my plate is edible. Your job is to make sure that rotten food doesn't make it to my table. Now I normally tip 20%, and next time I'm here, if you serve me, and you make sure that I don't get rotten food, you'll get 20%. But tonight you're getting nothing from me. Do you understand what I'm saying?"

"I get you," he says. "And I'm sorry."

He brings my change, and I leave. And all the way, the black-haired, midnight-moon, love-puddle keeps eye contact with me. How on earth does a dude capitalise on a look like this???

I smother a burp, nod goodnight, and I'm off.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Wiesenhof, Killarney

Monday, May 10, 2004

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

It's unlikely that Majid is going to beat me tonight, even though he's just taken four points off me. We're playing to 21, and the score has just gone 9-4 in my favour.

Majid's been playing backgammon since he was a kid, and he's one of the top third of players in our club. But I've read his game, and I'm on top of him. Pumping on the pressure. Problem is, he's read me too. Knows which buttons to push. Which is how he's taken four points off me in one game.

"Oh man," he sighs, looking over my shoulder. "I'm a married man."

I put my perving glasses on, and turn to get another look. There's a brunette sitting with her mom and some thug. The thug could be her brother, cos they're on opposite sides of the table, and don't even make eye contact.

Majid's attempt at using this wonder-babe as a de-Roy decoy just won't work. Even though I can't get enough of putting my glasses on, craning my neck, peering at her, licking my lips, then rolling the backgammon dice. I am totally able to control my impulses.She's heavenly. Very sweet smile. No obvious signs of irritation at the Iranian leering at her over my shoulder. No obvious signs of taking umbrage at the bald-headed artist craning his neck to peer at her cleavage. Maybe she likes me already?

Back to the match.

Bloody hell. Majid is catching up.

I make a resolution. No matter how many times Majid threatens to divorce his wife, I'm going to leave my glasses on the table, and play until I'm up to 16-9. I've got to keep that margin to keep hold of the psychological edge. If he catches up more than that, I'm done, cos his confidence will be invincible. So only when I've got that edge will I put my glasses back on and try and see if she's got a nipple stand.

It's time. Yup. She has. A tiny one. But doesn't that mean she's happy to see me???

Nah. Of course it doesn't mean that, but I'm allowed to fantasize, aren't I??

Which brings me, incidentally, to a topic that I feel needs airing. From my experience making love with women, it's come to my attention that very few men know what the hell they're doing in bed. And worse... there are very few women who are in touch with their bodies. So here's a quick crash course for men and women. Please... go and buy these books and read them and practice what the books teach.

The first is Sheila Kitzinger's WOMAN'S EXPERIENCE OF SEX, Flower Press, ISBN 0-620-10046-X. The second is Margo Anand's THE ART OF SEXUAL ECSTASY, Aquarian, ISBN 1-85538-251-2. And the third is Barry and Emily McCarthy's SEXUAL AWARENESS: ENHANCING SEXUAL PLEASURE, Star, ISBN 0-352-32212-8.

It actually doesn't matter WHAT book you get. Just get something that catches your eye. Do not be embarassed about this. You owe it to yourself and your love partner to know what's what in bed (and out of it).

It upsets me that there are hundreds of thousands, no, millions of women, possible billions, walking around not having had a decent knobbing from a dude who knows how to deliver serious pleasure.

But right now, Majid is delivering serious sexual pleasure to me. He's given me the taste of sweet victory. I've beaten him 21-14. Hoograaaaaah!!!!!!

And the food was okay. I had the latest special... chicken stirfry with penne. Noone's fantasy meal, but nice enough to have again next week.

"Hey Roy," says the good doctor, Peter Wisniewski, from across the room. "You misquoted me on the website."

I reported a conversation I had with him on this site on Monday 19 April. Seems I got the short end of the stick.

He says, at the top of his voice, "I didn't say you had to massage the prostate! I said that in cases where there's a problem with the prostate, ejaculation every day is good. I didn't say anything at all about anally massaging the thing!"

Matt pipes up from somewhere else in Wiesenhof. "Well what DID you say exactly?"

I say, "Well, he told me his wife needed a prescription, and it involved the finger, and daily milking of the prostate."

"Yes, well," says Doc Peter.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

The Ocean Basket, Rosebank Zone

Sunday, May 09, 2004

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

The babe count is almost acceptable, cos I'm sitting facing the Rosebank Zone escalator, and there are enough teenage vamps learning high-heel swagger to keep my hormones half-topped up.

I've just seen a vaguely amusing movie, and I've truly already forgotten its name. Something to do with "Polly". Probably something like, "And Then Came Polly". Or "Along Came Polly." Well, bad news. She didn't come. Not once. Not that I could make out, anyway. The movie gets a big fat 2 out of 10 on the Roy-O-Metre.

Made me feel hollow and empty and sad and glum and in dire need of a relationship with a woman who can actually tell that I'm an okay dude to be with and who can make the simple decision to commit. (I'm not mentioning ANYBODY'S name now, am I? If you wanna read between the lines, that's your business, yeah?)

I order the fish and chips special, but with rice instead of chips. It arrives. And there's this little midget piece of fish in the pan. And the rice is on the verge of being mealy from being undercooked. And it all tastes like cardboard.

But maybe that's cos even freshly squeezed virgin juice would taste like cardboard to me right now, seeing as I'm in a foul mood.

All because of the conversation with Jacqui on Friday night.

Ah well. The massage was beautiful. And I've bought Jacqui a voucher for one too. Talk about mixed messages.

On the plus side, there's the exhibition of my portraits at the Spaza Gallery in Troyeville this coming Saturday. I was there earlier today. And it's deep in the Bronx. Really. I'm not going to be expecting ANY of my friends to come to this opening. Heck... I'm not even sure I can make it myself, cos an ex-girlfriend of mine has invited me to her baby shower on Saturday, and then later in the evening I'm doing one of Chantal Nativel's shamanic trance dances.

But hey. My work's going to be up on the walls, with price tags affixed. And hopefully those little red stickers that say, "SOLD!" Not that I'm going to make a trillion bucks off this gig. Cos nobody really knows about the Spaza Gallery except for fringe artists. I found out about the place through Lionel Murcott, my artist buddy whose work adorns my walls. He's starting up his portrait circle again, and I'm part of it, and we're going to be doing it at the gallery on Wednesday or Thursday nights.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Spiro's, Melville

Saturday, May 08, 2004

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

Spiro's can be a really glum place. At times, the service sucks stale croissants. This afternoon is one of those days. I'm here with Stacey, and I haven't eaten anything all day, and I'm really quite fiercely hungry, and I've ordered the roll stuffed with bacon and scrambled egg, with just one proviso, one silly little old proviso that any kitchen should be able to get right: no goddamn fat on the goddamn bacon, gottit???

Of course, the waiter assured me he had the order. I made extra eye contact and made triply sure.

Sat out in the garden of my flat with my palmtop and drew this self portrait just after sending Jacqui the 9-sms epic telling her to move on, to let me be responsible for my own feelings. As you can see, pain and sorrow and misery are what I'm taking responsibility for. Goodbye Jacqui. I hope you come to your senses, sweetheart.So the food has arrived. And I open up the roll just to make sure. Not only does this bacon have fat. No. It's actually ALL fat, with a few tiny streaks of bacon inside.

"J.J!" I call. (This is NOT the same J.J. from the Spur debacle. This is another unfortunate soul with the same acronym.)

He scuttles up. I lift the roll. I point at the mounds of ghastly bacon fat.

I say, "Before we go any further, J.J., I have to explain to you that I am extremely hungry, and when I'm hungry, my blood sugar is low, and when that happens, I get extreeeeeemely irritable. I asked you for no fat, and this is ALL fat. Please take it back and make it again."

"Oh, oh, I'm sorry," he stammers. Takes the plate, runs to the kitchen with it.

Comes back about fifty seconds later.

"J.J.," I say, "did they simply cut the fat OFF MY FOOD?"

He smiles. Shrugs. "Yes."

"That's not possible, J.J., cos there was NO BACON. It was ONLY FAT!"

I open the roll up. There's a measly streak of bacon. I probe further. Under the bulk of the scrambled egg is another nest of bacon fat.

"Sorry, Stacey," I say, "but this is unacceptable. And I'm on the verge of popping. J.J., take this away, and bring the bill. We're leaving."

"Aw," he says, "they got it wrong. I'll get them to make it again from scratch. No fat. I promise."

My blood sugar might be low, but he's imploring very sweetly, so I give them another chance.

The reason my blood sugar's so low is that I woke up quite late this morning, and didn't have quite the amount of time I needed in order to eat AND get to my kahuna massage on time. So I ate the last five pieces of corn thins in the house with a bit of jam while I dressed. They taste a bit like stale popcorn, but they're really lovely with salami and cheese.

The kahuna massage is a gift Jacqui gave me for my birthday on the 17th of February. It's at Skin Sense in Rivonia, a really swanky place with a three month waiting list. So the earliest I could take my massage was today.

Yesterday morning I got an SMS from Jacqui wishing me a happy massage, and asking me to enjoy it with the love with which it was given. I sent her a message back to say thanks. Then I lay on my bed for half an hour crying.

I've agreed to Jacqui's request not to make contact with her. And here she is sending me loving smss again. (The last one I got from her came in response to my news that I'd finished my screenplay. She congratulated me. I cried then too.)

Later last night, late, I got another sms from her, saying that she's worried about me, and asking if I'm okay. So I sent her one back kinda asking her why she's sending me messages when we'd agreed on no contact, and asking her if she's okay, and asking her what she wants from me, and mentioning that it's coming across as really selfish on her part to be making contact with me, but denying me that same contact. So I got another sms from her asking if she could call me. So I said yes, and my home phone rang.

And in the hour-long call, we both wailed from start to finish. And she misses me. And I miss her. And I want her back. I want her in my life.

This is Sjoerd Douwenga, the dude who owns Mardo Photos in Sandton City. They're the dudes who play out my palmtop drawings on photographic paper. I was there earlier this afternoon getting printouts of all my drawings to take to The Spaza Gallery in Troyeville. Looks like I'm going to be exhibiting there on their "Faces" show. Lionel Murcott and I are the two confirmed artists so far. Exhibition opens this Saturday, 15 May 2004.I tell her about an insight I've had in therapy. Zahava has mentioned a technical term called cathexis. The definition I'm about to give is a total busk, and may very well be completely wrong, but it's what I've understood of the term. "Jacqui," I say, "cathexis is something that happens in the development of a child. When it's really small, its world consists of it and its mother. In an abusive or dysfunctional family, the baby and the mother become inseparable. The baby thinks it IS its mother, and vice versa. There are no boundaries. And while this is normal for the first year or two, it's supposed to end, with proper boundaries being set up. In my case, it seems those boundaries weren't set, cos of my mom being alcoholic, and probably cos my dad was abusing her."

Jacqui's listening through her tears. And I'm sort of blubbering along as best I can. I say, "I think that what's happened between you and me is cathexis. By being in a close intimate relationship with you, I've cathected you. I've made you into my ideal woman, and I've become absorbed by you, and I've absorbed you. Which accounts for your feeling enveloped by the relationship."

Evantually, we rang off, and I cried myself to sleep.

I don't understand why she wants contact with me, but doesn't want me. I don't understand why she's hanging onto me, when I've been quite clear with her that I've let her go, and that I'm trying to move on. I don't understand why we're not together. Cos while there's a PART of me that might have cathected her, there are humungously healthy and aware parts of me, the majority of me, that loves her in a completely normal way. And she loves me too. What's with this woman!!??

Jacqui... please make up your mind about me. Stop with the mixed messages. Move on. Find a nice boy to make love with. Compare him to me. Then phone me and ask to come back. And yes, I'll honour your request. I'll welcome you back, provided I'm not in a happy and loving relationship with someone else. But stop with the confusion. I don't need it, and neither do you.

So this morning I get another sms from her, telling me that she's terrified that our contact last night might have given me hope. So I wait till evening to send her my reply. Which is a nine-part epic sms telling her that I'm responsible for my feelings and my hopes, and that these have nothing to do with her at all. And that she's responsible for her feelings. And that there's nothing she can say or do to stop me from having hopes of reconciliation.

And she sends me an sms back to say that she's relieved.

I dunno.

Anyway. Who knows how the heart works? It's confusing and it's sore. And all I really know for now is that I'm very, very hungry, and I need to eat.

Stacey's just having a slice of carrot cake and some tea. We're not really on a date. Just kinda coffee-shopping together. It's unlikely that anything's going to happen between her and me. Possibly cos of a lack of chemistry. More likely cos I'm nowhere near being able to consider another human being as relationship material. Which in her case means a shag's out of the question.

J.J. brings my meal. And it survives the inspection. And they've put triple the expected amount of bacon inside.

"I wonder if I can spot where they've spat in it," I say to Stacey.

"Nah," she says. "You're probably so used to the taste by now."

Thursday, May 06, 2004

The Ant, Melville

Thursday, May 06, 2004

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

Jade Snell, Eran's babe of a girlfriend, looking pensive and sad.I finished work at around eight o'clock tonight, and headed off to Hyde Park for a delicious omelette at JB Rivers. Eran called. "Hey, Roy, come to Melville. Bunch of people with me. Including Lucinda from Cape Town."

I like the sound of that.

The Ant is tiny and smoky. Eran's brother, Amichai, an artist is there. He looks at my sketchbook. "Roy," he says, in a thick Israeli accent, "come for lessons, man. I give them to you for free. I'll teach you about shading. Look at this, man, you're concentrating on line work. Learn to shade. It'll open your work up, man. And maybe your composition will open up too. You've gotten static. Come for a lesson."

He gives me his card. Of course I'll go for a lesson. Brilliant.

Jade's also here. Eran's babe-o-rama girlfriend. She's delectable. But she's looking sad tonight. Not saying too much. Not talkative at all. A bit of tension in the air?

And then there's Lucinda from Cape Town. Sigh. Babeage. Deluxe.

Originally from London, has been in South Africa for years now.

"How long?" I ask.

"Oh, about three," she says.

"What do you do?" I ask.

"Oh, no," she says, "I realllllly don't want to talk shop now. I've decided that I work too hard, and I want to have a life outside work."

"Oh," I say. "Okay. What's your favourite movie?"

"That's work," she says.

"Favourite book?"

"Got turned into a movie," she says.

She's blonde. Killer figure. I pull out the ink and the trusty Maped Ruling Pen.

"Are you going to draw me?" she says.

"With no shading," I tell her.

"Please don't emphasise the Habsburg jaw," she pleads.

It's true. She DOES have a rather large jaw. But it's a very nice looking large jaw.

Lucinda from Cape Town. Oh for her to move to Joburg. Much more healing where this came from.Somehow, I manage to get the conversation beyond one-syllable, "That's work!" answers, and we start gelling. Talk about relationships. And she opens up a bit. Finds Cape Town to be a very difficult place to meet really nice guys. Is still smarting from the end of her London relationship. Feels homeless.

I read her palm.

"Can you really do this?" she asks. "Or are you just feeding me lines, telling me what I want to hear?"

"A little bit of both," I say. I'm a bit psychic, and I've got some seriously advanced exposure to therapy, having been in therapy for the better part of a decade, and having been a crisis counsellor. But most of all, I'm exceptionally intuitive, and I really do work at being in tune with myself and with the people around me.

And I do have a bit of palmreading experience. I was interested in it when I was in high school, and I did a bit back then.

So now I'm looking at her hand. And she's got the most unusual head line I've ever seen, with no heart line. Well, not that the heart line is COMPLETELY absent. It's more like it's vestigial. "This is what I'm getting," I say. "My guess is that around the age of 16 you had a serious health crisis. Life-altering."

Her eyes go wide, and her large jaw drops. "How did you know that!!!??"

I point to a snarl-up on her life line. "That's around 16," I say.

"Glandular fever," she says. "Definitely life-changing. Still suffer from some of the side effects. Tiredness. Lack of endurance."

"Okay," I say. "This strong head line. To me, it indicates that you're really very intellectually inclined, and that you've developed huge defences against your emotions. You've been badly hurt in relationships, and you simply don't want that again."

She nods.

I continue. "But, the fleshiness here and here indicates that you're actually quite a sensual woman, and that you're somehow repressing that. There's a wild, emotional woman inside you, and you're searching to let her out. That's what this vestigial heart line and the fleshiness show me."

"I'm trapped in my head," she says. "But I love massage and body work like that."

It's just her and me at this point. Eran is talking to Jade. Amichai and his buddy have left. And it's late in the restaurant.

"Okay," I say. "Put your left hand here." I put my own hand on my chest, over the heart chakra. Lucinda follows suit on her own heart chakra. I'm still holding her right hand. I start calling on energy from the universe, and ask my ritual question silently. Dear Universe, I say, my eyes half-closed, please bring white light and healing to Lucinda, if it's for the greatest good. I say to her, "Okay, now breath," and I take a deep breath myself.

I feel my hands warming up, and the energy is flowing. And her eyes are half closed, and there's a look of almost surprised bliss on her face. It's as though she's never had the opportunity to get in touch with her heart.

I breath a few more times. Then I say, "Okay, we'll stop when you're ready. Come back in your own time." She breaths a few more times, blinks, opens her eyes. I keep holding her hand between mine. "How was that?" I ask.

She ponders. "It was amazing," she says. "I wish I could have that more often in my life. I'm always so in my head, so intellectual."

This drawing of me is by Jade Snell. She works as a makeup artist, and picked up her drawing skills as a child when her mom would give her a makeup pencil to sketch with when she was bored. Spent hours drawing while the adults talked. This is the first time she's used a pen like mine, which is a very odd technical drawing pen."Would you like to be able to do that at will?"


"Okay," I say, "let's go back to it." She puts her hand over her solar plexus, breaths, and she's back in, just like that. "Now we're going to anchor it." I press my forefinger to my thumb and ask her if she ever uses that gesture in real life.

"No," she says.

"Cool. Now follow me. Feel this blissful feeling. Now touch your finger and thumb together." She does it. "Release." She does. "And breath in, feel the bliss, touch them together." She does. We repeat it several times.

"What we've done is a neuro-linguistic anchoring," I say. "Your homework for the next week is to access this feeling as many times as you can every day by touching your finger to your thumb. Repeat this about ten or fifteen times per session, and as many sessions as you can get to. After that, you'll be able to get to this state any time you want by just making this gesture."

"Thank you, Roy," she says. "Phshew. I really didn't think I'd end up having a healing session tonight with a total stranger."

"When are you moving to Joburg?" I say.

The Spur, Balfour Park

Thursday, May 06, 2004

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

After my Spur debacle on 27 April, I did some phoning. I called the Cape Town head office. I called the Johannesburg head office. Left messages.

A very concerned Bev called me from Cape Town, and asked me to tell her what happened.

So after much flirting, I sent her to this website.

Within an hour, one of the managers in the Cape Town head office called me to tell me that they were taking my complaint very seriously indeed, and that the Johannesburg head office would be calling soon to make arrangements.

So Wouter from Joburg Spur called, and told me that the new owner of the Balfour Park branch would be calling me shortly to make arrangements. He also told me that J.J., the manager who offended me, would be apologising personally.

So Clifford, the new owner of the branch calls. "Wow, I read what happened, and I really want to apologise completely," he says. He's got a South-of-Joburg accent. Sounds like he must have been a bit of a streetwise chap in his youth.

"Thanks," I say.

"I'd really like you and your editor to come around for a free meal. We want to fix this up for you. And J.J., the manager who offended you, will apologise to you personally."

"Hmm," I say. "I'm not sure I ever want to see J.J. again. In fact," I say, "I'm surprised you haven't fired him."

"Look," says Cliff, "I understand. But we're actually sending J.J. on a customer complaints course, cos he's actually a very good manager in other respects. But yeah, we've had a few complaints about how he deals with certain customers. But then again, some of our regulars love him."

"But Cliff," I say, "we're not going to come for a free meal if they're gonna get it wrong again. I don't want a raw burger. And Steve doesn't want a raw burger either. And we don't need any fights with J.J. either."

"You have my guarantee," says Cliff.

Which is how Steve and I come to be sitting in the Spur this fine Thursday.

And the good news is that there's no sign of J.J.

But Cliff is here, and he's a really cool looking dude. Middle-aged, thin as a kebab-skewer, and a heck of a lot of nervous energy. This guy's a workaholic, and an old-school "my word is my bond" kinda bloke.

He accompanies our waitress, who takes our order. It's the same as the one we had last time. Ultra well done patties. The rolls toasted on the insides. Pepper burgers. This time we go for chocolate milkshakes instead of soft drinks.

"Are you from Germiston?" I ask. I grew up there, so I think I recognise the accent, the body language.

"Nah," he says, "just next door. Alberton."

"Hey," says Steve. "I'm from Alberton."

They chat about school. Turns out they both did matric at Eden College. "When did you matriculate?" says Cliff.

"Ninety-six," says Steve.

"Yis," says Cliff. "I was in seventy-nine. We had this English teacher. Little round oke. Got away with murder. What was his name?"

Steve's jaw has hit the floor. "A little round guy. About this tall? Hurwitz!!!"

"Ya! Hurwitz!!!" says Cliff. "What a pushover. We used to smoke in his class."

"Us too," says Steve.

The food arrives. And Cliff and the waitress watch anxiously as we examine our order.

It's perfect. Thumbs up to the Spur.

Except that the chips and the onion rings are cold. They must have put them on the plate before they cooked the burger patties. Which must have taken way longer than they normally cook them, leaving plenty of time for the extras to cool down. But it's not worth complaining about, and they're not THAT cold, and they're tasty, and we're hungry, and we've got work to do.

The milkshakes are delicious.

J.J. still hasn't appeared.

Cliff comes to us and says, "J.J. is just busy in the back, and I've got to shoot. He's going to come and apologise. Thanks for coming back, and I hope we'll see you again."

"You will," says Steve.

We wait a while, wondering if J.J. will have the guts to face us.

We're about to leave when the waitress arrives. With a bill.

"Uh," I say, "this meal's on the house."

She looks surprised. But recovers quickly. Picks up the bill and smiles broadly.

She's just about to walk away when I say, "But your service was good, so we're giving you a tip." Steve and I pitch in, and give her what would have been a twenty percent tip if we'd paid for the meal.

Still no sign of J.J.

Steve and I look at each other.

Steve says, "I don't really want to see the fucker."

"Me neither," I say.

And we slip out of the restaurant and head back to work, burping contentedly.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Fournos Bakery, Rosebank

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

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

What a fine fella is Anthony Minghella. I mean, he must be a good chap... he shaves his head, just like I do. Superb.Yay! Just skived off work for a coupla hours to see Anthony Minghella talk about filmmaking at Cinema Nouveau in Rosebank. The whole of Joburg's filmmaking community pitched up for a mutual masturbation session (cos that's what happens when filmmakers gather... serious unreality, air kisses, grumblings behind backs about "massive lack of talent", and "what a hack!" and other compliments). Half of the Cape Town wankers were here too. Brilliant. Major schmoozing opportunity.

And I've finally managed to get a coffee-date commitment from Robyn Aaronstom!

Excellent. Worth all the schmoozing in the world. She's babeage deluxe. And hopefully she's single. Seeing as I am. What with the breakup and all that. Sigh. We'll just have to see what develops over coffee.

Robyn's one of these success stories. She's been the Script Continuity person on dozens of Hollywood movies. Until recently, she used to spend half her year in Hollywood, and the other half in Cape Town. I'll find out over coffee why she's now based in Joburg. And what she's going to be doing next.

I order the Cajun Chicken salad and a glass of water. And I'm in a hurry, cos I've really got to get back to work. Lots and lots and lots of Ethiopian Chemistry lessons to view before midnight on Friday night. And I really do not enjoy working late nights, even though that's what I have to do some nights.

While I wait for my lunch, I make eye contact with a pretty blonde outside. (I'm sitting inside, cos I've brought scripts with me to check, and I don't want them blowing away.) And it's one of those situations where you just know that if you could somehow find a reason to chat to the babe, there might be some chemistry. But it's really a case of "ships-in-the-night-that-pass-very-fast". Eye contact means zip unless courage is on the table. And I'm all couraged-out right now.

Anthony Minghella is a really warm and funny British filmmaker. He wrote and directed THE ENGLISH PATIENT and COLD MOUNTAIN and TRULY MADLY DEEPLY. He created the British television hit, INSPECTOR MORSE. And the lovely thing about sitting in a full cinema with him talking is the realisation that he's just a dude. Just someone like me. Someone who made a decision to follow his passion.

And here he is, wearing ordinary clothes, talking about his gorgeous wife, telling us about the American backlash he got for using non-American actors in the quintessential American story, COLD MOUNTAIN. Telling us how he got to spend $83 million of other people's money. Breathtaking.

The food comes. I eat it. Very nice, thank you. Now bring the bill with some urgency, please. And the bill doesn't arrive. And then when it does, it takes the waiter another ten minutes to ignore me. So I walk up to the till and ask the lady there to process my bill immediately. Which she does. And I go back to work knowing that Robyn and I will be coffee-ing, and that I might be spending several million dollars of other people's money within the next five years. Cos my heart is set on making movies.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Doppio Zero, Greenside

Sunday, May 02, 2004

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

Phone: +27 11 646 8740

I was on my way to the Fullstop again this morning, laptop stowed in the boot, screenplay printout in my bag. But something made me choose Doppio. Probably cos I was going to have supper here last night, but it was full, and I hadn't booked.

So I park, and make my way inside.

There's Damon and Wendy. Which is a wonderful coincidence, cos I've just smsed Damon to let him know that I'm venturing forth into the world of coffee-shops with my laptop, and that today is the day I'm going to finish HOME, my feature film screenplay.

And it's also coincidental cos last night I was at The Radium Beerhall with Damon, watching Wendy play ultra superb music yet again.

"Uh!" says Damon when I draw up a chair. "Stop procrastinating!!!"

"Breakfast first," I say, "and then writing."

"I'm totally starving," he says.

I order a breakfast from Laura, our blonde, young young young waitress. Yumph. She's divine.

"But Laura," I say, trying not to see if she's wearing a g-string under her white, tight pants, "can you please make sure I don't have any mushrooms with this?"

"Can we give you a second sausage?" she asks.

I'd like to give HER a first sausage. Then a second. Maybe even a third. Depends how fit she is. "That'll be great," I say, "as long as they're beef sausages, not pork, and as long as the chef cuts them open and burns them slightly." See, if you're offering me breakfast, you'll find it safe to assume that I want EVERYTHING well done. Hard eggs. Crispy bacon (no fat). Very brown toast (made with brown bread). Burnt sausages.

Damon orders the vegetarian breakfast. And Wendy gets an awesome sandwich.

The decaff cappuccinos are possibly the best in Johannesburg, and I have my first of the day before the food arrives.

After breakfast, which is exactly as I ordered it, and absolutely hits the spot, I get up and search for a table that has a plugpoint nearby. Laura shows me to one just inside the door. Perfection.

Smooch smooch air kisses with Wendy, a nice assertive hug with Damon, and I'm on my own. Me and my laptop. And my screenplay. In a world I've been living intimately with for the last four or so years.

Last night I printed out a copy and bound it. Slept with it in my bed, where Jacqui would have been sleeping had I been in a relationship with her still. Woke this morning, reached over, and fondled it. Would have been right where Jacqui's squiggly bits would have been.

When Mariaan smsed me yesterday to ask if I wanted to do coffee with her, I was deeply engrossed in being unbearably solitary, and very sad. I spent the day thinking about Jacqui. And one-night stands. And how love doesn't go away. Hence no real squiggly bits to fondle this morning.

So, directly after fondling my script, I read it.

And I have to admit to feeling rather impressed with myself.

I've known for some time that I only have about ten or so pages left to write, and that these pages are very much setup pages that have come about as a result of the way the story changed in mid stream while I was writing it. So the ending I've written needs various bits and pieces to be inserted early on in the story and rippled throughout the screenplay.

What I hadn't realised is that I've written a very tight film, one that I'd love to see onscreen. It's a film I feel I'd be able to say, "I wish I'd written that!!!" after seeing it.

So I spend the entire day, till about 7 o'clock, finessing, honing, tweaking, adding, removing, fussing. And at that magical time, I type the most beautiful words the in the English language (except when used in the same sentence as 'Roy and Jacqui'): THE END.

I rock! I rock and roll! I am a god! I am a genius!!! I cook!!!!!!! I am awesome!

I've finished my feature film screenplay!

The first person I want to phone is Jacqui. And I don't. I don't sms her. I don't do anything. I don't email her the script. Why? Because she's asked for no contact at all. None whatsoever. She's said it'll be cool if we bump into each other somewhere. She won't run away or hide or anything. But no active communication between us.

Which I find odd, cos she reads this site. I can't imagine how it must feel for her. This is a woman who loves me dearly. So reading about my exploits must be unbearable for her. I would find it very difficult reading about her exploits. And it's very difficult for me. Cos I love her dearly. And I don't want her to be hurt. But I want to move on. I want to find a way to get her out of my system. Because as senseless and obscene as this breakup is, that's how it is. It's final until proven otherwise. And that's just not going to happen.

So I feel odd with this outpouring. Knowing that she and hundreds of other people are reading this stuff. As Mariaan said on Wednesday, it's weird. But Zahava, my therapist, reads it too. And thinks it's incredibly good therapy for me. And I agree.

But right now, sending an sms to Eran, Damon, and Janet -- my three first-readers -- feels very empty. And the accomplishment of finishing my first major screenplay feels a tad hollow. All I really want to do is curl up with Jacqui and Sheepy and cry.

Instead, I'm heading off to Rosebank to watch SWEET OBLIVION, a movie about people who don't fit in.

Now. Where's that sweet, sumptuous waitress of mine? I wonder if I can persuade her to pose naked for me?