Material, the movie

Thursday night we headed north to that weird Montecasino (where the sky is always blue no matter when the sun sets, and those cobblestones make enemies out of great heels) for the premiere of Material, the movie that made Barry Ronge cry and that has people declaring that we finally have a local film with the potential to rival a Leon Schuster blockbuster at the box office.

I hope so.

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SA’s taxi industry plans to launch an airline – when taxis fly

It’s just too good to pass up. South Africa’s minibus taxi industry is planning to launch an airline it was announced this week. It will be an easy transition seeing as how most taxis fly past you anyway. This morning I watched one Joburg taxi driver disregard a red light near the Zoo lake. Yesterday another driver sat talking on his cellphone while inching closer and closer and closer to my bumper – his taxi jampacked with extra commuters in what looked like a scene from some 80’s college frat party where some drunk smartass wants to see how many jocks can be packed into a telephone booth. At least no one was mooning me.

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Joburg’s best views

#213. Admire the view. Just saw this on Joburg Live. Ten detours worth making in what is becoming perpetual rush-hour traffic in this town. And they are not the only ones thinking about Joburg vistas. A few days ago Adrian at FiftyTwo (one of my favourite weekly mailers) sent his pick of where to spend sundown and sunrise in this crazy city.

From Observatory to Parkview, Westcliff to Houghton they’ve got it covered. And with the jacarandas in bloom and it being the only time of year that the ducks at Zoo Lake are truly cute, small and fluffy,  Rosebank and the Zoo Lake are also calling.

From JOburg Live: “Take the scenic route and get aquainted with Joburg’s exhilarating views, and lovely roads. Here’s our top 10 scenic routes in and around Jozi suburbia. Ask any South African what the defining feature of the Jo’burger is and they’ll tell you; we’re busy… Continue reading

Guerilla knitting on Jan Smuts Avenue

Peace sign on Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood

Peace sign on Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood

#211 Wonder who knitted the peace signs on Jan Smuts Avenue. They’re gorgeous. The signs appeared shortly after the World Cup ended, wrapped around the trees on both sides of Jan Smuts Avenue somewhere between the Zoo Lake and the Goethe Institute (whose new wall-less exterior and re-imagined entrance does the building justice). Appropriate exhortations in a few official languages hand-made in pretty colours.This city is all about the unexpected. Continue reading

Why the caged bird sings or breakfast at The Birdcage

#160. Eat fluffy scrambled eggs at one of Joburg’s cutest breakfast spots.  I am letting this secret out.

I think of “The Birdcage” and it conjures up memories of going to the cinema in Parkview (in the late 70s suburbs like Greenside and Parkview had their own moviehouses*) to see La Cage aux Folles with my mother and my brother. We may have been from Benoni but we loved big hair, spangles and showtunes  (that’s’ probably why). It also makes me want to repeat Peter Sellers’ mantra from that crazy movie The Party, “Birdie num num”. Continue reading

Best croissants are in French Johannesburg

#127. Greet the day by saying “bonjour”. Or at least be greeted by lots of people who think you speak French because you are sitting in the garden at the Alliance Francaise across from the Zoo Lake, savouring a bit of winter sunshine. I was there for the good coffee and heavenly pan au chocolat – layers of buttery pastry folded around delicious chocolate, delicate and crispy in all the right places. Continue reading

The elusive metropolis that is Joburg

#85. Look for the city. I spent Tuesday night listening to William Kentridge and Nadine Gordimer talk about the “elusive metropolis” that is Johannesburg. SA’s best known contemporary artist and our Nobel-prizewinning author, both denizens of this city, appeared at Wiser (the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research) to launch a collection of essays, research and thoughts on Johannesburg, co-edited by Sarah Nuttall and Achille Mbembe.

That this city seems to constantly slip out of one’s grasp was a persistent theme. It’s something I thought about on Saturday afternoon at the Zoo Lake as I watched a crowd of picnickers turn violent Continue reading

Nicole Richie turns up at the Zoo Lake

#67. Follow in the footsteps of Lionel Richie by taking a walk around the Zoo Lake. Five new trees near the boathouse, some hastily planted patches of green grass,  and a chiseled plaque mounted in concrete were all that he left behind as he rounded off his recent tour of SA. That and lots of people unashamedly humming “Penny Lover” and “Hello,

Is it me you’re looking for?” Continue reading

Dig the revolution

#18: Become a guerilla gardener. For everything there is a movement. I have always felt aggrieved by litter. Empty cans tossed from cars induce road rage, chip packets and ice cream wrappers on pavements make me forget, temporarily, that at heart I really am a pacifist; and broken beer bottles make me wish that I wasn’t. Continue reading