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Friday, 27 January 2012


Technology and I… we are not always the best of friends. In fact I cant think of a time we’ve seen eye to on button. I’ve always had an electronic crap drawer at home filled with cables leading nowhere, dads lost hope of me ever using a PSP, camera thingy-ma-jigs and phone whatcha-ma-call-its. I resisted facebook thinking; what happened to the idea of postcards from exotic locations, telegrams from far away friends, pen pals God damn it! None of which I have ever had despite my longing for something more personal and romantic.

My latest conformist fold has been the infamous blackberry… after years of loyalty my ol’ samsung finally packed it in and the taunt of free instant messaging was too much to resist in  my then, long distance relationship. But there’s always a glitch somewhere in the Matrix isn’t there? There’s always a loophole, fine print, terms and conditions overshadowed by these glamourous promises. “I’ll take the burgendy colour curve to match my new prada sling bag.” No one tells you it comes with a whole lot of extras you didn’t ask for.

“Why is Violet on your facebook friends list?” I hiss, thinking to myself, what kind of a bonehead name is Violet? What? Were your parents a bunch of acid tripping hippies? Were you concieved during an orgy that set off a chlamidia outbreak? A brief moment of guilt gushes through me. Crap. I used to kinda like that name.

“I don’t know, should I take her off?”

YES I think to myself. Why do girls always have to S-P-E-L-L things out for boys. She’s been stalking you ever since you left your job overseas and totally disregards the fact that I’m in your life. She’s a homewrecking menace and I not only want her off your FB friends list. I want her off this plain of existance.

“No.” I say. “Be friends with whoever you want”.

Because I’m the cool girlfriend who isnt bothered by these things. I’m secure, I’m confident, I’m not threatened.

Technology is a bitch. I remember watching beauty and the beast with Thereasa as young teenagers thinking, if only we had a magical mirror to peer into our crushes lives. What are they doing right now? Are they thinking of us? What do they say when we arent there? Well, we now have that very portal. It’s blue and has the following side effects: can cause obsessive behaviour, minor stalking tendancies, jealous raging, uncontrollable poke flirting and inappropraite ex interaction.

“Check this cool picture of a tornado bru” My oke says to Charlie my new roomate and close friend.
“Wow babe, who sent you that? We don’t get tornados in South Africa.” Nothing gets passed me. Ever.
“I can tell you but you’re not going to like it.”

Violet. I curse the word. The colour of my calm anger. The colour of betrayal. The colour I will passive aggresively paint with.

“She’s your friend on BBm as well?” 

I say, trying to contain the urge to smash something glass into the wall above his head. 


There’s always 1. In every relationship I’ve been in there’s always 1 girl who swoops in when you cross the line between cool girlfriend and mega bitch. And it’s a thin, thin line. Maybe a dotted line. Maybe so thin the scientist working at Always Ultra are testing it to see if they can use it for their next sell out, world wide winning, can’t believe it’s even there, white pants commercial PANTY LINER. It’s fucking thin.

She’s always there to remind your guy how great they’d be if you werent weighing him down with that massive burden, that shackle of a 3 year relationship. If I had my way sometimes I think I’d wave a magic wand and make sure all those girls were exposed to a particularly strong strain of lepracy. But then looking back at my past having been this very girl, young and stupid, and manipulating and charming my conquests in the very same way… maybe not.

There are 2 ways to survive a Violet outbreak, I’ve decided. Whats good for 1 should b good for all. I reminded My Oke that while he is the guy I love, the Mr Big in MY city and the lid to my poitjie pot, he is also at the front of a very long queue of eligible batchelors just waiting to take me out, send me tornado pictures and add me on FB. He’s got the prime spot and I want him there but I always hope he knows that theres a whole pallette of colours standing in line behind him, eager to get to the front.

I also reminded myself that I have no real reason to distrust the guy who proudly holds my hand and announces to everyone that I’m his forever. The guy that moves mountains and hundreds of km’s to share a tube of toothpaste and a queensize bed with me. The guy who always features me in his movie of the future as his leading lady. That’s My Oke. No one elses. 

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Ghosts of Boyfriends Past

I love my apartment. It has a great view, it’s safe and it’s pretty jeuje for a starter young professional posse in Jozi if I don’t mind saying so. Ed had stayed there with me for 2 years after my ex moved out taking my wine glasses and my cats. Yes, I’m still bitter... mostly because the man was a teetotaller (ya huh) and when I asked to keep one of my cats he demanded custody visits (not kidding).  For lack of a better word: Double-Yew Tee Eff man. But since then it has been bliss in my boho-chic New York esk apartment.

Ed and I were big entertainers, we always had people over. More than often we’d wake up on a Saturday morning to partied out compadres on our couches, a sink full of lipstick smeared wine glasses and a not so mild Greenside hangover. What can I say we hosted and we did it well. But... Sometimes we’d get the occasional uninvited guests and I’m not talking about awkward visits from distant friends or a summons delivery from the metro cops. I’m talking about lights going off for no reason, clocks that fail to function even after batteries have been replaced and piano’s playing themselves in the night. Reek reek reek!

Now I consider myself to be an undercover hippy in this chiq, sassy exterior... oh who am I kidding, I’m not undercover at all. Sure I embrace things like the hairdryer, razor and over priced designer labels but I’m a spokesperson for peace, love and happiness! I dig tye dye! I believe in chakras and maybe even the healing powers of crystals, (eek, maybe not... still on the fence with that one. I keep an Amythist stone by my bed hoping it will cure the insomnia. So far Amythist 0:Insomnia 1 billion) I like tofu! And you know what yes, ok, yes... maybe there is life out there... spooks, ghosts, spirits... or whatever you wanna call it. I’ll say it. Feels really good to get that out, I’m just going to sip my green tea and continue. The bottom line is... my place is a little, haunted and I think it’s kind of groovy.

 Then there are those ghosts that need to be exorcised, those menacing ghouls that pop up when you least expect them to and shake pesky demons out of your closet. It’s possession, plain and simple. .. and it’s awful. Definitely not groovy.

At the beginning of a financial year Mimi, Jack and myself host a company meeting to go over goals and very serious business stuff. This business stuff is so serious we feel it needs to take place with Table Mountain in the background and a cocktail in hand.  I’d been looking forward to the trip for weeks... using my bonus to adjust my wardrobe and feed my hunger for all things stiletto. I had to catch the 1st flight on a Sunday morning and normally this means fat pants, Ugg boots, at least 4 herbal tranquillizers (we all know how I love to be in the sky in the metal death taxi) and a 2 hour nap. Maybe it was the tan I hadn’t had in 4 years, maybe it was my on and off love affair with Cape Town (The other city), maybe it was shoe fever... but on this particular day I chose soft curls, light summer smokey eye and peach glossed lip, cute little number that said “I’m borderline slutty but you could still totally take me to lunch with your folks” and heels that made me want to pull a J-Lo and insure my stems.

 I walked into the plane, relatively calm considering my fear of impending doom and death. I took a seat and just as I was settling in and checking out the emergency exits (as I do), there she was. She knew me and I knew her though we had never met before. She was my ex’s present and she was perfect. Beautiful, tall, eclectic... and sitting in my fucking row. We gave each other a knowing glance... I’d seen her on Facebook and often looked at her pictures with the man I called my first love and prepared for take off. I wondered to myself if she felt at all threatened or intimidated by me as I did her? Had he spoken of me the way I spoke of him even now in my relationships? She opened a book with a title that told me she was super smart too. That’s the thing about a new girlfriend. They always seem to be the new and improved version of you. I pulled my laptop out and typed my life away even though the battery was dead and I was staring at a black screen. 1 hour 45 mins to go. Fuck. Then it hit me... who would be fetching her at the airport? Double fuck. All I could think was thank god I wore concealer.

As we touched down I sent a message to Mimi and Jack along the lines of: “major fail, in the plane with the ex’s new girlfriend, meet you at the drop off, I’ll be quick”. Murpheys law – we were in the last group of people to get our luggage and the sexy duo south of my ankles was starting to give me a nasty blister. I didn’t care. I was going to wear the shit out of those babies.  Why? Because I am a successful business woman, I am the epitomy of calm, I am confident and capable and I am so not afraid to run into my ex at the airport... possibly a ménage-awkward with his new perfect girlfriend. Nope. Not even a bit.
 My bag! I’d never been so happy to see it! Yes! I’m outta here and I’ve totally bypassed the new GF so I’m 90% in the clear. I reached the arrivals terminal at quite a speed and just as I thought I was home free, I saw him. Out of the corner of my eye the 6 ft 5 model I once dated in highschool was standing in front of me. Crap. I tried to act as if I didn’t see him, maybe he wouldn’t recognise me... I was sporting a new hair colour, sunglasses were on, I was reading every friggen airport sign I could as to avoid eye contact. Ya. He totally saw me and jumped in front of me to say hi.

Jittery nervous small talk followed by the usual promise to get together and catch up while I was in town which of course, never happened. I managed to escape before She arrived and found myself hiding behind a Jeep Wrangler in the parking lot waiting for Jack and Mimi who were late (I hate them so much right now) and I saw Them leave together. They were happy.

I stepped out into the busy airport pick up zone and while grateful I wasn’t in my fat pants with the usual coffee stain down my shirt, half zonked on tranquillizers... I felt a little sad. Sad that we couldn’t just see each other and be ok about it. Sad that no matter how hard I tried, I was measuring myself up next to the person he said I Love You to now. Sad that I felt I still had something to prove and inevitably would always have unfinished business with Him. Sad that I was still haunted by the ghosts of my boyfriends past.
Weeks later I was driving in my car, having a helleva average day when I saw a familiar face overtake me on his motorbike. It was Garth, the ex that had moved out 2 years ago... I waved, smiling. I couldn’t believe the co-incidence. I’d ended things with Garth with no hard feelings from my side. It just wasn’t going to work, ever. He turned and looked at me through his visor and then sped passed my car, popping a wheely. It looked like he’d just seen a ghost.

I haven’t seen our friendly ghost in a while. I read somewhere that ghosts are only a manifestation of bad energy in a space. That the uneasy feeling you get is just the residue of fermented Karma floating in the air. Reminiscence of fights, bad feelings, negativity, anger, hurt and sorrow. The best remedy is to create a new positive energy in the place, replacing the resentment with laughter, the pain with love and the undisclosed turmoil with open hearted happiness. It made me think that if I could think our ghost was groovy, maybe I could learn to put the unfinished business of the past to rest. Maybe I had the power to free my demons and cross over without the use of weedjee boards or hocus pocus. I guess the only way to really exorcise your demons is to live. To keep filling our couches with smiling faces and our sink with empty wine glasses and to leave the others to rest in peace.


Sunday, 15 January 2012

Martini Review - Rocket

I discovered this little treasure of a spot by word of mouth recommendation. My 2 friends invited us out for dinner to a suburb I rarely frequent - Rivonia. It takes me back to a college blur of madness that I have no desire to revisit but has some really lovely restaurants and bars that aren't all completely packed with larneys and trendy kids. 

I was blown away by the fantastic cocktail menu that sports an array of interesting and different drinks. So much so that I completely skipped my regular gin martini to try the other temptations.

Cookie Crunch Espresso Martini - 4.5 olives! 
This drink gets an extra half an olive for creativity. The first thing that came out of my mouth as I passed this sexy little mocha drink around the table was "It's not at all what you expect!" The taste was surprising and layered kind of like a trifle crossed with an ice coffee. I like. 

Melon Cosmopolitan - 5 Olives
I'm not a huge fan of syrupy sweet drinks but the idea of a watermelon cosmo just seemed really refreshing... and it was! This drink had just enough bite to balance the soft sweetness of the melon. Delicious! A definite for girls nights out. 

Had I been brave enough I would have gone for one of their signatures "Rocket Starburst" or "Strangeways to Hillbrow"... give it a go if you find yourself there and let me know! 

You can email me any comments or recommendations at or find me on Twitter ShoeGalCarly! 

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

A South African Girl in Europe 2010

Ed: “Are you absolutely sure we have everything we need, let’s go through it again. Passports, Travel insurance, tickets...”

Me: “Fuck! The fucking train tickets.”

Ed: “Good thing we haven’t left yet. Do you have your sedatives for the plane; maybe you should take one now?”

Me: “I’m fine, I’m fine. My psychic said I am going to write a book and have 3 kids one day and well... I don’t see any kids so I think we’re going to be ok. I don’t think today is a good day to die.”

I hate flying. I always have. But lately it seems to have gotten worse to the point where I usually end up with my teary mascara all over the passenger next to me’s  T-shirt. Ever since that terrible plane ride through a thunderstorm from Swakopmund to Windhoek in an aircraft put together with duck tape and flown by a 19 year old, my fear has kind of accelerated. I was willing to look past all of these anxieties because who wouldn’t when you are jet setting (even if it is in a huge metal air death taxi) to Europe!
Ed and I had been planning the trip for months... Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague and Paris.  I was pulling crazy double shifts thinking that each penny I saved would mean one more fabulous glass of French bubbly or one more day of shopping n Prague.  I had my hair done, bought a new travel bag and tied up all my projects at work. There was nothing left to do but get our asses to Europe.

As I sat on the plane about to take off there was a screen showing our positioning on the globe. This tiny non threatening aeroplane cartoon moved along a little red line probably no longer than my index finger all the way to Holland. Strange, I thought how small the distance seems but how far away it really is. It made me think about the error of parallax when it comes to perspective on our own comfortable and convenient lives.  Maybe sometimes you need to go to Oz before you can say “There’s no place like home”. 

We arrived in Amsterdam and began our 3 week battle with the apparent language barrier, trying to get a taxi to our apartment. It was very clear on the tram ride we took into the city; that we weren’t in Kansas anymore. People were riding bicycles everywhere, there were trams and trains and taxi’s filling the streets and carting people from place to place. It was at this point I think that the wheels fell off, literally. Ed’s wheely bag zanked completely which left 2 grumpy South Africans walking through Amsterdam carrying luggage trying to dodge a death-by-bicycle experience.  And then there was beer. We eventually got settled in and after many a tram journey fuck up, we found our feet... and the correct tram stop.
How amazing to be in a city where Mary Jane is legal, the red light district is a jol and every road you cross gives another amazing view of the canals. We did it all in Amsterdamage... live sex shows where 80% of the audience was Asian pensioners (very strange), Van Gogh museum (I thought I had problems), Michelin star restaurants, zol any time of day anywhere... or was it every time of day everywhere? I digress... Markets, bars and clubs. I did switch to beer the second I ordered a jack and lime and the bill came to 16 Euro’s, but that’s ok the beer was fab! Note to self... when in The Damage, remember that they only pour double shots, not a good idea to order tequila shots in happy hour.

I found myself thinking, when was the last time I let my hair down like this? 5 years ago? When was the last time I dressed up for... absolutely no reason? It felt really good to be forced out of a comfort zone I had become all too familiar with.  Waking up early to co-ordinate a cute number and getting your hair did for the day doesn’t have to always feel like a shlep, I had so much fun feeling fabulous every morning. 
Berlin you beauty, what an open minded crazy town. I think I felt most at home with the Goths and the arty party animals all around me while Ed was in absolute awe of the History (Nerd). Underground clubs with the most awesome music, that’s what I’ll miss most about ze Germans. They entertained us from start to finish starting with the most flamboyant gay landlord and his pink and red painted walls and falic art and ending with taxi ride to the train station. Berlin might just be the only place in the world where you can see people coming HOME from their razzle at 09:00 in the morning.   Gorgeous parks and architecture,  really friendly and helpful people, watching Ed trying to speak German but kind of ending up with Afrikaans funigalore, mastering The Bicycle as a mode of transportation, browsing the S&M shops... just my cuppa tea this place.

Can you imagine 4 hours on a train to Prague while a young very undisciplined boy resembling Mowgly from The Jungle Book wales and wanes from screaming to crying to hysteric laughter in the seat opposite you. This is all being done with a Berlin hangover and the realisation that the earplugs I brought to disarm Eds' snoring would be fucking amazing if they were in my ears and not in my stupid fucking bag above me. I felt a lot better when we arrived in Prague and realised the exchange rate was no longer fisting us and that the prices in Prague were close to the kind we are used to at home. This means... lots of Beer! And SHOPPING! It was a beautiful marriage; the speed walking from shop to shop was countered by endless bicep curls lifting very big and heavy beers to my sweet oh-my-god-you-should-see-the-bag-i-just-bought lips.  When in Prague try the Absinthe I thought, I’m bohemian, my liver has been good to me thus far... let’s do it....  Ya. Prague Absinthe and Jozi Absinthe are two completely different viles of poison. The bartender serving me warned that he had once finished a bottle and had to sit in a cold bath for 2 days to stop the hallucinations.

Meeting all of these interesting characters was a refreshing change from the comings and goings of my normal hang outs in Joburg. I think sometimes we see the same faces at the same places and it all gets a little bit... boring. Here was a guy who almost died for the love of the green fairy, not to mention the amazing Israeli couple we met and who invited us to come live on their Kibbutz in Israel or the Irish couple from the “Strip” club (more like brothel) in Old Town Square. I’m beginning to understand what people mean by broadening their horizons.

I heart Paris. I do, I really do... For the cheese, bread and wine alone but also for the romance, the Eiffel tower, the French onion soup, the gorgeous people, the tequila beer, the cafe’s, the Moulin Rouge, the red carpet at Louis Vuitton, the Arc de Triumph and well... what’s not to love about Paris?  Certainly being in a city like Paris, your mind does drift to matters of the heart and my heart was feeling a little heavy. My Oke was back at home and here I was soaking up all that Europe had to offer me. Seemed like I was on honeymoon with my best friend and I wish I would experience something like this with the person that I could make out with under the beautiful green trees of Paris. Sigh.

It’s amazing how gaining perspective like this can be so bittersweet sometimes. It made me realise that the error of parallax wasn’t from my view of Europe and my fantastic holiday; it was of back home and the part of me that had somehow been forgotten back there. There’s something about being in a country where no one knows your name and all the baggage that clings to you back home. It’s a little easier to have a voice when you don’t care who is listening, or to feel like a princess when you apartment has a view of the palace, or to appreciate what a work of art really is when its a little further away from you and you can see the whole picture.

As we were checking in at the airport in France to go home we heard the all too familiar sound of a South African accent.

“Hay, excuse me... I can’t work out this blady machine man, where’s the people?”

A man was standing with his wife at the check in machine, not like at home where we have people to check us into the plane and smooth everything over. In Europe you’re on your own on your ass.

Ed: “God it’s good to hear that voice.”

Carly: “I guess there really is no place like home”