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Tuesday, 27 March 2012

The Money Shot




When Jack first suggested a 2012 New Years do-over, I thought to myself what a fabulous idea. Wine. Old friends. Joburg at sunset. I’m in! I’d been dying to try out the trendy Sanbar at Sandton Sun Hotel for a while and couldn’t think of a better excuse than to have a do-over of a crappy beginning of year. I wasn’t alone in this theory as all my favourite people began spilling out onto the deck and ordering by the bottle as a glistening Jozi skyline smiled back at us almost urging us to control alt delete the contents of our 2012 folders.

On our 3rd slow dance with Merlot, Jack joined a group of us sitting around the fire.

Carly: “How u doing Jacky?”
Jack: “Not so good. Can’t wait to start this year over.”
Charlie: “Here here, break ups are shitty”
Mimi: “Well usually after I have a bad car accident something good happens to me. I’m hopeful. I guess.”
Nandi: “Please fill me up, I don’t wanna go home. Reggie and I are fighting. How’s Your Oke's job hunt going?”
Carly: “On 2nd thought, I guess another glass won’t hurt.”

As we sat around watching the yellow flames lick a black night sky I realized that we were all having to sit in some kind of fire of our own. Is it the end of the world? Are the Mayans right?! Break ups, brushes with death, relationship rehab, empty bank accounts, empty spaces where there used to be a bulging overflow of something that we can’t quite put our fingers on.  An awkward very real and quiet moment of surrender hung in the air until someone cracked a joke on how pathetic we all were and everyone was suddenly relieved to be back on a socially acceptable level of self mockery and avoidance.

I said my goodbye and slipped away before enough people could ask me to stay another hour, another drink… just one more minute away from what was outside and everywhere. A hostile universe where absolutely nothing is predictable or constant. It’s hard to grabble with the idea that a large wedge of everything we do, see, want, need and have is out of our perfectly manicured hands. No matter how hard we clench at the air hoping to have a grasp on what the future will hold for us, we ultimately just end up with white knuckles.

 Later that week I was en route to dinner with me Dad and we stopped off at a photographic exhibition at Circa in Rosebank. We were aiming on showing face and heading off to dinner at Full Stop CafĂ© down the road for an early bite. As we entered the beautiful venue the walls were decorated with photographs from all over the world. A road in the middle of no where, a hand holding open a hole in a fence, fish bones, rotting leaves and faces filled with history and hardship.  It was all so beautiful.

Lost in a thicket of snapshots and images of life as we know it, I contemplated quietly in that messy place I call my head. This is it. Right here and right now. With all the crappiness, this is really it… and we’re missing it all. Somewhere amongst the debris of My Oke not finding a job, of my bond bending my mind with worry, of late shifts at work and guilt over not enough time on the couch or on the treadmill, of pending expectations from everyone around me… life was actually happening, with or without my participation. My hands softened for the first time in ages, 4 half moon nail marks in each palm.

I sunk into our couch on Sunday, heavy with the realization that I just couldn’t try to control or change it anymore. Before it could engulf me My Oke told me to get in the car, we were going to play pool. I would’ve said no but I was exhausted of saying no.

We walked in and I smiled quietly at the clicking and clucking of pool balls… it sort of reminded me of high heels walking down a corridor with conviction and purpose. It was ironic to hear that here in this chaotic place with sports blaring on the big screen and testosterone filling the air, murky around the green lit tables.

My Oke: “Do you wanna break?”

Carly: “Sometimes.”

He meant take the first shot.
I meant everything else.

I picked up the stick and played a shot, then another, then another and before I knew it I had sunk 4 balls in a row. I must be having a super lucky night I thought as my ability to play pool is much like a fish’s ability to run the comrades. Round two, and again I had pretty much killed the table. Then it hit me, this was the first time I’d ever played a game where my “give a fuck” button had been partially switched off. I didn’t care what the outcome was, I was in the game… not on the scoreboard.

I guess that’s life’s practical joke on us. The second we surrender to the game, to NOT trying to have all our balls lined up just right. That’s when we succeed. Maybe the trick is not to live miles and miles ahead but to just peer at what’s coming up 10m at a time. To just relax our grip, wiggle our focus until it’s sort of aimed at where we want to be and then wing it. I watched the black ball reluctantly gaflunk into the net and with it went the pile of rubble I’d been carrying on my shoulders. I give up… That’s the money shot.




Monday, 26 March 2012

Martini Review - Hyde Park Southern Sun


It was a Friday afternoon and my palette was getting excited to do a little sunset tango with some fabulous cocktails! I was looking for somewhere I could strut in a stiletto, despite it being before sunset... I thought Hyde Park Southern Sun would be perfect with it's gorgeous view of Jozi and resident DJ on the decks. 


I ordered a White Chocolate and Strawberry Martini - seems to be a very popular flavour these days - I'm not too sure why, doesn't exactly give me a nipple stand. But there wasn't any other short n strong drinks that tickled my fancy so I gave it a twirl. I was intrigued when the R65 drink was handed to me and looked like yogi sip with chocolate sprinkles on top. Not exactly what you want while standing around Jozi's trendy up and comings. 

The martini was very sweet and rich and to be honest matched its appearance. I felt a bit like I was at the kiddies table... unfortunately this one came at a hefty price and a long wait at the bar. So I switched to wine. 

1 sad olive


Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Lovalas – The Emotional Hangover




Saturday Morning. I lift the top left side of my lip and as it unsticks from the bottom one. I have an overwhelming thirst for Cream Soda or anything that will take away the taste of cigarettes, tequilla and last nights mistakes. Ink blotches run up my left wrist like stamps on a passport telling me all the places I had apparently left my name. My make up is still on and its everywhere, it feels a bit like chalk on my face. The idea of running a shower and getting into it sounds about as appealing as an acupuncure session but I know it has to be done because I smell like a 1 night stand.

The night before I’d somehow thought it’d be a great idea to get reaquainted with an old friend of mine who we”ll call Black Label. In true fashion we never do things in half measures and on this morning I decided that I was to be ending the friendship once again. I also decided that no one should ever order a drink that requires two hands to lift to your mouth. I looked up, make up off and there it was… the real me. No mask, no sympathy.

I took a moment to look at myself in my hungover state… just a few hours ago it had all been fun and games, laughing, dancing. Now I was alone with the remnants of the night before. The tired heels from my new Nine Wests that just HAD to come out and play, the beer soaked half dreadlock at the back of my head, the very empty wallet. I thought to myself, maybe hangovers are a lot like the aftermath of a love affair… leaving the sufferer alone and desperate not to feel just utterly awful.

Mimi had been seeing Sibu for almost a year when she got a call from another woman seeking advice on her ( the other woman) relationship with him.

“You two just seem so close and you know him so well, I thought you could give me some advice on our relationship. We’ve been together for 3 months now and we’re running into a few problems.”

After explaining to the woman on the phone that she in fact was in a relationship with Sibu for a year, that they were not just good friends she calmly pushed the red button on her phone and looked up at Jack and I.

“She reacted as if I was the other woman.”

Jack: “How bout we do a company power lunch”

Carly: “Consisting purely of wine?”

Mimi:”I’ll get my bag.”

There we were, 3 friends getting drunk at 11 in the morning on Company time. Have you ever been drunk in the middle of the day? Its quite something. My heart broke as Mimi sat opposite me, heart wrenched out of her body and splattered on the floor. The first time she had really opened herself to that tricky little bastard we call Love.

Carly: “More Caramel Vodka?”

Jack and Mimi: “Yesh!”

How can this happen? How can things be so great one minute and so very sad the next. One minute you’re dancing on tables and the next your spooning the toilet seat. The next day Mimi had more than just mild nausea and a headache. She was at the start of a very long and incurable Lovalas.

I’ve lived with a boyfriend before I met My Oke and it didn’t work out so well… if that relationship was a night of drinking… it was Cane and Sparlettta on an empty stomach. But after 3 years of dating long distance it was time to get in a cab and brace ourselves for that club we all have to go to at some point “Living Together”. Sooner than I realized I was sharing a home with Playstation, Klippes and Cola, Top Gear, Gross Man Smells and Dirty Dishes. Here we were, finally at the place we’d wanted to be for years and at each others throats. Suddenly those things I’d brushed off in the past were unbrushable. Every little gripe was placed under a microscope and so the madness begun. Screaming matches at 4 in the morning, days I didn’t wanna get out of bed, days I couldn’t stay in bed. Wine…. My sweetly sorrow companion. Always willing to have a pity party with me, no matter what the hour.

It was a month of exhausting emotional binges that went on so long and so close together there was no time for a regmaaker or a greasy breakfast to help heal wounds. And then the noise subsided. People started packing up chairs and hinting we should go home, give things a break, wake up from this drunken craziness. And we did… a little fragile, a little ropey and a little bit better.

Eyes dry but hearts open, limping but taking steps forward. Too tired to look back but just scared enough to look forward.

When my parents got divorced almost 10 years ago, there was a hangover that permeated through our whole house. Miserable, blurry, foggy, messy, peircing and unmoving. Until it cleared, and we were all ok again. And 10 years later, better than ok. Better than before. Really happy and cured of our Lovalas. Because that’s the thing about the aftermath of a disaster…. The only cure there is, is time. And though we always swear we’ll never drink… or love again. Somehow we always do.



Monday, 5 March 2012

A Sip of the Big Appletini


For someone who hates flying, on this particular day I am sashaying through the airport like some kind of a pro. I realized that this couldn’t be a crazy figment of my imagination when someone asked me where the Gautrain was and I actually knew the answer.  One of these days I’ll be a travel guru for sure, I thought as I headed to check in.

“Just you?” The girl at the counter looked up at me in disbelief.
“Just me” I said, smiling nervously.
“Destination?”
“New York”, I reply, familiar with the running order in this script.
“I want to travel alone. My boyfriend just broke up with me… but I’m scared.” She said looking up at me, somehow knowing that this is my game.
“Well the way I see it is you’ve got 3 months to snag a date for New Years Eve. Until then, instead of dates… you can spend all your money on shoes.” I leant over, grabbing my boarding pass to JFK “…and wine” I winked and she smiled back.

A very crabby Carly climbed out of the plane and waited for the shuttle back to her hotel. And then it happened… squashed in the back of a taxi with a bunch of grumpy sweaty travellers I caught my first glimpse of New York. The suburbs dissolving behind me like a packet of white picket fence sherbet in the Hudson River.



Suddenly I found myself in a grid like wonderland, shaded by high-rise buildings and murred by foggy steam coming out of the underground. People decorated the streets and shops, ordering their morning coffee from Starbucks, hailing down cabs, slinging the New York Post under one arm and a the latest from Gucci under the other. My sleeping pill hangover dissipated into the excitement of being in this kaleidoscope of perpetual and beautiful havoc.

I checked into my hotel on the corner of 49th and 10th and had already missed my group meet up for the day, which meant the city was mine. I think if I wasn’t from Joburg I would have been too intimidated to leave my hotel. But I am. So I slapped on some vintage red lipstick, walkable heels and headed for Soho. You know that feeling you get when you step out of yourself for a moment and it’s like you’re watching a movie where you play the lead and you’re fabulous? That day I played a New Yorker, strolling through Soho and Greenwich Village. I watched skateboarders flipping arleys on Broadway while I sipped on a skinny latte and then had my 1st of multiple compulsive shopper orgasms when I found a cheap boho shop called Little Amsterdam. Looking up at a mix of green leaves and silver shimmering windows I thought to myself, life isn’t really that complicated is it? Nope. Not now. Not here.



My tired feet finally force me back to the hotel where I meet up with my group who turn out to be a bunch of young and wild Ozzies.

“My 6 year relationship just ended so we quit our jobs and decided to fuck off for a few weeks” my new fried Debbie said as she sipped her Vanilla Vodka and looked at me.
“I’m trying to tick off all the countries I can before I get old and boring” I replied.
“Yeah, I’ll drink to that!” she chimes as the waitress comes to take our next round. I couldn’t help but secretly want to make New York my drunken lover that night… and every night.

The next few days I spent in NYC we did all the touristy things that you kind of feel obliged to do as a visitor… all with a mild to major hangover. The Statue of Liberty, Central Park Bike Ride, the Empire State Building and Times Square. Tick, tick, tick, tick. But I found the most fun and adventure I had was when it was just the city and I hanging out. Taking a walk through China Town, eating a bagel on the outskirts of the park, sipping on oversized cocktails at lunch, dinner and well… anytime.

I have to say my favourite experience must have been trying to catch the Sex and the City Tour in peak Uptown traffic. Running through the subway, sprinting around blocks and blocks that all look the same, yelling at people to move their ass. I didn’t come all the way from South Africa NOT to go on this tour. I’d been looking forward to it for months… well really, forever. Flustered and a little out of breath I caught the bus and as I sat down I realized I’d actually had a true New York experience without even knowing it. I was elated.





It’s amazing how just a small time in a big city can change your perspective on the world. That’s what’s so freeing about travelling… you get to extend your own personal borders just a little bit further. You get to dream a little more, you get to be a little more, you get to renovate your imagination just a little more. You get to take just a little sip of the bigger picture.



Martini Review - Capello

I've been walking this town looking for a good watering hole nearby the homestead... somewhere to skip the traffic or shake the day off. We all need 1 or 2 of those in close proximity! I decided to try the Norwood Capellos... having a faint recollection of a particular chocolate and pear martini I'd had there years ago. 


Bubblegum Martini


Waiting for this little treat to arrive I had all kinds of expectations. Was it going to arrive with a Chappies swizzle stick? Was it going to be blue, multi-coloured, purple? A martini glass garnished with a strawberry arrived and a sip of the light pink liquid proved to be satisfactory but not mind blowing. The sweetness almost reminded me of kiddies toothpaste, the kind that squeezes out in a star shape. That can't be good. 


2.5 Olives


Mixed Berry and Mint Muddle


I may have had just enough pink but the only other cocktail that was jumping out of the menu happened to be berrilicious. Sweet factor was off the charts... a little too sweet for me. But it was pretty and I like the name, so it gets 


3 Olives


Overall... a bit of a disappointing mission. I have a lot more exploring to do!