So, here we are on another Moanday (sic), sitting in a post-weekend stupor in offices all over the globe. Same grumpy old boss. Same boring old meetings. Same rubbish coffee. Same old grubby work colleague sitting nearby with sticky tape holding together his glasses, picking his nose and droning on about his weekend spent trying to coax some love out of a Russian instant wives website.
I think that this might help you…
Wow. Nice. That certainly reminded me of the really important things in life.
So I’m going back to bed.
* Thanks to Eric Alan for the heads-up on this very sweet little vid. Oh, in case you’re wondering, the vid is called The Meaning of Life, produced by “Santé et beauté pour tous!!”, whatever that is, and that stunning soundtrack was “Cuore Di Sabbia” (Sand Heart) by Pasquale Catalano. Mooi, ne?
Inspiration. I don’t know about you but I can’t get enough of it.
And it doesn’t come much better than in the form of Liu Wei of Beijing.
As he says, “who said piano has to be played with your hands?”…
I kept getting that cold, shivery feeling which starts at the nape of my neck and my forehead and simultaneously snakes over my head and down my back. How did it feel for you?
And have you ever tried to pick up a small stone with your toes?
I love Liu Wei. As I have loved Nick Vujicic who has no arms, no legs, just a voracious appetite for living life. Just as I loved Kseniya Simonova and her extraordinary ability to create something so beautiful with sand. But Kseniya has hands.
I liked that line used by one of the “China’s Got Talent” judges after Wei’s incredible performance. “Live like wonderful.”
Let us all live like wonderful this weekend. And we might as well continue with that maxim for the rest of our lives. Because who said life can’t be lived like wonderful?
* A valiant if vain attempt at an awe-inspiring doff of the old red hat to Guy Kawasaki for giving me the heads-up on Liu Wei.
* If you scroll up to your right on this page, you’ll see a big fat badge saying something about the 2010 South African Blog Awards. I’ve entered your “diagnosed SA-positive” blog into the “Best New Blog” category. I wouldn’t be in the slightest bit mortified if you were to click on that there badge and nominate http://www.fredhatman.co.za in that category (be sure to type in your e-mail address on the blog awards site for your nomination to be registered). In fact, were I to amaze all of us by winning something, the Birkenhead is on me down the Stanford Arms! Cheers!
We like it when the little guy comes out on top, don’t we? The underdog. Winning against all the odds. Like when my Jack Russell chased that Great Dane the length of Camps Bay beach. Actually, bad example. Because The Scrapster sees herself as very much The Overdog.
OK. Like when Samson pinged Goliath. That’s better. Or when Wimbledon beat Liverpool in the 1989 FA Cup final. What am I talking about? I’m a Liverpool supporter. Or sufferer. So forget that.
Got it. Like this…
How was that?! Yowzers! You’re a penguin. You’re being chased around by about four ravenous killer whales keen to have you for a starter before the main course. You’re getting a little fatigued and your frantic little flippers are slowing down a tad. You spot a boat with a bunch of boring Norwegians on it…
You’re going to take your chances, aren’t you? You’re jumping straight on that boat and hope like hell that those fjordspeople aren’t going to bore you witless with their talk about, well, fjords, fjords and more fjords. Beats being scrunched up in a whale’s digestive system, doesn’t it? OK. Only just.
Still, a victory for the little guy there. Reminds me of the time old Nel, one of diminutive twins, got called out at big break by Buster Chadwick, the school’s 1st XV lock, and felled him with one almighty blow to the side of the head. It probably helped that his twin brother jumped on Chadwick’s back at just the right time and stuck his fingers in his eyes.
That little penguin didn’t have any twin brother doing him any favours out there in the big, bad ocean, did he? So, a very happy result. Glad you enjoyed that, Hatpeople. Always support the underdog is the moral of the story, isn’t it?
* And you can do that right now by clicking on that big banner thing up there on the top right of this page and nominating me in the South African Blog Awards. “Best New Blog” category, if you please. Only two days left before nominations close. Remember to enter your e-mail address, wait for the e-mail asking you to confirm your nomination for Fred “Little Guy” Hatman (http://www.fredhatman.co.za) and then sit back and sigh to yourself “job well done”. Because it will be. You might just have helped me get one over all those big, blubbery killer bloggers chasing me around the murky waters of the blogosphere and trying to gobble me up. Go on. Save a little penguin blogger today!
Everybody knows that I love dogs. What’s not to love? They never dig holes. They don’t even think about burying bones. They never bark at shadows. And they’re not at all obsessed about balls being thrown for them. Especially not my two Jack Russells, the Scrapster and Dodney Doodlebug. Very low maintenance.
Unlike cats. Don’t trust them. Sneaky sorts. Kill birds. And like to stick their derrieres in your face to prove some stupid point about them once being idolised by the ancient Egyptians. Those Egyptians may have been quite handy at building pointy-topped buildings but they have a lot to answer for. No, cats are for lonely spinsters of a certain age and certainly not for me.
OK. So that was a preamble. Or, in the case of cats, a premince. What I am trying to get around to showing you is this…
Everybody say "Aaaaah"... and I'll say that dogs are in a different class. Sorry.
How’s that little Rottie on the far side? How cute is that, hey? He’ll have a sore neck after that “Don’t Dig” class is done. I know. Because I was always told to sit in the front row of desks at school where the teacher could keep an eye on me. Actually, I had my own spot directly under the blackboard. It was called “being put in isolation”. My neck’s never been the same since. Thanks a lot, Miss van Rooyen. Silly old bint. Wow. I do feel a lot better after getting that out.
Anyway, you don’t have to fear that this blog might turn into one of those sites that only post naff pics of animals doing cutesy-wutesy stuff. They may get an insanely massive amount of hits but I won’t resort to that to raise my views. No, I won’t. Definitely not. Unless you want me to, of course. Because as you well know, my dear Hatpeople, I’ll do anything for you. Just like my dogs do for me.
And, if I find a pic of a whole bunch of cats paying rapt attention in a “Don’t Kill Birds” class, I’ll definitely post that here for your delectation. Bird murderers! All of them. Off with their heads, I say!
Saturday. Springboks v All Blacks. Soccer City (or whatever they call it now), Soweto. Historic event. The first time the Boks play a Test in the most famous “township” on the planet.
It also happens to be Springbok captain John Smit’s 100th test for his country. Our beloved country. Barney Smit, widely considered the best rugby skipper in the world. And you all saw the pictures of him standing alone in the centre of that phenomenal calabash of a stadium, holding his son and daughter. Ninety thousand fans waving The Flag. The captain was almost blubbing, wasn’t he? Quite acceptable.
If ever a stage was set for the under-performing Bokke to find their redemption, this was it.
But you all know, or should know, what happened next. Sickening. Especially for our Captain Fantastic. Even All Black captain Richie McCaw graciously said that “rugby can be a cruel game”.
But we move on. A year away from the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand. There could be no sweeter redemption than to retain our World Cup in the backyard of the mighty All Blacks.
But let’s have a slightly unusual look at Saturday’s Tri-Nations heartbreaker. I’ve been playing with the 360 deg imagery that the Vodacom Player 23 Fan Cam put out after the match and, despite not having a clue how this technology works, captured three freeze-frames for your delectation.
Hold on to your Bok beanies, babies…
Worm's view of The Calabash on Saturday. Stunning, hey? But let's pan down a tad to see what's happening on the ground...
Ja, look, sorry about that bar thing above the players' heads... but I know diddly about Photoshop and couldn't shift it. Anyway, you'll see the All Blacks doing that haka thing they like to amuse us with before rugby matches... let's zoom in on that, shall we?
What's this?! The All Blacks doing their quaint little pre-match warm-up, sure... but who is that Bok player lurking behind them? What is he doing there?
And could somebody please tell the nation why, when presented with a green-and-golden opportunity like that, our Bok didn’t sneak up behind one of those Kiwi blokes at the back and give him a moerse skop (good kick) up his fat jacksie?
That would have given us a lekker start to the game, hey?
You go, gogo! We love you. We love your vibe. We love your handbag. And we love that airbag. And we don’t love – how do da Americans say? – that “douchebag” who hooted at you. That was simply too beautiful for words!
As I’ve admitted before, I don’t know much about art but I know what I like. And I like it meaningful and not necessarily so pretentious that it disappears up the artist’s ass.
I’ve applied this criteria ever since Diane Gilson, the pig-tailed spotty-face who sat next to me in Class 2, drew a spurious picture of me during a particularly boring Arithmetic class. I applied it so assertively that I landed up standing outside the classroom door, not an uncommon position for me to take up. As I recall, I was on first-name terms with the pigeons nesting in the gutter outside 2B.
And I applied it even more furiously when a total nincompoop indulging in some performance art (by a long way not my fave artistic genre) at the notoriously left-field Bean Bag Bohemia in Durban snatched a smoke out of my hand while clearly experiencing an extremely avant-retard moment. I won’t tell you how that ended. Horribly. For him.
So let’s have a look at some art. I think they (the in-the-know “they”) call this conceptual art. I think you’ll like this…
Mmmm. I love it. Artistic expression with a functionality. To house birds. In London. Birds, as resourceful as they might be, have a pretty rough time of it in inner-city London so, on the face of it, this is eco-friendly art.
We should all be quite pleased with what’s been done here. But there’s a problem. Can you spot it? Have a close look. Feel free to use your binocs if you need to. Yes? Anybody detected the terrible oversight on the part of the smart-ass artists who dreamt up this little, er, lark?
OK. Have a closer look…
No? OK. The thing about birds, as grateful as they may be towards people who help them out with a spot in which to rest, nest and possibly even breed, is that they like a twig or something similar to perch on before they enter the nest. That helps them to locate any predators or other dodginesses before entering the nest. Or, perhaps, if it’s been a long flight home, to stop off for a crafty fag before facing the missus and the kids.
No perches. On those arty-farty nesting-boxes. And not much chance of them attracting any birds, unless they are DIY types like those hamerkops which might produce a nail from under a wing and make their own plan.
So, as the art critic I undoubtedly am, I must suggest that the London Fieldworks artists who produced this uber-pretentiously titled “Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven” artwork might want to nip out to The DIY Guy, buy up all stocks of dowel rod and start chopping up bits of perch for the nonplussed birds flying around their installations in parks in Chelsea and Islington.
* To be fair, and I really want to be, you could do a lot worse than flit over to the very interesting Inhabitat eco-arty website to see what other far more environmentally considerate art is being created.
* If you scroll up to your right on this page, you’ll see a big fat badge saying something about the 2010 South African Blog Awards. I’ve entered your “diagnosed SA-positive” blog into three categories: Best New Blog, Best Personal Blog and The Kulula Best Travel Blog. I wouldn’t be at all offended if you clicked on that there badge and nominated http://www.fredhatman.co.za in any of these categories (be sure to type in your e-mail address on the blog awards site for your nomination to be registered). In fact, were I to amaze all of us by winning something, the Birkenhead is on me down the Stanford Arms! Cheers!
Forgive me, dear and possibly forgiving Hatpeople, if I have a little rant today. I have just this morning received an e-mail which has precipitated this uncharacteristic behaviour. I mean, I remain totally committed to giving you all the “SA-positivity” you can bear, but I am human.
And I do have a name. It’s Fred. My name is Fred. It’s not There. So, if you know my name and you e-mail me or phone me, it’s “Hi, Fred”. If you don’t know my name, of have forgotten it, a simple “Hi, who am I talking to?” will do very nicely, thank you.
Do not address me with a “Hi, there”. It’s just rude. It’s like those nameless, faceless, brainless people who call to sell you something. You pick up the phone and say “Hi, Fred speaking”. To which they reply, “Hello, how are you”. To which I say, “My name is not Howareyou, my name is Fred. What is your name?”
Go right ahead and address this geezer with a "Hi, there"... but don't try it on me!
What happened to the common decency of “Hello, my name is Jane from the Tryingtoflogyousomething Marketing company, how do I address you, Sir?” or, if that sounds a bit too like it belongs to a more civilised age, then “Hello, to whom am I speaking, please?”
Is that asking too much? Is that asking too much of somebody whose sole purpose in calling you – or e-mailing you – is to try to manipulate you into buying or doing something that you are not necessarily predisposed towards buying or doing? No, I will not even want to hear about what it is you want me to buy or do if you call me “There” or “Howareyou”.
Do you feel the same about this? Or is it just me? Oh, you do. Then I wonder how many calls and e-mails are being wasted by countless companies which don’t bother to train their cold-callers to try to find out our names before they ask how we are? Because I now put the phone down on them. Every time. I might be missing out on free round-the-world cruises but I don’t care. No name, or no enquiry for a name, and it’s phone call over.
But, for me, it gets even worse. I have people to whom I have been introduced who, when I next see them, say “Hi, there”. OK, so nobody is more capable than me when it comes to forgetting names. I can be introduced to somebody and my pea-brain is so inundated with messages about what this person’s eyes are telling me, what their body language is saying and assessing whether the fact that their eyebrows meet in the middle means I should turn and run for it that, by the time I’ve looked at their shoes for confirmation and looked up again, I’ve forgotten their name.
I know. It’s poor form. I’m terrible like that. It is absolutely stunning how quickly Tamsin becomes Tarryn, Tamlyn becomes Tamsyn or, to be completely truthful, Tarryn somehow morphs into Hortensia. It’s abysmal. But, when I next speak to that person, I will apologise for the misfiring of my synapses and ask them to remind me of their name. No problemo.
But what I will not accept is my name being changed to “There”. It’s just not on. So there.
I’m no politician. And I’m no lawyer. I’m a humble country blogger who simply wants the best for my country.
And any attempt by the South African government to constrain the media in their duty to inform us of what is happening doesn’t cut it for me. It stinks. It reeks of more bad smells than the ablution area used by a herd of elephants after a big night on a particularly virulent vindaloo curry. The Protection Of Information Bill wouldn’t smell any better if you had just emerged from a vrot fortnight spent down in the main sewer under the Johannesburg CBD.
A herd of elephants would be hard-pressed to push out an aroma as foul as the one around the Protection Of Information Bill. Even if they lived solely on a diet of Vivek's most volatile vindaloo. Pic: Daryl Balfour / www.darylbalfour.com
Whether you think that the South African media are doing a good job or not of reporting to us the facts of whether our country is being properly governed or not, a government that doesn’t hold itself properly accountable wanting to hold what should be an independent press accountable is just rotten.
And, in my book, unconstitutional. Take this bit of South Africa’s constitution, much-lauded as the “most democratic and progressive” prototype of its kind anywhere on the planet. “Everyone has the right of access to any information held by the state. And any information that is held by another person and that is required for the exercise or protection of any rights.”
Now any government which purports to govern by these principles has no business wanting to control in any way what our media tells us about what is going down in our country. It’s just not right. It speaks of a government operating from a place of fear. Why? Good question. The Protection Of Information Bill must be resisted with every ounce of strength that all right-thinking South Africans can muster.
I came across this commentary by Jonny Steinberg, author and member of the Institute for Humanities in Africa at the University of Cape Town in a Times Live column yesterday. As I said, I’m no politician. But the angle which Steinberg takes in his analysis is one which talks to me. Very loudly.
In fact, it’s screaming at me. It screams of lies, deception and much smoke and mirrors. The people who claim to be acting in the best interests of the people must know that the lies need to be stop. Or be stopped. And only a completely free and independent media fully committed to total transparency can do that.
Pardon me if your Afrikaans is not up to deciphering the above headline (mine isn’t) but there’s something about to happen in my home village that brings out the klein bietjieboereseun (little bit of farmer boy) in me.
Stand back Hatmense, I’m about to announce South Africa’s Barn Dance of the Year! Jami and Peter Kastner of Stanford Hills Estate make one of the country’s most stunning pinotages which goes under the name of Jackson’s Pinotage.
They also make a hell of a barn dance. This moerse opskop (one hell of a knees-up) is happening in the flower shed at their Weltevreden Farm on Saturday night. But you can pick up the details on the poster which is pinned up on almost every tree around town…
Yes, you're liking the look of this already, aren't you? Feet twitching?
Don’t fight it. Just relax into this whole phenomenal vibe, babies. You’ll want those feet warmed up so that you can hit the sawdust bouncing and ready to slide into some serious langarm or however it is you deploy to cut up the floor at a barn dance.
There are some tickets left but only because the Kastner’s flower shed was previously used to house 43 tractors, a Boeing, a few wheelbarrows and a medium sized aircraft-carrier. So there’s room for you if you’re late to clock on to this one.
Now, what the poster omits to tell you is that the legendary Baardskeerderbos Orkes will be strumming up a vibe second to none on the night. You do know what this means, don’t you? OK. This means that those exceedingly trendy boots that you’ve been mincing around in this winter will have the soles worn off them just in time for spring.
Die Baardskeerdersbos Orkes will ensure that you'll be too sore to hit the gym for a week Pic: Annalize Mouton
Because we’re not talking polite jiggery-pokery with more poke than jig at a Cape Town nightclub here, brothers and sisters. This barn dance speaks only the language of off-the-charts opskoppery not witnessed since that last really embarrassing dancefloor episode of yours at cousin Bernoldus’s birthday bash.
Yes. That’s the level we’re pitched at. Every move attempted, no prisoners taken. And, if the 120 ront spitbraai option is a tad too steep for your recession-ravaged piggybank, then I can reveal that R60 will get you in at the door with boerie rolls on offer at a tenner each. So, you’ve got no excuse, have you?
Mooi, man. Sien julle daar!
* Those contact details again… to book (essential for the R120 spitbraai option), call Jami on 082-897 2390 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Oh, and there’s no need for you to be picked up dronk-op-straat or dronk-op-plaas or dronk-op-jou-rug… a shuttle will operate from and to Stanford at R10 a ride. Visit Stanford Hills Estate to get the lay of the land.