Thursday, October 29, 2009

Boredom and high fashion

This week has been somewhat less than exciting. I think I am in a slump after last week's high on the BMW EuroStyle 2009 tour.
Today I found myself jotting down stuff during a diary planning meeting and paged over to discover one of Little One's random pieces of art that she likes to draw on the odd occasions she gets her hands on my things.
So I took a photo of it with my phone. And then mailed it to myself for fun. I have been driven to these lengths for little kicks where I can get them. And so I share it here with you:

In happier times - that would be last week when I was roaming Germany and Austria absorbing the style and culture that is the inspiration behind the BMW brand - my days were filled with glamorous and exciting events.
In fact on this exact day last week I got to visit the studio of Ute Ploier, an Austrian fashion designer who creates men's fashions and has had great success with her stuff on the Paris catwalks and all over. She's spectacularly talented and impressively successful. And to top it off - she's gorgeous:

I must say though, while her clothes look ultra glamorous in the glossy photos and hanging elegantly in her studio, I have to say that I cannot imagine them being snapped up in a hurry by South African men. I checked out a pair of tiny stylish cotton shorts that would sit super-toight on even the smallest of frames, and its matching manbag had me thinking that this outfit would be something one would get on the butts of our beer-swilling rugby watching menfolk only at gunpoint.
I could be wrong, but I think only our gay boys will be buying these creations:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cy's, sighs and more size.

Today was the last day at our office for my colleague Quintessential_Angel. The good part was that they laid on a spread in the Ops Room and we all got a free coke and some snacks after the speeches. The utterly, utterly sad part was bidding farewell to someone amazing and great. We've lost someone quintessentially good as she moves on to take up the helm at another title. I'm going to miss her!
So on to happier thoughts. This time last week I was living it up on BMW's EuroStyle 2009 tour in Vienna. At one of the art galleries we flitted through, we were afforded the opportunity to see the works of an artistic genius by the name of Cy (as in Sigh) Twombly. And I am sorry to admit this, but I totally, totally, totally didn't get it.
The guy's paintings look to me like kiddie art. More specifically, the scribblings of a toddler in one helluva bad mood. Our gallery tour guide tried his best to explain the ecstacies and intricacies of the canvases before us, while uniformed personnel stood watchful guard - I am assuming to make sure that we didn't touch any of the pieces.
I could not work out what made these particular scribbles any different to the ones that would attract a smart spanking for the artist that would attempt to draw them on any of my walls. I tried to picture the opulent home where these paintings would look good on display.
And then came the artistic sculptures by Cy. On these too, I missed the boat. Completely. These little displays of pieces of wood on little plinths looked to me like bits of scaffolding found on a building site and hammered together. On one of them Cy had written a message in chalk: "One day the wind will come and destroy my lemons". Um, ja. I swear. I checked with one of the other journalists that I read it correctly. I did. Lemons?? As I say. Cy's genius skipped me by.
I felt like I was missing out when I heard that each of his paintings was insured for 20-MILLION Euros. Truly. When I heard that one I was sure Leon Schuster or some such person was going to jump out and point at the camera aimed at my gormless, gobsmacked face and yell "Gotcha!".
But they never did.
It seems there are indeed real people, extremely wealthy ones at that, that roam this planet and fork out squillions of bucks for Cy Twombly artworks.
Do you guys get it? Can you explain the genius in these Cy Twombly's:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Donovan Moodley and moods

I am still feeling bleak about being back home after my awesome trip last week. I got up with the sparrows this morning and revved the heck out of the engine of my very small black car as I tried to do advanced driving on my way to work. And just got a strong smell of burning. Ah man! Oh to drive a BMW X5 M-power! I may have been one of the first on the planet to get to test one out, but unless I marry into huge money or find some enterprising way to make a fortune, it looks like I'm stuck with driving a car with a 1.4l engine (note the petrol head talk - I think the motoring people got to me).
So today I tracked down the application for an appeal against the life sentence handed down on one Donovan Moodley. He has now served four years for kidnapping Leigh Matthews, extorting R50 000 from her dad as ransom before shooting her dead, freezing her body and then dumping it in the veld.
It seems Donovan, who is having a hard time now that he has been removed from his cushy single cell after being bust with two cellphones on his person, wants the courts to believe that there is a very good reason why he should be allowed to go home sometime soon.
He reckons that while he planned the whole kidnapping and extortion gig down to the last T, he completely forgot to work out a way to release his victim safe and unharmed in such a way that she would not be able to identify him or lead the cops to him at some later stage. So, after following his plan and getting to the point where the deal he struck dictated that he now release Leigh, he suddenly found himself with absolutely no option other than to kill her. Any judge, other than the one who presided over his original trial, will be reasonable and see things his way he contends.
And the reason why he has taken four years to make this application is no fault of his own. His aunt, who he declines to name, would regularly pop up with offers to fund his legal case and then disappear off the face of the earth when it came down to the crunch. Several times. So the court must please just completely disregard this four-year lapse. Like it never happened. Apparently.
Sheesh. I read the whole affidavit and looked for a reason why he might be able to get himself off the hook, but I couldn't find one. Maybe the courts will understand him. Or maybe, as my colleague Boy Wonder hypothesised, Donovan was high when he formulated his affidavit.
I don't know.
I just know that this time last week I was in Munich, having spent the day visiting design houses and ate lunch at a delightful spot called Tantris that rates among the top 50 restaurants in the world.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Back from styling it up in Europe...

One week away from the office and I return to a bleak start: 1 493 e-mails to sort through and a mass of voice mails to listen trawl through.
Ah but it was so worth it. My week away, now but a distant dream, was spent on the jackpot of all possible assignments. I landed myself a much-prized invite to BMW's Eurostyle 2009 tour. And this involved a few nights in boutique hotels, trips to design houses, galleries, architectural delights and the like. To sustain us through this ordeal, we of course made regular stop-offs at prestigious restaurants where top chefs had the honour of cooking for us.
And it all ended at the Salzburgring race track in Austria where I got to be one of the first in the world to drive one of BMW's new X5 and X6 models in their M-power range. YEs! I got to do what they call a controlled start which involves revving the engine til it roars like a plane and kicks you off into a powerful start that hurtles you from zero to 100 k's an hour in under five seconds. Yes, baby!
Sadly, it is all just a memory now.
As I said - my day was bleak!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Do you know these people?

A friend sent me these today. They cracked me up:

I'll bet Michael Jackson had an easier time at school than Killmequick. And I reckon poor TwoRand has had more than his fair share of jokes about 50 Cent and all that.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tripping the light fantastic.

My task for today: cover the Eskom announcement of its planned electricity price increases that it will hit us sorry consumers with over the next three years.
Ten minutes later: no, don't cover the Eskom thing. Colleague Breezy has been assigned the story and she will go straight to Megawatt Park from home. As will the photographer who is having car trouble. Again.
A bit later, shortly before the scheduled start of the press briefing: change of plan, again. Yes, cover the briefing. Breezy's stuck in Jozi traffic (like everyone else who uses the roads during peak hour) and so ja, I must haul ass. I head off in a screaming rush, only to meet Breezy on time for the presser and together we sit and wait a good 20 minutes for the start, apparently now working on Africa time.
And then we're off to an extremely uncomfortable start...
A big shot from Eskom began the proceedings by explaining at least three different ways to leave the premises in an emergency. Then he pointed out some Eskom education officers in day-glo yellow jackets who could be followed should there be a sudden need for us to get out in a hurry. It seems the guys there at Eskom are well aware of how unpopular they are!
And do you think they just put their information out there in simple terms for us laymen. And women. Nooooooo! This briefing, supposed to detail the extent of three years of massive power price hikes ahead of us, is has a title.
"Empowering the South African Dream". I swear to God. They truly called it that.
And so began a couple of hours of the most boring rubbish imagineable. Starting with the implementation of the Electricity Act of 1922! I swear, the public has no idea what punishment we journalists endure to get some basic information.
Then time for questions. Not one of the pack of journalists filling the easy-to-evacuate-establishment was successful in getting Eskom CEO Jacob Maroga to answer a question directly. Like his presentation on our 45% increase every year for the next three years (there - said in less than 10 words), his answers would begin somewhere round the turn of the century.
It was a long day!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Drama, drama, drama.

Aaargh! Mondays have to rate overall as the worst day of the week. They are at least twice as long as any other day, and take ten times as much energy to get through.
Today is a case in point. Nothing much was happening on the breaking news front, so I got assigned to follow up the latest incident again bringing to the fore our government’s stance on cops being allowed to shoot dead anyone who so much as looks a little bit bad.
Yesterday our men in blue apparently fired 72 bullets through a 1300 Toyota Conquest. Only it turned out not to be the hijacked car they were chasing. The accidentally nailed an air force pilot who was out and about with three mates. Apparently this was an honest mistake – they had genuinely been tailing a hijacked car that only had a different number plate, different mags and the rear window shot out of it. The tragedy was that they killed an innocent woman, shot her friend in the head and shot another guy through the spine and possibly paralysed him. The pilot driver escaped unscathed.
I tried for ages to track down the pilot without success. So had to transcribe an interview a local radio station got with him. But this was not the correct interview, so I was sent to listen to another radio interview the distraught pilot did with a talkshow host instead. And go much the same information.
All very tragic and sad.
Then off to the new health bar in the canteen for some non-lethal lunch. That was the highlight of the day.
I cannot believe that the Feather Awards, the gay community’s new honour to be bestowed upon icons of South African society, has withdrawn the nomination of ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema in the Drama Queen category.
Apparently Julius was said to have been a little uptight about this and not-so honoured, so his name was withdrawn in order to avoid him throwing hissy fit.
What a pity.
He would have had it in the bag!!