Monday, June 28, 2010

Headlines, shmeadlines...

So I am wondering what life would be like as a journalist working for a paper that publishes headlines like this one.

Quite interesting, I imagine!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Dutchy dress goes global!

The Dutchy dress - that bright orange skimpy little number worn by the Bavarian babes in the ambush marketing campaign - has been the focus of my day.
I got to cover the second court of the two blonde Dutch women who were arrested last week for their part in what I think was the most brilliant marketing ploy by Bavaria.
It unfortunately ended up with two women being arrested for wearing Bavaria's little orange Dutchy dresses to a soccer game. But hey - a direct competitor to Budweiser (sole brewer at World Cup matches selling glasses of beer at R30 a shot!) that was once a small Dutch operation is now known all around the world.
So we - local and international media - gathered at the court this morning waiting to catch the next appearance of these two blonde babes who were facing jail time for what Fifa was pushing was a crime.
It was a two-hour wait for an appearance that was over in a few short minutes as the state withdrew all charges against them.
The girls were relieved, supporters gave them orange roses and they were ecstatic to get their passports handed back to them.
A diplomatic incident was averted.
Apparently Fifa decided not to pursue a prosecution against the accused on grounds that Bavaria settled with them out of court.
Huh! We may not get to hear what the settlement was - but I am betting that Bavaria scored global attention that money just can't buy!
Now it's time for Bafana to kick some French backside. Hopefully.
Go Bafana!
Waka waka eh eh and all that.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Soccer and a faceplant!

As the whole of South Africa celebrated the kick-off of the long-anticipated World Cup I got to enjoy the experience in granny mode, seated gingerly on a cushion keeping my distance from anyone who could bump me, dosed up on anti-inflammatories and painkillers.
So just how is it that this cutting edge reporter who likes to run close to the action end up being a lamer who now has to hand in a sick note excusing her from work and life in general on the most momentous occasion of this century?
First of all I blame three solid days of sitting on a hard court bench following the closing arguments in the Jackie Selebi trial as the triggering cause. This led to a dull pain in my lower back on Thursday morning that saw me organising a driver to drop me off at the Joburg High Court for day four of this ongoing boring event that was being overshadowed and overwhelmed by joyous crowds and vuvuzelas. I usually walk to court with my laptop in a backpack - but on Thursday I opted out of the 12 block trudge to look after my ailing spine.
However - this did not go so well. As Nelson the driver, in a scratched Tazz, dropped me off at court I stepped out and promptly performed a faceplant into the street as I clumsily hooked the heel of my boot in my trouser leg and bailed spectacularly onto the pavement.
I jumped up smartly and hobbled off, realising that my back pain was now somewhat increased. And court is not a fun experience for anyone with a sore back that feels pain when they have to move. I got through the morning by keeping as still as possible and successfully managed not to wail out loud every time we had to stand and bow when the good judge entered and left the room.
Slowly my back stiffened up and I realised that this was not a pain that planned to leave in a hurry. When it all thankfully came to an end and I could happily leave to write that the entire matter has been postponed for three weeks for judgement, I decided not to wimp out and call for Nelson to come and fetch me, but to instead walk back to the office.
As the day wore on, so the pain in my back increased. I filed my story, stood up to leave and the room swam in front of my eyes. My news editor Evil Incarnate ordered a junior reporter to escort me to my car, which he did obediently carrying my bags.
I went straight to the doctor where I was injected with Voltaren and sent home to rest and told to stay warm and still.
So yes - as South Africa celebrated the the kick off of the 2010 World Cup - I spent the day in granny mode.
Today I was one of the numerous lamers who handed in a sick note excusing their absence from work on the momentous historic day that June 11 was!
Rock on!! NOT.

Monday, June 7, 2010

First the high, then the low

On Friday I had the most amazing experience!
I got to be on top of the Nelson Mandela suspension bridge when the giant posters of Madiba's face - well-fastened by daring abseilers to both sides of this magnificent structure - were unveiled ahead of the World Cup.
It was supposed to happen at 8.30am according to the Joburg City Council programme. But in true Africa time, it happened close to 10am. So many people in soccer paraphernalia parped their vuvuzela's and the media skulked around as we all waited in the freezing cold while the most unexpect 80's music (we're talking Bros!!) blasted from giant speakers.
Our not-so-eloquent Mayor arrived and gave an appaling speech, thereby retaining his legendary status as one of the really, really bad speakers of our time and living up to his name generally quoted as Mayor Amos ummmm ... erm ..... uhhhhhhh .... ummmm Masondo.
Then they cranked out some World Cup tunes and there was diski dancing. With his lips tucked firmly between his teeth, I have to say that the Mayor pulled off a fairly impressive diski.
The vibe was awesome.
But the high was swamped by today. Another day in the Joburg High Court. Day one of the closing arguments in the Selebi trial. The prosecutor started at 10am. Court closed for the day at 4pm. He was not finished.
We go back tomorrow when he will continue.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Chariots and choices

I am feeling quite bleak!
Last week the motoring guys gave me a car to test drive. It has been awesome. For a week I have been driving around in a 2 litre top-of-the-range Hyundai i30. It has leather seats, a sunroof and buttons on the steering wheel that allow you to control your environment. It was silver, new and stylish. Somewhat above the level of my 1400 high spec Getz - which is black and looks like a little FBI car because the smash-and-grab protection I had put on the windows made them slightly tinted.
For one week I have been driving like those jerks that annoy 1400 drivers who can't quite keep the traffic gaps small enough to stop the smirking drivers of powerful cars and snarling taxi drivers from cutting them off at every opportunity.
Alas - my time is up.
Today I had to hand the shiny chariot back to the dealer. All that is left is to write up the experience.
I now have the choice. I can upgrade my paid-off car to one of these stylish numbers and deal with the payments, fuel bills and speeding fines that come with it. Or I can save my money and go overseas with my Little One.
So. Dilemma quickly sorted by the purchase of a couple of air tickets. Little One and I depart on July 31 for Australia. We shall be hitting the beaches of the ever-sunny Gold Coast and the snowy slopes of Tasmania and visiting family in Sydney.Woo hooo!
I may be back to driving a sluggish little car tomorrow. But I have a divine holiday to look forward. Not a bad situation at all.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Not so psychic, it seems

Being the sceptical journalist that I am, I have been reluctant to write up my feature story about the psychic from Alberton who claims to have helped the cops solve a murder. This is the woman who told me that detectives asked her for help and took her to the home of a woman who had simply disappeared.
This red-headed mystic told me that she walked into the woman's home and, through her connections with "the other side", was able to watch how the woman was trapped in her home by her domestic worker and accomplices. How they stabbed her, rolled her body in a carpet which they then stashed in the boot of her car before dumping it in a manhole near a squatter camp.
The mystic was apparently able to describe all of this to the police, and all they had to do was go and arrest the suspects and drive out to the place she told them about and find the body.
So I called the Kolonel who is commander of the Germiston Trio Task Team that solved the whole murder and found the murdered woman's body. I informed him of the claims his local fortune teller had made to me and asked him for his view.
"That lady, all those things she is saying, it is complete krepp," was the official line from the man in blue.
He further explained: anybody will know that if a carpet is missing from a crime scene that it was used to roll the body in. You see it in the movies all the time. Nobody ever steals a carpet unless it is a Persian rug, so no - we were not told something we did not know.
With regard to her predicting where the body was: in the 24 years he has been investigating murders, he has discovered that if someone says "the body is somewhere near water" they will be right in about 90% of the cases.
And did she point out where the body was found? Absolutely NOT, he maintains. The suspects themselves showed where they had hidden the corpse. Had they not done so, the body would never have been found - "not even by sniffer dogs".
Ah - somehow it's just what I thought!