And with a lick of her lips, she started to strip (her moer)

Dear Mmusi Maimane, Bleeder of the Opposition.
Congratulations on finally getting rid of your mayor in Cape Town. Patricia de Lille is extremely dangerous and I’m not saying that just because she is a woman. She was born in Beaufort West, for heaven’s sake. It was only a matter of time before she started selling crack and bludgeoning councillors with her mayoral chain.
You’ve had a rough time of it lately. There will always be barbarians banging at your gate, but more worrying is the enemy that lurks within. The old Democratic Party should never have allowed the New National Party to wheel its Trojan horse into what is now your house. Not your fault. You were fresh out of school at the time. Sometimes I forget how young you are.
You addressed a rally on Freedom Day and made the rookie mistake of suggesting that white privilege was getting in the way of ending black poverty and needed to be addressed. This might have gone down with the great unwashed, but not no much with some of the senior members of your party. By senior I obviously mean white.
Your remarks struck a jarring chord with your silver-tongued shadow minister of public enterprises, Natasha Mazzone, who held up her father as an example of why not all whites were privileged. You’ll be familiar with her tweet but here it is again, just to give you one more sleepless night. “My father arrived from Naples in Italy, he was dark, and could not speak English or Afrikaans, but he was a great chef. He built himself up from nothing to make a good life for his family.”
She has a point. I remember seeing the signs along Durban’s beachfront in the 1980s, “Whites Only – No Blacks or Italians”. It was a struggle for those Napoleons, or whatever the hell people from Naples are called. A new kid appeared in my grade eight class after the second term and didn’t seem to speak any language at all. I liked him. A couple of days later the history teacher threatened to kill him if he didn’t provide his name. It was Giovanni Aquavelva or something. The teacher excused himself and ten minutes later the alarm went off and everyone ran outside into what appeared to be some sort of police ambush. The last I saw of Giovanni he was being carried off in the jaws of an Alsatian dog. He’s probably still trying to get his matric at a school in KwaMashu.
Not being able to speak English or Afrikaans clearly counted in the Mazzone patriarch’s favour. Whoever hired him and helped him on his way to becoming a great chef must’ve mistaken him for a well-tanned mute from Margate. If word had got out that he was Italian, he would have been lucky to find work at the Soshanguve Wimpy.
There seems to be a pattern here, comrade. May I call you comrade? I know the honorific is generally reserved for active members of the league of revolutionaries, but as a white man I find it prudent to call all black people ‘comrade’. Unlike AfriForum, some of us think it a bad idea to continue hammering nails into our own coffin.
But getting back to the pattern. Most of your problems seem to be caused by women. Who among us can forget Lindiwe whats-her-name who claimed to have been human trafficked into the DA and was eventually granted asylum by Harvard University?
You also tried to muzzle your predecessor, Helen Zille, who seems to have developed either a drinking problem or a thinking problem. She does have her moments of lucidity, but then gets onto Twitter and all hell breaks loose.
Then you had Dianne Kohler Barnard sharing a Facebook post by a flaming cockwomble who suggested that life in South Africa was better under the Fuhrer PW Botha.
And Phumzile van Damme resigned as the DA’s spokesperson earlier this year to spend more time “studying” and starting a “family”, which is political code for “I can’t be around these people any more”.
So, in the end, it was De Lille’s radio interview with Eusebius whats-his-face that enabled you to sever all ties with her. “I will walk away from the DA once I have cleared my name,” she said, recklessly violating section 3.5.1.2 of the party’s code of conduct.
Big mistake. Firing her on those grounds, that is. What you should have done is gone around to her house with a baseball bat and made it clear that even if she did succeed in clearing her name, she wouldn’t be walking anywhere anytime soon. You want to leave the DA? Fine. But you’re gonna have to crawl on broken legs, baby. Get Mazzone’s people to do it. They know. Then again, Mazzone and almost everyone in your party has a lot to learn about Omerta. If there’s one thing the DA could benefit from, it’s the Mafia’s code of silence. Do your people ever shut up? Even the president is with me on this.
Because nobody really knew why you wanted De Lille out so badly, the charge sheet was released this week. It seemed a bit limp, to be honest. I’ve been accused of way more serious stuff over the years and have never been asked to leave anything apart from a couple of pubs and one or two marriages.
There was this one thing, though. She had a meeting with a certain Anthony Faul in December 2012 in which he demonstrated a device that would automatically put out shack fires. According to Faul, De Lille later appeared to resent the fact that he would be making R10-million out of the deal and strongly recommended that he give her half. Stupidly, he refused and that was the end of that.
If you can prove just this one charge, Mmusi, the Patricia problem will go away. Possibly for fifteen years without the option of a fine.
People say the DA is misreading the mood of the voters. They are only half right because fifty percent of your voters are preoccupied with menstruating and menopausing and you’d be a fool to guess what kind of mood they might be in. As for the men, well, it’s hard to say. When South African men get in a mood, they don’t necessarily blame their political party and change sides. They might murder their wives and girlfriends or drag the family off to Perth, but it would take more than a palace coup in the mayoral chambers to get them to vote for the ANC.
Besides, a thundering tsunami of fresh crises and scandals will crash down on us between now and next year’s elections. The dogs will keep barking for as long as the caravans keep coming and going. It’s when the dogs fall silent that we need to start worrying.
Speaking of baying hounds, I see the media has begun turning on you almost en masse. I can’t understand it. You were their darling for years. It’s becoming increasingly clear that you need a big move, and the sooner the better.
I suggest you declare the DA a guerrilla movement and start wearing camouflaged battledress. Get yourself a pair of aviator sunglasses and a beret. No, not a beret. A top hat. Instead of going to the bush, you hole up in the coffee shops. There’s a fabulous steampunk outfit in central Cape Town called Truth. The baristas look like insouciant rebels who travel through time and, best of all, they’re black. It’s perfect for your headquarters. You could be the Jonas Savimbi of our time, but better dressed, more eloquent, clean-shaven, slimmer around the hips and, when things get tough, you reach not for an AK-47, but for a mug of gourmet home-roasted coffee. In no time at all, you’d win back the white voters you’ve lost in the past few weeks.
By the way, condolences on what President Ramaphosa did to you in parliament the other day. “We will be the first to defend Mmusi Maimane against those in his own party who deny racial inequality,” said the wily coyote. It was like handing a thirsty man a poisoned chalice. Ancient tactic, divide and conquer. Instead of simply sitting there looking forlorn, you should’ve leapt to your feet and told him in no uncertain terms where he could stick his Machiavellian strategies.
On the other hand, we all welcome a kind word when days are dark and friends are few.
849x493q70Becs-DA-SONA

Day Zero's bubble bursting bonanza

dogbox2
The water crisis in Cape Town isn’t all doom and gloom.
I saw a newspaper headline this week that said, “Drought could damage property values.” This is excellent news for everyone who isn’t an estate agent or a homeowner who might be thinking of selling. I don’t own property in Cape Town because I never listened to my mother when I left school and became a journalist instead and now it’s too late.
I couldn’t afford to buy a place when I first came to the Mother City in 1998 to help start up e.tv news, so I became a serial renter. Then, in 2004, just when I thought I might be able to get a small place of my own, property prices went utterly berserk. Virtually overnight, estate agents went from vulpine Mazda-driving gin junkies to vulpine BMW-driving champagne junkies. Not all of them, obviously, but certainly the ones who scavenge along the Atlantic Seaboard.
Over the festive season Pam Golding sold property along this gilded seam of ocean frontage worth R167-million. That’s pretty damn festive. It was their busiest December ever. A parking bay was sold for R1.65-million.
The agency’s area manager said despite the water crisis they were still seeing “keen interest from buyers looking for trophy properties”. And why not? If foreigners with tiny willies can bag a lion as a trophy, why can’t they also bag a mansion in Clifton? Actually, many of the buyers are from Gauteng. A trophy house to go with the trophy wife, perhaps.
Since arriving in Cape Town I’ve been behind the curve in every successive property boom. Truth is, it’s just been one long endless sonic boom driven by a real estate industry gone insane with hubris and greed.
Owner: My place isn’t much but I’m hoping to get R700-thousand.
Agent: Don’t be ridiculous. There are people who will pay R3-million for it.
Owner: Are you on drugs?
Agent: Shut up and take the money.
And so the bar for entry was raised sharply and savagely, quickly outstripping the ability of workers, shirkers, revolutionaries and right-brained romantics to get a foot in the door. Hell, by the time the rapacious feeding frenzy had subsided to a dull roar, we couldn’t even get a toehold.
Now, thanks to the lack of divine intervention, things are looking up.
“Drought could damage property values.”
That headline, were it written by a well marinated subeditor with anarchist tendencies, might just as easily have read, “Drought could slash property prices to realistic levels.” But there are no more anarchist subeditors. In fact, there are no more subeditors. They’ve all been darted and sent to the knacker’s yard in the unholy name of cutting back on costs. Let me not get distracted.
The story started off well. There were no typos or grammatical errors. Perhaps there is one subeditor left, banished to a corner of the newsroom where he sits rotting quietly from prolonged exposure to weak grammar and strong alcohol.
However, before the paragraph was out, I was reeling and confused. Because I had been drinking? Perhaps. I prefer to blame the paragraph. Let’s see what you make of it.
“For as long as the Western Cape’s water situation remains unresolved, the property market could take a knock in the short term and first-time buyers could face even higher prices.”
Perhaps it is the alcohol. It has, after all, a bit of a reputation for interfering with one’s thought processes, especially those deployed to the common sense department.
I have become increasingly reluctant to read beyond the first paragraph of any news story. No good can come of it. It will leave you feeling homicidal or suicidal. Sometimes both. Most of the time I get by on a quick scan of the headlines. So it was with long teeth that I read further.
“The influx of property investors is expected to slow.” All well and good. I’ve never been a big fan of these people. They rarely live in their investments, preferring to leave them shuttered up and empty or rented out to nouveau riche white trash who made their money through contract killings, wine farms or medical aid schemes.
Right off the bat, the director of a real estate company said there was “little evidence” that the drought would affect “Cape Town’s buoyant property market”. He would say that, though, wouldn’t he? If you were thinking of buying a house in Cape Town, isn’t this the kind of reassurance you’d want to hear? As opposed to, say, reading a notice from the municipality that from April everyone in the city will be expected to defecate in a bag and wash themselves with sand.
It’s no secret that estate agents have their own unique conception of ethics and truth – a crack house is a renovator’s dream, a vibrant neighbourhood is one where the police and ambulance sirens play all night long and a slight sea view involves standing on the bog and leaning out of the window in the guest toilet.
Claiming the drought won’t affect the property market is like the black knight in Monty Python’s Holy Grail getting his arm chopped off and insisting that it’s just a flesh wound.
Perhaps sensing the need to dilute his denial with a dash of honesty, the director admitted that sales in the middle to upper end of the market might start to slow. “This means we’re not going to have as many affluent Joburgers and Durbanites driving demand for luxury property and prices could take a slight knock in the short term,” he conceded through clenched teeth.
Affluent Durbanites? Oxymorons notwithstanding, anyone properly born and bred in Durban isn’t driving demand for luxury property in Cape Town. They are driving to Blue Lagoon for a bunny or to the airport to emigrate to Australia.
Then he said something that had me scratching my head, bollocks and cat. Not all at once, obviously. He said that if the “double-figure capitalisation in property over the last two years is left unchecked, there is a risk that property values would lose touch with their underlying economic fundamentals and we’d end up in a bubble situation”.
The reporter, I imagine, reacted much like I did. A bit of slow nodding, some drooling, a vegetative state and then brain death. The reporter dragged himself back from the brink. Something had been troubling him from the start. Why would a water crisis mean even higher prices for first-time buyers?
“The first is the likely influx of people that we’re going to see coming to Cape Town to look for work, as our outlying rural and agricultural areas take strain.”
Either the subeditor blacked out at this point and deleted a bunch of words with his face or the reporter, like me, abandoned all hope of making sense of anything and went drinking. The story wrapped up with quotes from the regional head of another agency.
Hedging his bets like a true professional, he said it was too soon to say whether the crisis would affect people’s decisions to buy in Cape Town. “A contained situation for a few months will not impact the long-term desirability of living in Cape Town, but a prolonged situation would temporarily impact sentiment and valuations in the short term.”
It’s a sentence wringing its hands, drenched in false optimism and crippled with contradictions. For a start, the situation is nowhere near contained. If anything, we have a container situation. I don’t even have a bucket.
The chairman of a Western Cape property forum had the last word. “For now things are still good, but we expect that it might change for the worse as the industry is water dependent.” Nonsense. If anything, the real estate industry is tonic dependent.
Gin and water is an abomination.
Dogbox

The new dorsland draadtrekkers

I find it hard to take things too seriously because in a hundred years from now everyone on the planet will have vanished and been replaced by eight billion people who don’t currently exist. Also, we live on a giant rock floating in space.
So when people come to me with fear in their eyes and say that Cape Town – where I am at the moment – is about to become the first city in the world to run out of water, I guzzle tequila shots and do cartwheels until they go away.
And while everyone is whispering in urgent tones about the water crisis, I haven’t heard anyone talking about a shortage of beer. That’s because there isn’t one. The solution is obvious. Stop using water and switch to beer. After all, beer is, like, 50% water. The other 50% is supernatural happy juice. You can drink it, soak your clothes in it and even use it to wash your face and gentleman bits. Ladies should wash in wine.
Actually, I did have cause to panic earlier in the week when Western Cape Premier Helen Zille tweeted, “Talking to @WorldOfBeer about bottling 12 million quarts of water (instead of beer) to help us in the event of day zero.” What is wrong with this woman? Beer is the only thing that is going to get everyone through this nasty business.
After Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille went berserk and blamed everyone except herself and her party for the crisis, she was fitted with a muzzle and led away. Zille is now in charge of saving us all from certain death with a series of well-placed tweets. Like this one. “If everyone using water in greater Cape Town, Drakenstein and Stellenbosch sticks to upper limit of 50 litres per person per day, the dams will reach a low of 15%. Day Zero is 13,5%. We can still prevent it by the skin of our teeth.”
By then we won’t have any skin on our teeth. Not being able to brush will have us walking about with mouths seemingly filled with small marsupials.
As princess of the province Zille gets to live in Leeuwenhof, a lavish 17th-century estate lounging elegantly on the slopes of Table Mountain. This week she posted a picture of a tomato in a quarter of a cup of water. “Washing a tomato for supper in a cup. I will use it for other fruit (nectarines and grapes) as well. Then the water left in the cup goes into the toilet cistern.”
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Another tweet had a photo of her standing in a tin basin having a wash – mercifully showing only her bare feet. In response, Mududzi tweeted a photo of himself bathing with kitchen utensils. Zille responded, “No no no! No baths, not even with your pots and pans. Take them into a 90-second shower instead.”
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In an effort to shame the city’s top 100 water abusers, a list of addresses from Camps Bay to Crossroads was released. Just the name of the street, suburb and water consumption. In other words, no shaming at all, really. Topping the list is someone in Haywood Road, Crawford, using 702 000 litres a month. That’s got to be a clandestine grow house. Thanks to this list, everyone in Haywood Road is now a suspect.
So far there is no technical strategy in place for dealing with Day Zero. The city’s only plan seems to be to urge residents not to use more than 50 litres a day. What a brilliant idea. Let’s rely on the inherent goodness in people. On their willingness to sacrifice for a common cause. Does Zille even know what people are like? It reminds me of the time Neville Chamberlain met Hitler and made him pinky swear that he wouldn’t start a war.
Oh, wait. That’s not the only plan. Zille has also suggested that to relieve the pressure on the municipal water system, people could book into hotels for the duration of the drought. I’m not joking. She really said this. That’s fine for Jacob Zuma’s bagmen in the state-owned enterprises – they can go and stay at the Oberoi Hotel in Dubai for free, thanks to the generosity of the adorable Gupta family.
At least 60% of city residents aren’t sticking to the daily limit. That’s because most people don’t care about anyone they’re not related to or have no chance of sleeping with. They’re not going to suffer for the benefit of strangers. They care only about themselves. Cape Town has plenty of them. They are called The Rich. So when you overhear someone droning on about the state of the Salukis (the Range Rover is in such a mess!) because the doggy parlours have closed down, you need to go up to them and say, “Shut your borehole.” You may wish to deliver a light slapping. Apart from hard currency, it’s the only language they understand.
One thing is certain, though. While we the people are wearing edible broeks, pooing in the bushes, eating off open fires, drinking our own urine and rutting like wild animals, The Rich will carry on as if nothing is amiss. The lowering of standards does not come easily to them. They are different to us. They will fill their pools with Perrier and drink cocktails on their verdant lawns. They will also know that we are coming for them. Well, for their water, anyway. Nobody wants the French Revolution.
The chattering classes – those of the metropolitan middle – have it that the problem is not one of too little water but rather too many people. What they really mean is too many immigrants. And by immigrants they mean people from the Eastern Cape.
There are moves afoot to impose a series of incremental fines on households that use more than their fair share. Obviously if you don’t have a water meter you can’t be fined. And who doesn’t have water meters? The poor, that’s who. They get to sit around their communal taps and drink all day long, then wash their goats and hose down their shacks when they catch fire and there’s nothing we can do about it. Damn their selfish eyes.
It hasn’t escaped the attention of Zille’s followers. This from a white rugby player from Kraaifontein, “Why should we that pay for water save if the people that doesnt pay water dont save? And what is the DA doing? Nothing instead of fixing the crisis you guys fight under each other.” At least his privileged education is finally paying off.
The city has issued an online map showing all the plots in Cape Town – apart from the plot to destroy Patricia de Lille’s career, obviously. An incredibly complex system involving coloured dots indicates who is saving water and who needs to be ashamed of themselves. I’m colour blind so it makes no sense to me at all.
I’m not the only one. “What I don’t understand is why the city still tolerates households consuming more than 10k litres? Why is the water map not showing red dots? If I would see my neighbor with a red dot I would go over and have a talk to help them to use less water!” Have a talk, eh? I reckon once that chat was over there’d be red dots of arterial spray all over the house.
Another suggested that watershedding should start now. You’d think, right? Before Day Zero kicks in, there really ought to be a dry run. Haha. “Shut it down now except for essential services … bring in the bowsers now.”
For those who aren’t familiar, bowsers are St Bernard dogs crossed with pitbulls. They are trained to distribute water to the needy and attack the wasteful. Unlike many of us, they are able to interpret the water map. However, they do need help accessing the internet.
Alexandra suggested that people should stop complaining because it does nothing to provide water. “Do your part, be wise with water and prayer. Pray for our government, our leaders and the poor. When God brings the floods they will be mostly impacted.”
It was probably excessive praying for sunny weather that caused the drought in the first place. God has been known to overreact at times so please tone down the prayers for rain.
Meanwhile, another tweet from Zille, complimenting some or other shiny-eyed family of do-gooders on their increasingly ludicrous water-saving measures, said, “Some people are really catching the “gees” of saving water.” Ah, yes. The old “gees”. The spirit. The last time we had it was during the 2010 Soccer World Cup, except this time we’re all going to die at the hands of thirst-crazed gangs with names like the H2 Ous. That’s if the Black Death doesn’t get us first.
By April the taps will be turned off and people will be lining up at one of the 200 distribution points around Cape Town. This could mean at least 10 000 people arriving at each point every day. I’m not going to be able to do it. I can’t be in a queue of ten people without being consumed by homicidal fantasies. Fights over bottled water are already breaking out in supermarkets.
Armageddon outta here.

Swallowing is good for you

The European swallow stands about five-foot-six in its socks, burns easily in the sun and enjoys a pint or two with the lads. It is also a small migratory bird.
In our summer months, the European swallow of the featherless variety can be spotted in coastal towns from Umhlanga to Hermanus. Come winter, he returns to his natural habitat and can be spotted in The Cock and Balls in Fulham High Street.
I am an African swallow. We prefer to conserve our energy – not to mention our limited financial resources – and migrate within the country. Winters in Durban, summers in Cape Town. Sprawled in my nest in Westbrook on the east coast, nursing a damaged wing after attempting to fly home from a friend’s house one unhinged Friday night, it struck me that the seasons had turned. My instincts said it was time to head west. My instincts have never been wrong, give or take a couple of marriages and a career in journalism.
And so I find myself hunkered down in a shack in the milkwoods of Kommetjie typing with fingers crippled from frostbite. I am clothed in a stinking onesie stitched from the fur of a dozen dassies and lined with the skins of two careless Cape seals.
I appear to have mistimed the migration. Cape Town alone decides when to call it summer. There’s nothing I can do about it now. I’d rather die of hypothermia than head back down the Transkei’s Roadkill Road.
A cloud of panic hangs over this southern tip of Africa. It used to be bong smoke, but now it’s panic. Word on the street is that Cape Town will run out of water by March next year. This is good news. I should be back in Durban by then. What? Don’t look at me like that. Okay, fine. It’s bad news for the people who live here. They could always move to Durban. By next Christmas we’ll all be drinking Chardonnay and paying R5m for a roach-infested rat hole in Gillespie Street.
I’ve never been a huge fan of water. Salt water, yes, but only because the ocean is made of it. I can understand why people would buy bottled water in a country where landmine victims outnumber cars, but nobody ever died in South Africa from drinking tap water. Unless maybe the tap belonged to a neighbour who suspected you of trying to turn him into a frog and shot you in the back while you were bent over drinking. Which probably happens fairly often in Limpopo.
Every day there are fresh statistics to scare the living hell out of everyone in Cape Town. The six dams that supply the city are currently at 38% capacity. Isn’t this quite good? It’s more than I got for maths in matric and I turned out okay.
In the old days when rain was a thing, consumption in the metropole was at 1.1 billion litres per day. It now stands at 585 million litres. A massive reduction. But the number is still too big for us to fully udnerstand. Look at it this way. We’re consuming the equivalent of 292 Windhoek draughts for every man, woman and child. Per day. That’s a reasonable average for the Cape Flats, but you’re not going to get those heroic levels in Constantia and Bishops Court.
I suppose not all of it is getting chucked down people’s throats. There’s bathing and watering gardens and washing cars and a lot gets wasted in places like workshops and hospitals where staff get grease and blood under their fingernails.
But apparently that’s still too much. The city wants people to shower for no longer than a minute. If you get caught running a bath, you’re stripped naked and publicly flogged in Adderley Street. I tried showering for one minute. At six-foot-four, there’s a lot of ground to cover. Sixty seconds was just enough to lather up into a striking resemblance of the abominable snowman. So no rinsing then? Seems unduly harsh. I went and stood outside, letting the freezing wind blow the suds from my quivering body. I didn’t want to use a towel because that would’ve meant having to wash it at some point. The penalty for washing towels is a light stoning. For now. I expect it will be escalated to the amputation of a hand by January. I went to the mall later with flaking patches of dried soap on my face and arms. Mothers covered their children’s eyes. I saw one woman gag.
It has also been recommended that you don’t flush the toilet if you’ve only had a wee. This isn’t a problem for me because I wee outside. Not in the street. In my garden. It’s a territorial thing. When I was married I’d sometimes do it indoors if it was very cold outside. One night my wife caught me in the act of marking my territory in the lounge. I stood there with my willy out, telling her it was the cat. That I was the cat. And the cat was me. Luckily she was hallucinating on benzos and found it all quite plausible. She poured me a saucer of milk and went back to bed. Actually, she didn’t even bother with the saucer.
In Cape Town, you’re also supposed to stand in a bucket when you shower, then use that water to wash the children who have to stand in their lunch boxes, then use that water to wash the baby in a soup bowl, then use whatever’s left over to water the one plant you have chosen to save.
On the rare occasion it does rain, the roads of suddenly full of people driving around aimlessly.
“Quick, get in the car. We’re going to Knysna.”
“Are you mad? Why?”
“They’re having rain. The car’s filthy.”
People are advised to close the toilet lid when flushing, presumably to save the seven drops that might splash onto the floor. They are also encouraged to use disinfectants, face masks and gloves where required. I don’t know about you, but once I’ve done my ablutions I generally don’t need to have the crime scene cleaners around.
Apparently Phase 1 of the disaster plan had been implemented. I didn’t even know there was a plan. A better one might have been to make provision for this crisis several years ago. They knew. Oh, yes. They knew alright. But there’s nothing sexy about desalination and groundwater abstraction projects. Not when you live in a city of mountains and beaches and a waterfront that makes Durban’s look like a dumping ground for junkies, vagrants and medical waste. Which is what it is.
We are warned that supply might be disrupted during peak water usage times. Being ‘self-employed’ I don’t know what this means but it seems unlikely I’ll be affected. People who live in high-lying areas will experience outages. I live two metres above sea level. I’ll be fine up until Donald Trump melts Antarctica and, in the middle of a drought, I drown in my sleep.
The city has appealed to people in low-lying areas – like Mitchell’s Plain and Gugulethu – to curb their usage to help their less fortunate brothers and sisters who are suffering terribly up on the slopes of Clifton and Camps Bay. Seems fair.
The city has also installed seven thousand “water management devices” on the properties of “delinquent” water uses. These are not juvenile delinquents. These are grown-ass people who just don’t give a damn. So their pipes are fitted with the equivalent of ankle monitors.
The city is divided into pressure zones. For instance, there’s no pressure in Observatory. You can wake up at midday, smoke a blunt and get a tattoo or a shot of tequila right there in the main road. No pressure at all.
There’s been talk of remotely manipulating valves in the reticulation network, but this seems to be some sort of code and nobody understands what it means. Apparently it reassures people. Not the paranoiacs, obviously.
If an area is using water above the daily limit, pressure will be reduced to force consumption down. Once consumption is reduced, pressure will be restored. It’s the old “I’ll have sex with you when you give up drinking” ploy. It’s the carrot and stick method, although I’ve never used either during sex, and it doesn’t work because there’s always one guy who wants to fill up his pool and wash his Range Rover, racehorse and trophy wife.
On my way for a surf at Muizenberg the other day, I passed two lots of people down on their hands and knees on the side of the road. This being Cape Town, I reckoned they were drunk, praying or doing yoga. Being the deep south, it could easily have been all three. But no. They were hunkered around an outlet from a mountain stream, desperately filling bottles and drums.
One of them looked a bit like Immortan Joe, the disgruntled civil servant who featured in Mad Max: Fury Road, a documentary about water shortages and how even a woman from Benoni can survive without an arm or leg or even a sense of humour.
Let’s end on a history lesson. Who said this? “It has only been through a century of dedication and a commitment to engineering excellence that the City of Cape Town has been able to guarantee clean water for an ever-expanding population. We are more than up to the task.”
a. Jan van Riebeeck in 1652.
b. Cecil John Rhodes in 1890.
c. Patricia de Lille in 2013.
It wasn’t Jan or Cecil.
It just occurred to me that a water shortage might also mean a beer shortage. Let the stockpiling begin.
Barricades

To not swallow or split

Last Wednesday was International Migratory Bird Day and I speak for the indigenous avian community when I say we’re happy to see the back of those annoying ingrates. I have never seen such arrogance and entitlement. Disrespecting international borders, they come over here every summer, exploit our good weather and do absolutely nothing to uplift the local economy.
I’m sorry, but it’s just not good enough to fly in on a balmy October morning and start shouting about your brilliant sense of direction when some of us struggle to find our way out of shopping malls. We won’t even speak of the flitting about hither and yon in the hope that someone will catch a glimpse of your florid undercarriage and cry out in delight.
Who do they think they are? They come from dinosaurs, for god’s sake. They’re pterodactyls. Sure, they have a better attitude, but only because they know that if they started snatching our children, we wouldn’t hesitate to make them extinct. Like we did with the pterodactyls.
Then, at the first sign of a chill in the air, they close their nests and bugger off to somewhere warmer without so much as a thank you. I spent the entire summer throwing my bread and spilling my seed into the garden and making sure the little bastards had water to bath their filthy lice-infested bodies.
Living alone as I do, they were the only friends I had. I was learning their language. Do you think they ever bothered to learn mine? Of course not. They are like the British who spend hundreds of winters on the Costa del Sol and still the only Spanish they know is, “Una mas cerveza and a steak, egg and chips, pronto Tonto.”
I’m not asking for a debate on Rabelaisian architecture – quite frankly I’m not sure Rabel was an architect at all – but a simple good morning would have been nice. There was one bird who appeared on the telephone wire at sunset who had a lot to say. He’s gone, now. Probably to the Canary Islands, where, if there’s any justice in this world, he won’t be allowed in because he’s not a canary. I suppose there’s a chance he is a local and can’t afford to migrate, in which case his sudden disappearance is quite likely linked to the neighbour’s cat.
I prefer to think that he was concerned about my well-being and was advising me to leave post haste because winter was drawing dangerously near.
“But where should I go?” I shouted into the twilight.
“Durban,” he tweeted. It’s true. He has a Twitter account. All birds do. They’ve just learnt not to follow anyone after that nasty business with Alfred Hitchcock when nobody got paid even though they totally carried the movie.
My feathered friend had been with me for most of the summer, arriving at dusk every day to see that I was okay. Or, more likely, to gloat. If I could fly I would so gloat at creatures that can’t fly.
He saw my living conditions, there in my shack in the milkwoods of Kommetjie, and must have known I couldn’t afford to migrate to the warmer breeding grounds in the north. He wasn’t even sure I was capable of breeding at all. Nor am I, quite frankly.
I had already been thinking about migrating to Durban for the winter, so please don’t assume that I take my instructions from birds. That would be mad. Unless, of course, it’s crows. You’d be a reckless fool to ignore advice dispensed by crows.
And so it was that on International Migratory Bird Day I fled my shack ahead of looming frontal attacks by wild arctic storms and clawless otters crazed from the cold. I snuck through the crippled milkwoods under cover of darkness and folded myself into the Subaru, hitting the road at 6.15am, the earliest recorded motorised departure in human history.
Apparently it wasn’t. Apparently there are other people on the road at this godless hour. Not one or two, either. Hundreds. Thousands. The entire M3 was backed up for 30kms. It was still night. I wasn’t even able to make out the occupants of the other cars. They could have been flightless birds – ostriches behind the wheel with hysterical penguins gibbering in the back seat – all desperate to migrate to Durban. Boots stuffed with illegal emus and cassowaries who came over by boat but lost their money gambling and can’t get back to Australia or wherever the hell they come from.
What a terrible world this is becoming. I want you here by 8am. But sir, the taxis are on strike, the buses aren’t running, the trains are burning, the roads are jammed, the robots are out, a stoned dodo drove into me … I don’t care. 8am or you’re fired.
We need another industrial revolution but with a lot less emphasis on the industrial. The original idea was eight hours work, eight hours play and eight hours sleep. Heavy traffic, exploitative bosses, watered down tequila and barking dogs have screwed with this formula.
Anyway. I don’t care. I’m in a bar in Jeffreys Bay drinking gallons of The Bird lager. It’s made by a mob of east coast reprobates at Poison City Brewing. I see it as part of the essential refuelling process, much like what the red-faced warblers do when they stop off in Morocco for a hit on the hash pipe before shacking up with those cute Portuguese birds on the Algarve.
Besides, one doesn’t simply spend summer in Cape Town and return to Durban in winter without stopping off in Jeffreys Bay to acclimatise. By acclimatise, I obviously mean surf and drink and gird one’s loins for the hell run through the Transkei. I can’t call it the Eastern Cape because it doesn’t behave like a normal province. There’s no corruption because the entire budget is stolen within minutes of being allocated. The traffic cops are trained in new and unusual methods of soliciting bribes – “Sorry sir. On this section of road, you are forbidden from wearing seat belts”. Dogs run into the street hoping to be put out of their misery.
Look, the notion of spending summers in Cape Town and winters in Durban appeals to me on a deep and primal level. Just don’t call me a swallow. Swallows are people who have a home in London and another in Hermanus. Swallows are wealthy and generally retired. I’m neither, as evidenced by the fact that you’re reading this.
It’s quite simple, really. After spending seventeen winters in Cape Town, nine of them in a terrible state of marriage, I never again want to be cold. Or married.

Privates on parade

Ted called me this morning and said there was a parade in Cape Town. He suggested that we get onto it right away. As former military men, Ted and I always have enormous fun at parades.
During the war Ted was a sniper and I was a signalman. This is a perfect combination in times of peace and whenever we find ourselves in a large, unruly crowd of young people high on drugs we split up and use the old Zulu pincer movement to isolate the vulnerable females and herd them into the nearest bar where we ply them with cheap philosophy and offers that they hardly ever refuse.
I strapped on the old boots, boshoed and bayonet, went round to Ted’s place and hid in the garden giving the coded signal that in our army days meant “we attack the refugee camp at dawn”. I waited for the appropriate response – “women and children first” – but it never came. This time, I heard a signal with a chorus line. Something about raining men.
All thoughts of Cassinga were driven from my mind as Ted stepped out of his front door. He was wearing some kind of floral lilac dressing gown affair with one of his wife’s brassieres strapped to the outside. I was rooted to the spot, incapable of moving or even speaking. The entire course of the war could have changed had Swapo gone into battle dressed like Ted.
Come along, old chap,” he shouted. “We’re off to the parade.” I hadn’t even got my voice back and Ted was congratulating me on my uniform. “Military,” he said. “Very sexy.” He started humming the theme tune to Yentl.
Enough!” I barked, and ordered him to tell me what the hell was going on. He looked at me in surprise. “We’re going to the Gay Pride Parade,” he said. “I thought you knew. You’re certainly dressed for it.”
I was outraged. You don’t get more heterosexual than a former SADF signalman. Obviously I can’t say the same for the snipers, but I always believed that they were real men, too. I could perhaps understand it if Ted had been one of those parabatty boys, what with all that leaping from aircraft and drifting through the sky like big brown snowflakes. It’s just not natural.
Then they were upon us. Boys dressed as girls, girls dressed as hermaphrodites, flagellants dressed as Lutherans, preachers dressed as prostitutes, dogs dressed as cats.
This was pretty wild stuff, even for Green Point. I grabbed Ted’s arm to make sure we wouldn’t get separated. “That’s the spirit,” he said, taking me by the hand. I smacked him sharply on the side of the head, setting off a chorus of high-pitched squealing from a passing pack of sadomasochists.
I backed up against a wall, breathing heavily, fearing that someone would smell the testosterone on me and hand me over to this outlandish authority figure in a skin-tight camouflage skirt carrying what looked like a flexible pink plastic truncheon. “Relax,” said Ted. “Strapadictomy. Quite harmless.”
It might not have been Haiti, but I began to get an idea of how Jean-Bertrand Aristide must have felt in 2004. He was trapped in Port-au-Prince by roaming gangs of blood-crazed voodoo merchants. I was trapped in Green Point by roaming gangs of sex-crazed methylenedioxymethamphetamine merchants. At least Aristide had the option of exile.
Ted broke away and sashayed into the crowd, swinging his hips like a damn schoolgirl and shouting something about beers for queers.
Then an eyeballing situation began developing. People representing at least three separate genders started trying to make eye contact with me. I kept averting my eyes until I realised that this could also create the impression I was being coy. And nothing gets a deviant salivating quicker than the prospect of gnawing on the flesh of a shy virgin in combat boots.
I quickly changed my strategy and began darting stern no-nonsense looks at the perpetrators before letting my gaze trail away to the nearest woman. However, homosexuals operate on a secret code of mixed signals so there was a very good chance that I was letting them know that I would be available upstairs at Cafe Manhattan in twenty minutes. Anyway, the strategy was doomed from the start. I looked around and there wasn’t a woman in sight who would have been prepared to step in and save me from being licked to death by a baying mob of erotomaniacs in leather suspenders and fishnet stockings.
Just then Ted broke through the crowd and grabbed me by the shirt. “Let’s get the hell out of here,” he shouted. I saw that he had lost half of his dressing gown and his bra was hanging from one strap. He still won’t tell me what happened out there. Whatever it was, it turned him right back into the irascible old homophobe that he always was. He says he is organising a Straight Pride March. It’s open to anyone who owns a gun and is prepared to take a polygraph test in a controlled environment.
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Pining for the pines

I was out walking on the slopes of Table Mountain the other day enjoying the exercise and marveling at the view … oh, who am I kidding. I was out looking for shamanic fungi but I can’t write that or the police will be smashing down my front door before you can say 4-hydroxyl-dimethyltryptamine.
Truth is, nobody can walk anywhere in the Table Mountain National Park these days because a gang of government-backed eco-terrorists are hacking down all the pine and eucalyptus trees. A few days ago, someone spray-painted sad faces onto the ends of some of the executed trees. Then someone else came along and sprayed happy faces onto the rest.
This is how we protest in the Cape. Instead of being like normal people and throwing stones and setting journalists alight, we paint faces onto tree stumps and write angry letters to the local paper.
When I say “we”, I mean white people. Everyone else is “they”. Here in Cape Town, we speak it like it are. But this is not a racist thing. It’s a mountain thing. We take our dogs and our children and our secretaries for walks on the mountain and They don’t. If We see one of Them heading towards us, We stuff our wallet down our pants and try to call the mountain police before They disembowel us with screwdrivers and make overseas calls on our cellphones.
I’m talking rubbish. There is no such thing as the mountain police.
So. Out here in Africa’s last colony, one is either pro-tree or pro-fynbos. There is no middle ground. Stands must be taken and positions defended.
I have given the matter considerable thought – all of three seconds – and have decided to join forces with the tree people. One of their major grievances is that by hacking down all the pines, the Tree Taliban have deprived walkers of any kind of protection from the sun. Apart from a six-pack and a 9mm Parabellum, shade is the next best thing to have on a walk in the Table Mountain National Park.
The Taliban’s argument, which is supported by chainsaws, is that the birds don’t like alien trees. So? They’re fucking birds. They can fly to the Kruger Park if they don’t like it here. Apparently the pines also take too much water. Please. This is Cape Town. Everyone has a drinking problem. It seems unlikely the drought is being caused by a bunch of dipsomaniac pines in Tokai.
Fynbos is not known for its shade-giving qualities. If you’re suffering from heat stroke and desperately need shelter, you could always try to leopard crawl under a Leucospermum lineare and risk having your face slashed to ribbons by its cruel stunted branches. And there is no shortage of options to choose from. In these parts alone there are over 7 000 species of fynbos, ranging from dull to hideous. You can’t miss them. Once you pick up the scent of roadkill, you know you’re in the Cape Floral Kingdom.
Fynbos is not your friend. It will turn on you when you least expect it. Pine trees, on the other hand, are good for all sorts of things. They give you a place to hide when you want to wee. You can also make houses and books out of them. And chopsticks. The only thing you can make out of fynbos is a braai. It can’t even speak English, for god’s sake. Fynbos. What the hell does that even mean?
The Taliban accuse the aliens of being too flammable. So what would you rather watch in a forest fire – a pine tree exploding like a magnificent roman candle or a piece of fynbos popping and crackling like a girly little squib?
The assassins responsible for these killing fields don’t give a damn about what we want. They are fynbosbefok and nothing we say or do will make them see reason. They use made-up words like Afromontane and whine that the fynbos is going the same way as the great white shark. Except that fynbos won’t bite your legs off. But it would, given half a chance.
There’s a charming fellow by the name of Peucedanum galbanum who, if you brush against him, will make your skin erupt in suppurating blisters. Nice.
I haven’t tried it yet, but I imagine that walking through a pine forest instills in one a sense of peace and oneness with the world. I have walked through fynbos. I get agitated and angry and lash out at strangers.
The Taliban say that plantations are not forests and that they were only planted for commercial reasons. This is nothing but arboreal xenophobia. Does the tree know its ancestors came from Europe? Even if it did, would it care? Mine did and I don’t. Come at me with an axe and I’ll have your throat.
Trees are happy to be left alone. Fynbos, on the other hand, has to be set alight every few years if it is to thrive. What kind of demon plant is this? Burn me and I shall rise again, stronger! That’s Satan talking, that is.
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Tap-dancing gorillas and tenants from hell

Did you know that gorillas make up “food songs” while they eat? A German scientist discovered this “fun new fact” while working with the primates in the Congo. I don’t think it’s a fun fact at all. I can’t think of anything more terrifying than coming across a silverback gyrating its hips and singing Purple Rain with a mouth full of bamboo shoots.

Oh, look. Here’s another fun fact. Come November, Donald Trump could well be the 45th president of the United States of America.

While we’re on the subject of fun facts, did you know that 42% of Americans continue to believe that God created humans less than 10 000 years ago? Understand this and you’ll find it easier to understand why that orange maniac is the Republican Party’s presidential nominee.

I read somewhere that the world has experienced five mass extinctions over the last half a billion years and is on the brink of the sixth. Quite frankly, it can’t happen soon enough for me.

I don’t know what the hell this year thinks it’s doing. I went to Cape Town for Christmas and stumbled out three months later. I made an overnight stop in Jeffreys Bay and went to St Francis for lunch. Lunch lasted a month. Then, on my way back to Durban a few days ago, my biological GPS had a nervous breakdown and instead of driving past Rhodes University I found myself outside the University of Fort Hare in that glittering jewel of a town called Alice. Alice? Who the fuck is Alice?

I’m exhausted. If that’s what holidays do to you, then I need a proper job – one that restricts me to 21 days leave a year. It’s for my own good. Even heroin addicts live longer than freelance journalists. They at least have to move around to find money and drugs. We just need a laptop, a comfy chair and a running tab.

Some idiot once said that with great freedom comes great responsibility. This is absolute rubbish. With great freedom comes great freedom. That’s all there is to it.

Freedom is great. I would venture to say that freedom is greater than God because freedom doesn’t threaten to consign your soul to the eternal hellfires of damnation if you covet your neighbour’s ass. But it can be tiring.

So anyway, after eight hours of dodging Transkei road-kill and bent cops, I get home to find my refuge trashed. Not by burglars, but by the people who stayed here last. The thing with Airbnb is that you’re allowing complete strangers to abuse your house in return for nothing more than money. It’s a form of prostitution, really. It’s also a devilishly easy way to make money. This is something that speaks to me. Whoring my home comes naturally to me. I am a property pimp. There are worse things to be. At least I’m not a member of parliament.

Usually there is a domestic worker who gets dropped off by helicopter after a guest leaves, but this time she had been called away on urgent business in the Bahamas and failed to turn up. This meant I had to deal with the situation with no backup whatsoever.

I pulled in to the driveway saturated in road rage, the Land Rover bucking and snorting, and bellied up to the front door with my key in one hand and a Balinese fighting sword in the other. That’s my weapon of choice when I traverse the Transkei. Chopping off an arm here and there sends a clear signal to the local banditry. I learnt this from my Saudi Arabian friends.

The guests, luckily for them, had departed. Less luckily for me, they had left a mound of soiled cutlery and crockery in the sink, three pots of semi-cooked gunk on the stove and bits of half-eaten food in the fridge. I also found a packet of King Size Rizlas and an empty eyedropper of something called Ruthless. I don’t know what it is. The print on the bottle is too small to read. And my bedroom looks like Charlie Sheen was here. This guest from hell was an Afrikaner currently living overseas. He brought his girlfriend, his baby and his mother. It sounds like a sitcom written by the Marquis de Sade.

I suspect this is why Berlin has introduced a law banning homeowners from renting out their properties on Airbnb, although a more plausible reason might be that the city wants to keep random acts of cannibalism under control. Germans like nothing more than getting together on a Saturday night and eating bits of one another over a bottle or two of chianti. The new legislation is called Zweckentfremdungsverbot. Such a mellifluous language.

I returned to not only terrible scenes in my home, but also in parliament. A debate on the Presidency budget vote? That’s not what I saw. I saw a bunch of pot-bellied revolutionaries getting their arses handed to them by a plainclothes posse from the parking lot. Surely the whole point of wearing red is that you don’t care about getting blood on your clothes? I want to see some real fighters in the EFF. I want to see Mikey Schultz and Radovan Krecjir sitting behind Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu. Then we’ll see who gets thrown out of parliament.

Finally, let us not even speak of Matthew Theunissen, Cape Town’s latest contender for a Darwin award. After posting an ill-conceived anti-government diatribe on Facebook that would have made a Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan blush, he said he “didn’t intend to say those words”. Fair enough. I didn’t intend to drink a dozen beers while writing this column either, but it happened nevertheless. Evil forces are clearly at work. Matthew has a Masters from Stellenbosch University, that shining beacon of progressive thought. I wasn’t aware that Maties offered post-graduate degrees in white supremacy. Maybe he thought you needed a Masters to be a fully-fledged member of the master race.

Matthew insisted that he wasn’t a racist; that he had “friends of colour”. By colour, I imagine he means the different shades of red his white friends turned when they realised what an utter fuckwit he is.

Bring on the sixth extinction.

 

 

 

Rent boy goes west

Mosquitoes have begun sending out the recces early this year. They’re coming in at high altitude late at night – not in packs, but in pairs. They split up once they’ve gained entrance to the bedroom. One makes for the head, the other the feet.

Being a reconnaissance mission, they are meant to check out conditions ahead of the summer advance, then leave quietly. But there are always one or two who can’t help themselves. Like some of our recces in 1976 who just had to push on to Luanda, these little suckers are hanging for a hit of blood so bad that they throw caution to the winds and embark upon a frolic of their own. Let it be said that they don’t always make it back to base.

Soon the mosquito queen – there hasn’t been a king since the Great Slapping of 1984 – will summons her wing commanders. The chief spokesmozzie will read out the reports from the scouts who have travelled from Port Edward to Kosi Bay, from Durban to wherever Kwazulu-Natal ends and Mordor begins.

The queen will put it to the vote. Is it properly summer? Are the targets slow enough? Drunk enough? Mosquitoes are easily excited – especially when their blood-blood levels are low – and the vote, conducted by a show of proboscises, will be unanimous. We attack at 3am.

I need to get out before the onslaught begins. Cape Town has three mosquitoes and a summer that doesn’t leave you perpetually drenched in sweat. I spent seventeen years there and only returned to the east coast after Brenda showed signs of being a lot colder and madder than all the winters put together.

My plan, if you can even call it that, is to spend summers in Cape Town and winters in Durban. However, due to the sudden but not altogether unforeseen change in my marital status, I no longer have a home there. This would mean having to rent. Given my budget and the feeding frenzy of greed around Cape Town’s property market, I’d be lucky to get an asbestos box downwind of Koeberg.

I am going to have to rent out my Durban spot and use that money to get something a bit closer to the action. I wouldn’t go so far as to say my place isn’t fit for human habitation, but it will certainly take more than a rug to pull the living room together.

I have four dining room chairs that were ripped to shreds by the cats formerly known as ours but which were really hers. I assume it was the cats. It could just as easily have been the ex sharpening her teeth late at night when the full moon was out. When I took them in to be reupholstered, the dude asked me what colour material I’d like. I told him it didn’t matter because I lived alone. He seemed to understand.

I don’t have a colour scheme. Or a scheme of any kind, really. I bought a microwave oven that’s too small to accommodate a dinner plate. All my meals are on side plates. The bathroom hasn’t had a light for months because I can’t get the cover off. None of the windows have curtains. I hung two metal elephant heads on the wall, knowing their protruding trunks would almost certainly put someone’s eye out. The beds are pushed up against the wall like prostitutes and their bases are naked. The local monkeys seem to think the place is theirs.

I want to advertise it on the accommodation site Airbnb since this would give me the flexibility to return should something unexpected happen, as I fully expect it to. It also means having to make an effort to get it looking more like a B&B and less like the result of senile squalor syndrome. The thing is, I can’t do it on my own. I need a woman. Studies have shown that women are genetically predisposed towards interior decorating. They understand what goes where and why. They understand colours. They understand concepts like flow, light and space. I don’t even understand how my stupid miniature microwave works.

I am, however, currently between women. And should I solicit advice from those with whom I have had dealings and dalliances, I’d be lucky to get more than a two-word response. One of them obviously being ‘off’.

So I did the unthinkable. I had a sex change. No, I didn’t. That wouldn’t help at all. I’d still have my useless man brain. On the other hand, it would allow me to become a lesbian and have sex with women. Hang on. I haven’t thought this through properly.

Anyway. I did the next most awkward thing. I went to the CNA and looked for a home décor magazine. Inexplicably, many of them insist on featuring gardens. I live in a complex. The garden is not my responsibility and plays no part in my life. I have a vague sense it’s out there somewhere, but beyond that I don’t really care what it does.

I wanted ideas on fairly basic stuff. Like how to make a bed look as if Charlie Sheen hadn’t just spent a week in it. And how to use scatter cushions without making Liberace seem butch. Also, where to put two enormous couches and a wooden table that were removed from the huge marital home in a fit of pique but which aren’t altogether suited to the new, reduced circumstances.

There were at least thirty magazines dealing with homes. In the end I settled for a pack of three. One of them was called Beautiful Kitchens. Every one of its 146 pages has to do with kitchens – a room most women hate being alone in and which most men know only as the place where the fridge lives.

I got home and saw they were all British magazines. That’s no good at all. Ooh, what a lovely lamp. And it’s … let me get my calculator … only R48 000 excluding shipping! What a steal. I’ll take a dozen.

After flipping through these magazines, I realised two things. One, that I’m not gay. And two, interior decorating has more to do with the actual structure than it does the decorations. For a start, it helps to have a fireplace, high ceilings, a staircase, wooden floors and bay windows overlooking two horses in a field.

People who peruse these periodicals are presumably looking for ideas. Well, I had one. It involves flying to London, catching a train to Wiltshire, going around to Andrew and Amanda Bannister’s converted 19th-century Baptist chapel, ringing the bell and, in the unlikely event that they open the door instead of unleashing the hounds, saying, “Love what you’ve done with the place. May I have it?”

I found this decorating tip. “Paint all the walls white, then wait a while before choosing a colour. That way you get used to the effect of the changing light.” You would have to be mental to follow this advice, and not only because it’s utter gibberish. I repainted my bedroom a couple of years ago. There was so much screaming and swearing that the body corporate sent someone around to have a word.

I can only assume advice like this is given by people who can afford to pay others to do the painting.

I don’t want to read about “intimate seating areas where you can curl up with a good book”. If I’m going to get intimate, it’s damn sure not going to be with a book. And at my age I want to be able to stretch out on my back at the first signs of intimacy.

“Jane and Roger have a Buddha from Nepal that creates a beautiful focal point.” I have an aggressive gecko from Westbrook. It creates a terrifying focal point for herpetophobics.

Decorating tip: “If you’re unsure about choosing colours for a room, just pick out an accent from a cushion and build the scheme around it.” Bru, I don’t know what you’re smoking, but if your cushions are talking to you in any kind of accent, regardless of what scheme you’ve got going, you need help.

“An off-white wall makes the perfect backdrop for a set of antlers.” Indeed. There is nothing quite like the skull of a dead stag above your bed to get you in the mood for love. Especially if you’re wearing pyjamas made from the foreskins of baby otters.

These magazines are full of attractive white people with perfect teeth and matching dogs and children called Jay, Poppy or Milo. They are constantly stumbling upon run-down farmhouses or barns and turning them into paragons of gorgeousness awash in Louis XIV couches. Here, we have run-down farmworkers sleeping on couches from Louis Fortuin Furnishers there by the bottle store.

Meanwhile, let me know if you want to spend summer in an eclectically furnished simplex on the north coast. Bring your own side plates. And mind the elephants.

Hovel

Ben Trovato takes a break from protesting to redecorate his home.

The bandersnatches are on their way

 

We have finally overtaken Britain as the world’s foremost nation in whining and complaining.

Crime is too high. Standards are too low. Sex is too fast. Service is too slow. I hate my job. I don’t have a job. I have a headache. I have Ebola. Too many white people. Too many black people. Not enough rain. Too much rain. On and on and on we go.

Sure, every nation complains. But a lot of them don’t stop there. We complain, then sit back and wait for something to happen. And when it doesn’t, we complain some more. We shake our heads and mutter about emigrating. Then the weekend rolls around and we braai and get drunk and suddenly this is the best country in the world.

Here, complaining is about as effective as getting a duck to participate in the ice bucket challenge. They don’t notice, they don’t care. We need to change tactics. Death threats, issued by mail or telephonically, have been known to get results. If that fails, step it up a notch. If you’re a whitey, stop a darkie in the street and ask him to teach you how to make a petrol bomb. Then offer him a ride home. Or to the taxi rank, at least. It’s that kind of bonding that will be the salvation of this country.

Governments through the ages have forced us to use violence to bring about change. If only they listened to the common people, Russia would still be ruled by the Romanovs and one of Marie Antoinette’s loathsome progeny would be the president of France.

Governments aren’t overthrown because they refuse to meet demands for free weed and beer fountains on every corner. They get their metaphorical heads chopped off because they can’t, or won’t, meet demands for jobs and houses and affordable food and fuel.

Fuck the Jabberwock, my son, for ‘tis nothing compared to the underclass. The jaws that bite, the claws that catch. Beware the Juju bird!

You’d be an idiot not to have a vorpal blade in these tense times. I haven’t had cause to use mine yet, so I know not whether it goes snicker-snack. I hope it does. You can’t return a vorpal blade. Not in these parts, anyway.

We don’t hear much about the underclass in this country. And for good reason. What? You mean there’s another class below the working class? Good god. Where are our passports? Chanteclare, get the children into the Range Rover. Hurry! Bring the Faberge eggs! Leave the horses!

The only reason the EFF has a presence in parliament is because the government allowed an underclass to develop. To be fair, though, the underclass was always there. The only difference is that they now have a voice. Turn your back on them at your peril. France still has plenty of second-hand guillotines they could easily offload on a country with a 0.6% growth rate.

Unlike Britain, we don’t have a clearly delineated class system. I’ve worked it out, though, and if we had to go down that treacherous road, we’d have at least eighteen classes ranging from lower underclass, through middle nouveau riche and all the way to upper old money, also known as the Oppenheimer class.

Anyway. Where was I? Ah, yes. Complaining. You know what I hate? People who, when you ask how they’re doing, they say, “Alright, I s’pose. Doesn’t help to complain.” I want to shout, “Look over there!” And when they turn to look, I sink my teeth into the fleshy part of their neck and shake them like a terrier shakes a rat.

You gutless drone. Governments love people like you. The given-ups. The what’s-the-pointers. If you can’t even be bothered with the first level of resistance, you deserve to die on your knees.

My job is to fix or foul the fault lines that run through civil and uncivil society, but I’m not going to turn my words into action unless you shiftless swine are prepared to back me up. I don’t want to ride into battle against the political orcs and uruk-hais only to turn around and find you’ve all buggered off to the pub.

We have an odd way of protesting. Cape Town’s taxi drivers, furious at being constantly fined and harassed by the cops, go out and set a bunch of buses alight. That’s like Barack Obama saying, “It’s time to teach those Islamic State terrorists a lesson. Tomorrow we bomb Stockholm.”

The cost of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project inexplicably went from R6.4-billion in 2006 to R20.6-billion in 2012. I expect Cosatu will retaliate by calling for a boycott of King Pie.

Fourteen trustees on the board of the government’s medical aid scheme each earn more than half a million rand for meeting a few times a year. The Communist Party will demand that the SPCA be shut down.

The police are corrupt – stone the ambulances. Teachers are drunk – torch the clinics. The ANC doesn’t deliver – vote for the ANC. Welcome to Alice in Blunderland.

Overwhelmed with outrage, I went to my local pub to think about what exactly I should complain about this week. I have two local pubs. Skabengas in Cape Town and the Bush Tavern in Umdloti. Also Beach Bums, there by Westbrook. And the Blow Hole in Glencairn. And the … okay, so I have more than two local pubs. But right now I’m in Cape Town.

Sweeping changes have been made to one of my favourite bars without anyone ever having consulted me. I am outraged.

The yuppification of Skabengas will go down as an atrocity second only to Hitler’s invasion of Poland. Real skabengas used to drink at Skabengas. Now it’s full of hipsters with ironically trimmed beards and young married couples sighing at each other over cocktails and canapés. Obviously it’s no longer called Skabengas. Its new name is Beach Road Bar. The owner doesn’t do drugs, that’s for sure. And if he does, it’s the kind of drugs that stifle the imagination or make you want to water your garden or go to sleep.

Skabengas had wooden tables, wooden benches and people you wooden want to take home to meet your mother. Rastas controlled the bar, a giant TV played terrible music and even worse sport and stray dogs had the run of the place. By midnight the floor was sticky with oestrogen and the air thick with testosterone. It got loud and the pony-faced neighbours complained regularly.

The battered old bar that lurked with intent against the far wall has been replaced by a younger model posing cheekily in the centre of the room. The stairs leading down to the toilets, which would turn into the north face of the Eiger as the night wore on, have been tamed and decorated with sparkly mosaic tiles.

There are sculpted plastic chairs and couches with scatter cushions, the bisexuals of the furniture world. The décor is all pastels and pale wood and whites. A lot of whites. Particularly among the clientele.

Funky electro punky reggae trip hoppy poppy jazzy blues is piped through speakers discreetly mounted in the corners. Après-yuppification, it was women of a certain age being discreetly mounted in the corners.

Having said that, the view over Noordhoek beach and off towards Kommetjie is as magnificent as ever. I’m only surprised the interior decorator never insisted on bringing in flocks of pink flamingos fitted with diamanté collars and leg warmers studded with Swarovski rhinestones.

The other good thing is that you can still bring your dog. Also, an elderly gentleman just walked in with a bright green parrot on his shoulder. He ordered a Windhoek draught. The man, not the parrot. I don’t know what the parrot ordered. It seemed wrong to eavesdrop on a conversation between a man and his parrot. I’ve never seen a man so in love with a bird. I only hope it doesn’t die before he does. It’s a non-racist parrot, too, being quite happy to perch on the arm of a black customer for the classic selfie with parrot. This country should be run by parrots, especially if they only ever say, “Hello. How are you?” Parrots don’t make promises they can’t keep. I had a parrot once. I called him Onan because he kept spilling his seed. Sorry.

My waitress was a young white girl. Her manner was awkward and her forced laugh set my eyeballs on edge. She said it was her first time. As a waitress or among people? I couldn’t be sure.

She waited until my mouth was full, then rushed up and began enquiring about my pizza. It turned into an interrogation. My phone started ringing and still she wouldn’t stop.

It’s very colourful, isn’t it?” she said. Could she not see my gob was stuffed with pizza? Could she not hear my phone ringing and that I was waiting for her to shut up so that I could answer it? Apparently not. Apparently my pizza was so bright and colourful that we needed to discuss it as a matter of some urgency.

When I asked for the bill, she said, “Not a problem.” Are there restaurants where asking for the bill is a problem? “I’m sorry, sir. You haven’t eaten enough to warrant dirtying the cutlery and a napkin. You will have to order another item before we can allow you to pay and leave.”

She brought the bill and stood there while I fished out a couple of hundreds. Then she asked a question I’d never before been asked in a restaurant.

How much change would you like?”

Well, honey-bunny, I’d quite like all of my change, if you don’t mind, and then I shall turn my mind to matters relating to the tip.

Too polite to actually say that, I found myself being pressured into making lightning fast calculations using nothing more than my brain. Having caught sight of numbers, my cerebral cortex shut down almost immediately. I would have sat there slack-jawed and drooling if it weren’t for an obscure neural reflex that had me going, “Ummm. Ummm.”

Customers shouldn’t be put in this position. Working out twelve percent of R97.45 and then somehow relating that to the change from a R200 note is the sort of thing you learn at Harvard.