Wednesday, August 30, 2023

you wouldn't believe me if I told you...

The radical change of pace which this surgery recovery month has afforded me has finally given me time to mull.

I've long thought, and been told, that I should write down some of the weird (truly fukken weird) things I've experienced in the last 20 (TWENTY!) years of freelance events work.
Did I ever tell you about the time an actual princess grabbed my boob for example? Or when a sex worker soiled themselves in the foyer at a black tie event? Have I shared about throwing an over-flowing dustbin over the front desk of a fancy hotel in front of senior reps from the World Health Organisation? Have I told you about the time we lost a billionaire? Or about the missing elderly Mozambican man with no English as Cape Town went into lock-down for the opening of Parliament? About the time I pulled a woman from the car of her ex-husband against whom she had a restraining order who had ambushed her at a dinner in Johannesburg?  
Good times...

Earlier this year I worked on a huge and multi-layered event in Johannesburg for international clients. It was an amazing project, I was collaborating with my eventing soulmate, met some incredible people, huge budget, really stimulating work and holy shit, did some strange stuff go down...
In no particular order, and with some details changed to protect the innocent...

Welcoming guests to the Closing Party at a swanky venue in the Joburg business district, and finding a baby bunny lost in the parking lot. This was a fun photo to drop on the group chat... the wabbit was set up in a side room with water and some salad from catering, later that evening the sound guy's mother came to take it home and try and find the owner...

At the beginning of the week, ER at midnight (still not sure why they had us in a pediatric room?) with a virtual stranger (now good mate of course) who had her tampon string break just before boarding at her departure airport and flew halfway round the world trying to extricate the stubborn thing only to have to request assistance within a few hours of meeting me the poor woman. Luckily sisterhood holds no international boundaries.

The fools in matching outfits was a good one. Believe it or not they were our professional security detail, hired to escort us to the bank to collect an inordinately large amount of cash (this was Johannesburg y'all). I was so excited about this, picturing sharp suits and dark shades and imperceptible radio comms, these two in (literal) matching plaid shirts were a huge let down. They were attempting to 'look casual' and their game plan was for us to walk through the shopping centre 'as if we were friends'.
I was frankly insulted.

And then the hotel safe which was housing all that cash failed, and I had the great pleasure of watching this guy, in no protective gear, cut it open with a flame cutter in the dank underbelly of our luxury hotel, setting his own pants on fire as he did it.

Just a short list of some of the unexpected highlights of a week which had us hosting 100 people over 6 or 7 venues, biking in Soweto, art walking through Maboneng, crying at Constitution Hill, and at the Apartheid Museum and at our emotional debrief after a long week of working so hard together. We hung out with celebrities and war heroes, we ate so many different kinds of local cuisine, we did theatre and art therapy and drumming and ad lib. We did this in 4 different languages and with a transport schedule like a battle plan, with too many cooks in the kitchen and the best team of foot soldiers on the ground.

It was a career highlight for sure (and this even before I went to Brazil for the next one!), and some weird stuff went down, but not the weirdest I've ever experienced, and - hopefully - not the weirdest I ever will.

Friday, August 25, 2023


Oh look, another post all about me.

I had ankle surgery 3 weeks ago (yes, again, this time the other foot - what the actual....?), and the evening before I took off all my jewelry and marveled at the amount of hardware I carry around on a daily basis.

Bangles (all on my right arm), earrings, finger rings, toe rings.

The toe rings I've been wearing since 1998 and in all that time they've only come off for surgeries and late pregnancies.
And I have one solid silver bangle I've been wearing for decades which won't come off. I left it on with instructions to cut it off me if necessary.

The point is, I like to decorate myself. And in recent years that has extended to tattoos.

Have I been teased about having a midlife crisis, just like if a man my age brought a vintage red convertible sports car? Yes, yes I have. 
And you know what, while an overly dramatic term (a 'crisis' for gods sake), the concept is pretty sound. Yes, one hits a stage in one's life when one realises that if there are things you want to do you should actually do them now. Because yes, life is short and you never know what's around the next corner (so burn the fancy candle, use the good dishes, eat the imported chocolate etc etc), but also because the longer I stay on board this earthly ship the more I realise that what's important are very, very few things - love, family, friendship, happiness - and what's not important is really just for fun.
Painting a picture on my calf is for fun.

Which leads me to my next point. 

I have so many marks upon this 48 year old body that I have not chosen. Scars from childhood, child birth and more recently TWO (seriously, what the actual....) ankle surgeries. Eczema, acne, weird moles, insect bites, cat claws, that one time the nail which scratched me was rusty... let's not even talk about wrinkles.
Choosing some art to live alongside these feels like quite an empowering thing to do.

This is my modernist take on the fynbos I have lived amongst my whole life. A homage in part to the delicate ink dot cartography I watched my father do by hand when I was a child. A Miro inspired floral bouquet with a small nod to Orla Kiely.

This is my leg and this is the art I have chosen to adorn it with in this, my mid life.