Every morning after my yoga class I walk the short block to TILT, my local and favourite coffee shop in Melville. It’s like going from one shrine to another. At yoga we stretch, pose, turn into pigeons and ohm. At TILT we breathe in the … Continue reading An ode to TILT
I was admonished recently by someone I admire deeply, for thinking I needed a date to dine out. ‘Go on your own, dammit,’ she told me. ‘Dress up, put on your lipstick and go and have fun.’ I knew she was right but I find … Continue reading Pablo House, Johannesburg
Last night I was invited to a food tasting and did a terrible job at hiding my Food Imposter Syndrome. I love eating food but I don’t know much about describing it. Plus I cannot tell the difference between cumin and coriander, I find amuse-bouche … Continue reading Lucky Bean, Melville.
This afternoon I wandered through my hood, picked up an extra large coffee, said hi to the broom sellers, hung out in my favourite vintage store, checked out the tattoo parlour, dropped off my dry-cleaning, bought and ate a granny smith apple, gave money to the homeless man even though I wish he’d find another hood to be homeless in, sat in an outdoor cafe and wrote a birthday card for a friend, felt the warm winter sunshine on my cheeks, ate cake and bought two dresses by mistake.
On the way home I picked up sunflowers, met a dog called Daisy and flirted with some very sexy construction workers.
Now I’m going to find a spot for the brooms, hang up the dresses and put the flowers in my late Grandmother’s vase.
I’ve got David Bowie, my dogs, my book and a bottle of Pinot Noir and I feel so satisfied and smug, maybe next I’m gonna run for president.
Loving my neighborhood.
Morning Mammie. Morning Madam. Good morning Gogo.
Hey, G’morning, I say, to each person who wanders by me.
It’s early on a Sunday. Melville. There are few people on the streets. It’s chilly but the sun is shining, the magnolias are in bloom, and there just a few empty beer bottles on the pavements.
I turn the corner and walk past Nuno’s, one of my local hang outs. The waitresses are outside, waiting for the owner to open up.
He’s always late. They are always on time. Or maybe they’re just early. They have a long way to travel.
Hey Violet, Morning Violet, Enjoy your coffee Violet.
I wave, I shout from the other side of the road, I say good morning. And I continue on my walk to De La Creme, to get my morning fix.
It’s a ritual. I’ve been known to do it in my pyjamas.
But I do wear nice pyjamas.
I see the old man dressed in blue. He’s the shouter of the neighbourhood. Unbalanced. Mad. A meth drinker. Wrinkled, scarred and always in trouble. He wanders the streets day and night. A lunatic.
Yet there he is, like clockwork, sweeping 7th Street. He sweeps, every morning, starting at 7 am. The shop owners pay him collectively.
It keeps him in meths. And warm.
I pretend I don’t see him. It’s complicated and I find it easier to pretend he isn’t there. I know, I know, it isn’t very nice of me.
I carry on. G’morning, hi, have a groovy Sunday.
There’s the homeless Ethiopian. He sits in the doorway of a charity shop. It may be where he sleeps too. The walls of the shop are pink. Today he’s wearing a pink shirt.
He blends in.
I always say good morning to him. He always gives me a filthy look. I think he too is slightly unbalanced.
Maybe I also am?
I wish I’d bought my camera. There’s a young woman leaning out a window. She’s wearing a magnificent brightly coloured African headdress. And there’s another woman coming out a doorway. She’s opening up, Bread and Roses Bistro, her dreadlocks flying in the wind.
It’s picture perfect.
I get my coffee. Resist the croissants. Have a chat with one of the locals about our kids and how we wish they’d eat more fruit. He buys six fresh out the oven almond croissants.
What the hell, I may as well buy one. Ugh, two. And a baguette.
I walk home, sipping my coffee. I admire the gorgeous clothing through the window of the vintage shop. I’m going to come back and try that little black dress on.
A neighbour stops and gives me a few avocados off her tree. They’re fat and ripe. I promise to drop granadillas off at her later. We talk about the neighbourhood. Our community.
The streets are getting busier now. Cyclists, joggers and a few early morning moms with their babes. The newspaper sellers are out and the car guards have taken up position.
The last person I see before I turn on to my road is Joe. You can tell he was once a good looking man. He has piercing blue eyes, steel grey hair, and a great tan. He’s tanned because he too lives on the streets. I always hear stories about him. He was a writer. A poet. An academic.
Something about Joe has always made me uncomfortable. I don’t know what it is. I think because he could be me. I could be him. He could be any of us.
I usually avoid his stare. This morning I chose not to. I looked him in the eye and said Hi.
He looked at me and lifted one hand to his head. A bit like a salute. Then both hands, palms out, in front of him. One hand towards me, before both hands coming together.
It was a greeting. Sign language.
Sign language for Hello, What is your name?
Oh my gosh.
I had no idea Joe was deaf.
I’m not even sure if his name is Joe.
Last night was filled with so many secret delights. Glitzy frocks, sequinned bras, crazy eyelashes, platinum wigs, fishnets, lipstick, garters and heels.
Amazing gorgeous glorious men, all dressed up as women. Drag artists. Brave, bold, brilliant drag artists, doing exactly what they love to do – being women!
We were at Buzz 9 in Melville, Johannesburg for the Diva Divine Drag Extravaganza and these Divas were amazing.
They strutted their stuff, sang out loud, danced, flirted, bit their bottom lips and were basically, completely totally outrageous.
And we had the best outrageous fun with them.
We wolf whistled when Charne came on stage as Tina Turner. We oohed and aahed when Sally did a very sexy Britney Spears number, and we roared with laugher when Kitana rolled her hips against the super conservative man sitting with me.
The audience was unbelievably appreciative. And I think we were all a teeny bit jealous. Not just of the outfits and the glitz and glam but of these men who were not scared to be what they wanted to be.
It was fabulous. Until Kitana Klitorus came out for the last number. And then we all went very quiet. And surprisingly, some of us cried.
She picked up the microphone, held it towards her bright pink plump lips, and sang Shirley Bassey’s This is my Life. As she sang, with incredible raw emotion, she stepped out of her glittery frock, peeled off her corset and bravely removed her padded bra.
This was not a strip show. This was Kitana baring her soul. She continued singing – This is me, This is me – in just her fishnets, heels and eyelashes. By the time she removed her wig she stood in front of us, the woman, or man, that she is, without any pretence. Just pride.
Flat chested, short haired, penis-hidden and fearless Kitana.
It was one of the bravest performances I’ve seen.
And then the artists went back to flashing their legs, flicking their hair, showing off their cleavage and flamboyantly waving goodbye.
When I left I was curious. I know I said they had no fear. The truth is I have no idea what their daily lives entail and how hard it is to be a drag artist. I would very much like to know and I do have an interview set up with Charne.
She said she would love to talk to me, but that I should be very aware of one thing.
‘Be careful, dear Violet,’ she said. ‘ Because I may well walk away with your bra.’
Lucky I hardly ever wear one.
Plink. With artists Kitana Klitorus, Charné Churchill and Sally Werq