It gets busy.
City Press editor Ferial Haffajee says the ANC has become tyrannical and insidious and is destroying public criticism, hollowing out democratic institutions with cadre deployment and using populism to put a fig leave over the elephant-in-the-room’s spear.
Not exactly, but an adoring audience heralded her courage and, it turns out, her incredible intellect.
She comes across as warm, human, superbly informed as expected, but also credible.
No wonder the ANC tried to get the mob to burn her paper — spokesman Jackson M’s inflammatory call is now turned into rap, which she played us.
Rewind to yesterday. I was asked to review Lance Herman’s first solo show, Eliezer, which is a handful of melancholic, sweet “real folk” songs he’d written since leaving Fly Paper Jet.
We were about 20 in half-filled venue, and the dude stepped up, pinned his heart to his white Tee and started to strum into the darkened, attentive stillness.
Whereupon the door burst open, and there rudely outlined in the door frame, was a young festino in jeans and hat with bobbles, who loudly declared: “I want to eat!”
No flies on this callow youth, she and four or five Chinas stomp their way in, crash through the rows and plonk themselves down.
Lance, who has already asked for a bit of silence please from the bar hokkie, is clearly shaken.
He’s told us he is nervous and this is a big personal return to the public space.
How many of us have thought we’d like to put something on at fest, and then shrivel at the thought of being out there?
Blow me down, and these young yobos start talking. Yackety yak.
More than that, they get up and go out and come back and it’s interminable.
Our tortured soul looks up from his lyre and asks if someone could please control the door.
Still they bray on.
Finally, I turn and ask for stilte.
Wherupon2, the door bursts open and those biblical rays punch through as a lout barges in clutching a giant brown paper bag.
Wherupon3, these poephols open the bag, share out the burgers and have a big, paper-crackling time of it.
So Lance, what are you like? He tells me he is signing into a quiet, place of resting.
His work is indeed poetic, and his voice has a beautiful softness, almost a burr.
I like that, but at times he seemed to hit a note or two which left me wondering if this was controlled off-ness or just, you know, or there is a hint of skeef.
I’m going with intention, and I really liked the songs, though the melancholy at times felt like we were going down the road towards the wasteland rather than the sweet sun-dappled light of my grandfather’s orchard in the Karoo.
The audience liked him, and that’s what counts.
I wondered if his next effort would look to audience needs a bit more. I’m not sure I reached the spot he was leading me towards, but I’d like to get there.
The next show was Red. The set is lush and a bit mad. All that red…
It’s good piece and Michael Richard as Mark Rothco is all you’d expect of the demented, rage-against-change New York painter.
But even great art at festival must look to audience exhaustion, and it started to creep in for this member who dropped his spear for a split-second or three.
I knew it was good and I saw some academics and artists in the crowd were haning onto every line, but I found the text heavy going at times, and I must admit to succumbing to a bit of distraction.
Nonetheless, seen with fresh eyes, I think the work is strong.
There are some lines at the end which make the play worth seeing. They are about diners in NYC clicking and chopping at the trough. Truly incredible.
By the time I got to French jazzo Carine Bonnefoy and her compatriot quartet, I was thinking of bed or booze.
Instead of moving my toes, I’m afraid their jazz only managed to move my lids. So what, I was happy. There’s no law against stacking a few zeds, as long as you don’t snore like a pig.
Carine and crew’s work was perfect – perfectly boring. My bud Kretzy describes it as “intellectual” (that’s because he is a reviewer).
Then onto the Eatery where the crew lay in wait and a plate of Dr Food Dude’s best lamb, a Southern Comfort and a jam.
A good opening day. All the elements.
But I haven’t hit the floor and tjanked like a baby yet.
- I’ve had a cup of Garvie’s Official Coffee of the Festival, and it was stupendous, but his chocolate cross-ant (is that croissant?) is special. Get him when there’s no line.