Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Compass of Pleasure - Why Some Things Feel So Good

New York Times bestseller The Compass of Pleasure (written by neuroscientist David Linden) explores the neurology, biology and primacy of one of the most clandestine spaces of the human anatomy - the brain. More specifically, the way in which we feel pleasure and why. After all, pleasure-seeking seems to be a vice as well as virtue in the human experience. Our desire and lust for the feel-good factor takes us on great journeys, often dark.

For Linden, it all started in Bangkok, one fragrant evening in 1989.


Bangkok, 1989. The afternoon rains have ended, leaving the early evening air briefly free of smog and allowing that dis­tinctive Thai perfume, frangipani with a faint note of sewage, to waft over the shiny streets. I hail a tuk-tuk, a three-wheel motor­cycle taxi, and hop aboard. My young driver has an entrepreneur­ial smile as he turns around and begins the usual interrogation of male travelers.
"So . . . you want girl?"
"I see." Long pause, eyebrows slowly raised. "You want boy!"
"Uh, no."
Longer pause. Sound of engine sputtering at idle. "You want ladyboy?"
"No," I answer, a bit more emphatically, nonplussed at the idea that I give the impression of desiring this particular commodity.
"I got cheap cigarettes . . . Johnnie Walker . . ."
"No thanks."
Undaunted, he moves on to the next category of his wares, now with lowered voice.
"You want ganja?"
"Ya baa [methamphetamine tablets]?"
A whisper now. "Heroin?"
Voice raised back to normal. "I can take you to cockfight. You can gamble!"
"I'll pass."
Just a little bit irritated now. "So, farang, what you want?"
"Prik kee noo," I respond. "Those little 'mouse shit' peppers. I want some good, spicy dinner."


Saturday, December 17, 2011


"All right Mr De Mille, I'm ready for my close up"

Gloria Swanson's tribute to Hollywood silent film icon, Cecil B.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Presidential Affair

A tot of whiskey, a drunken tossle for the best spot on a balcony at the 2010 Durban July and an 18 month court case - that's the nightmarish order of events for betting agent and 'ordinary guy' Daryl Peense since an unfortunate slip of the hand. He's better known as the dude who accidently spilled his drink on President Jacob Zuma, and has virtually become a national criminal and reluctant public enemy Number One overnight. Talk about the wrong place at the wrong time. After beng escorted off the racecourse, cable-tied and wedged between two BMW X5s, 'the Zuma Drink Spiller' became not only a failed assasin, but proof of the lunacy and power-trips that govern our country and its still-divided people.

'That's my president, you white bastard', a policeman snarled at Peense during his arrest.

iol news pic 03 dec Daryl Peense

South Africa never fails to entertain when it comes to law and justice, propelling ordinary men into countrywide notoriety for clumsy mishaps, while billions in corrupt dealings, fraud and fuckery continue blithely on. Here's an idea for a news house in SA: The Daily Chuckle.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Grisly Touch

HBO has a quota to meet in every one-hour episode of the acclaimed fantasy series Game of Thrones. A spilling of guts, a well-lit sex scene, a bare breast here or there, and a few cuss words thrown into the dialogue - there, done.

Despite being what some might call gratuitous, explicit and downright shocking, the series has a touch of humanity aside from the macarbre. Not since Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings have I been so enthralled by a screen adaptation of a fantasy novel. Maybe it's all the girl power. First Arwen escapes the Black Riders in Fellowship, and now, for the first time in television history, mail-order bride Daenerys Targaryen eats the heart of a stallion all on her own. Fierce.

Struck dumb.

Maybe I didn't write because I've had nothing much to prove lately. Bin Laden kicked the bucket. Wall Street got raided. Malema announced his love for the whites. An anarchist swore on the radio. I did none of these.

So, I didn't blog.

Image credit: Probably tumblr. What'd'you think?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Scarlett Letter

Scarlett Johansson isn't the first high-profile celebrity to have had nude photos illegally released onto the Internet. Cell phone hacking syndicates are responsible for leaking personal photographs of at least 50 other female celebs.

Despite having shown skin in movie roles and posed for Playboy, Scarlett has never been seen fully nude onscreen, let alone in her private quarters without the help of make-up or clever camera angles. The photos aren't terribly unflattering, but the leak  may have done the actress more damage than simply a little public shame. She has threatened to sue any publication that publishes the compromising photos from now onwards. Too late, Scarlett. Even you can't curb that right-click-and-save phenomenon.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

None like the Present

American novelist and Nobel Prize Laureate, Sinclair Lewis, was invited to talk to some students about the craft of writing. Standing before the enthusiastic group of undergraduates, he asked: “How many of you here are really serious about being writers?” A sea of hands shot up. Lewis then asked, “Well, why aren't you all home writing?”

And he walked out of the room.

Elevator Silence and Other Great Mysteries

Maybe the following mysteries of life are nothing but rhetorical questions. Still, they baffle me every time.

Why ith the word 'lisp' tho hard to prounounth? That's cruel of you, English language.

Why does toast always land buttered side up?
If they know me by name at the gym, does it mean I'm getting fitter?

Why did kamikaze pilots wear helmets?

Why do women go to the restroom in pairs?

And why are people always quiet in elevators? And why do they look up at the ceiling? I guess it's because it goes up and down, and that's entertaining. And mirrors in elevators - don't get me started on those. It's like a doppelganger invasion, except awkward.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

'That's No Noble Steed'

Imagine the conversation went a little like this:

Lady: And what makes you think I cannot open that door myself? Is it because I'm a woman? Well, step aside and watch me be an independent one, you patriarchal bastard.

Gentleman: Pardon me, madam. I was only trying to be chivalrous.

You see the problem?

Monday, August 22, 2011

a little Grimm...

The classic fairytale says she would 'prick
her finger on the spindle of the Spinning Wheel of Death and die'

Well I'd like to say that Sleeping Beauty simply had an unhealthy reliance on pharmaceuticals for those hundred lonely years. A good century's sleep? for that I'd pay good money. Even if it were habit-forming.

Five Symptoms for Relief

A yellow bouquet

AR Rahman for Slumdog Millionaire

Hot Flu Remedy

Vicks in your bath

Steam from the kettle

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Ballet photography as an art form never really occured to me until I watched a production of Swan Lake at the Artscape Theatre a few years back. While watching the supple dancers move about the stage like ghosts, I imagined capturing their poses in a single frame. Their movements would cease at the click of a button, the courageous pas de deux held fast for eternity.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Today in our Television Genre lecture, Ms. Lecturer showed us examples of bricolage in the post-modern moment.This refers to the way in which cultural entities today appropriate and rearticulate signs from former movements.

In greater English sense, taking a whole bunch of popular culture and sticking it all over yourself. Examples of this phenomenom are Lady Gaga, the punk movement, MacGyver and the modern-day hipster.

I couldn't help smiling to myself. When hipster was mentioned, the audience began to murmur almost knowingly, and most of us bowed our heads in shame. We all know how the saying goes - if the  dress shirt fits , wear it.

                            Or something like that.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Geometry Lesson

A local conspiracy theory has found its way into Cape Town's after-dark warehouse of live music, Discotheque Fridays and cool-searching youth.

According to the claims of Facebook group Open Your Minds SA, the owners of popular nightclub The Assembly are members of the Illuminati, a secret society thought to be seated in the wings of powerful corporations and governments.

Using the club as a business front for otherwise conspiratory dealings, the rascals continue to sell two-for-one Zamaleks to bespectacled electroheads and imprint sublimial codes into their promotional posters as they hungrily pursue New World Order. 

Looks like an opportunity for another Dan Brownesque bestseller is on the way.

>Click to expand: Illuminati symbols of the pyramid and all-seeing eye often appear in the Assembly's stage set-up and promotional posters. And here I was thinking it was just the generic 'hipster triangle'...

Further reading: has a stab at it

African Aid.

According to

"The African Union today adopted a unilateral resolution to deploy army troops and care packages to England as looting and violence spread from London to other major cities."

Regarding the contents of the well-meaning care packages:

“Vegetables, mainly,” Charity Khumalo confirmed. “We’re sending them vegetables and toothpaste.”

Scan the rest of the article here. With your tongue in your cheek.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


P.S Those brushes are so beautiful, and I'm doing this to win. I must win! My complexion depends on it.

Little Dragon - Twice [7"Off the Wall (2006)]

Thursday, August 4, 2011

'...and it was all my own.'

Can a Man be His own island?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

insert name

______, three-point-six kilograms at birth and avid economy-class traveller, has circled the globe approximately twelve times in search of controversy and bizarre coincidences. Having completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Print Media, she found herself irked by a pair of itchy feet back in her native Cape Town.  Since then, her luggage has included a single suitcase of her best clothes, a bottle of Evian and a permanent case of writer’s block. ____makes good window-seat company, loves in-flight food and is not afraid of turbulence. In her spare time she tries to cure her condition by reading novels, wallpapering and practices her vowels in the mirror. She continues to write, despite the jetlag, and can be frequently found slipping drafts underneath editors’ office doors.

Monday, August 1, 2011


Daughter of those controversial 'Je t'aime, moi non plus' crooners, Serge Gainsbourg and English actress Jane Birkin, Charlotte Gainsbourg is sure set to scandalize the French public in the stead of her celebrated parents.

The singer was quite happy to receive fashion advice from her iconic mother for her outfit at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, and arrived in a sheer black number that left little to the imagination. Some would say this ensemble were a little unbecoming for a woman so far along in her pregnancy. I just love the family resemblance.

Back in 1969, Jane Birkin made a public appearence at the premiere of Slogan, memorably clad in a bosom-revealing transparent dress.

Monday, July 25, 2011

You're so Vain...

...I bet you thought this perfume was named for you.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I had a blog before the hipsters did.

You All Knew I Was No Good...

I've had songs from Back to Black on my mind all day. When celebrities die - as they often do after year-long dalliances with drugs and booze- I don't usually feel very sad at all. They're a dime a dozen. But Winehouse was one of my favourite artists this decade, arguably one of the most talented musicians to emerge since Ella Fitzgerald and Janis Joplin, and a major fuck-up. A beautiful, tragic fuck-up, almost. Great biography material. Now, with her untimely but inevitable death on Saturday, the troubled soul singer from London has joined Kurt Cobain, Joplin, Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix as the newest addition to the infamous '27 Club.'
As a tribute to Winehouse, her official website now displays only this photograph of the late singer, in memory of her rapid rise and tragic fall.

A Queen's Sympathies.

The Queen of England has sent condolences to the Norwegian people on behalf of the Duke of Edinburgh and Her Royal Highness following Friday's tragedy.

To King Harald of Norway she wrote the following: "I am deeply saddened and shocked by the tragic loss of life of so many people on the island of Utoya and in Oslo."

The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Belgrave Square, central London, flies the nation's flag at half-mast.

                                          That awkward moment when...

...the psychic fair gets cancelled.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Truth is...

...anyone can blog.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Elle & Dakota

When pretty blonde picture-sisters Elle and Dakota Fanning sat for VOGUE's annual Age Issue they each took on very different seating arrangements for their debut portrait.

Dakota (17) and Elle (13) have been working in the spotlight since toddlerhood. It was only a matter of time before powerful agents of glamour Marc Jacobs and department store Bloomingdales snapped up Dakota's fresh-faced youthful look to promote a new fragrance, Oh, Lola!

When you choose to do this with your life, you’re in the public and people watch you. But I’d rather do this than not.

Not even an awkward silence to speak of.

I fear  that I am halved.

at last, could you call it sobriety?

It is a cool, brown season now.
In this mild north
I’ll curl into my hedgehog self,
oft snout hid in a prickly fist.

Primal Places.

                In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
                A stately pleasure-dome decree:
                Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
                Through caverns measureless to man

                Down to a sunless sea.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Genuine Leather, Faith and Academia.

Judging by my collection of books, I could be:

a) planning a backpacking trip to either Europe or New York City
b) a novice calligrapher with a love of the Romantics
c) a yoga practitioner with a keen interest in economics
d) a naturalist who reads French children's books

Memories all in a line, printed in black and white.

A robust collection of leather bags.


The candy-stripes on the top wardrobe doors give the room a playful barber shop charm.

This old chair is given a new reason to live again with a simple upholstery job using scrap material from my sewing box.


Collapsible storage boxes: Mr Price Home

Space is precious in any room. These collapsible white storage boxes add interest to any space as well as function as useful containers for any crap you simply couldn't bring yourself to throw out, but would still like to keep unseen.

Hanging hearts from StillLife.

Perspex wall sticker bought in Montpellier, France.

Bedside Charms.

Alarm clock: Mr Price Home. Diary: Exclusive Books. Owl: sister's art project.
Alarm clocks can make trusty bedside friends - once you've taken the batteries out. This little stainless steel one looks great on my nightstand, but once the ticking starts you'll be up until its early morning wake-up call. Not so pretty.

Cushions: Mr. Price Home. Wallpaper: Fired Earth at Builder's Warehouse

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