Rob’s Top 5 Picks For The Weekend

by Robert Clunie

Man’s ego is a fickle being. “Great, he opened a gig guide with that,” you may be thinking, but I assure you that I’ll consume only but mere minutes of your Friday. I see this as one final opportunity for me to be a buzzkill. The rest of your weekend will ensue as it should. Today I’ll elaborate on an observation of mine. I suspect that I’ve crossed this niggle before, but I now think that it required a tiny spark for it to be perceptible. At present I fear that my involvement in our country’s civil discourse can be found wanting. Yeah, both television and radio broadcasts keep me up to speed, but I now realise that even their leading headlines are but trivial little pieces of political hits and misses. People are more concerned about issues buried deep within. My knowledge, therefore, is rift-laden, alack and alas.

A tanking rand may vex our growing middle class, but such an issue hardly hits home. I found myself at a talk recently where I was both peeved and rapt. I’ll even go as far as to say that, at times, I’d been amused, too. So, a venerated author eloquently absorbed then replied to queries blatantly engineered by a journo. It felt rigid and scripted, but I must admit that we received quality feedback nevertheless. Earlier, a mass of whooing fans welcomed her with a vigorous zest. Soon they were quiet, immersed, attentive. Getting food up to that point offered me the only scrap of entertainment despite the infuriating queues. A largely vegetarian contingent rocked up – cheese grillers simply would not do. The chippy suffered a backlog because slender, fried potatoes became hot property. It became too much though when I had to wait aeons for a can of Coke.

Question time followed a reading of a passage in a book. At first I thought of the probing audience as a pseudo-intellectual lot, a throng that littered the author with adulation whenever a retort resonated with them. The reaction had me thinking. To me the ululation as a response to graceful dialogue was just as unnecessary as uploading your breakfast to the web. Soon I felt small. Questions later became both salient and intriguing. I honestly felt unenlightened toward the back-end of the conversation. Introspection followed and the result was not a happy one at all. “How am I to unravel this information that this person is relaying to me? How do I make sense of it? How do I tie it to a matter pertinent in our society? How do I present it back in question form? I was dumbfounded. My fickle ego took a beating. I was silent.

I questioned my socio-political and economic stance. Hell, I don’t even know if my own church and state are separated. I wondered if I still had the capacity for learning. Sure, my lexicon may expand, but often I’d equip myself with a clever word only for it to disappear sometime later and resurface at a bizarre time. At least that word’s meaning is never lost on me. Let’s tackle my observation. I’ll impart my experience but unfortunately I do not have any particular explanation for it. I simply made a few biological field notes while stationed on a poor man’s pew. Our youth is a funny lot when the communal homily takes a serious turn. I could not figure out how we reared a generation rife with the ability to converse so shrewdly but I felt that those who rose for a question did so with a salty vigour.

I was a fan of the content, but I was not a fan of the subtext or the cloaked perspicacity. Perhaps I mistook passion for agenda. But, and this is a big but, I could not help but feel that a large portion of the tête-à-tête had been underpinned by a sore, subtle need to provoke. Maybe this is a skill that I have not learnt. This may be why it all seemed so alien to me. I was out of it; my EQ lacks dexterity it appears. The event, nevertheless, proved a valuable schooling. My social proficiency had been thoroughly tested. I had some practice, you know? For a long time I felt as if I had great difficulty assimilating information and learning from it. I can claim with conviction that I in fact did learn something about myself and this in an unlikely scenario.

Now, back to reality and our schedule for the weekend – pore over the following. Maybe something tickles your fancy.

  1. A Couch And A Piano, Ends 28 August

Cost: R75 available through Computicket

Look, R75 is a far, far better transaction. Couples’ counselling can cost a fortune. Yes, your psychologist may prove a worthy emotional handyman, but the chances are good that he’ll insist on a few follow-up sessions. No, I’m not saying that this musical comedy will remedy years’ worth of regret, resentment and downright rage, but perhaps, just perhaps, it’ll be the initial push toward a state of reconciliation. The premise is simple. Carl Zimmerman (the psychologist) had been tasked to coax the marital woes out of people who sit with him for marital counselling. In his office he has the eponymous chair (read: chaise longue) and a Steinway baby-grand piano that he uses to impart musical therapy upon troubled couples. Shows will run through to the 28th of August at the Auto and General Theatre at the Nelson Mandela Square in Johannesburg.

  1. #TheBigNightIn, 17 August

Cost: R100 available through The Bioscope

B-movie lovers, hearken. Tonight we travel through time a good three decades to revisit a film so many of us adored as children. For many more, the opportunity never came about to see 1990’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the big screen because, well, they were either in nappies or they were squirming about in utero. While the multiplex mammoths go about their business screening the same tired old blockbuster after the other I urge you support the independent circuit. I’ve hammered on about my affinity for the Bioscope Independent Cinema and I believe they so cleverly thought out their latest little project. We revisit the campy majesty of the 80s and 90s – a little tawdry it was, I admit, but it furnished our minds with so many memories. Your fee will also include an unlimited supply of, yes, you guessed it, pizza; a fitting nod to Splinter and co. The film starts at 20h00, but I suggest you go earlier to ensure a good parking spot.

  1. Appetite Fest, 18-19 August

Cost: R60-R175 available through Computicket

Go. Just go. Pretoria is but a short drive up the N1 if you live in Johannesburg. In my book a 45-minute trip to literally sample parts, portions and pieces of heaven is completely worth it. For you see, the grub on offer here is nothing like your midnight repast after a boozy night out. No, 60 exhibitors with both trays and tumblers will instead shepherd you into a pen you’d never want to leave. Over the course (a proper three thereof) cheesemakers, craft brewers, vintners and restaurateurs will contend for your love and affection with their best produce possible. Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and Matt Preston of MasterChef Australia and local chefs Siba, Sarah Graham, Nti, J`Something, Bertus Basson, Peter Tempelhoff, Chris Papayannes, Eric Bulpitt, Katlego Mlambo will all be involved in some capacity during the festival’s masterclasses. Gourmet street food will also be on offer. Naturally a few melodies from top musos will keep matters lively and a handful of comics will try their very best to tickle your full tummy to no end. The festival will be hosted at the Sun Arena at Time Square Casino in Waterkloof Glen.

  1. Rand Air Show, 19 August

Cost: R30-R70 available through Quicket

I included this here event simply because I have an interest in aviation and military engineering. I’ll wager my very life that there are scores out there who either share this interest of mine or they completely immerse themselves in the world of flight. If your attitude to all this warrants no more than a ‘meh, tag along with someone close to you who indeed wants to go. I say this not to force you like something you don’t, but I’ve always found any sort of variant of the hotdog to be unrivalled in taste at an air show. I digress. Herewith a few things you need to take along before you witness spectacular feats in aeronautics and military innovation. Don’t forget a bit of cash. I don’t think an ATM at the Rand Airport. If there is then I can guarantee you that the queues will be miles long. Sunscreen is a requisite and, if your old bones can’t keep you aloft for a few hours, a lawn chair if you own any.

  1. Pinotage On Tap, 18 August

Cost: R295 available through Computicket

Beyers Naudé Drive and, by extension, Rocky Ridge Road feels a little far removed to me personally. It’s a part of a busy city road that has a bit of a rural feel to it. Potholes on Beyers Naudé’s capillaries are pothole laden and taxis often kick up dust when they pull away from either a delivery of a loading of a passenger. Casalinga, therefore, is both far and near. The terrain it is nestled on is beautiful and it so aptly sets the fine restaurant up for a modern yet rustic atmosphere. You might, if you own a healthy imagination, think that you are in fact nuzzled within Tuscany. I hardly need to romance you menu-wise. They have been dishing up five-star meals for thirteen years now and if you need further convincing, pore over some online reviews. With the great food, of course, we’ll have ourselves the opportunity to sample a few great wines that will be available by the barrel. Diemersfontein Wines will spearhead your experience and Freshlyground further soothe your soul on what will be a delightful afternoon.

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