Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Tiny Protest Art Installation ... and a Very Looooooooong Protest

This is what we now see from our kitchen ...

and from our sea-facing livingroom window ...

We still see the sea from our front windows (which face the mountainside opposite) - yes, we still have lovely views which millions of others do not have. I guess I shouldn't complain. So what is that little round black object in the bottom right-hand corner then?

That is my Tiny Protest Art Installation - facing Mr Neighbour's new house.
  • I am protesting the fact that (since I last wrote about it) he extended his house another metre forward. 
  • I am protesting the fact that (after we asked him nicely to please be very careful) he dug right under our entrance hall foundation, causing subsidence which led to the cracking of tiles in our entrance hall. He came to have a look and then said that our house had a bad foundation to start with, and denied all responsibility.
  • I am protesting the fact that he dug up the sewage pipes which our property shares with his existing house, introduced two acute bends to facilitate the installation of a set of steps next to his new house, against the advice of his plumber, and has, up to now, stubbornly refused to install the inspection hole which another plumber advised him to do. We would gladly have installed a separate sewage pipe on our side of the wall, but this would require us to dig up our back patio, break down our entrance hall and the stairway leading down to street level, dig up the bricked front yard, install a new pipe, and then rebuild it all - an expense which we certainly cannot afford. In addition the city council official whom we consulted advised us against this. He said that houses sometimes have shared sewage pipes in this area because the developer may have found underground rocks on a specific property.
  • I am protesting the fact that when excavations started, our telephone and Internet cable was ripped off - he then bought a new conduit and sent us the bill (yes, I also couldn't believe it, but we were so shocked that we just paid!), he had his builder install it, which was done in a slap-dash fashion, so that four months after the fact, water started leaking into the conduit, our Internet/phone connection was disrupted for weeks on end, until we had the whole job redone at our own expense. Properly.
  •  I am protesting the fact that we have no privacy now - his existing house, all three storeys of it - looms over ours, so that our two bedrooms and bathrooms are overlooked. And now his second house looks straight into the south-east side of our house. We will have to permanently decamp to our garden. No wait, we can be seen there as well ...
But most of all I am protesting the fact that he smiles and smiles at everyone, charming as always. Not at us, of course. We had the audacity to complain when we saw that he was building without approved plans, because it was directly affecting us. The city council then interrupted the building, until he had submitted the proper plans. I think that really annoyed him. He is quite a bit younger than us, with lots & lots of family money (he doesn't have to work) and he once referred to the fact that he has friends in high places. I guess to then have one's actions questioned by newcomers to the area, ordinary old people who are not influential, well, that must be simply galling ...

If you have read this far, I thank you. Nothing could be more boring than another person's neighbour problems. I had to let off steam,  but I realize that I have to put this thing to rest now. How would you put something out of your mind when the physical presence is always there to remind you? Meditate? Let me know!

Home Sweet Home - an installation by Anairam (paper doll by Jezze, plastic construction vehicles, vintage toffee tin with the inscription: Take The Home Sweet Home)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A happy birthday and a bit of synchronicity

Today is my birthday. But that is not actually what I want to tell you. No. I really want to tell you about this lovely bit of synchronicity that happened a few weeks ago.
On the 12th of April, the Cape Times crossword puzzle had this clue:
10 Ac: Part of the rosary, we hear, for the ancient monk.
L'Usband, who is a boff at cryptic clues, immediately shouted: "Bede! Bede!"
Now, I collect rosaries, I have them from all over the world: USA, France, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Scotland (but not England - dang, I forgot to get one when I was there!), France, Czech Republic, Argentina, and of course, South Africa. So I do know that rosaries are made from beads, but not being English and not being religious and furthermore, being a total illiterate when it concerns history, I had never heard of Bede. L'Usband had to inform me that the chappie was an ancient monk and was actually known as the Venerable Bede.
Two days later, on the 14th, to be exact,  I was working on a proofreading project, and looked up BC and AD in Wikipedia to confirm that this dating system does not have a year zero (proofreaders learn all kinds of interesting things, it is about the only perk of the job) and who do I find? Yep, old Bede again:
"The Anglo-Saxon historian the Venerable Bede, who was familiar with the work of Dionysius, used Anno Domini dating in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People, finished in 731. "
But that is not all! The very next day I am in the Kalkbay Bookshop, and I look at their Sale table, where they have a book with a rather striking typeface on the cover - The Dangerous Book for Boys Yearbook. Not the kind of book I would normally pick up, but the cover attracted my attention. I immediately paged to my birthday (as I always do in these types of book). Jeez, what can I tell you? There it was, in big bold letters with a picture and all:
25th of May - the Feast Day of the Venerable Bede ...

Happy Feast Day, Mr Bede!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Weekword: Hiding

Do you know of  the Woolly Monster that snuffles and slurps and snorts, and crunches and cracks things too hideous to mention? Listen to it here.

And then run away quickly, quickly and hide! It is coming to get you ... !

Director:             Anairam Traws
Soundman:          L'Usband
Woolly Monster: Snous

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Unnecessary necessities #5 and #6

I don't know about unnecessary, because I certainly would not have survived my work without these two.

Work update: Burning the midnight oil ... if all goes well we will be able to put this baby to bed by the second week of June. And then I am going to celebrate!

Monday, May 10, 2010

More unnecessary necessities.

I often let my hair dry naturally, but in winter I absolutely need my hairdryer. For stuff like warming up my hands and  feet ...

Let's just state it upfront: deep down I am quite shallow. What is life without lipstick? I have no idea, but I know that I have to have lipstick. Always. It is the one thing I would take to a desert island. Water? Moisturiser? Sunscreen?? Pfffffffffffrrrrrt.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Weekword: Story

Yippee Yay - weekword is back! Rachel has chosen this week's word and has a list of all the contributors. As I have little time I am posting something old. About 10 years ago I had this terrific idea of writing the story of my life - in comic form. I started with the birth of my brother - as this is my earliest memory. But oh goodness, the effort involved to draw all those frames! I finished one more strip, and that was it. (The story of my life, indeed ...) Maybe I will continue one day - Jesse's book here is a great inspiration to me. The only difference being - she can draw. Oh, well...

PS Most of you won't be able to understand - it is in Afrikaans. Also, there are two bad words in there. Forgive me.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Collaborative Art

On Sunday we visited the Spier Contemporary Art 2010 Festival held in collaboration with the Africa Centre - this year at the City Hall. A lot of conceptual art, some installation pieces, and quite a few performance pieces (which we missed as live performances are only held on certain days). All in all, quite interesting, but I have to admit that I was more impressed by last year's offering. I do like conceptual art, but I found many pieces a bit ... lightweight ... dare I say? In the end my five favourite pieces included two paintings, a carved marble relief, an installation of steel cutouts, and a video installation.
I really like to participate in art - so here is my self-appointed collaborative piece, entitled Ana Iram and Venus de Milo Viewing Jhb CBD from CT CBD. I  do hope that Raiford Johnson won't mind ...

Lefthand image: Anairam Traws, righthand image: Phillip Raiford Johnson

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Your relationship to That Stuff

Yesterday was the monthly car boot sale. I rushed down, pink shopping bag in hand to carry back my goodies, Snous in tow. But here is the thing, although there was some stuff that would normally have attracted my attention - a small succulent, two books, a piece of fabric, a few tiny plastic animals, an ink pad, a small glass bowl, and a sheet of computer labels - I didn't buy a thing. Because I didn't really need any of it. Is my addiction at an end? Is my relationship to that stuff changing?

Art journal collage with magazine cutouts, paint, cut up store card.

Everyone has his own version of that stuff. For some people it is not a material thing. What is your relationship to that stuff? In my journal page I included: addicted to, overwhelmed by, in control of, tired of, in love with ...

Have a great week! Don't fill it with too much stuff... Hmmmm, my week will be filled with words, too many words ...