Saturday, December 27, 2008

Living La Vida London!

It's the day after Boxing day and I have just returned from an amazing Thai dinner at a place called Waggamamma in Wimbledon with my friends Wendy and her sister Belinda. Like any other festive bird I am stuffed! I have been shoving Ferrerro Rocher chocolate balls and other junk food down my throat like a homeless person at a free for five minutes buffet.This is because -as we all know- Christmas is a time for binging. The show is up and running and we still have a lot of work to do regarding bums on seats and promoting the show and once again I find myself in a situation where my future seems very unclear and anything can happen. The show may blast off and we are set off to travel the UK and perhaps even Oz afterwards, or we may be back sooner in sunny Africa than we all aniticipated. Regardless, I am happy as Larry because I have read an amazing book called Teachings On Love by Thich Naht Hahn (a Buddhist monk) and am inspired and invigorated by the philososphy and teachings of Buddhism that he introduced me to. I don't want to write a sermon but, since reading the book I have scoured the internet learning all I can about Buddhism and I love that it is the only religion that has never been associated with any form of war, that it is tolerant and accepting of other religions and that it focuses on the responsisbility of the individual to be a good person and attempt to attain ultimate peace and personal wellbeing. I also like the fact that people like Goldie Hawn and Tina Turner are Buddhists as I would consider myself to be a good combination of the two of them. In African tradtion much emphasis is put on acknowledging your ancestors and paying homage to the beings that contributed to your bloodline and Buddhism shares this tradtion which I really like. I also really like the colour orange and the smell of sandal wood prayer beads so I think the Tibetan monks look fabulous in their robes. I would love to meet a really attractive Afrikaans Buddhist man at this stage of my life. Afrikaans guys are generally so well mannered and nicely raised and their old school values and rugged manliness is definitely my subscription. I'm not talking about Afrikaans Queens! They are a completely different bowl of bobotie. I'm talking about those rare manly Afrikaans guys prone to holding on just a little bit longer than they should after they've rugby tackled you. These traits coupled with the profound wisdom and gentle practise of Buddhism would create my ideal husband. I have watched The Secret so I will manifest him by acting as though I already have him in my life. So if any of you encounter me on the tube or on a bus speaking to what seems like thin air, you will be mistaken as I will be addressing the space that is soon to be filled with my dream man. Apparrently nature abhors a vaccuum and I have created one that the Universe will now have to fill. One can only hope. Otherwise, London is fabulous. I have encountered a very large population of older women with facial hair between Clapham Junction and Battersea, London drag queens are rubbish and I have almost gotten used to paying R30 for a cappacino. Watch this space, more to follow!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Heaven and back!

Since running away to London with the circus (Madame Zingara Theatre of dreams) I have literally been to Heaven but then also to hell. Its the most fitting place for a circus to run to because there are so many other circuses here. La Clique, Cirque du Soliel and of course the less flamboyant Oxford and Picadilly Circus. I am also by no means the newest member of Zingara any longer as we have a new Lira act done by a local British girl, two incredibly defined strong men, twin contortionsists from Sweden and a new soundman from Brackenfell. All of which other than the sound man are temporary because our other contortionists and strong people are stuck in their respective countries with visa issues. Since we got here it has been balls to the wall. There is no cheap labour in London so we have all been working like pack mules and have literally been doing things like shovelling gravel in the icy cold and erecting tents, dressing rooms and laying flooring and carpetting like its going out of fashion. All of this with the very strict public and safety UK legislation hanging over our heads. We have survived fire, evacuation and hygiene inspections of the highest standards imaginable and we have come through it all stiff, sniffling but still smiling. Last night was our press night and unofficial opening night. Tonight is the true opening. I cannot begin to explain the nerves I felt before facing that sea of crittical English faces all being paid to be our judges and juries. But happily by the end of the night I was almost late for my final speech because I had so many people puling at my stilts and tassles to tell me how much they loved the show. Phew! We're not in the clear yet but I am feeling quite optimistic. We are going to have to wait until the reviews come out and the bookings begin to improve before we can really celebrate but I have good feeling. Otherwise, last Saturday I went to one of the biggest and most notorious gay clubs in the world. Its called Heaven and it was fun but I must confess that after a long day of rehearsing on my stilts my dancing was a little like a meatball ballancing on a pair of soggy cardboard chopsticks. I was moeg! Also, I have never heard so many Kylie Minogue songs in one night before. She must own the place or have shares in it because they even played "Locomotion". I can feel as I approach my thirtieth year on this planet that I am more of a restaurant, dinner party or pub kind of person because with such loud music and dramatic lighting (or lack thereof) I am amazed that people ever meet anyone new in a club. Its almost impossible. I tried chatting to someone very briefly but I couldn't hear what he was saying through Kylie's "na na na na's" and eventually we both shrugged, smiled at each other and then went our seperate ways.
There are loads of South Africans and Aussies here and you can spot them on the tube or busses as the only people smiling, laughing or chatting to one another. I'm afraid that the reports about the Brits generally being a sour lot are quite true. Rude and aggressive but then again I am generalising because I've only been here about two weeks. There are all sorts of strange things about London, for example their Woolworths doesn't sell fabulous food and sweets but is more like our Clicks and their Game is very small and you don't always win when looking for something you need in one of their shops. All that being said, I like it here. Its cold and grey but it buzzes and there is so much to see and do. There must be something in the water here because everywhere you go there are hundreds of people with babies in prams and they even do group mom and pram exercises in the freezing cold in the parks. The babies are very brave and are wrapped up like little catterpillars with just their faces showing in their prams as their mothers practise lunges in unison. This is what its realy like to run away with the circus. There are clowns and contortionists wherever I go in the streets and the underground and they have helped me see how normal we all in Zingara are in comparison.