Diary of The Travelling Seanchai :-
Coping with `Caped` and Culture!
2007-07-12 to 2007-07-15
As much as I do love this city, the urge to get going again was getting stronger daily. I`ve been going to the movies, buying prepaid electricity credit and making sure there`s enough petrol in the car, yeah, it was time to move on!
But not before a wonderful night in Cape Town`s Art Community! Chantal runs an art gallery here in Cape Town (CT) and invited me to the Museum of Contemporary Art for a `show`. Now I will concede, I don`t get contemporary art, so I wasn`t sure if what I was looking at was any good. To be honest, I didn`t even know if what I was looking at was actually on display but Chantal assured me that `if you can see it, there is probably a meaning for it!`
So with that in mind I started to try and piece together this amalgm of visions into some order. There was a dog wandering around this small room, doing its best to avoid the clearly drugged up guitarist that was playing some heavy metal dirge on a beaten up accoustic guitar to a little 4 yr old girl (who ended up crying) while every now and again running over and frantically spinning the back wheel of an overturned mountain bike in the middle of the floor!
On the walls were some photos and printouts of e-mails of other artists that had been invited to contribute (not sure how many more bikes they could have got in there!) but who had unceremoniously, and I`m sure correctly, declined. A video was playing on one wall of some Gregorian Monks who were chanting and on a TV on another wall there was a fire breather. The name of the exhibit was “Hell Yeah” but I couldn`t make a lick of sense of it so I retired to the balcony for some views of the city and fresh air.
What I got instead was a small man with a tail coming out of the back of his head who asked Chantal and I “Are you crazy? Can you bark like a dog?” Hmmm, well on the strength of the `artwork` I had just seen, I was fairly sure that my sanity was still well and truly intact but I was now intrigued. I asked him why did he say that and he told me quite matter of factly that there was going to be a protest march next morning to Parliament for Madness!
I queried why the 80`s English ska band needed to have a protest march in CT but he corrected me patiently by saying that `madness` and `craziness` had been marginalised by this society and people who were `mad` and or `crazy` were made to feel like social pariahs and that he wanted to force the government to make those that admitted to these afflictions to feel more mainstream and acceptable. OK THEN….
I was beginning to scope the room for emergency exits but I asked why the reference to a dog barking? He said that he wanted everyone to walk barking (mad) like dogs and he asked if we could do that. I said I could bark but Chantal insisted she couldn`t and therefore didn`t qualify. But I pointed out to our wannabee parade marshall that anyone that couldn`t bark like a dog was truly crazy and should be the exact person to help lead the march! If looks could kill, Chantal`s would have had me buried!
Now caught between a rock and a hard place, we retreated into the `art` room again where we met a girl that simply `loved, loved, loved` my accent (she actually said that while bouncing with excitement!) She continued this frantic hand waving and head bobbing as she talked to us.
I told her that I had given up working in an office to go travelling and she said that she was actually a musician but she had worked in an office for three months and she was so unhappy there that her intake of cocaine rocketed during that period. “At least it doesn`t seemed to have had any affect on you,” I said tongue in cheek as Chantal literally bit hers, to which our pixie friend agreed wholeheartedly, “Yeah, no lasting affects at all” blissfully unaware of sarcasm obviously!
That was all I could take so it was back to the Dubliner for a few pints. The girls to guys ratio in this town is 8:1 and Chantal introduced me to the term `Caped`, where the local girls will aggresively corner a guy and fend off other girls who are dancing in the area. I could almost hear David Attenborough doing a voice over as I was dancing in the bar and got my bum pinched and surrounded by some women who would be doe eyed with you and positively fierce with the competition!
“…… You see here as the Alpha Male retreats to a position of defence, the beta females parade laterally with their increased plumage to attract the male and at same time send out a clear message to the other suitors that they will scratch their bloody eyes out and rip out their extensions if another makes a flirtatious move…. fascinating!”
I pleaded with Chantal to save me but she didn`t want to get into a fight and she was enjoying the helpless spectacle!
Surviving that, I was up early next morning (6:30am) to take the Baz Bus (a backpacker only bus going up and down the coast). I was on standby and after waiting 2 hours I was told they were full. It was frustrating and I wondered if that was near enough `Mad` to join the march!
Next day I was back again and I took the drive up the coast, it`s a hop on hop off service and I was going to go to Knysna but most of the bus (5 Northern Irish girls, 2 Dutch lads and a girl from New Orleans) were all going to Storms River so I stayed on the bus. This is one of the adventure capitals of South Africa and most of them had booked or planned some adventures for the next day. I was talking Megan into doing a Bungee Jump (as I had done two) the next day and I even agreed to go with her to give her support…
But there is something about that word Bungee….