Boksburg is the new Potch

It’s just a thought. But you know how you gotta get those down when you have them.


Surreal # 1: Don’t ask. Just go with it.

Sometimes, while pondering the universe  or just despairing into space while waiting to get connected to the internet via my MTN/Mweb 3G/HSDPA modem, I imagine that I am in a hostile, rocky, desert-type landscape, that the sun is beating down mercilessly, that I am a hundred years old, weak from lack of food and dehydrated, and that I am obsessively hauling a decomposing human body with me to wherever I am going, which is at least a thousand kilometres further down the drag. Or more. Like, let’s say, on the road from Johannesburg to Cape Town (going via Kimberley) I have just passed Potch.

(Sometimes I file my nails.)

It is Wednesday night. I had to wait for 20 minutes for two emails. On was 11kb and one, 63kb. They were crap emails, but how could I know this until I received them, right?

I am working up enthusiasm to mount a real offensive against my service provider in order to get out of a contract that is supposed to hold until August next year. There is a new law now, saying that if you are dissatisfied with a person or company’s service, your contract cannot bind your ass to the kind of rage and frustration that I feel at least once or twice a week.

I am keeping notes, and I think I will call Mweb tomorrow just to get recorded as saying (again) that their service stinks.

But having finally managed to get connected, I had better use the opportunity to speak. To illustrate (so, very hypothetically)… it’s a little like standing in a queue so long that your problem is sorted out by the time you get to the front. For example, you might join a coda of people at the bank, waiting to see the bank manager in order to rearrange your bond repayments, because interest rates have sky-rocketed. By the time you get to the actual manager, he is happy to tell you that interest rates have, in the last six months come down, and then… well, you have nothing to say. So you make up an additional story about bank charges in general, or something.

Okay. Not very funny. On a completely serious note, I think I might have to sever my very puzzling friendship with my friend Gray. First of all, he does not care if he offends my friends, which is offensive to me. Secondly, he eats like a peasant and chooses the cheapest wine on the menu. Thirdly, he does not do much work, just enough to make sure that he can play as much golf as he likes to, and to go overseas to acquire electronics in China or Taiwan every now and then – which he turns around for enough money to keep him in golf shoes and a house (also one for his mother) and a car and so on.

Which brings me to… fourthly. Because of the absence of a daily grind in his life, he pretends not understand that those of us who live by it, are incredibly irked  by his disdain for our economic endeavours. If he fucking calls one more time and says hello by way of “and so what are you keeping yourself busy with today?” I swear I will… well I don’t know what I will do. I will probably just say that “I work, you fucking cocksucker, so I will be working today, and please don’t ever fucking phone me again.”

I have a good friend whose ex also disparaged paid labour of any kind, having invested wisely from an early age, and he was also a deeply unpleasant person. That is why she dumped him. He only ever saw life from his point of view, and this point of view demanded a profound contempt for anybody who did not agree with it. He really had to go. Money or not. So, even though I am against virtually all the principles of Protestantism (and all other organised religion) there is something to be said for the work-ethic thing. And as a person that lives by it, on the day that I win the Euro millions, I will show the necessary respect to those who did not.

And so on.

Sunday, Potch and the bad sex fiction awards

I am back in Potch. My father is in bed with pleurisy and quite sick. As I only had the CI manual to finish start I thought I would come over and babysit him. We have abandoned the million-inch big screen in the lounge for the 70cm antique in the bedroom. I have the laptop in my lap, and am supposed to have my nose to the grindstone.

Instead I am responding to e-mail from an old lover while sharing my father’s grumpy happiness with the Lions’ Currie Cup victory over the Cheetahs earlier on. We are watching the Bulls whip Province, and are feeling equally pleased. We are Lions fans, but will support our neighbours in a game against any team hailing from a province that did not have the suffix “transvaal” tagged onto its name in the bad old days. For me this is simply a geographical marker, for my father… well, I am not sure. Anyway. His first loyalty lies with the Leopards (Wes Transvaal), actually, but after that, in order, with the other teams that live withing driving distance somewhere along the N12 to the North.

(This feels like an appropriate moment to offer my father’s rugby joke for the weekend.

“Ek loop nou die dag in ‘n ou pêl vas, en vra vir hom hoe gaan dit. ‘Ag,’ sê hy vir my, ‘ek sukkel so met my selfbeeld.’ Nou hoe dan so? Vra ek vir hom. ‘Nee,’ sê die ou, ‘dis nou al so erg, gedurende die rugby wanneer die ouens so sak in die skrum, dan dink ek hulle skinder van my…’” (I thought it was very funny.))

I want to write many things that, unlike the corporate identity guidelines, will make no difference to my bank balance.  Having finished my illicit correspondence for the morning, I now want to work on a 3rd Potchefstroom story. It will be called “Potchefstroom Mon Amour” and will be about being cold, footprints in the frost on the lawn, childhood memories of a smallholding called “Ommidraai” and the smell of the dry grass of the Highveld winter. But this will have to wait. First, to work. I have to work today because Thursday was, well, Sunday.

Anyway. While ruminating on the practice of spanking and the joys of literary pornography earlier on, I remembered the Literary Review’s Bad Sex Fiction Awards, and I wondered if they had been dished out yet this year. They have been, but were not as entertaining as last year I thought, so I am posting a few of the previous winners. (Just in case the papers are boring today.) The sex may have been bad, but the writing is, on occasion, wonderful.

Now, my parents should please note:

adult content warning 3


2003 Bunker 13 by Aniruddha Bahal (Faber & Faber)

She’s taking off her blouse. It’s on the floor. Her breasts are placards for the endomorphically endowed. In spite of yourself a soft whistle of air escapes you. She’s taking off her trousers now. They are a heap on the floor. Her panties are white and translucent. You can see the dark hair sticking to them inside. There’s a design as well. You gasp.
‘What’s that?’ you ask. You see a designer pussy. Hair razored and ordered in the shape of a swastika. The Aryan denominator…
As your hands roam her back, her breasts, and trace the swastika on her mound you start feeling like an ancient Aryan warlord yourself…
She sandwiches your nozzle between her tits, massaging it with a slow rhythm. A trailer to bookmark the events ahead. For now she has taken you in her lovely mouth. Your palms are holding her neck and thumbs are at her ears regulating the speed of her head as she swallows and then sucks up your machinery.
She is topping up your engine oil for the cross-country coming up. Your RPM is hitting a new high. To wait any longer would be to lose prime time…
She picks up a Bugatti’s momentum. You want her more at a Volkswagen’s steady trot. Squeeze the maximum mileage out of your gallon of gas. But she’s eating up the road with all cylinders blazing. You lift her out. You want to try different kinds of fusion.

2005 Winkler by Giles Coren (Jonathan Cape)

And he came hard in her mouth and his dick jumped around and rattled on her teeth and he blacked out and she took his dick out of her mouth and lifted herself from his face and whipped the pillow away and he gasped and glugged at the air, and he came again so hard that his dick wrenched out of her hand and a shot of it hit him straight in the eye and stung like nothing he’d ever had in there, and he yelled with the pain, but the yell could have been anything, and as she grabbed at his dick, which was leaping around like a shower dropped in an empty bath, she scratched his back deeply with the nails of both hands and he shot three more times, in thick stripes on her chest. Like Zorro.

2004 I am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe (Jonathan Cape)

Hoyt began moving his lips as if he were trying to suck the ice cream off the top of a cone without using his teeth. She tried to make her lips move in sync with his. The next thing she knew, Hoyt had put his hand sort of under her thigh and hoisted her leg up over his thigh. What was she to do? Was this the point she should say, ‘Stop!’? No, she shouldn’t put it that way. It would be much cooler to say, ‘No, Hoyt,’ in an even voice, the way you would talk to a dog that insists on begging at the table.
Slither slither slither slither went the tongue, but the hand that was what she tried to concentrate on, the hand, since it has the entire terrain of her torso to explore and not just the otorhinolaryngological caverns – oh God, it was not just at the border where the flesh of the breast joins the pectoral sheath of the chest – no, the hand was cupping her entire right – Now! She must say ‘No, Hoyt’ and talk to him like a dog…
…the fingers went under the elastic of the panties moan moan moan moan moan went Hoyt as he slithered slithered slithered slithered and caress caress caress caress went the fingers until they must be only eighths of inches from the border of her public hair – what’s that! – Her panties were so wet down…there the fingers had definitely reached the outer stand of the field of pubic hair and would soon plunge into the wet mess that was waiting right…therethere

2002 Tread Softly by Wendy Perriam (Peter Owen)

She lay back on the bed while he positioned himself above her, then she slid her feet up his chest and on to his shoulders – Mr Hughes’s shoulders. She closed her eyes, saw his dark-as-treacle-toffee eyes gazing down at her. Weirdly, he was clad in pin-stripes at the same time as being naked. Pin-stripes were erotic, the uniform of fathers, two-dimensional fathers. Even Mr Hughes’s penis had a seductive pin-striped foreskin. Enticingly rough yet soft inside her. The jargon he’d used at the consultation had become bewitching love-talk: ‘… dislocation of the second MTPJ … titanium hemi-implant …’
‘Yes!’ she whispered back. ‘Dorsal subluxation … flexion deformity of the first metatarsal …’
They were building up a rhythm, an electrifying rhythm – long, fierce, sliding strokes, interspersed with gasping cries.
‘Wait,’ Ralph panted. ‘let’s do it the other way.’ Swiftly he withdrew, arranged her on her hands and knees and knelt above her on the bed. It was even better that way – tighter, more exciting. She cupped his pin-striped balls, felt him thrust more urgently in response.
‘Oh yes!’ she shouted, screwing up her face in concentration, tossing back her hair. ‘Yes, oh Malcolm, yes!”

2001 Rescue Me by Christopher Hart (Faber & Faber)

Her hand is moving away from my knee and heading north. Heading unnervingly and with a steely will towards the pole. And, like Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Pamela will not easily be discouraged. I try twitching, and then shaking my leg, but to no avail. At last, disastrously, I try squeezing her hand painfully between my bony thighs, but this only serves to inflame her ardour the more. Ever northward moves her hand, while she smiles languorously at my right ear. And when she reaches the north pole, I think in wonder and terror…she will surely want to pitch her tent.

2000 Kissing England by Sean Thomas (Flamingo)

It is time, time to fuck her. Now. Yes. Brupt, he rises, turns her over, flips her white body. Her smallwhite tidy body. She is so small and so compact, and yet she has all the necessary features… Shall I compare thee to a Sony Walkman, thou are more compact and more
She is his own Toshiba, his dinky little JVC, his sweet Aiwa.
Aiwa – She says, as he enters her slimy red-peppers-in-olive-oil cunt – Aiwa, aiwa aiwa aiwa aiwa aiwa aiwa aiwa aiwa aiwa aiwaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh

1999 Starcrossed by AA Gill (Doubleday)

‘…His tongue is long and hard and tastes of mint. We don’t say anything, but he pushes me to my knees in the middle of the shop. It’s difficult to undo his flies. I put my hand in. It’s hot and damp, and then, Christ; it’s amazing, huge. It just goes on and on, as thick as…’
‘As a magnum? A jeroboam? A methuselah? A bitter pump?’
‘A fucking salami. Shut up, John.’
‘…he takes his clothes off until he’s just wearing his boots. I hook my nails into his really taut bottom and he pumps and nearly chokes me.’
‘How did he get his trousers off over his boots? I mean, does he take his boots off and put them back on again?’
‘Shut up. I pull my dress off and I’m naked. He reaches down and roughly grabs me between the legs. I can feel his long, bony finger slip inside me. His thumb slides into the crack of my bottom and lifts me like…’
‘A bowling ball? A six-pack?’
‘Like I was light as a feather.’
She got to his cock and stuck it between her teeth like a cigar…

(And so on.)

Potchefstroom 2: Return to the Big Screen

It was a great opportunity to get in a whole chunk of quality time with my father. This means sharing the joy of surfing through a hundred channels on DSTV and settling, ultimately, on something neither of us are sure the other one really wants to watch. On Saturday night this happened to be Conan the Barbarian; we resolved to get some chocolate on Sunday morning to sweeten Sunday night.

Watching Conan again did give me the opportunity to verify the verbatim version of Deon du Plessis’ favourite line from a movie. (I so make lemonade, I swear.) The version I found (and used) in Kevin Bloom’s article was “Find the enemy, crush him, and hear the lamentations of the women.” This is wrong.

In answer to the question, “Conan! What is best in life?” he responds, “Crush your enemies. See them driven before you. And hear the lamentation (sic) of their women.” It is posed by the sages of the East, where “language and writing were made available” to our bulging warrior-slave.

For a moment I was amazed by the insight of the 1980’s Hollywood film classic. True fans will be happy to know that even as I write, there is another Conan movie (not a remake, which “implies a new version of an original script” but a “franchise restart”, according to IMDB) in production in Hollywood. This is so hot off the press that no actors have even been signed yet. This is important, because as I understand it, in Hollywood the life of a film starts like this: Quentin has a conversation with Uma, and then they get money to make a flick even before they have a script.

In this case, it seems that Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories seem to be at least as bankable as the conversation between a cinematic enfant terrible and his leading lady. On the other hand, it might mean that the credit crunch is forcing the studios to dig up old-and-hopefully-still-sexy formulae that have been lying fallow, and to give new muscles with a lilting Austrian/Russian/Dutch-something accent the opportunity to flex on the silver screen. For the price of, uh, I don’t know… Brad-Pitt-in-Troy or Russell-Crowe-in-Gladiator[1]… one can make a whole period piece with some lovely unknown, soft-chinned, brawny youth. I think that is pretty groovy.

My father did not mind a bit that Arnold could hardly sputter out “…lamentation of their women”, so impressed was he with the wonderful art direction of Conan the Barbarian. I think we can agree that the spectacular reinvention of Star Trek, for example, must forebode similar fortunes for a new Conan movie. Twenty years of SFX development will enable the filmmakers to produce the mind-boggling giant demons and breath-taking fight sequences that will render a plot wholly redundant. I think I will miss a bit of plot in the next chapter, but still, Conan 2010 is probably going to be fantastic Saturday afternoon viewing on a big screen TV.

My father bought a million-inch flat screen TV last year sometime and when I go to visit, we spend a lot of time in front of it. On Saturday morning we had to go shopping for stuff to make macaroni cheese and shepherd’s pie, so that cut into our TV time quite a bit, but beyond that, Conan was not even the most fun we had on the weekend. On Saturday there was wall-to-wall rugby. (Sometimes I am surprised at the wit that can emanate from my dad. I am personally deeply offended by Francois Steyn’s blonde locks. I hardly lay eyes on him without wishing that he would get a nice haircut like Schalk. But there was always something else about him, and my father finally clarified it for me. “Hy lyk of iemand hom ‘n klap gegee het wat hy nie verdien het nie,” he commented when I mentioned that Francois always looked a bit glum. It was a revelation. Of course that is what he looks like.)

Not that we watched TV ALL the time, of course. Before lunch we sat in the sun, had a pre-lunch glass of wine, and chatted. Not so much about the Bible this time. More about family. Some about my brother. I asked him if he ever thinks about the fact that Douw might never move back to South Africa, and I could see that it was impossible for him to talk about that, even though he tried. So I made a very stupid joke and I changed the subject. I think we spoke about the rugby and dead people instead. And about how people in our family die. Apparently on his side, my grandfather’s contemporaries “is almal dood van hartaanvalle.” I don’t know why we thought that was funny, but we smiled with real humour.

But I digress. On Sunday morning I slept late. When I got to the lounge, he was already there, catching the highlights of the junior boks’ failed campaign in the IRB Junior World Champs. There was nothing on the movie channels, we found after 20 minutes of surfing, and I had no particular needs, so we turned to ESPN.

Did you know that on ESPN, from about 9 am on a Sunday, they have back-to-back American fishing programmes until after lunch? We watched quite a few until it was time to get dressed and move along to the Fishmonger for father’s day lunch, and when we got back after two, there was still fishing on TV. Amazing. We watched a bit, and then it was time for me come home.

I got a bag of lemons from the laden tree, and kudu fillet from the hunting trip. It was a good visit. The road home was clear, the late afternoon gold with the sun on the dead, winter, Highveld fields. It was impossibly beautiful.


[1] I googled the highest-earning male actors in Hollywood, and at the top of the list, because of the last Indiana Jones instalment, was Harrison Ford, with USD 65 million in the last year. Others were Will Smith, Adam Sandler, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Denzel… not a single one under forty. I guess even in Hollywood it pays to pay your dues, and regardless of how flavour-of-the-month you are, you have to be Tom Hanks before you get 20 million up front.