We will always have Parys

That German fellow Schilbach, a veteran of the siege of Paris in 1870, thought that something on the banks of the Vaal reminded him of the French capital on the banks of the Seine, and hence Parys,  founded in 1887, was christened. Apparently a few renegades claim that “Parys” was a shortened version of “Paradys”, the intended name originally, but I found only one source to support this.

The latter version may have been better publicity as, tragically, a walk through the northern Freestate town reminds one not even vaguely of the history and excessive romance of its European namesake.

On my only visit, Parys’ business centre felt like small-town business centres all over South Africa. Low and low-cost uniform brick-and-glass shop fronts sported Chinese porcelain or clothing specials marked in bright neon paper stars. A home ware shop window was crammed with huge towers of aluminium cooking pots teetering towards arrangements of beige stoneware crockery and enamelled containers in yellow, blue and green. The packaging of the electrical appliances was faded  by the sun which beat down on the stoic little display. From a certain point of view and at the time, it was beautiful.

Now, however, Continue reading


Barrel of fun

 First of all, I have to say that the Captain Morgan ad with the guys resting their feet on imaginary barrels of rum irritates the bejesus out of me. (I think that’s how you spell bejesus.)

Then, about the movie Hanging Up with Meg Ryan and Diane Keaton and the very funny stupid one from Friends… it’s a pretty good comedy. Sometimes, being from the Hollywood factory, it cannot help itself from slipping into moronity, but there are hilarious moments. Walter Matthau as the malicious, spiteful father is great.

Not being a sentimental person, the end irritated me almost as much as the Captain Morgan ad. The nasty father dying peacefully in his sleep and the sisters loving each other and getting over the sibling rivalry is neither realistic nor attractive. And the long skirt look on Meg was a serious fashion faux pas, although the witty hair I think almost made up for that. Diane Keaton had fantastic legs.

There is a great moment in the film when the cover of Georgia’s (Diane) magazine is revealed and in the picture she is sucking on what looks like a Cohiba Splendido and the caption is “Is 40 the new 30?”. I don’t know about 40-being-the-new-30. On the one hand I think it is true. I certainly feel thirty. (Ahem.) And with the wrinkle iron I don’t look… my age, but I don’t want to BE thirty (or thirty-five), I swear. The thought of living one single year longer than destiny has written for me in the stars is completely exhausting.

I love the cigar in the picture. I have not had one in years, but I loved them. Smoking ages you, you know.