Thursday, February 28, 2008
NVDL on NVDL
I’m well aware that the readers of this blog don’t come here to read about oil, or politics. Most of you come to check out my photographs and read about me – well, the regulars anyway. Believe it or not the most popular searched for item on my blog is a sexual position called ‘italian chandelier’.
I’m not sure what it’s doing on my blog in the first place other than routing a lot of horny university students from the USA to my website while I’m sleeping in the suburbs of Johannesburg. Anyhow, so much for me being the star attraction. But I know I’ve been providing less and less personal glimpses for a variety of reasons.
Where I am Now
I’ve been living in Johannesburg for 7 months now, and it has been a terrific move. Almost every aspect of my life has improved; I mean that. I am pretty happy to be where I am.
The difficulties I’m having are probably pretty obvious. It’s coping with change, meeting new people, coping with changing working, living and exercising environments. Exercise is one of the highlights. I train now at the top Health Club in the country, Melrose Arch. I’ve been to some impressive clubs, including The Point and Constantia, and Melrose Arch is very impressive. Part of the fun is going there with my buddy Alex; a very dedicated and balanced individual.
Alex has introduced me to the Standard Bank cycling club. I’m a member and it has been awesome riding along some of the most beautiful and tough routes in the city. Northcliff is one of the beacons on our route. I’ve also participated in races in Johannesburg that I would never have made the trouble to participate in if I didn’t live here. All of them have been phenomenal just in terms of organization and the sheer amount of cyclists attending. Each one is a festival of cycling, a mini Argus.
Alex has also introduced me to a lot besides cycling and the local gym. I’ve somewhat reluctantly tagged along to the occasional church meeting, and although my beliefs haven’t changed, I have re-evaluated what I believe to be the importance of ‘community’. If there is one thing churches do right, they help families be good families, and they bring families together. This is something wonderful and affirming, and something our society sorely needs.
Alex has been a sounding board for a lot of my concerns regarding the global and national economy. He is in possession of a lot of facts, and has expert opinion on his side. Nevertheless, no matter how intelligent you are, it seems we do tend to see what we believe we are seeing, and not always what is actually there.
I brought some of the best stuff from my exhibition in Bloem, and I’m quite proud that two large black and white photographs are framed and hanging in a classy bedroom in Victoria road, Houghton. I’ve recently published photography in the Rapport, The Times and Sunday Times, and over the next two months Leisure Wheels will be publishing a bunch of pictures associated with a two part article. True Love will also be publishing pictures I shot this past weekend, and a few upcoming photos.
Roxanne Meyer has been a tremendously exciting discovery. It is almost impossible to take a bad photo of this girl, and you realize how special she is when you shoot other models. She is also very special for her work ethic and humility. She comes across super-confident but she’s still just a young 19 – almost 20 year old – trying to do her thing and also please and keep happy the people that love her. She is also enormously talented and – I reiterate – very hard working. She’s got a lovely bubbly personality. In the short time I’ve known her she has essentially realized what she wants and performed in two different movies within days of each other.
I’m thrilled to be working with her and it has nothing to do with money, and everything to do with inspiration. She swims 12 – 14km a day and I have tremendous respect for that sort of grim – almost terrible – determination.
I am currently busy with a new novel-for-the-movies called The Butcher The Butcher. It’s written with Roxanne in mind, and I already have interest from an independent producer/director who was involved with Triomf and has extensive experience at the SABC. I’ve also offered Weston DeWalt (author of The Climb and a documentary filmmaker who once commented on my blog) the first option for filming rights.
On hold are HOLIDAY and FIRE, ICE AND THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD, both post apocalyptic stories about environment and climate collapse. HOLIDAY has been enthusiastically endorsed by all my friends who have read it. Publishers won’t even take a sniff. I’m considering forking out around R7000 to publish it with Xlibris (a self publishing arm of Random House). FIAWWW will be resuscitated once The Butcher is finished and klaar.
I’ve had some success publishing articles in mainstream media, and a recent article on South Africa rocketed to the top of Ohmynews most popular articles of the week.
In progress right now is a Seoul Press Tour scheduled for the end of April. If I don’t go to that I will do the Panorama tour.
Cycling [abridged version - the original was 2 pages long)
Last year Southern Free State Cycling interfered with my licensing, and this happened specifically because an asshole decided to sabotage my attempt to ride at SA Cycling champs... The fact that I was blocked by outside forces from doing SA’s dealt a huge blow to my motivation and enthusiasm for the sport. Thanks for that. Unfortunately I believe quite a few people took great satisfaction in that. These are people with an incredibly nasty, sucky attitude. I went through a long period where I had actually decided to quit cycling. Part of the despondency was the commitment involved in training, and the struggles to overcome sickness, and then to have people intentionally go out of their way to mete out their fucked up schemes of justice against someone who wants to get on his bicycle and ride – and these are churchgoers – it left an incredibly sour taste in my mouth. I had that recurring sense of loss – where you’ve done a lot of work, apparently for nothing. It was also a great time trial route on my back door, my age group was quite wide open, but there you go, the opportunity was spoiled and lost.
It was Alex who began to inspire love, confidence and the original spirit of cycling,and being in Gauteng made it easier to start again. Alex is in awesome shape, and he reminded me of the cyclist I once used to be. He also said that there is not much point sitting around getting fat…do you need to have a license to get fit? Isn’t training itself a reward?
Part of the despondency was also personal. How could I allow a small bump in the road to derail my plans? But after a while more and more people expressed their displeasure with CSA. The cyclist who died, Ryan Cox, may be alive today if the sports body that should have taken an interest in him had been there for him. He had to borrow money from a fellow cyclist for his operation. That isn’t right.
Today I am in pretty decent shape, but it has taken a long time to build up some momentum. It is difficult to build when you are transferring your life to another location geographically, and in the last 3 years I’ve done that a lot. The good news is, I am starting to improve quickly now. I am settled and strong, and the motivation is there. The Argus is on the cards, but I still haven’t decided for sure. I’ve hurt a few muscles in the last race, and there are one or two other issues. But I am in E, and I believe I can improve on last year. Even if I don’t do the Argus, I will be training through winter and setting my sights on good performances later this year.
Sorry, I’m not going to be sharing any personal anecdotes here, although there are some juicy ones. On average, things are looking positive; plenty of avenues for growth and creativity. To some extent growth depends on to what extent the gatekeepers allow you through to do anything new.
Alex and his family have really welcomed me into their home and it’s awesome to have great friends nearby. What great people.
I have made an effort to meet people in Johannesburg. I even went to local church – that’s huge for me. I recently took my landlady to a movie premiere and I’ve met a few people at gym (Roxanne for starters). But otherwise I’ve had incredibly bad luck. I’ve really met a string of people – girls mostly – who need counseling or at least time management training. I’m not sure why people give out business cards if they never answer their phones? This has been quite a low point, but since I have a girlfriend I’ve been fairly okay with the constant cancellations and postponements. It may have something to do with everyone being enormously ‘busy’. I’m just not someone who is happy to send 30 sms, 20 emails, and make 15 calls in order to meet once for coffee. It’s too much admin.
Is this town filled with high maintenance people?
Marriage may well be on the cards within the next two years.
What I’m Reading Right Now
I’ve ordered First Man on the Moon and World Made by Hand, from Amazon. I’m reading scriptwriting books and re-reading the likes of The World is Flat. I’m busy writing The Butcher The Butcher so I am looking at scripts in a similar genre.
Big things are happening here, but I need to be fairly discreet at this point.
I’ll be watching Juno, No Country for Old Men and There Will be Blood in the coming weeks. I’m keen on being Barry Ronge’s alter ego. Nick Wrighte. Barry’s tastes seem to me are not as vigorous, youthful or in touch as they once were. I still find his writing very necessary reading and I’d like to interview him or at least have a conversation with him. I also intend to shoot a short film myself, hopefully before August this year. A surprisingly good film, I thought, that I’ve seen recently was The Kingdom.
I need to do another Ironman soon. Probably 2009.
As I say, the cycling thing really made a mess of my momentum and it’s my fault that it did, but I’m at a significantly lower level now than I would have been. This continues to make me angry.
Like Alex I’d like to be more involved in MTB, doing events such as the Epic, and other tours. He is doing Sani to sea over the next few days and next year I’d like to be there with him.
Publishing a book, that’s way overdo.
Producing a script.
Having this blog hit 100 000 by end of December this year.
Making a difference in terms of the common delusions people suffer from.
Being seen as an intelligent commentator and intellectual on urgent issues facing human beings not only in this nation, and in the world today.