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You know those signs at camp sites that say “Leave it like you found it”? Take you trash with you. Not even “leave it better” or make any improvements. Just leave everything as it was when you got there. I think that should apply to all places, and even people. At the beginning of this […]

Username: Simpiwe_ Password: ********* I stared at myself in the black screen in the approximately three seconds before it came alive. My hair was already growing. I leaned in for a closer look on the make shift mirror before it was time to go live. Bags under my eyes, the “black don’t crack” jokes that […]

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As a journalist for a Sunday paper, I often have to work the Saturday late shift. That requires sitting in the office from 18:00 to midnight and making crime and emergency calls. Of course this is also the time in which I practise my choreography and stuff my face with an assembly line of food. […]

Is there anything better than a rude waiter? Oh golly, I clasp my hands together and oscillate with closed eyes at the thought of it. Waiting is such a strange profession. I’ve been a cater waiter and I take my hat off to anyone who does this for a living. It is hard work. Writer […]

I guess I should start this post by saying that this is not the actor Robin Williams, but a friend who happens to have the same name. I haven’t posted in quite some time and thought I’d share a share. I found this on Facebook of all places and it hit me. Robin blogs here. […]

Ashes – a review

Stefan Erasmus and Jason Jacobs in Ashes. Image – http://alexanderbar.co.za/show/Ashes/

What came first? The staging or the script. Do the two work together? Do they happen over time as they bleed into each other. These are questions as old as theatre itself, and probably with reasonable answers, and I couldn’t help but wonder while watching Ashes.

Deprecation aside, this review wont do anything to sway ticket sales for this play in its final week at the theatre at Alexander Bar in Cape Town. But good art must be appreciated where it can.

But back to the stage. Small – very small – restricting and inescapable. When the actors looked at me, I felt like they were actually looking at me and connecting, indicting and pleading; not merely looking through me as actors are supposed to.

Their performances grab you by the throat. When they break down, you will want to run up and hold them and say “It’s going to be ok” even though you knows it’s really not.

Ashes tells the story of two queer brown boys in Cape Town – a description that belies the depth of the story. These levels of depth felt while watching the two actors, Stefan Erasmus and Jason Jacobs’s characters dance around each other is breath taking.

They flit in and out of various characters, chipping away until the nuances in the archetypes are revealed. A flick of a jersey transforms a young man into a judgmental woman; a hoodie turns the other young man into his homophobic bully. The supporting characters all float around the main two, who interact with each other only briefly, letting the audience in on their tender moments – intimate, honest and gut wrenching, as we are driven to the conclusion, which was obvious but still impactful.

The mostly epistolary (letter writing) style works well, as the characters tell their stories without reaction from other characters. But the only downside I could find, which still works in its own way, was the crutch of exposition. Parents and son tell of his coming out story, and the conversation about what to call each other – boyfriends, lovers, partners? Forced, but still necessary. By virtue of its existence, queer work is still revolutionary, but somehow still new, therefore nothing can be taken for granted.

Don’t let the words queer and brown throw you off. It’s a story that many can relate to – the two lovers meet by chance in the city. One a small town buy. Forces work against them and their ghostly worlds are torn apart. The notion of love, not as obvious as in other works, binds the characters, but hardly ever at the same time.

I went in not knowing what the play was about other than the risky epithet of “gay play”, and was taken aback by the devastating account.

The audience was small, a lot less than the already small theatre at Alexander Bar could hold, which led me to believe that this was a play that was not being seen by as many people as it should.

<p>Author <a href=”https://plus.google.com/102128103971030481396” target=”blank” rel=”author”>Jerome Cornelius</a></p>

Be funny

“Bad things happen when good people fall apart. Good things happen when, oh I don’t know…” – Chinua Achebe, I think.

What is funny? Apparently me, at times.

“I must say, I find your poetry unbearable,” said a supposed friend. Well, friend, EBRAHIM, I find your face unbearable yet there it is, existing against all odds, but you don’t hear me saying anything about it. Oh, right. Well, here it is.. me being funny *sigh*

So apparently I have that proverbial funny bone. I tend to disagree. I regularly receive mails about how unfunny I am. My parents have a lot of time on their hands. The notes under the door were overkill, you guys. You’ve made your point.

I prefer to think of it as mildly amusing, hence the blog category, but I digress. The difference between funny people and those who are not is that the former let it out. They share their gifts with the world. Like oysters. Or strippers. And now you’re picturing an oyster as a stripper. You’re welcome.

So I don’t think I’m that funny, really. When asked to tell a joke, I just say “my life.” Failing that, my best and instant solution is to get naked. This usually garners the necessary laughs until I can make a speedy exit, slithering out with the help of a tub of Vaseline and strong resolve, and thigh muscles.

Seriously, I’m responsible for most of the hard abs in Cape Town, as well as many therapy bills.

But I do love humour. It has literally saved this life. Nothing humbles me more than humour. Well, that and peeing in a bottle in morning traffic. I HAD A BIG BREAKFAST.

My life is so tragic at times. Like when someone tries to break up with you and you stare at them, wondering, did this not happen a month ago? (true story) Or when spell check highlights a word and there are no options in the suggested list. I THOUGHT YOU KNEW ME, SPELL. IS THAT EVEN YOUR REAL NAME? WHAT ELSE HAVE YOU BEEN LIEING ABOUT?

These are the moments when we must step back, regroup, throw our heads back, lose balance, fall over the edge, scream, wake up, cry for an hour, drink a lot, and then laugh.

An important point is to always channel your energy into a force for positivity. Take the circumstances you’re in and use it to make a better situation. Like my anxiety about going into men’s rest rooms. After endless consultations with my spiritual advisers, I realised that the best way to turn that situation around is to remove the penis from my mouth and ask, “hey, what’s your name?”

It’s about taking back your power.

The bottom line is… a row of homosexual men, but also I’m only ever funny, (sorry, “funny”) when I’m sad. Life is trash, but that’s no excuse to let it get the better of you. It’s a terrible paradox, but so true when looking to great comedians. The tears of a clown and all that. In fact, fuck you Happiness. What have you ever done for us, besides those feelings of joy, contentment and… oh wait, I see how that can be appealing. But still, urgh!

“Remember, it’s important to laugh at yourself before you can laugh at others. Some of my best laughs started while I was feeling myself” – Dalai Lama, probably.

<p>Author <a href=”https://plus.google.com/102128103971030481396” target=”blank” rel=”author”>Jerome Cornelius</a></p>

With the scourge of stories in the media that hog our attention, two young men are trying to make a difference in the lives of others using their love of skate boarding as their vehicle for change.

I met them in Gugulethu where they conduct their program, and wrote this article about the experience.

Click the link below to read:

http://www.timeslive.co.za/thetimes/2015/03/30/hope-ramped-up-at-skateboard-school

<p>Author <a href=”https://plus.google.com/102128103971030481396” target=”blank” rel=”author”>Jerome Cornelius</a></p>

My journey, too – UWC

This post was meant to go out on the 18th, but friends and followers of mine know that technology is no friend of mine.I hit “publish”, but WordPress, it seems, had other ideas.

I graduated recently and, now that I have a Master’s degree, I feel no different. A let-down, I know, but that’s it. I’m totally proud of myself and it felt awesome getting that piece of paper, but like my previous degree, I was so tired and busy, that I was all about ‘The show must go on’. The show being life.

What felt cool was the gratification that finishing this degree was the end of a leg of a journey I’ve been on, that includes this blog.

I started this little online thing in 2012 when I was forced to for a course called Digital Cultures. I had been scared and complacent in equal measures. I got over my fear (read about that here) But I got on with it and three years later, I’m still here.

My university played a big part in this journey and my development as academic and person. I discovered a lot about myself, which I hope to reveal even more over time. One of the biggest parts was my love for creative writing. I even got a distinction in poetry, and learned that I’m not too shabby as an editor.

Below is one of the first assignments we were given in 2012, the title being “My journey to UWC”. I adapted it for my own poem.

The university is important to me as it was here when I first realised what it means to be black.  This idea was one that evolved over time to me, to today when it is something that is not only political, but essential. (My view on race and South Africa here )

University of the Western Cape was known as a hotbed for struggle academics during apartheid. This is the legacy that I uphold as I carry what Ive learned with me on my journey.

My journey too, UWC

The long black tongue extends before me,

it pulls me in,

as I go

dash dash, white stripes

light light, I can’t hide

The black tongue of sucking on

nikka balls (not the way it’s spelled,

but you can’t say it like that,

we were warned)

Freedom: the freedom of the black tongue

taking me to that place of

freedom. Liberation:

where black tongues spoke with

white dash tongues

with pink tongues,

with words that freed.

I hear words now,

but chatter, drivel, mindless post smut,

marring our journey

I drive. We all do.

Mesmerised, but hypnotised,

we are rats on a track.

I hear about death, and then i see it.

Every day.

It screams at me from amidst the drivel,

shouts from lamp posts,

lies on the black tongue.

Innocent, four legs in the air,

some stiff, some fresh,

in red pools, we should be ashamed.

But we drive.

I arrive, at my place

and the black tongue will keep going.

I will not.

I am here to learn:

freedom and liberation.

But we all yearn for the struggle,

for the words that emancipated

from black tongues,

mouths that sucked on sweets,

now whisper words of

“We are here”

<p>Author <a href=”https://plus.google.com/102128103971030481396” target=”blank” rel=”author”>Jerome Cornelius</a></p>

I moved to Johannesburg in February 2014 for an internship. I got the job and have since moved home to Cape Town. I have a television set in my room, yet I’ve only turned the dastardly thing on once to try and connect the dvd player to it. I failed.

And I’ve had no desire since to use it otherwise.

My name is Jerome Cornelius, also known as JAW, and I’ve been clean for fourteen months. Well, mostly.

When I moved I had been watching many tv shows. Many. American Horror Story: Coven, Grey’s Anatomy, The Walking Dead, among others and endless hours of news channels and their related shows. I was a consumer, and eventual addict.

This was nothing new. I had been watching tv for as long as I could remember.

These days, my consumption is limited to the tv set at work, to my right with a slight turn of the head (always tuned to a news channel or sport, because men) and an Indian telenovella, because that’s a real thing.

I suppose it is not as inspirational as other addictions (insert facetious inverted commas at your own sarcastic discretion, you bitches. Urgh, I hate you all) but I felt like I kicked a veritable habit.

And cold turkey, no less.

But here’s the difference: I had no choice. I had not quite hit rock bottom, as is the parlance, but I had no other way to go. The one time I watched tv was when I slept over at a friend’s place. I don’t always do well with sleep, so while the boys did that, I pigged out on Oprah and Friends.

My problem before was that I would zone out and watch for hours on end, with nary a thought about what I was doing. I always thought I was quite conscious, even before I knew what consciousness was. I remember a lot of what I watched and tried my best to balance out the fluff with news and educational programmes.

Do I miss it? Sometimes. Had you asked me a year ago I would have curled up into a ball, naked and held myself for hours on end, shivering.

But now I have more time for books and other wordy things. I have more time to think and to annoy all of you with blog posts. I can chat on my phone without keeping an eye on what’s playing in front of me. But mostly it made me aware of exactly how much time I had been keeping an eye on that screen in front of me.

The lesson? And this is not a sub-blog to my drinking friends, although maybe it should be, but whatever you do, do it with a focused mind.

I miss the mindlessness. I miss the entertainment. I miss logging out of life and leaving it all at the door, along with my pants and forgetting the world. But at least I know I don’t need it anymore.

 

<p>Author <a href=”https://plus.google.com/102128103971030481396” target=”blank” rel=”author”>Jerome Cornelius</a></p>

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