All posts filed under: Arts & Leisure

Hell hath no fury as an Aldi shopper scorned

Nothing creates quite the same feeding frenzy as an Aldi Special Buy. A decorator friend was after an exclusive stool. The product had been advertised for weeks, tantalisingly photographed in an array of stylish settings. It was not your average stool, but a curvaceous, natural wood, slightly African looking stool with a design nod to a bongo drum. My friend arrived at her local store early as all seasoned Aldi shoppers do. They know the drill. There are only so many said items in stock. There are none in reserve. No “rainchecks” or returning for another shipment. She wasn’t alone. Several other intrepid shoppers had braved the icy winter’s morning to claim their booty. Polite conversation masked the desire to cut to the chase and elbow everyone else out of the way to be first in line. One burly gentleman admitted his wife had raced off to work and left him with strict instructions to return with treasure. Or else. The doors opened. My friend entered the fray and was immediately trapped in trolley traffic …

Middle-Aged Dread

IN MY MOTHER’S ERA, middle-aged mothers were content to be middle-aged mothers. They wore comfortable clothing and would not have dreamed of trying to fit into their teenage daughter’s jeans or befriending her friends on Facebook. There were a couple of ‘glamour pusses’ in the small town in which I grew up – perhaps the local boutique or beauty parlour owner – but on the whole, they were all of similar elk. I don’t remember anyone being particularly reed slim unless born that way, and I don’t recall anyone power walking with weights or hiring a personal trainer to work on their ‘abs’. There were no gym junkies because there were no gyms and a weekly game of tennis was the sociable ‘exercise’ of choice. The more adventurous souls took up yoga when the fad hit town and I recall my nicely rounded mum proudly showing us how she could stand on her head. They settled into middle age with an accepting sigh and laughed off a couple of gained kilos or a midriff that …

ugly fruit and veg

Ugly Fruit and Veg – bring it on

BRITAIN–Jamie’s done it again – taken the road less traveled when it comes to food and exposed that lo and behold, consumers in Britain and surely elsewhere, have no problem buying what he terms ugly fruit and veg. Tons of fruit and vegetables deemed not perfect enough for consumers is dumped each year or turned into animal fodder. At one Norfolk farm he visited, up to 10 tons of imperfect vegetables were dumped a week. As Jamie pointed out in his Food Revolution series, this is perfectly edible fruit and vegetables, with exactly the same nutritional value as its prettier peers, it’s just a bit more gnarly and quirky than its commercially acceptable counterparts. Testing his theory about ugly fruit and veg To test his theory that consumers were not averse to buying deformed vegetables, he placed cameras at a particular supermarket and viewed customer reaction to the not so perfect vegetables which were marked 30% off. To his delight, consumers bought with gusto – they understood that not all vegetables grown are perfect and …

Introducing a community choral project: Voxi

Over the past three years Cape Town-based Nic Paton has been hard at work on a community choral collective entitled Voxi – an intriguing, warm, spacious set of songs exploring ancient and contemporary spiritual traditions with ‘awe, yearning, and gratitude’. Voxi’s tagline is ‘exploring sacred song spaces’. So perhaps this comforting album is something timely, given this week of mourning for Nelson Mandela. The album has a number of fascinating and moving back stories. For example ‘Fully Grey’ (featuring the exciting, angelic voice of his daughter Gemma) was penned by Alison MacPhail who died at 28 but whose dearest goal was to become old, wrinkled and grey. And ‘Abwoon‘, the Aramaic ‘Our Father‘ might unintentionally be a reverent tribute to Madiba, ‘Tata, Father of the Nation.‘ Out of a sense of artistic and spiritual journey, they have developed a unique sacred music referencing varied traditions from the Psalmists to the Post/Modern, using six languages. Now available on iTunes and other outlets, it’s a veritable gift for Christmas 2013. Visit voxichoir.net to hear, see and read more.

“Off the Cuff” with Ceramic Mosiac Artist, Jane du Rand

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA―Ceramic mosaic artist, Jane du Rand’s breathtaking artworks adorn the walls of numerous homes, hotels, spas and public spaces across South Africa and in distant locations such as Chile, The Netherlands, New York and the South of France. JournoNews was fortunate to catch-up with her for this week’s “Off the Cuff”. My secret pleasure is … my morning cuppacino with a piece of Lindt dark chocolate. My first job was … working as a photographer’s assistant, I thought it would be glamorous, but all I did was code negatives. My most annoying habits are … being single minded and obstinate. A clear childhood memory is … spending hours and hours in the swimming pool with my sister. What makes me really nervous is … month ends! The best advice my parents gave me was … to always give of my best in everything I do. If I wasn’t an artist … I was going to be an architect. I’m most thankful for … my wonderful family. My favourite meal is … I really love fresh pasta with …

Australian Ultra Cycle Event supporting underprivileged Kenyan children

Calling intrepid cyclists! The Grand Tour of Hope 2013 charity cycling event leaves Brisbane’s Rocks River Park for Crow’s Nest on a challenging 600km route on May 24, 2013 with cyclists returning to Brisbane on May 27, 2013. While the event attracts experienced cyclists, it’s not all about endurance. The aim is to raise much needed funds for orphaned or heavily disadvantaged children in Kenya. In the past three years, a total of $180,000 has been raised from proceeds from the Grand Tour and its sister event, the family-friendly Tour of Hope held in September. The Grand Tour is limited to 30 entrants and the $500 entry fee includes a cycling jersey, accommodation, meals, transport and the support of a full crew during the four-day event.  While there is a basic entry fee, participants are also encouraged to attempt a fund raising target of $1,000. Ten acres of prime land bordering Lake Victoria in Western Kenya has already been purchased with funds from both Tour of Hope events in the past three years. The land …

“Off the Cuff” with artist Mike McMeekan

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA—Durban-born, Adelaide-adopted artist, Mike McMeekan shares a lighter side of his life as well as some of his favourite art pieces with JournoNews. My secret pleasure … I try to avoid secret pleasures – they often have a way of coming out into the light. My first job was … The clerk to a teller at a notorious two man agency of the Standard Bank in Point Road which had been robbed many times. We both had to wear side arms, and I, an 18 year old novice was given one. I felt like Dirty Harry. My most annoying habits are … As a sufferer of post nasal drip I need to clear my throat constantly, sometimes I need to spit and whilst I am cautious about the where and when; sometimes I have limited options. It can be embarrassing. A clear childhood memory is … Family sing-a-longs around the upstairs piano. What makes me really nervous is … Letting my family down. The best advice my parents gave me was … My father drilled …

Making Music from Recycled Garbage

Each day in the town of Cateura, Paraguay, garbage collectors swarm like flies around fresh loads of dumped trash looking for goods to sell. Established on landfill, the town is a dangerous place to raise children who are at risk of being enticed into dealing in drugs and joining gangs. As a deterrent, orchestra director Szaran and music teacher Fabio decided to set up a music program. However, the number of children who wanted to join the program far outnumbered the available instruments. That soon changed when Szaran and Fabio were brought a violin made out of discarded materials. As time passed and the idea of making instruments from trash caught on, The Recycled Orchestra was formed. An upcoming film, ‘Landfill Harmonic’, to be released in 2014, captures the creativity of the human soul and the determination to transform other people’s trash into beautiful sounding musical instruments played by children. Like Landfill Harmonic on Facebook    

Paradise found at Amber Valley

Where else in the world, I think as I observe seven warthog, blesbuck, impala and zebra grazing contentedly on the banks of someone’s lawn. I am in Amber Valley, one of a series of retirement complexes situated in lush former farmland overlooking the Umgeni Valley, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. At least 700 homes make up the estate which features a heated swimming pool, an adjacent 25m pool, tennis courts, a bowling green, club house and frail care centre. The centre bears no resemblance to the standard grey laminate/hospital fare associated with retirement. Instead, it is graciously decorated with colonial comfort – florals, comfortable wide wicker chairs – the walls adorned with botanical prints and tasteful African scenes. As retirement estates goes, it is paradise found. The club house overlooks a dam fed by a freshwater stream – otters often cavort as if to give a show to the oldies looking on. Egyptian geese are raising goslings – a troublesome task when legavaan keep stealing their young. The old boys have been watching and there is now …