Off the Wall at A Touch of Madness

07/11/2017 // by Jan Moran Neil

‘Off the Wall at A Touch of Madness’
Off the Wall poetry groups are scattered across the southern peninsula of South Africa. I was booked to perform at the pub and restaurant ‘A Touch of Madness’ in Cape Town. The naming and setting were apt.
The evening commenced with Jacques, who is, are we supposed to now say, visually impaired – ? reading beautifully I might add, a Carol Ann Duffy poem before my spot. ‘Lola’ intruded. This is what she called herself and at first I think everyone thought she might be a friend of somebody else. I don’t know what ‘Lola’ was on but she threw (someone else’s) red wine over Jacques’s Braille laptop causing 18,000 rand of damage. Translated, on weak days for the rand, that’s £1000. All in the name of red lipstick which she kept shouting. Lola was dispatched and I took my spot which was immediately followed by us all identifying ‘Lola’ on a mobile phone who had escaped from a local mental institution. My friend Karen took me home in a massive Cape storm but we also transported another poet unknown to us who gave us a fascinating forty minute life story which is probably best kept for another day. When we had dispatched our poet friend, Karen spotted a leopard toad on the road and in bare feet jumped from the driver seat to re-direct the toad. It may have been our toad as Mister Justin Case has been collecting rain water in bins for the past three weeks and found a toad had taken up abode in one of them. Despite a number of storms since we arrived there has been a dire water shortage on the Cape peninsula. When I arrived home, having come through wind and rain of all sorts, Mister Justin Case had been connecting plastic pipes from the drains to top up the pool level.
I’ve also been performing at the Fish Hoek library, one of my best audiences ever with one of the best organisers. She introduced me and said, ‘Let’s face it. Some poets reading their own work are dreadful. Let’s hope Jan is a bit better …’
Could it only happen here? With South Africans you get what it says on the tin, depending on which way the wind is blowing and this morning, it’s mad.
Creative Ink classes at the Fitzwilliams Centre, Beaconsfield begin on Tuesday 9th January for 5 weeks and the course is running but has some places left. Email me.
Also the ‘Get that book’ arrangement has some places.

One thought on “Off the Wall at A Touch of Madness

  1. Mister Red Hat says:

    What a priceless introduction! No doubt you just about exceeded expectations. Reminds me of the time when I was with an unnamed radio DJ who was meeting his listeners. One lady bounded up with her husband. “I’m moving to Australia in a month, so I’m recording all your shows to take with me as we enjoy it so much.” Said DJ had a warm glow. “… mind you, it’s not you we like …it’s the music…everytime you come on, I press the Pause button!”

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