Thursday, July 1, 2010

Festival Fare

The Grahamstown Festival creeps up on us every year and every year I venture through to Grahamstown for a day out and vow that next year I will stay a whole week and overdose on the arts.
This year was no different. I have an excuse this year - I was distracted by the soccer and the visitors it has brought to my home - but I spotted a gap on Monday and scrounged a lift through to the festival with my daughter-in-law, Helen, as I was without wheels for the day. What fun we had!

No trip from PE in that direction would be complete without a pie from Nananga farm stall. So pies for breakfast it was, with takeaway coffee, eaten in style in the car park! We resisted the fatkoek - How I don't know!

We wrapped up well - having been told that it was freezing the day before, but we arrived at the monument to glorious sunshine and a gentle breeze - about gale force - but it's always windy upon that hill. The usual scene greeted us posters, posters and more posters. How to choose what to see from such an assortment of festival fare was impossible so we used a process of elimination. We wanted to be at least halfway back before night fall, a visit to the Village Green was necessary as we had got there late last year and missed out, and it was Monday - we needed to laugh! So we booked for the 2pm David Newton Show - then headed off to the Village Green.

It's a curious phenomena that when at an arts festival,common sense,reason and left brain logic evaporate and my right brain mode - that I am forced to keep in check for most of the year, takes over. I think many festinos relate to this. If you look around sane, normal and ordinary people sport attire that can only be described as wacky! Head gear is everywhere and ranges from Fare isle tasselled pixie hats to bright felt jester hats to velvet cloches in jewel shades. I sported my black trilby - bought last year as the festival coincided with Michael Jackson's death and my right brain ordered me to walk around Grahamstown in the black hat and one white glove! RIP Michael - wackiness is in full swing in Grahamstown. I have lost the white gloves but had a pair of socks in my handbag in case my hands went numb with cold. Thankfully the weather came to the party and we were glad that we had gone for the layered look and that we were able to shed a few layers as the mercury hit 25C.

My purchases this year included a stunning African papermache Santa with a trunk for a nose(or is it a phallic representation)- It was love at first sight for me when I saw this metre high camp figurine. It was a difficult choice between that and the divine giraffe with eyelashes! In the clothing line I was looking for a traditional outfit for those occasions where the invite say formal or traditional. I saw lovely ones but they were very expensive and not made for my traditional build! In the end I spotted a skirt in orange and black - made in China XXL, and a steal at R80. Although I did get the details of a lady in Queenstown who promised she would make me some designer African gear in one day if I was able to get there early. I also bought some very comfortable looking Palazo pants in bright pink and black floral fabric that I can't wait to wear to ..... er .... The festival next year. Beading was everywhere and I did my bit for cultural social responsibility and bought plenty to put with the beaded parrot that I bought last year and have no idea what to do with.

Helen hugged her sheepskin slippers to her chest and stroked her two coordinating tasselled pixie hats excited at the prospect of wearing them on an upcoming camping trip with Mark. I want a photograph please! Coffee promised to be a rushed affair - we scraped around our bags for our last R20 taking turns to hold the huge, camp, African, papermache Santa. In the coffee tent we met an old friend not seen for many years so we couldn't rush and when Elvis appeared and presented a photo opportunity - I had to oblige.

We left the building with Elvis and rushed off to our show, arriving just in time and then we laughed for an hour and a half with David Newton. The people behind me laughed so loud and long that I thought they were coloured folk (those who have seen his show will relate to this - apparently us whities do sign laughing as we are too inhibited to laugh out loud). David Newton was funny, clever, slick, sexy and frankly gorgeous! Another photo opportunity awaited as we exited St Andrews Hall. Don't miss this show if it comes to PE.

Helen and I then decided that a pie for breakfast and coffee didn't make a healthy diet so we went in search of festival fare meandering amongst the Nigerian stalls all selling sunglasses, bags and fur berets; We passed bonnet-wearing donkeys, street children aka mime artists and guitar playing, dread locked opportunists looking earning their next smoke. We promised two African street traders we would come back for the crocheted beanies in reggae colours and headed for the nearest coffee.

Food was welcome, hot coffee even more and as the sun got lower,the layers went back on and we tramped back to the car - our feet throbbing! Helen resisted driving home in her new slippers and we drove off into a spectacular sunset. Festival over for another year. Next year I am definitely going to rent accommodation and spend a week watching 3shows per day in my black and bright pink floral pants and festival hat! Anyone care to join me?

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