Thursday, October 15, 2009

From dusk till dawn

Yesterday was a day jam-packed full of experiences, different people and stories. It started with a lunch at The Monarch in Rosebank, which was a belated birthday bash put on by Zenani Mandela and Carolyn Steyn. I had to do a radio interview halfway through with Tom London who was syndicating it to the community radio stations. Tom is a fantastic interviewer and the thing was being pre-recorded so I felt very relaxed about it all, unusual for me because whenever I go on radio I get very nervous. The lunch was wonderful in the beautifully decorated dining room and we all had a nice glass of wine to relax us. Zenani had sent a basket of flowers to wish me well, which I picked up at Hyde Park as Carolyn had invited me to Alan Knott-Craig's book launch, Second is Nothing, taking place at Exclusive Books. The book was co-written with Eunice Afonso, who told us her name was pronounced UNEES, as in Unisa. We had a quick coffee beforehand with Aaron Stanger and his wife Gwen. Aaron was working on a great idea for a chain of theatres at various shopping centres, with accessible parking and add-ons such as restaurants to go to afterwards.

Debora Patta flew by, en route to Woolies not to the book launch, but not before she told me that she was off to Zimbabwe for a much-hoped for interview with Robert Mugabe. She has been trying for ten years she said, but has been banned from entering Zim for the last 5 years.

The (excellent) speeches by Alec Hogg and Ravi Naidoo as well as Alan himself, took a long time and we all died in the stuffy heat. Shopping centres insist on turning off their air-con at 6pm and we all, men included, had the most appalling hot flushes. "What is wrong with me?" inquired Tom London, who was there with his long term girlfriend Claudia.

A good Vodacom contingent was there to show support for a book which told about how "the father of cellular" in South Africa turned the company into a multi-million conglomerate worth R150-billion. Among those he thanked were former president Nelson Mandela who inspired him. A glowing Dot Field, back from a lovely cruise around the Mediterranean, had helped organise the evening together with Pan Macmillan and Joan Joffe was there to show the flag.

Alan's first wife Janet was nowhere to be seen and neither her nor her children were featured in the book. But wife no 2 Surina was very much in evidence, with an enormous cleavage. I decided later that her boobs should both have been given life sentences and locked up with no hope of parole. Talk about bad plastic surgery!

We then bumped into fellow "Patrizio lunchers", Hanli, Sean and Michael, with whom we drank a a few glasses of Moet which was chilling in the ice bucket and mostly ignored by the book launch party guests. After such a long day it was time to relax so we all went to the Hyde Park Southern Sun's new Italian restaurant Bice, named after Beatrice of Milan I was told. They have restaurants all over the world but this was the first one in Africa. There we had some sushi at the sushi bar (ran by ex-Sandton Sun's Japanese restaurant Daruma), told some more uproarious jokes and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. A perfect end to a busy day!

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