'TWAS an auspicious occasion this week as the St Clement's arts soiree celebrated its 10the anniversary in style, renowned songbird Shomon entertaining us with guitar, keyboard, and vocal cords, interspersed with readings by compere Pieter Scholtz from short stories he has written to an unusual formula.
Pieter goes into a bookshop, notes the new titles on sale then goes home and writes short stories based on the titles of books he has not read. Very amusing. This probably does not count as plagiarism but it could be one-upmanship.
There was an undercurrent of sadness as this was also au revoir to Shomon, who is going to Lesotho on a three-year contract. Singing at the casino? Renditions of the gumboot dance perhaps? No, Shomon is going to a remote part of the mountain kingdom to play Mary Poppins to the children of Canadian families who are there on a construction project.
She says she will spend her spare time composing new songs. What could be more conducive than the mountains of Lesotho? Having heard her songs this week, which included the soulful Mama Afrika and The First Time I kissed A Dolphin, it should be worth the wait. A feature of her performance this week was the way she navigated the keyboard, getting her hand round an awkwardly placed microphone to reach the high keys. One watched with fascination.
There was also a slight undercurrent of dodginess. A banknote for many hundreds of francs was in circulation about the place, ostensibly issued in the Belgian Congo during the colonial era. The bank governor's signature was in the name of Jean-Marie Spitaels, a staunch St Clement's participant who writes poetry and plays the harmonica with gusto. What should be the image of King Leopold is that of none other than Jean-Marie Spitaels.
Jean-Marie worked as a doctor in the Congo in his early days. He turns 90 soon, and I only hope he doesn't get into trouble with the counterfeit squad.
INVESTMENT analyst Dr James Greener brings us, in his latest grumpy newsletter, an old and familiar story.
"'The story you are about to hear is true. Names and places have been changed to protect the innocent.' This was the sort of disclaimer that preceded the half-hour whodunnit in the days of steam radio.
"Nowadays the rubric ahead of the never-ending tales of corruption should be: 'The story you are about to hear is the same old one. Only the names, organisations and amounts stolen are different'.
"The most recent development in one of them is that the main suspect has been fired. Undoubtedly he is already punching the speed-dial codes for the finest lawyers that (our) money can buy. The next chapter in the same old story is usually that the self-declared angelic servant of the people who has been caught with hand in cookie jar resents the suggestion that he/she was naughty and panics about maintaining lifestyle.
"Years of court time stretch ahead and the partners of Sue, Grabbit & Runne (as in Private Eye magazine) in turn summon their architects and order yet another Sandton glass and aluminium office tower."
Yes, it does have a familiar ring.
"DOCTOR, I keep seeing images of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck."
"I see. And how long have you been having these Disney spells?"
As I grow older, I regret to say that a detestable habit of thinking seems to be getting a hold of me.