Trinny in Jozi

Archive for the ‘University’ Category

Oh, the people you’ll meet

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Last night we went on a jolly at The Wharf. Swilling Bellinis at the swanky pool bar, I briefly imagined I was at the Venice Biennale* but the feeling didn’t last long because really, it was completely different.

We were there for the food. But it’s the people we met that I will remember.

1. James Martin. Very lovely chef from Yorkshire, who explained to me why Yorkshire pudding is called “pudding”. Incidentally, his father was the catering manager at Castle Howard, where Brideshead Revisited – the second-best television series ever** – was filmed.

2. A person from a rival company who offered me a job. “I’m leaving Dubai,” I said. “We’re looking for someone at the moment,” they said. “I’m leaving Dubai,” I said. “Name your price,” they said. “I’m leaving Dubai,” I said.

3. A fellow Rhodent (and journalist), who used to be a waitress at the Red Cafe (still the Blue Room to old school Grahamstonians), and recognised me from hanging out there.  She seems supercool, and I wish I’d met her earlier, so we could’ve been friends. What is it with leaving a place? She’s the third Rhodent I’ve met since I resigned.

4. A 16-year-old “business development consultant”. I kid you not. He had a business card and everything. He looked about twelve, and I thought he was full of shit. Then his mummy came and chatted to us as well and, bizarrely enough, backed up his story. I still thought he was full of shit.

It was a weird and wonderful evening. I’m not sad to be leaving though.

* Inspired by Geoff Dyer’s excellent Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi, in which the  characters drank Bellinis – copiously and constantly – at least in the first half of the novel.

** If you don’t know what the best best television series ever is, well, you should. Or you could ask me really nicely.

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SA Blog Awards 2009

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It´s that time of year again when the SA Blog Awards roll around. And I´ve chosen *you*, my precious readers, for the honour of nominating me. 

I did come third in the Best South African Overseas Blog category in last year, and I´m looking to beat that. Admittedly, it was probably because I asked all my friends to nominate and then vote for me. But I see no reason why that strategy shouldn´t work again!

Here´s what you have to do:

1. Click on the orange widget on the right-hand side of my blog. 

2. The url for Trinny in Dubai will be filled in for the most relevant categories. But you can add to others or delete from the ones I´ve chosen, as you feel is appropriate. 

3. Here´s the catch: you have to nominate at least three different blogs, I suspect to discourage people from nominating only their friends. But don´t be discouraged. See below for my list of other SA blogs I recommend, and take a moment to check out and nominate a couple that pick your fancy*. 

4. Enter your email address and the security code and click on “submit” – it´s that easy. 

5. Just make sure you submit your nomination by March 14. 

SA Blogs I recommend, in no particular order. (I´ve linked them to their approximate categories, for ease of reference.)

Most Humorous South African Blog 
Lev David writes things…
Facebook friend Lev´s  wacky sense of humour.
Plan B
Varsity friend Bec´s inimitable take on life.

* Best Entertainment Blog
Miss N-tertainment
Journo friend Nadia Neophytou leading the Dubai lifestyle in Jozi. 

Best Overseas Blog
The Canadian Chronicles
Varsity friend Bean about adapting to life in Vancouver.
I(n)diosynchronicities
Journo friend SM on living in Bangalore.
The Great Call of China
School friend Tom on living in Beijing for a year. 

Best Personal Blog
Groundwork
Obscurvitory friend Rustum Kozain does writerly stuff.
Ravings of the housebound 
Cape Town friend Sue´s experience of living with, and beating (yay!) an AVM on her brain stem.
Rockin´the Botdom 
Journo friend Biobot shares what´s on his mind.

I won´t deny that all these people are my friends. But I will say that all my friends have to pass a strict writing-ability test before I upgrade them from the friendship probation period. The Trinny stamp of approval is only endorses genuine talent.

Otherwise, Thought Leader is always good for South African opinion. And you can check out Amatomu or Afrigator if you´d like to discover your own favourite South African (and African) blogs.

Of course, before I say goodnight, there´s always Mahendra´s Ties. Although it is now dormant (note: dormant, not extinct), it was updated last year, if sporadically, so technically you could still nominate it. That said, I think the authors are happy enough that their blog about the Raghunath´s sartorial vicissitudes cleaned up at the South African Mahendra´s Ties Blog Awards 2008. Perhaps we should leave the blog to rest on its laurels. Who knows, the Raghunath might even be encouraged to follow suit? 

But back to the point: thank you for reading to the (almost) end of this post and now: get nominating, please pretty readers 😉 

* Disclaimer: Since the mandate of the Blog Awards is to: “endeavour to bring South African bloggers to the forefront of peoples attention, both locally and internationally, increasing exposure for South Africa’s great bloggers; and in the end reach out and touch people who are outside the realm of blogging and have them discover what they are missing” I don´t see how I´m breaking any rules by asking friends to recognise my blog, and encouraging them to read a few other South African offerings. Hope the organisers don´t either!

Q&A and Slumdog Millionaire

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During my first year of varsity I took a wonderful course called Film and Literature. Or perhaps it was Literature and Film. Whatever the title, I have a suspicion it doesn´t exist anymore, which is a pity. As a confirmed bibliophile, I´m always* likely to choose the book over the film. And to be unreasonably upset when the film, in my opinion, is a travesty. But the course did prompt me to think about the nature of translation. For a film to capture the spirit of a novel, it doesn´t have to adhere slavishly to details or structure. Quite the opposite: a rendering that is too literal can be clumsy.

And that´s why I´m going to try, probably unsuccessfully,  not to  make any judgment calls about whether Q&A is better (or worse) than Slumdog Millionaire

I read the novel long enough ago to have forgotten all but the basic plot by the time I saw the film. I vaguely recalled that the love story was played up in the film, and that was about it. I loved the story, and its execution, in both media, and couldn´t understand when friends insisted the book was better.

But then I went back to the novel, and realised just how much the film deviates from the original plot, if not the structure. I´m not going to list all the differences, but you can click here if you´re interested.

Initially, I felt the film had perfectly captured the feel of the book. But on my second reading, I had, um, second thoughts.

Most of the stories that “explain” how Jamal Malik (Ram Mohammed Thomas in the book) knew the answers to the questions on the quiz show have been changed. As in they´re completely different stories. And I don´t understand why. The way the stories build on each other in the novel actually leads to a much deeper characterisation and character motivation. And although both the film and the book have something magical about them, in that you´re asked to suspend your disbelief, the novel is just that little bit more plausible, and real. 

The film has a lot going for it. The cinematography, the editing, and the soundtrack, to name just three facets. It´s a brilliant story, in its own right. But, what I can´t help feeling is, given the novel it was based on,
couldn´t it have been *even better*? 

Hey, I´m an editor. I like tinkering with people´s words and ideas. But it´s not about putting your own imprint on a story (or a film script for that matter) just for the sake of it. I know film and print are different media. But I can´t help feeling the changes should only be made to aid the translation between them. Slumdog Millionaire, I´m afraid, changed for the sake of it or rather, for the sake of the Hollywood dollar.

Q&A´s tranmogrification into Slumdog Millionaire also reminds me of another course I took at varsity: The Philosophy of Art and Literature, which for the record, does still exist. One of the texts we studied was Jorge Luis Borges´ Pierre Menard, Author of Don Quixote. I couldn´t summarise this philosophical premise adequately (or perhaps it´s just that laziness strikes again), so you can read the full text here.

But at the end of the fable, which essentially has Borges positing a certain Pierre Menard writing (not copying, not rewriting, but writing) his own Don Quixote, which is the same, at least in terms of the actual words (if not their meaning) as Cervantes´ Don Quixote, Borges leaves us with these thoughts:

“Menard (perhaps without wanting to) has enriched, by means of a new technique, the halting and rudimentary art of reading: this new technique is that of the deliberate anachronism and the erroneous attribution. This technique, whose applications are infinite, prompts us to go through the Odyssey as if it were posterior to the Aeneid and the book Le jardin du Centaure of Madame Henri Bachelier as if it were by Madame Henri Bachelier. This technique fills the most placid works with adventure. To attribute the Imitatio Christi to Louis Ferdinand Céline or to James Joyce, is this not a sufficient renovation of its tenuous spiritual indications?”

So what I´m asking is, after seeing Slumdog Millionaire, is it possible to read Q&A (or rather, to read Slumdog Millionaire, as the novel is titled in its latest imprint) without acknowledging the film as its predecessor? The post-film reading certainly enriched the novel for me. Ram Mohammed Thomas falling in love with a prostitute was a cliche, originally. But Ram Mohammed Thomas appearing on a gameshow with the aim of winning the cash to free his lover from her pimp had a lot more resonance than Jamal Malik appearing on a gameshow just hoping that his long-lost love would see him on television.

How do those of you who´ve read the film or seen the movie or, even better, done both, feel? Mim is going to see a screening of Slumdog Millionaire  next week where Vikas Swarup will be talking, so I´ll be interested to hear his take on the film as well. 

* Well, almost always – The Virgin Suicides being a notable exception.

Same words, different context I

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One of the strange things in which I take delight is how the same words and phrases can have completely different meanings depending on context.  I´m not really talking about obvious homonyms like “left” (opposite of right) and “left” (past tense of leave). More about finding examples in my own life, and making a connection for absurdity´s sake. 

For example: DPS.

When I was at varsity, if you got all your DPs (duly perfomed certificates) it meant you were allowed the privilege of writing exams.

When I first worked on magazines, I learnt that DPS stood for a double page spread

And when I taught in Liechtenstein, we used DPS to refer to one of the set texts: Dead Poet´s Society. (The book, not the film, although if I´d had any say in the syllabus I wouldn´t have chosen either.) Very glad that
I´m back in the world of double page spreads these days!

People watching

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Everyone loves people watching. It´s even more interesting if you set yourself a goal, kind of like a real life Where´s Wally?.  Here are three versions of people watching I´ve enjoyed in the past (and present).

1. Spot the first year
Sitting on Jammie Steps at UCT and watching the hapless first years scuttling by is a lot more fun than closeting yourself in the library. Especially good in orientation week. Can be played at any varsity in the world.

2. Spot the emo kid
Nim educated me on emo kids one night when we were at a concert. I mean, I did have a vague idea of the general concept before, but it was fun honing my skills. (One of the joys of being old is that none of my friends are emo kids.)

3. Spot the brunch casuality.
This one´s a hoot if you´re going out on a Friday night in Dubai. Pretty easy to spot those who´ve overindulged, but it might prove more challenging if you´re wearing a pair of brunch goggles yourself!

How do you like to watch your people?

Written by Trinny

February 14, 2009 at 22.06

Trinny in Dubai

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You may have noticed that I´ve changed the name of my blog, again. (But not the url, cos I couldn´t be bothered to go through the palaver.) Let´s face it: “Trinklebean´s travels” was more than a wee bit trite. And Trinny is the new me, or is she?

I thought it was about time for another poll, so my readers can decide this one. What would you like to call me?

The contenders are:

1. Pinny – Actually Pinny Poodle, which I detested. Pim came up with this one because of my short little pins.

2. Reese – I´m glad to say no one has ever called me Reese, no offence to Ms Witherspoon.

3. Tea or Téa – The obvious nickname, I suppose, but I do have to credit ABJ for the very particular spelling. In Liechtenstein, this was varied to Téa, sometimes even Princess Téa.

4. Tess or Tessa – Initially vetoed because the mine were I lived until I was two had a dog called Tess. And I´m not that kind of bitch. Now though I am fairly ambivalent about Tess(a). Strawberries good; suicide bad.

5. Theresa – Mim and Pim picked this one originally. I´m certainly a fan, but it does ask to be shortened.

6. Tree or Trees – From school. I tend not to respond to “Trees are Green” though.

7. Tresa or Tresie – Been around since I was a little girl.

8. Trinks or Trinx – A childhood nickname, resurrected at varsity.

9. Trinny. Kim started calling me this just before I came to Dubai and not hard to guess who inspired her. I´d always assumed it was a nickname for Theresa, but I was wrong. Appears to come from a contraction of St Trinian´s.

10. Trinklebean – Coined by Shennie Pie, this moniker gained popularity a few years ago when I used it as an email address (and now as my blog url).

11. Other – Is there anything else you´ve ever called me, or would like to? Put suggestions in the comment box!

Bec´s Plan B

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My fabulous friend Bec is not from Liechtenstein. Nor is she a student here, having chosen more verdant pastures of knowledge. However, and it deserves another mention, she is fabulous. Read her blog, and you´ll think so too!

Look out for further mention of Bec when I finally get round to recalling my weekend of Oxonian debauchery – if indeed, I still maintain any recollection of it.

Written by Trinny

February 18, 2008 at 00.03