Why Dance Moms?

So, by now you should know that Lifetime is launching in South Africa, and with it, a host of pretty awesome shows and content. In a coincidence that can only be described as magical, I was asked by Lifetime to share my love for Dance Moms.

My love for Dance Moms might seem strange to you, but that’s probably because either you’ve never watched an episode of Dance Moms, or because you don’t know me very well.

Here’s the backstory – I was “performer” as a kid. By that I mean that I did ballet, gymnastics, singing and played a few instruments too. This all started at around age 4/5. The gymnastics was hard, I had a Russian coach (terrible stereotype I know) and she was terrifying. My ballet coach was a nice woman, but demanded perfection from us. My music teachers, bar for 1 or 2, were all part of some underground musical militia, I hated music lessons. Hated.

I remember having panic attacks in music class, being pushed in gymnastics until I cried, and just generally feeling sick every time I had to answer to one of the many coaches or teachers I had. That is why Dance Moms resonates with me so much. This woman is the epitome of all of my horrifying coaches and teachers rolled into one. The little girls remind me of me…. well, some of them. I wish I could say I used to be a Maddie, but I was never the teachers pet really. I was more the Chloe. Constantly being made to feel like I was not trying hard enough or “didn’t want it” enough.

In all honesty, these young girls inspire me. They are stronger than I ever was. I gave up ballet and gym and music. All because of teachers. I was a coward and hated the way my stomach felt for the hours before classes. I hated the way I felt during class. I loved the relief of walking out of class… but then the cycle would start up again the very next day. As an adult, I wish I had stuck with it; I had a perfect ballet turnout, my double-jointedness meant that I didn’t have to spend hours trying to stretch myself out and make my hip flexors loose, etc.

Watching these episodes gives me something I can’t quite explain. In some ways it’s insight into what I was going through as a kid, and partially because I get to vicariously love through these kids. It’s reminded me that I truly did love to dance, but I let a few people spoil it for me. I shouldn’t have.

As i’ve mentioned before, Dance Moms starts out a little rough around the edges… maybe a bit too similar to Toddlers & Tiaras, but it falls into its own rhythm. The show changes throughout Season 1 and it’s Season 2 where things really start to turn up. These girls are worth getting to know, their stories are worth watching.

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Tune in tonight! On DStv, channel 131 at 19:10 for the premiere!

DStv Is Launching A New Channel In South Africa – LIFETIME

I am no stranger to Lifetime, and for quite a few years now, i’ve been jealous of the USA and their ability to watch this channel and the awesome shows and movies they screen. The good news is that they are launching in South Africa this month, and will be bringing some seriously addictive and entertaining content to our tv screens. The tv show that i’m most excited about though – Dance Moms!

If you ever danced as a young girl, or ever wanted to dance, or just wish you were a dancer… this show is for you.

Dance Moms

Up until this point it’s only been available on Lifetime overseas, making it hard for me to satisfy a pretty real addiction. I’ve written about Dance Moms before when i posted the Sia “Chandelier” music video that stars Maddie Ziegler, all-round talented kid, and teachers pet on the show. Now before you judge too harshly, i feel like it needs to be said that i am not one that is often sucked into reality tv shows. I have very selective tastes, but for some reason i have fallen into the rabbit hole and been 100% consumed by this show!

Here’s a preview of what to expect on Lifetime and all the crazy that Dance Moms provides:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NukXHwwc7jY

Essentially the programme is about the careers of children in dance and show business and the drama of their mothers trying to get their kids to the top. I say “careers” because these kids really are professionals. They compete every single weekend at a different dance competitions throughout the country. These girls also learn a brand new routine every single week…. most competitive dancers and teams learn 1 or 2 solos and a group dance or two and then compete that same routine every single week at the different competitions for different judges. So these girls are doing something that is almost never done!

Lifetime will start the show off with Season 1, obviously… the best place to start. I will say though, that the first season is like most shows “pilots”… a little rough around the edges, but stick with it, and you will fall in love with the girls just like i did! The show itself matures along with the girls and it really is great to watch the progression.

I thought i’d start off by introducing you to the original team:

Maddie (left): Teacher’s pet, and super talented dancer. Mackenzie (right): Maddie’s adorable little sister. Such a cutie!

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Chloe: Direct competition to Maddie, equally talented. Not the teachers pet, in fact, the one that gets picked on. A lot. Absolute darling.

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Nia: Underdog. Always the “back up” dancer and pushed to the back. Miss Abby: Tyrannical Dance teacher.

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Brooke (right): Oldest in the group, very talented contortionist. Doesn’t particularly like dancing now that she’s older. Paige (left): Brooke’s younger sister. Quiet and probably gets picked on the worst. Pretty and sweet little thing, but Miss Abby seems to hate her.

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 If you want to find out more about the Dance Moms and their lives behind their dancer children, tune into DStv, channel 131 on 22 July at 19:10 for the premiere.

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Classic 90′s Movies

A while back, on my show, i mentioned that the 90′s was a great time for movies… and wanted to know what movies do you feel, define our generation? Winter is coming, and i know that we’re probably all going to be spending a lot of time indoors watching series and movies, so here’s a great list to work your way through too.

Let me know if i’ve left any essential movies out!

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Catch An Uber On Election Day!

UBER is providing FREE rides today (Wednesday 7th May 2014), between 7am and 9pm, as they participate in making the country’s voting process more convenient in their own special way! The BEST part about this whole campaign is that it isn’t just exclusive to new users, it’s available for existing clients too.

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So whether you’re a new or existing UBER user, you can enter the promotion code: VOTESA to redeem two free rides, each up to R200 in value. If you’re a new user, sign up at uber.com/app/VOTESA.

This campaign comes just ten months after UBER first expanded into Africa, starting with its successful August 2013 launch in Johannesburg. This just proves that UBER is well and truly committed to our market.

The Head of UBER in Africa and the Middle East, Jambu Palaniappan, says, “At UBER, we are incredibly passionate about helping people move around the cities that they live in. We have received a warm welcome in South Africa, and are very excited about current operations in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban. On May 7th, we’d like to give back by making it easier for people to go out and vote. We’d also encourage all of our users to take an elderly friend or family member with them to the polls, so that everyone has their chance to be heard.”

Awesome company. I genuinely don’t mind showing support to a company that every now and again does something special for their users.

The Only Raw Food Blog You Need To Read!

Anna Sneddon is from Canada, and i came across her raw food blog completely by accident. I was browsing for a few good raw food recipes to try out myself… and i’m so glad that i stumbled across a link to her site.

Now before you get too judgey – i am by no means trying to coerce you into veganism, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make a couple of your meals every week vegan :) After you see what Anna does… you’ll probably want to try at least a couple of these recipes out!

The best thing about making raw food meals, is that you don’t have to have much skill in the kitchen to pull off something quite epic. There is no cooking involved, so you can’t burn anything or undercook it. These are probably some of the easiest recipes you will ever make.

How tasty do those look?! She has so much more amazing looking food on her Instagram: @Eat_to_Thrive, you can also check out her blog/Tumblr.

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If you’re looking for more awesome foodspiration on Instagram, i follow another two amazing accounts:

Nom_Nomaste: Two girls that both post to this account with loads of food pics and links to other blogs/tumblrs with great recipes. Absolutely amazing food – not all raw vegan… mostly vegetarian stuff, and some fish too :)

Loni Jane: A few selfies, and quite a few baby pics recently (she gave birth a few weeks ago) but this girl knows what’s up. She looks absolutely amazing and leads a strict vegan lifestyle. She makes it look so easy!

Happy Healthy Eating!

Go Fuck Yourself Cape Town & Joburg!

I actually like Cape Town & Joburg.

Except, i fucking don’t because everything i say after this point will contradict that first sentence i just wrote. Also, you’re not allowed to take offence because i’m actually joking. I do LOVE Cape Town & Joburg. Lol, jk again. I don’t.

What i’m tired of is Capetonians and Joburgers naysaying Pofadder at every given opportunity! Sure, Cape Town you have your mountains, and models, and ocean, and winelands, and safety, and Helen Zille, and Joburg has… well… money. You big city bitches have no idea what you’re missing out on.

What I don’t understand about Capetonians and Joburgers, is that if your city really is so infinitely better at everything, then why is it so hard to take the high road, and just not make Pofadder the butt of all of your jokes? I would be a millionaire if i got R5 for every time someone used Pofadder as a sort of lame metaphor to describe something remote, or out-of-the-way.

Because i’m not a bitter fucking hag, i WON’T make a list about things i hate about Cape Town & Joburg. I will make a list of why Pofadder is the fucking TITS!

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1. Pofadder – what’s in a name?

Pofadder is literally named after one of the most venomous snakes in THE WORLD! You might have had it with these motherfucking snakes on your motherfucking plane, but snakes are our game! Cape Town, what the fuck does that even mean? A town with Capes? Was Superman born there? NO! Stop pretending you’re superheroes. Johannesburg… talk about a lack of creativity and badassery! Johannes’ burg? Who is Johannes anyway? Shouldn’t you guys be next up for a name change?

2. Fuck the GDP!

Our farmers mostly run with sheep and goats. The sheep and goats that this country needs! At the end of the day, what is the GDP doing for your life? Nothing. Oh Cape Town, you guys have tourism and you’re beautiful… Joburg, your people work themselves into early onset heartattacks to earn enough money to go and holiday in Cape Town? Well, we’re living the life here with our goat steak braais and fluffy woolen jerseys! Farming is where it’s at. Salt of the earth motherfucker! Fuck your office jobs, and bloggers.

3. Living expenses & FOOD!

Hey Joburg, you like paying R13 000 to live in a glorified prison behind electric fencing and 10ft walls? Cape Town. you like paying R6000 to live in a box the size of a single garage on Somerset Road? Pofadder is the cheapest town in the country! Got a spare R6000? Cool! That’s rent for a year! What about restaurants and pubs and markets? Well, we’re all friends here, so instead of paying for other people at some godamn market to make our food, we make food for each other, for free. It’s called “having people over at any time of the day without notice because we’re farmers.” You’re driving by our place? Why not stop by and stay for lunch and dinner then you can help me bring the cows in. What about your beloved craft beer? Frikkie brewed some witblits that would make your freshly waxed and tanned chest spontaneously sprout thick hair.

4. Political Parties (no matter who they are) are not infallible!

Cape Town you might have better service delivery and less potholes than Joburg… but you both suck in comparison to what we’ve got up here. Pofadder is in the province that no one ever fucking talks about or cares about… so political parties don’t even make up this far. We take care of our own! Oom Willie makes sure the dirt roads are scraped… you will never know the feeling of a perfectly smooth gravel road until you drive on one of his! Tant Sannie is our answer to Helen Zille, except she can actually speak Afrikaans, and has rhythm. Strikes? What strikes? Everyone is happy in Pofadder.

5. Cape Town and Joburg do not have a fucking rock with their names on!

And, oh, look at that, we do…Almost like any amazing town in the world would… … ….. ……….

Look at that fucking rock. It’s amazing.

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6. When the REAL FUCKING APOCALYPSE comes you are all going to be so fucked.

Cape Town with your free love, and rampant weed use, you guys and girls will definitely left behind when the rapture hits! Joburg, i can guarantee you that there is a missing chapter in the Bible that specifically highlights your demise… God might just carpet bomb the entire city. Gluttony, pride, greed, envy and wrath are all found in the dictionary next to your name. Pofadder and all of its God fearing inhabitants will be swept up into the magical heavens where Jesus will give us a high five and ask for a slice of A-GRADE Pofadder goat biltong. Everyone knows that the Holy Trinity love raw salted meat.

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Thank God Pofadder is kilometres away from both Cape Town and Johannesburg… while you guys duke it out, we’ll carry on living in paradise. Don’t bother coming to say hi, Capetonians – your Citi Golf’s would never make it up here, and Joburgers, your Urban SUVs weren’t built for this environment. If you get a flat tyre, i don’t think road side assistance would come this far either.

I’m just saying, if we wanted to though, us Pofadder-ians could come to Cape Town and Joburg in our dozens and en-prison you all with our bare calloused farm hands, and shear off your hipster haircuts and mullets with our sheep shears… we’d turn Cape Town into one massive dip for the livestock, and enslave the entire population into farm labour. Joburg, we’d send you all of our snakes and watch you  try to run away in your high heels and business suits. Your only solace would be to seek out asylum in Boksburg/Benoni/Vanderbijlpark… but since you’re all such cunts to them, they’d probably like to watch you die as much as us.

People in Pofadder are nice. We might not live in one of the prettiest, showiest, RICHEST, loudest, most aggressive, most tourist-friendly cities in the world, but we don’t have to make you feel worse about yours to justify living here… except for right now. LOL. That’s the whole joke! I was being ironic! Hahahahaha. Get it?!

 

PS: This is OBVIOUSLY a satire piece to hopefully try and show everyone that agreed with the original Cape Town hatespeech (or even the JHB one for that matter) how ridiculous it is to judge an entire city on a few chance encounters. Having spent 99.9% of my entire life in Cape Town, and the past year in JHB… that original piece didn’t just offend me, it hurt me. Like most hate speech does, for most people.

Without getting too philosophical, if you have encountered people who talk proper shit about another city, don’t lash out and do EXACTLY what they just did. As humans, we are all different. Some people like the whole “Big City Life” thing of JHB, others prefer the laidback vibes of CT. Who the fuck cares? We are all human, we are all fucking South Africans. Jesus. People didn’t fight for years (and die) for the freedom of our country, for us to just go and create some new pathetic way of making people different from one another. Do you have an innate need to make yourself feel superior to another group of people? Is this the human condition? I’m disgusted.

PPS: I didn’t put a star instead of the u in Fuck… because we’re all adults here, and i’m not a f*cking fucking pussy.

EdCON

About a year and a half ago I was with my dad, having a braai at his house in Camps Bay with a bunch of his friends, when he got a call from a Police Station in Philadelphia (West Coast) saying that they needed him to come down to the Police Station immediately. The policeman on the phone refused to tell my dad why, but said that it was to do with Greg… who they knew he was related to because of texts they’d found on Greg’s phone.

My dad came to me and was a little suspicious, as was i. The policeman was cagey, and Greg was known for being a bit of a “bad boy” so it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility that this wasn’t all as it seemed. I convinced my dad to come with me down to the Camps Bay police station to ask the guys there to do some digging for us.

We left his house full of people, snuck out and drove down to the station. After a bit of convincing, they called the Philadelphia cop shop and spoke to the Captain there to find out what exactly was going down, and whether it was all above board. The police officer on the phone then had the unfortunate job of telling us that my uncle’s body had been found near the Ostrich Farm. The police at Philadelphia didn’t want to tell my dad over the phone, hence their reluctance to give out too much info.

My dad is the eldest of 4 children… 2 brothers and a sister. He had a tough time growing up… his story could reduce even the coldest person to tears. I have no real way of describing what i saw that night in him, he was obviously broken… but he went back to the braai, was the perfect host, and no one was any the wiser. It was probably shock, but more than likely it was that he’s super-humanly stoic.

The next couple of weeks were rough. For both of us. Only two weeks later i lost a friend. I wasn’t in the best place, so i also wasn’t in the best place to be there for him as much as i should have.

I’m still not 100% sure that it’s particularly right to put this kind of stuff on a blog that’s full of videos of people doing stupid shit and pics of nude women and the odd competition… but ultimately, nothing will change unless we do something about it… so i’m going to be frank here. Bear with me.

My Uncle’s body was found by workers (poor guys) hanging from one of the trees that line the road. There was a note he’d typed on his phone to his family… he’d made too many mistakes in his life, felt like there was no way back, that he wasn’t going to be able to ever be the person he wanted to be and it killed him to hate himself that much every day. It wasn’t the first time my dad had lost someone to suicide, his mom took an intentional overdose when he was in University, and he found her body the next morning.

Why am i telling you all of this? Well, firstly, it’s because suicide is still something that is spoken about in hushed tones… and it shouldn’t be. It might sound like a cliche, but suicide really is a silent killer. If someone does happen to reach out, the people they reach out to very VERY rarely know how to handle it or help them. The only way that’s going to change is if we speak about it, share our experiences and are honest about it.

Secondly, i needed you to understand that losing my Uncle was absolutely soul destroying for my dad… it was the second person he’d lost that way. This brings me to my next point… why i’m actually writing this post.

My dad came to visit me in JHB last week, while he was driving his phone buzzed and he asked me to check if it was anything important. I got a little bit of a shock when i saw that it was an email from lawyers regarding an outstanding amount on my Uncle’s Edgars account. My dad then told me what he’s been dealing with over the past year and a bit. Before i get into it, i need you to understand that this isn’t a typical customer services rant… i am genuinely disgusted and appalled at how a company can treat humans and get away with it.

It started when Edgars Accounts Dept called my dad, asking where Greg wass… my dad told them that he passed away. They apologised and said that they would make the changes on his account to reflect that fact. The problem is, the calls never stopped. Week after week he was having to tell someone new that his brother was dead. He asked whether he needed to supply death certificates, or some sort of police affidavit so that they can leave him alone. Edgars didn’t stop there.

Edgars passed the account info on to one of their lawyers firms (RL Davies?). It was at this point that the phone calls became threatening, rude and disrespectful. My dad told me that he got a phone call from a women who refused to state who she was or where she was calling from, but threatened my dad with court and legal action if he didn’t pay the outstanding account. NEWS FLASH: family members aren’t responsible for debt incurred on a clothing account by other family members. My dad wasn’t even a beneficiary of his brothers estate?

He got an email from the lawyers demanding money regularly… and it was one of these that i saw. A constant reminder of his brother’s death. I am shocked that it’s been going on for so long. I took it into my own hands and told my dad i would fix it. I tweeted at Edgars, and had a DM within minutes. I can only guess it was because my tweet had been RT’d lord knows how many times, and people were replying with equal disgust. Within 24hours the problem was resolved. My dad hasn’t been contacted since.

Why did it take me 24hrs to fix something, yet my dad couldn’t get it sorted for over a year and a half? It’s not because my dad didn’t follow procedure. It’s not because he didn’t speak to the right people. He spoke to countless people at Edgars, at the lawyers…. he sent emails to both, apparently.

Did Edgars jump at fixing the problem because they were worried about my almost 12 000 followers on Twitter, and the backlash they were already experiencing from 1 tweet? Maybe it’s the fact that i’m on air on a national radio station and they were worried that i would take my experience on air (which i never would)! Nevertheless… this is why i felt like i needed to share my family’s story. We can’t be the only people who have had this happen to them? I’m only assuming that the vast majority of their account holders can’t use Twitter to complain… and if they do, they probably don’t have enough of a following to pose a threat to Edgar’s PR.

So, in short; Edgars, why did it take me 1 tweet and 24 hours to fix a problem that my dad couldn’t in more than a year? At the end of the day, we spoke to the same people. I got a call from Customer Services after the DM, and my dad must have spoken to at least 4 or 5 different people at Customer Services over all this time…

Edgars, you make me feel sick. From what my dad told me, the way you treated him is unforgivable. You forced him to tell countless people on the phone, over and over and over again, that his brother is dead. You threatened and berated him to pay an account that wasn’t his. His brothers death has been turned into a fight about money with you. My only regret is that he didn’t tell me sooner.

All of this for +/- R1400. I hope you’re proud.

*disclaimer: this is an opinion piece about my family’s multiple encounters with the above mentioned. I write this piece with no malice, and only wish to share my personal experiences. My aim is not to hurt their business, but rather to show them that their policies, in my opinion, should be changed. I appreciate that they fixed the problem, and the lady i spoke to was an absolute darling… but i suppose i still have some unanswered questions.