Ed Young's Diary
Friday, December 1
Wake really early, 5am. I catch a few busses and planes and after a few hours I arrive back in Paris from my brief stay in Barcelona - do not let your enemies travel RyanAir, not even Zavick Zaroff Botha. It is not really that cheap, and quite demoralising. My body feels weak. I arrive in Paris and meet up with Frenchie for a final chat and a goodbye. I am anticipating another two-day flight back to Cape Town and am already exhausted. But I am looking forward to sunshine and endless braais. I will see Frenchie in a month or so when she comes back to Cape Town to do a show at Blank Projects. But nonetheless she asks me to stay on a few days. After some contemplation I agree. Frenchie changes my ticket
We are invited to a small guy's farewell party. He is really lovely. The apartment crawls with interesting people. I don't really understand much French, but manage to have a good time.
Saturday, December 2
Sleepy sleep. We planned to go see some museums today but the weather is horrible. Museums are horrible too. Willem Boshoff once told me that museums are the graveyards of artists, and expensive ones too. We stay in and do some work, pay the bills etc.
Sunday, December 3
The sun is going down and I get up. I run through the rain to pay a forgotten tab in a nice bar. I get back into bed. Frenchie and I brave the storm and scooter to a trendy gay arty bar. It's ok. Frenchie has been a bit weird since she asked me to stay. I have kept calm thus far. But tonight I lose it. Tonight I leave. I walk the cold and drizzly Parisian streets again, and easily find my way to Centre Pompidou, taking some directions from two sweet drunken elderly ladies. I kiss them on the cheek, smile beautifully and bat my eyelids. They blush. From Pompidou it easy enough to find the paparazzi headquarters... and the land of middle-aged prostitutes.
I arrive with beer and throw coins at the window. Paparazzi opens the door and giggles at my rain drenched attire. We have a drink and they remake my bed. Same story. I am shocked at my own stupidity and the fact that this can happen twice in one month.
I spend the next few days on a poppers binge while sorting out my life.
Wednesday, December 5
I finally hop on that train to the airport. I had to buy a new ticket from 1Time Airlines as an engine from a Nationwide plane had fallen off a plane and their entire fleet is grounded by the Civil Aviation Authority. And I need to get from JHB to CT upon my return to the South. I borrow ZAR 1 500 and take the cheapest (season) ticket.
Arrive at Charles de Gaulle airport ready to board. I am told by a sweet Asian lady that I have to pay my ticket change. Frenchie did not. I explained that I did not purchase the ticket, nor made the change and was not told about the excess. She smiles politely and says there is nothing she can do. I explain that I only have Euro 90 in my credit card and cannot afford the Euro 150 surcharge. She smiles politely and informs me that there is nothing she can do. I start crying and tell her that I cannot be stuck in Paris with zero money again. She feels sympathetic and swipes my card. It maxes. Way beyond the limit... yay! I wipe my tears and am more than willing and happy to take those 'blocked' numbered 'recorded' calls from the bank upon return. I fly Emirates and have a great stopover at that Irish pub in Dubai Airport.
Thursday, November 6
Arrive back in Cape Town late at night. Artist David Scadden retrieves me from the airport terminal... again. We head straight for the Kimberley Hotel. Alas... it is closed... Just needed some familiarity after a month from hell. We head for the Percy instead. My friends come over. Artist and ex-girlfriend Ruth Sacks is there. We have our first chat since she eloped with fellow artist and curator Simon Gush. It's all very amicable. The sun comes up... again.
Friday, December 7
Ruth Sacks and I drive to Hout Bay. We are going to see retired AVA director Estelle Jacobs - an old friend. We sip sparkling wine and chat the day away. She manages to hide copious amounts of alcohol from the husband. It's nice to catch up. Estelle looks great in matching harbour view.
Sunday, December 9
Wake for braai at Sue Williamson's place. Everyone looks pretty. Sue decided on a fish braai today and as usual Andrew Lamprecht and I are roped in to make it happen. We braai on demand. None of us know how to cook fish. Sue demands the first little fish and complains that it is overcooked. She immediately asks for the next and complains that it is underdone. I feel ashamed. Andrew has to take the slack. Lisa Brice eats all the marshmallows. But everyone is happy. Artists Dan Halter and Jake Aikman wear matching sandals and cargo shorts. It's all very gay.
Tuesday, December 11
SMS from artist Pieter Hugo: 'Back in CT. Where u?' I don't really know why he is asking about me, as we are not particularly good friends.
It's 2am and we get a call - my friend Kitty has been arrested for drunk driving. We leave the cop station at 6am. We finally got her out.
Wednesday, December 12
The Spier Awards... yay... yawn. The SA art world is ovulating. I am Linda Stupart's date and dress nice with tie and complementary cashmere jacket. I smell nice too. We arrive with artists Bianca Baldi, Rowan Smith and The Sensitive Theorist at Spier and get front door parking, as Stupart is a cripple. I had my immaculate vintage Mercedes-Benz cleaned and shined to perfection by a poor black person outside our studio whom I obviously underpaid.
We walk into a spectacular performance, beautifully choreographed, with lots of PDIs alternatively tied up and drumming on containers. We find drink. There were lots of bad speeches, presumably.
At a point in the evening we are about to leave and discover that in fact the lesbian collective Doing it for Daddy has won something. They are all mildly inebriated. I smash a glass and refuse to congratulate them. Sue Williamson informs me that her audio is terribly soft. Closer inspection reveals that the piece is in fact on mute - good curatorial implementation of expensive equipment. I use the light from my iPhone to resurrect the piece. I realise we need the remote. Sorry Sue. I go outside to get some canapés and wine for me and Lisa Brice. I get warned by the caterers that I should back off or 'they will get nasty'. I say: 'Sorry officer'. I observe Cape curator Gabi Ncgobo receiving similar treatment... chuckle. I am at this stage wondering why the Merlot has run out at a fancy wine farm. Event coordination... please.
I have a chat with Gavin Younge, also a bit concerned that his piece was installed incorrectly. His friends urge him to leave: 'We need a drink, everyone's hungry and freezing'. Nice way to describe a high-end show. We make a hasty retreat due to the lack of wine and Linda being very drunk and still crippled.
We drive, perhaps unwisely, to an exceptionally cheap backpackers in Stellenbosch where the lovely Christian soldier, Helen, welcomes us and informs us that instead of the four beds promised we have one and two mattresses. We arrive at the Mystic Boer. Jagermeister.
Drink more. I am tired. We go back to Helen, leaving Michaelis Award-winning Rowan Smith and The Sensitive Theorist to fend for themselves in cosmopolitan Stellenbosch. I argue with people about how much I hate art competitions and throw a piece of expensive pizza at both Linda and Bianca's expensive dresses. Sleep. At some point in the early morning Rowan and Theorist arrive back after walking for three hours. The boys regale us with stories of a man who was apparently into 'Muffs and Fairies', who after much giggling turned out to be a sensitive law-school dropout equipped with bad Stellenbosch accent and is actually into Maths and theories.
Minutes later we are rudely woken by an early prepubescent girl screaming at our window: 'My naam is RENITA!!!' I realise that she is from my old primary school, Outeniqua, in George. We have to get the fuck out of here. We leave just before 8am with happy Christians eating dodgy 'froot loops' with orange concentrate. We don't have any money to pay the bill and decide to make a run for it. Linda can't make a run for it as she is crippled. Helen walks up to my car and asks for the money. We pay what we have, and being good Christians, offer to drive to the bank and come back with the rest... right. We find a bar in Stellenbosch for a breakfast drink and borrow some cash from the SMAC for petrol money to get home. We exceed our breakfast bill by ordering excessive amounts of tequila.
We try to drive back to Cape Town with the little gas we have left in the car. I realise we will never make it and stop in at Spier to find Clive van den Berg to bum some petrol cash, seeing that Stupart just won a lot of cash from them. Nice person and assistant to the awards, Tim Leibrandt, offers his lunch money. We put in some petrol and make it back to town.
SMS from Pieter Hugo: 'Ek wag vir jou buite. Nice Suit.' Must have the wrong number.
Sunday, December 16
SMS from Pieter Hugo: 'Ek het nie tyd vir fokken grappies nie.' I start to worry. I assume that he is referring to the scathing review I wrote of his book many moons ago. I get a bit worried. He is bigger than me.
Tuesday, December 18
SMS from Pieter Hugo: 'Ek wag vir jou kakgevreet by die Kimberley hotel. Wanneer kom jy sodat ek jou kan moer en dit klaarkry? En bring jou iPhone asseblief.' I shit myself but get over it quickly. I amuse myself at the thought of 'high profile' artists threatening writers and other artists. I am reminded of a young Robert Sloon's once-off death threat. But maybe this is a clear indication of the sincerity of such artists. Seeing as they seem to sell prints depicting poor people at hugely inflated prices.
Friday, December 21
Christmas tree party at Linda Stupart's apartment. Yay. Wild. Hairy Ralph Borland arrives. Haven't seen him since he came back from Ireland. But he still speaks American. VANSA co-ordinator Bianca Baldi buys us a bottle of pink Moet, from the VANSA budget. The box makes for a good Xmas tree star. I throw a lot of stuff like beer and cigarettes onto AVA director Kirsty Cockerill's balcony below. I try to make a wee onto the balcony, but am riddled with stage fright and all the people around. Public apology to Kirsty: 'I am so sorry'.
I might do it again though.