Thursday, February 27, 2014

H is for Happy Days. And for Henry Winkler

You may not believe that until a few minutes ago I actually hadn't ever watched an episode of Happy Days. It's true. I don't know if it ever aired in South Africa. According to a few websites, it did, but I don't remember it. Maybe my parents thought it wasn't a great idea for me to watch it as a five year old? But it doesn't matter. I knew I'd like it. Because in the States Happy Days ran neck and neck at the top of the ratings with Three's Company, forever. Three's Company even mentions Happy Days in one of its episodes. And because Henry Winkler and John Ritter were the best of friends. I thought I'd better make sure I liked it though, before I blogged about it, so I went and watched some of it.

Guess what I'm going to be spending my time catching up with!!!

Henry Winkler stars as the rebellious leather clad, motor bike riding Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli, or Fonzie. In 1999 TV Guide ranked him number 4 on its 50 Greatest TV Characters of All Time list, and he was one of only two characters to appear in all 255 episodes of Happy Days - it ran from January 1974 - September 1984 over 11 seasons.

It opens with the theme tune of Bill Haley's Rock around the Clock!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

G is for Girl Power

Girls have come a heck of a long way, when you think about it. I mean, from swooning about on lounge suites in the days of Jane Austen, waiting for our Mr Rochesters to come along, we now do amazing things. Girls are a force to be reckoned with in the world. I'm by no means a women's libber, but I was quite impressed by something I heard the other day from a feminist - "I won't rest until career woman is no longer a phrase". That's when true equality will have been achieved?

I think we're nearly there. We heard a lot about the career woman in the 80s. Sometimes, I wonder whether the career woman has done more harm than good. I personally wouldn't mind having the CHOICE of being able to do nothing all day except stuff I wanted to do. But then, I'd get bored, and I enjoy doing what I do. The fact remains though, that I have to work to support us. Our kids have never known a mom who doesn't work. We don't hear so much about career women these days. I think all the women I know work, bar some who are on the dole in the UK.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

J9 Foundation for Motor Neuron Disease

UPDATE 19 August 2014

With the current trending ALS / Ice Bucket Challenge, I want to make the comment that Motor Neuron Disease (MND) is also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease. The challenge involves pouring iced water over oneself and making a donation, so ALS / MND research is benefiting. Let's challenge SA celebs to do this for the J9 Foundation. 

What a privilege to be able to spread the message that the J9 Foundation for Motor Neuron Disease is delivering. 

I was so fortunate to be able to chat to Nathania from the Foundation who was happy to give me information. 

As most of you know, the J9 Foundation is Joost van der Westhuizen's foundation - well known and well loved South African rugby player who suffers from this condition. 

Knowing very little (read - nothing) about this condition, except that Joost has it, I got straight into it with my questions and it's an honour to be able to help spread the word, and you can help too. Please read, learn and share this around, specially so that members of the public can get involved in supporting the organisation. 


What is motor neuron disease (which I expect you have been asked hundreds of times over)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Lance James - Country Legend!

Lance James is a versatile, bilingual performer who specialises in Corporate functions, Concerts, Dances, Barndances, Weddings, Shopping Centre promotions, and In-store promotions. He is considered as one of the top entertainers ever in South Africa, and has an excellent rapport with his audiences.

Winner of six SABC Sarie Awards, a "Loony's Award" for his contribution to entertainment, plus an Honorary Award from ATKV Centurion, Beeld and Pretoria Afrikaanse Sakekamer for his contribution to Afrikaans music. Lance has appeared in many top Television Shows, is a well established Master of Ceremonies, as well as a well known Radio Broadcaster, currently broadcasting on Radio Today.

As with all my interviews, it was so interesting how this meeting came about and I'm so glad it did! For some time now I've done some work for the same radio station which airs Lance's show Keep It Country, Radio Today Johannesburg, but I'd never had the opportunity of meeting Lance. However, I emailed Lance one day requesting that he played the music of Carly Ritter on his show for me - which he listened to and loved - and I asked him whether he'd mind being interviewed on Pop Speaking. SUCH an exciting moment for me as Lance James has been a legend in country music for over 55 years!!

Lance James is a gentleman through and through and the hour we spent together was so appreciated - I wish there were more men around like this. Definitely a treasured moment that I won't forget. 

You’ve been in showbiz for over 50 years. How has your style changed, you must have seen immense changes in the technology, the market, the way things have been done .. chat about your journey. Has your style changed much? What’s your drive been to keep going?

There have been a lot of changes through the years in terms of music styles - when I started there were a lot of things like big bands, but I don't think my style in either radio or music has changed that much. I have been so blessed to be able to do what I love, I love my music and radio. I've been working as a professional in the business for 57 years. What I do find is that with all the changes in South Africa today there are not a lot of new South African musicians in the country genre, a sign of the changing times I suppose. 

How did you get started?

Well I've always been doing it. But I went to Nashville in the United States in 1975 and heard the term 'country', and heard the music and I realised I'd been doing it for years! And then of course I got started in Springbok Radio in 1954. I remember the exact day - it was 1 May. I saw an advert that Springbok was looking for someone - an effects operator, they called it. I applied and got the job. Radio and music has been good to me, the SABC have been good to me and they remain close to my heart despite all the changes. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

F is for Frank N Furter!!

Two weeks ago my friend Chris Avant Smith who presents Rant and Rave on Radio Today Johannesburg casually asked me if I'd like to interview Brendan van Rhyn aka Cathy Specific aka Frank N Furter in the current production at at Montecasino on my site. WOULD I??? Like to interview Frank N Furter???? The answer was yes, and I collected my thoughts when Chris gave me Brendan's number to contact him. I had to gather my nerves for that alone, but when I did get Brendan on the phone he was gracious and friendly to say the least. I'd have been happy with an emailed questionnaire, but he asked me to meet him at his favourite cafe - Riverside Caffe and Bistro. He explained it was in Bryanston and when I put the phone down and slowly floated back down to earth, I thought to myself "I should be able to find that."... and I'll take a friend with, too! And I like the northern suburbs of Johannesburg. It's a whole different flavour of life to where I live. The northern suburbs are a bit like my idea of New York in the 1970s - which probably means New York in the 1970s was nothing like Joburg North at all, but in my mind it lives and it's a good place to be. 

Brendan and I in the gorgeous Riverside Caffe in Bryanston
I was sure I had it down pat. I'd looked up directions on Google Maps, printed them out, put them on the passenger seat.. and realised at 5 to 12 that something had gone wrong and I most certainly wasn't going to be ON TIME for my appointment with Brendan!! I wished I could have done a tiew warp right there. Long story short, I called him up and he explained how I should go.. and I did eventually arrive there and it's testimony to the man and his patience that he was so gracious. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Aaron Harvie MasterChef All Star!!

Aaron Harvie is an all star in every sense of the word. You know him from MasterChef Australia 2010 and the recent All Stars series and he is all star in every sense of the word. He's one of the nicest, most affable people I've had the pleasure of dealing with this for this site... and he can cook!! But too bad, girls.. he is taken. 

You know when you come away thinking that you've 'met' someone special, it's gonna be a great blog post! 

Firstly, thank you so much to my friend Alison Fourie of AMF Typing  for recommending me to interview Aaron. You made a great call! With Aaron's interest in pop culture, his support of charities including The Salvation Army, and his inspirational use of cooking as therapy, thus teaching people a way to cope with life's struggles, he's the perfect interviewee for Pop Speaking and I am touched and humbled by his humility. Thank you Aaron for sharing and for being you. 

Sometimes I wonder what it's like being the one asked questions, specially when you have someone who doesn't really know much about your subject of expertise. I really know NOTHING about cooking, though I love watching the creativity and ingenuity of those who do, and Aaron managed my questions with flair and brilliance! 

My first off the mark question:

How did you become a chef? Did you study and if so where, and who or what (if anyone) inspired you to cook?

Well first of all, I am not a Chef, just a passionate home cook! The rules of MasterChef state that you cannot be a trained Chef or have held a position in a kitchen, working the line cooking for 10 years prior to entering. I have always been a keen student of food; my father was an inspiration to me growing up, as he is one of the best cooks I know.

You got to the final seven in Masterchef Australia 2010 and were eliminated after a fish and chips challenge. I think the fact that it’s sometimes the simple things that undo us is indicative of how stressful it must have been in that kitchen!!

I did get eliminated on a Fish and Chips challenge, but it was the chips not the fish that was my undoing…. They were pretty soggy!!!