One of the great things about LA is that it’s a magnet for creative people from all over the world. Anyone who wants to make it in the film, entertainment or music business eventually gets fed up with the industry in their own country and turns up here in LA to give it their best shot.
And I’m quite happy to say that more than a few South Africans I know have landed here in Tinsel Town. I had the pleasure of living in SA for 2 years; it’s the kind of place that gets right under your skin and you can’t shake it. Of all the towns I’ve lived in around the world, Cape Town pulls on my heart like no other.
If you don’t have a South African friend, go and make one right now. They laugh like no one else, cry like no one else and live like they are in touch with the real stuff of life.
One mate I’ve known since my SA days moved here to LA before I did and made a real go of it as a producer. He was one of those people you hear about who enters the Green Card lottery on a whim and gets it first time and moves here with his family. I entered 7 years in a row with no luck. But he’s a South African, so I can’t begrudge the guy. Besides, I’m broke and he’s paying for lunch.
We’re all set up on the grass having a nice picnic at Santa Monica park, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Some lovely prosciutto, a perfect loaf of bread, great weather and a great friend. It’s a perfect setting.
He’s asking about Diary of a Superhero and who I think is going to play the female lead. This leads to a talk about actresses in general and then we slide on to the topic of his least favorite, Jennifer Aniston.
I aks why he’s so vociferous on the subject, to which he asks me if I’ve seen any of her films. Ok, good point. But I did like her in Friends.
SA Mate: Ja man, no. She’s awful, I can’t stand her.
Me: Yeah, but there’s a lot of one-note actors around, why have you singled her out?
He looks me dead in the eye and confides the reason, gripping his hands together like he’s holding a tube.
SA Mate: She had the greatest cock in America, in her hands, and she just lets it go…
To emphasize this point he opens his hands like he was limp-wristedly releasing a bird. I start laughing so hard I think I’m going to choke on my pancetta.
SA Mate: (regripping the imaginary penis) No really man, she just lets it go…
And again with the release. In her defense, I point out that she was up against Angelina Jolie. I mean, come on. That’s some fearsome competition. If I met her in person, I’d hold my boyfriend a little tighter. Or throw myself at her feet professing my undying love. I don’t care what team you bat for, as mortal man, we are all powerless before her. My friend acknowledges the point before jumping in again.
SA Mate: Ja, OK, then she must hold it tighter! But no, she just lets it go.
He reaches for another slice of ham, before leaving me with his final musing on the subject.
SA Mate: If it’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s laziness.
Get a South African friend. It’s better when they’re on your side.