Friday, 27 September 2013 06:44


Written by  Lesley
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The tale that will not lie down is republished here by #lesfolies and Dear Johannes, in chronological order, apparently,

from original posts that keep moving due to such and similar, from blog to blog and now to the original Tumblr




The story continues even before it has begun and well after when it started. Although you may never know when, although you might, the neverending tale unfolds first, as it happens, or not, as the case may be, on the corner of what used to be for a long time Bezuidenhout Street and what is now Albertina Sisulu Road and Viljoen Streets in Troyeville, Johannesburg, South Africa which is where I am now, writing at an old school desk overlooking a famous garden on the hill with a view through windows everywhere of a green canopy and the eastern inner city skyline.  From this beloved district, the tale manifests online, including real and imaginary episodes, chapters and whims, you can never be sure which is which. And then it comes here. And you read it. Just like that. And sometimes you may even return with pleasure to see if there is more yet and what will happen next. And sometimes you become a leading character. Some of you know who you are.

You, are most welcome



Chapter One



4 Feb 2011

Neighbourhood Target Practise #3

Following the "suffering more productively" manifestations via grass-cutting love letters #1 and dustbins #2, the matriarch (and some of her most ardent minions) in the mansion-on-the-hill aka Troyeville Game Reserve, has her sights set on a load of rubble on the corner of Bezuidenhout & Viljoen. The offending facebrick eyesore has been in this pathetic state for at least 1million and two drive-by's, and, despite the beautiful work done by City Parks once a month in the area, the detritus remains neglected. Further inspired by the bravery of millions of people around the world who are sick and tired of asking for permission to lead a better life, we will no longer let the situation remain habitually dire.

The truth is, even when it wasn't rubble, the irredeemable yellow facebrick (my worst) object made no sense: It was just an inexplicable platform with an equally inexplicable thing on top of it; of no apparent use and never good to look at it.

Local hitman Johannes Dreyer is conspiring with concrete formworker Damien Grivas of Bez Valley to ensure the view will, at the very least, soon become more interesting. In pursuit of their plan, #lesmiserables and the hitman spent some rainy afternoon time in Primrose this week sourcing a suitably kitsch headboard. Found for R450.00 in the first second-hand shop on the right. Watch this public space.



10 Feb 2011

State of the Imagination

The Troyeville Game Reserve began its latest in a series of ongoing Neighbourhood Target Practices in the early hours of this morning, timing happily coincidental to the more talkative kind of dress-up-in-the-Mother-City affair scheduled for later on this evening. The series is focused on creating employment for Dangerous Artists (not to be confused with the Conceited/Precious* variety) while simultaneously:

1. Reducing the eye-sore factor currently overwhelming the state of the nation.

2. Providing tangible / experiential evidence of the value of even a modicum of lateral thought.

3. Going against the instinctual Fear Factor component inherent in making a permanent public artwork for reasons that are not yet fully known but which appear to be less of a priority.

In an excerpt from her paper on "the state of the imagination" #lesfolies reveals that "... extensive research clearly shows that having more respect for what you see around you inspires activity which is good for cardio-vascular circulation. Furthermore, taking action is known to be a more productive form of suffering than being so used to shit that you live in it, drive past it, stop seeing it, get used to it and bring your children up so that they never even question it."

In the image below, local hit man Johannes Dreyer can be seen with Troyeville Game Reserve Ranger #1A, Charles Himself, using moerese mallets to break up the offending facebrick platform on the corner of Bezuidenhout & Viljoen. According to #lesmiserables, "This is the first phase of a larger and far more ambitious plan to literally embed artists and other friendlies, not only in this specificity, but also in the state of the nation. According to the research report this type of activity is particularly critical at a time when the nation must endure an inordinate amount of pontification, a feature of the annual party politics season that plays itself out in badly read and / or vacant speeches, posters with strangers on them in lurid colours and all night summits that do not include we the people.

For this, and a number of other reasons also related to making choices, #lesmiserables is reported to be appreciating some moments of bliss.



16 Feb 2011

Parking off in the bedroom

now being cast in concrete. discreetly. no we are not going to do anything in orange this year. though if you know someone who wants to make a lot of dayglo orange nylon kites, and fly them, you should let me know.




20 Feb 2011



Please meet this particular trio of wastrels currently making their presence felt in the park. This group of almost-living creatures spend their time abusing themselves in public space. They are often joined by others of their ilk, broken bottles and white pipes, and of late this has resulted in about four hours of time spent holding on at Jeppe Police to no avail. The fall-out is relentless and predictable, manifesting in intellectually-challenging texts and the late-night desecration of #lesfolies' love letters. Johannes, Damien and Charles were just finished with the plastering of the base for the bed they are making on the corner of Bezuidenhout and Viljoen in Troyeville when these fine scribes found themselves inspired to respond.

We are making our bed to lie in it.



20 Feb 2011

The Politics of Celebration

don't go the same way every day

no no no not like that

you look so beautiful. what car rental company do you work for?

is this the best work you've ever done?

faeces with penis rising (star sign riposte)

when asked what he was doing to build the image of the nation, michael kier, master of the complimentary insult and probably the greatest host on earth, said "No man leave me alone now i'm busy." Here is his trowel, recently discovered and being put to good use on the embedded-artists' installation currently in progress in the Republic of Troyeville.




25 February 2011


the stunning pink silicone that was cast yesterday has set beautifully.

today was spent working the back side of the mould with plastic strips.


we were very unfortunate in that the silicone we used did not hold and we lost a half days work. plan b (nails) worked just fine and we are catching up quickly.

the team will continue tomorrow and complete the mould using fibre glass, which has to set.

on monday we will do some fine tuning, polishing and what-what on the mould to get it ready for pouring on Tuesday the 2nd of March.

at this point the headboard must cure for 7 days.

during this time our plan is to complete the base and cast the duvet and pillows.

on monday the 7th we would like to put the finishing touches to the base ... sheets .

thursday the 10th we look at taking the cement headboard out of the mould, and installing it on friday the 11th.

(RETROSPECT NOTE WRITTEN ON 13 APRIL: This timing was a dream ... but no one minded as this went well with the process. We continued in good spirit)




28 February 2011

The Glistening Bed

back in the golden city. my sister stephanie went to visit the hit man today so she could see for herself how making the bed is coming along. she said it looks like coconut ice. the latest notice from the bedazzling pair looks more like jhb to me. shiny and sticky.


a late night mail advises it is the aforementionables' pleasure to tell me that they are getting ready to empty the original headboard from the brand new mould and will still be pouring on the 2nd of March. I am further advised to be aware that this is on Wednesday and not on Tuesday as previously stated. he also says kind regards with which i agree.

in the morning, this:

sunrise over the headboard


crossing all fingers that the mould will shed the motherboard like a jelly says hitman. matriarch likes waking up to these views.


1 March 2011

A Neighbourhood of Handy Men

life is worth living when you are up to mischief. and, as we near completion on target practise #3, plans for #4 are now in too tempting to keep out of top secret conceited planning phase.






2 March 2011


making a place for dreaming involves carrying everything closer to the place where the neighbourhood will bask. specifically from the hit man's house on the hill to the next door neighbours' who have generously welcomed the chance to host a sleepover for the cast and curing of the cement that was mixed today with an important concoction to avoid cracks.





9 March 2011

What we do for love

shhhh i am sleeping


dreaming in my old duvet that martha found that used to be blue and white


dreaming of the stars you can see in front of your face when your eyes are bright


dreaming of the good ideas you can see when you fold your mind carefully


waking up to sheet music by the troyeville park-off ensemble


11 March 2011



after the inevitably fierce pillow fight, close to tears and flat noses, feathers and tempers flying, talk of single-beds and separate-parks, there was some delicate making up to do and we did that, though it was quite hard. everyone loves each other even more now and we are taking care as the cement is not the only texture around here with an expiry date.

i used 10-parts sweet pastries to 2-parts tea as an aggregrate so we don't crack under the strain, a tension that comes about as a direct result of the difference between our high ideals and harsh realities. the concoction worked well, although it took the whole day yesterday for us to cure, and, like the base of the bed which was completed at the same time, we have to keep ourselves quite well protected for a few more days.

the hitman sends me a mail late in the night to say the security man in charge of the danger of button addicts in the dark is vincent, and the sky is indeed studded with lights, one for each day of increasing longing. he also tells me he was there, with his bra mo, when "die mooiste hondjie in die wereld walked in the most scary shadows" and he sent me this evidence and confirmed that "die koek was lekker".

our creased sheets are revealed, as fragile as our outbursts.

peaceful time





13 March 2011

As If


some people have those eyes that look at you as if they love you. only they can't look at anyone in another way because their eyes are just like that. they were born with them to mothers who never recover. the rest of us just get looked at and hope for mercy. or we go along with it as if we are loved because making eyes and wit is a way of living as if there is noone looking at you sideways or through a keyhole or, as in a humourless marriage, with a finely-tuned microscope, set to critical.

sometimes we just carry on as if nothing matters except our own little skyline, online, deadline. the war comes right into your bedroom with an image of one child being carried through the end of the world by a big man weeping with no sound, a wall of water and skyscrapers takes out the whole planet right in your own living room and then you turn over on the couch and dream as if it is a movie because it reminds you of one that you thought would never end. some television stations think the images are not harsh enough because they are competing for audiences who prefer feature films so they add stirring music and branding titles to disasters as if they are movies. it becomes harder to tell the difference between the simulations and families who have lost everything. words start making out as if they are meaningless because they do not touch you.

i don't know many people who own up to not running soup kitchens though it is clear there are a lot of us. auntie bee says we survive by making out as if because we all just want to make out.

yesterday the headboard was installed. we are all making out as if it is made of velvet because it is made to look like that, as are the creases in the plastered base made to seem like the lines your sheets get from a night of langour.

the duvet and the pillows will complete the tender contradiction, soon.




25 March 2011

Bedside Manners


the hit man presents


goose feathers


once, high up, on a time


5 April 2011

Special Doom Down Duvet

sounds like a song

duvet doom dee duvet doom dee dee doom duvet da da.

and it is. to be sung to the tune of your favourite dirge.

and it goes something like this:

we thought it would be easy and it is not.

that's the chorus. actually. and it always is (not easy).

the chorus is the sure thing as you go through the dangers of making double-beds in parks and just about all other real life experiences.

the song itself on the other hand is more like a play. here's a short treatment for the script:


oh so you think you are going to make a whole bloody double-bed duvet in concrete? i'll show you. KAPOW.


Scene One

J&D make duvet mould and leave it to dry in garden at Troyeville Old Age Wild Life Home for Nice People. Making the duvet mould is difficult. Who makes a duvet mould? Are you mad? Yes. And what of it? New materials are required. Fibreglass is imported. Care is taken. A lot of care is taken. Tempers are better than controlled and everyone mentions how beautiful it is and how much they are lookng forward.

J comes every day twice, entrance stage left, to cover and uncover the mould using leftover black builder's plastic to make sure it doesn't get wet while it is drying. Inbetween being here, he manages his own sub-text as do we all.


Scene Two

J & #lesfolies go with the Manzana Character to a solar trade show to look for solutions to making the hot water bottle hot and the possible bedside light (or alarming clock) switch on automatically at night, by the light of the sun.

#lesfolies walks into the exhibition hall (stage centre) and is immediately given an iPod. She thinks it is because she is in a good mood.

Mission accomplished. A kind person makes a solar-powered special ceramic heating pad donation to the project. He says it's going to crack inside the duvet but it's going to work anyway. Ok cool. He says he will courier it in time for the concrete pour on Tuesday.

Scene Three

Serendipity abounds. The donator whose name is Johan just like J without the extraness turns out also to happen to know one of #lesfolies's abundant supply of sisters and she confirms he is a dear, also like Dear Johannes. The QC who stamped the heating pad for quality is notably also a Dreyer. J&D see this and arrive for the concrete pour feeling like if it's Tuesday this must be Belgium or some other romantic comedy (in which only temporary things go wrong or go wrong, but only temporarily).



Scene Four

This is even though it is raining and the signs are bleak.

Things go to worse nevermind Belgium. D says the water in the concrete is so wet (like water) it is being absorbed into the mould so they have to take it out and put in another special liquid to make it work. J says that's because the mould is so dry. #lesfolies nods her head though it's swimming - but she trusts them completely. They go off. A few minutes, hours, phone calls or documents later D comes in looking fearful and says he is scared the mould is going to crack if they pour the concrete inside it.

Instincts flare. J joins the new scary meeting and an extensive scenario planning session ensues. The outcome is to get some Material 1. This is not concrete but is a very good environmentally-friendly and durable alternative product that you can also drink when you mix it. #lesfolies is keen on that. She thinks she should tell her dentist all about it next time she feels like a construction site. It will look softer than concrete says J whose face is like a monument. It will be white says D who has paled significantly and says he has to breathe.

Scene Five

The Material 1 is ordered for Thursday delivery. The next-to-worst-case scenario is that J doesn't like it and #lesfolies doesn't like it and D doesn't like it. The best case scenario is we do. In case of next to worse case we resolve we will then use the Material 1 pour as a Master for another concrete attempt that will be made after rubberising the Material 1. It's exciting again either way. The Material 1 apparently takes 20 minutes to dry.

In the meantime, as we consider the uses of adversity, the significance of process in the making of contemporary liminal work and other memorable lines like what is yours will come to you, here is the Duvet of Doom, just as J who took these pictures, left it today.



8 April 2011

Apple of my eye


Yesterday we found this on the bed. Not a bite taken out of it. Yet. It is still there this morning. As I write Johannes and Damien are pouring Material 1 into the duvet mould. I think I will snuggle up inside it when it's done and go to sleep for 100 years.


10 April 2011

Love and respect

Damien and Johannes worked so hard yesterday.


They were covered in dust.

We had chickpea curry for lunch.

They sat at the table as if they were balancing on the tips of their bums so that they didn't leave a fine film behind. Not that Martha would mind. Martha likes men that work like dogs.


We were loving the work though I was more of a spectactor with opinions.


Every time I looked at Damien his face seemed more open, and rosier.


And I noticed Johannes was putting one foot in front of the other quite deliberately, except for once when he cleaned up heavy things very fast like they were made of so much baby powder. He said we must be careful of the fibreglass edges they are still going to grind so that we don't cut our fingers. Johannes is not a nonchalant kind of man.


He and Damien and Charles and Temba carried the duvet to site, with the pillows, for its first fitting. Johannes remarked that it was so light.


Then the three of us tried to look at the bed as if we had never seen it before. Children came. They were shouting spaghetti, spaghetti and posing for Johannes on the pillows, on the sheet, on the duvet. One of them was about four with high-heels, tight pants, a hairdo and an expression. I have thought about her a lot since yesterday. Everything was red and she had a walk that went with the outfit that I had once for a short time when I was about fourteen.

Damien and Johannes are going to smooth all the sharp corners and brush off and wet the dust and carefully blend some of those folds but the three of us have to decide now whether or not to leave the duvet in Material 1 or use this as a master for concrete.

I think we all felt very lonely though we were together, trying to make that decision.

I decided to sleep on it.

I tossed and turned. My dreams were confusing. It was hot. I woke up so many times.


Everyone went home. The world looked big.



16 April 2011

T'was the night before the picnic

























Last modified on Sunday, 25 May 2014 08:10