Friday, 27 September 2013 07:47


Written by  Lesley
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Chapter Seven

The words have taken over. Here. There. Everywhere.


14 July 2013


Whew. I feel much better now

#lesfolies and Dear Johannes hereby declare an artist by the beautiful name of Olaf Breuning our neighbour. This is because Jo found a work of his called COMPLAINING FOREST and then he knew exactly how to prune the trees above your bed back into themselves.

I feel much better now.

Dear Johannes said in Afrikaans we say I love you Lesley

Sigh said #lesfolies like that. The bonds that tie us together are indeeds.

The duvet has clear, clean water for the birds and your eyes. The trees have words and new winter washed socks not like your old pair that are stretched and losing their colour and my heart, my heart is playing fooligan again in the branches.

Oh what a relief.



17 July 2013

Is it safe?

Caroline came in through the email window. Beautiful, intense, careful. Wondering and writing about whether making public art helps to make a place safe.

Today #lesfolies and Dear Johannes got this message from her:

“We had a lovely time at the bed yesterday — it was nice and warm on the concrete.  Someone has encouraged all visitors to FART.” Do you think it is safe to fart? Maybe Caroline knows.



22 July 2013


by the time you get to bed you may find one or both gone

come to bed soon Dear Johannes

#lesfolies is pleased to post these lovely missives from #sweetscaroline her own self. in exchange for the really inside stories from Jo, she, and an accomplice of her own whose name is known to #lesfolies, left these nipple-lindts.

Our lips are sealed.



26 July 2013

found revolution

Zenzele Simelane, who had his picture taken once, high up, on a time by Tjo Highness, came seeking us out with proof:The Troyeville Bedtime Story joined the revolution without its own knowledge. Zenzele is the bearer of this significant news, something he found inspiring in light of the missive in sticks.

Found in a last Sunday’s Sun which is how it is this crisp winter.

Come and visit. Feel free.



7 August 2013

Zandspruit in Troyeville


A lovely letter comes from Derin Adebulehin who works at the most interesting office of Young People in International Affairs and whose job it is, amongst other things, to engage.

Derin is intent on making imagination work in Zandspruit. Of course #lesfoies and DearJ were a bit blissed out by her missive. The Troyeville Bedtime Story and Candy Chang’s Before I Die. Yeah bebe.

Zandspruit is in the Deep North and it sure seems like the-unkind-of-place you might want to be neighbourly about. It is a bit rough out there, being a lots of people who live in a crazy small spilling-over squatter camp near the Lion & Rhino Park. But then people used to say that about Troyeville. Hey Jo. And we just made our own game reserve. Hey Jo said #lesfolies again. He just gave her one of those looks.

It was not long after we received her first message, before Derin and her colleague, himself by the name of Rudi with an eye, were found taking time out to discuss their dreams in public. There was also a Leon present, a philosopher from Monash University, from where Derin just graduated. But he is not in this picture, even though he is fully in it you can tell when you meet him.

And if that was not enough, Derin introduced #lesfolies to a leader of The Church in the Castle up the road opposite the Spar, so that we can also engage here at home, mostly, they both hope, about the big rubbish dumping going on near this most busiest place of worship. Derin goes to that very church and she is determined to make herself useful, a character trait that has endeared her whole self into The Troyeville Bedtime Story ~ by her very nature.

Actually, #lesfolies is quite keen to evangelise the entire congregations of the worlds towards visible neighbourliness. Rabbi Perkier Than Usual.

We join Derin in looking forward to what is really going on in Zandspruit

Speaking of which: Some folks followed the To See More sign at the bed on this very day and came to the Troyeville Tea Garden to do exactly that. Ms M Mhlanga hosted them around as if the reserve was an accredited arts and culture destination. She’s very good that Martha. At everything.



9 August 2013

Low art

Tolstoy, says #lesfolies in quite a deep voice, wrote that empathy for decadent members of the ruling class makes society worse, rather than better. Here is Bongani, an artreprenuer in Troyeville selling work appropriate to the game reserves of the society in which we have become befallen. We are not sure of his rain plan says Johannes who is, himself, working in the cave so as to keep dry. He is making high art for the masses with Zenzele and not a cent spent.



9 August 2013

Jo writes all over

Johannes has always had his way with words and these are for you, on the occasion.

Inspired by Olaf Breuning’s beautiful work Complaining Forest, the man has spent many days now bending and painting sticks with Zenzele. Right now he is also bending over leaves though this is not yet shown.

Olaf wrote to say he is pleased to be of service. So is #lesfolies.


12 August 2013

they are playing our song

No one could think straight it was so quiet.

The silence boom across the city

So loud #lesfolies has to close her eyes

I heard you the first time she said



13 August 2013

paris, troyeville

In which movie, says #lesfolies does Dear Johannes remember everything even the secrets he was never told?

You keep coming out of the desert at Darras, Texas, with your memory in tatters said the voice who always wants to know where is my pen?

Write it down when you find it he told her. Write everything. Write your love. Nevermind if it is left unread. You will never know if you have been muted anyway.


16 August 2013

throws in swimming pool free



21 August 2013

Trigger happy

it was a long time ago. he was much bigger than me. he worked in the city and he had a ferrari. and yes it was red.

when he left he took each and every single financial record and all and any evidence of work done in the decade prior, with him to where he ensconced himself. in a live broadcast studio in the bespoke penthouse of another white building on the other side of town. there was not a newfangled thing he did not acquire.

we used to sit and listen to him making interminable speeches about bicycles going round being the same as the complexities of international trading in the same one-thousand seater where they had the annual pantomime. in a spotlight. at a lectern. with a logo on it. afterwards, every one would go up to him and tell him how great he was over cold processed slices of meat on toothpicks with an olive. and sausage rolls warmed up to burn your heart to ash at three the next morning. the discussions were tender and no one dreamed of asking who the blonde was, though when the finger food was finished they were caught with their pants down in the car in the parking lot because security mistook him for a hairy bum trying to hotwire the ferrari.

one beautiful morning i took him by the scruff of his neck, twisted his tie around his head, and hurled him flat onto the bored room table. and then, with my knee up his adam’s apple, and my face in his face, as fast as you could say was he really once in charge of all the money, i zikked off his moustache. i knew it was attached by velcro.

you see.

i never shot anyone though. that was Dear Johannes. He shoots up the sky that guy. gets me. right between the eyes.

#lesfolies is aware these lyrics are different from Cher’s original, but if you listen closely you can almost hear the strains of the Nancy Sinatra cover.

My baby shoot me down.



29 August 2013

G'nite my best guy

The Troyeville Bedtime Story is stretching itself out along Albertina Sisulu Road. Because that other guy was wrong says Dear Johannes. It is not the end of the world. Unless we missed it.

When you go to sleep think of me says #lesfolies, thinking of you, oh holy Moses.

And if you toss and turn and the day will not go away, remember that affectionate, generous shin splint and arthritic services for mutts are all available in your neighbourgood. #lesfolies loves the way Johannes carries you.

You may as well. #lesfolies can hear you thinking: I bet she says that to all her millions of suitors.




no words

I saw them your words, walking out of our story, into the park as if, and on to the line, here ~ and in the afternoon they were out in the sun, letters that I never got shame, where I saw them before, electric snakes with the moon, and before that in fire hung out to dry in the branches of trees, faded threads along the neighbourhood’s ocean of engines moving, sweeping, in and out, in and out of town.

Words made for words, run baby run wound around my bark, tied with men’s breath, tides of sad and isolation, tides of solace, bliss, small comforts, the veins of painted leaves.

Ndosi lemphisi. Young men come with their own stories leaping from ladder to branch. Search words on google. Find one irrelevant video. Find nothing.

The National Security Agency know nothing. Does that mean they are not real either? Well here it is now. Ndosi lemphisi. The sting of the wild animal, the tail of the dog. Burn it and you can steal the world out from underneath the universe. You can leak the sacred truth out from underneath some stranger’s pillow while they sleep, unsuspecting. Or you can burn an old vinyl the young men tells me and he says that he knows.

The whole city looked on. From behind the inside lights, windows facing walls and through closed doors, we all saw The End. We all saw that tree and knew it was not. That tree in particular. Why that tree now? Neruda said there were too many names.

One way or another we were all cast in the same movie though it was not (a film, not yet, or the end), nor some portend, but, still, some saddest of all and strangest fate befell that beautiful dog after the fact. This is not a statistic.

What is the blue? What is blue? Blue. Where is this word? What do words do? Tied up with string, my tongue.

No words

Life does not die.

For The Tale of the Dog, I have only this small, and useless: Last night I saw you run with bright eyes through our story, through every Chapter going back years, the way you were before you existed.

Thanks due to Pablo Neruda.



23 September 2013

until you are alive, again

#lesfolies tells me that The Troyeville Game Reserve is as wild place as any as you are likely to visit in your search for the comfortable way to view the most exotic of all stark naked tribes running around our light-filled darkest Africa, world-class hyenas salivating for disasters, leaving their victims half-eaten for tourists armed with umbrellas and Nikons, windswept and without a care in the world, lenses zooming in from the safety of the customised viewing vehicles called Twitter and Facebook and Fuck That.

She says she wants you to know. She never clicked on the links to watch the chemical attacks, nor any of the photographs of the babies wrapped in white, nor the current massacre-a-minute spectacle, but she saw them all, clearly and anyway. She knows they are there. She left to go another direction.

No amount of main arterial route, underground pipe, mining or moustache activity, no amount of extensive media coverage winning the wars, no amount of wear a suit, earn a salary, brand your life, no amount of make out as if, can change this undeniable fact: The Troyeville Game Reserve is South Africa’s only inner city free range habitat for the most dangerous of all nocturnal creatures. We love despite and are proud to be considered amongst the wrong side of the tracks.

Even the trees in Dear Johannes’s eyes find ways to offer themselves ~ as openings, escape routes, untrapped sky doors, especially made for our most distinguished (and arguably most sane). If the good and quiet neighbours will look carefully, there is always a way out ~ through inexplicable branches that have grown like this for just such a moment, as if we planned it. Maybe we did.

And, for the monsters among us, then, out of the oldest leaves and the paint we stretched, and the windings round that wounded the inside of your hands, #lesfolies says that Dear Johannes and The Zenzele need no reminding thank you very much, that if you attempt to mess with beauty by distributing food parcels to stall generosity, if you wish to strike fear in the hearts of the meek, make promises you do not intend to keep, you had better beware: we will love you until you are alive again.


2 October 2013

That Bottom Line



Long ago #lesfolies blood sister Arlette designed this bench in Los Sandtos and #lesfolies wrote the sentence on it that says love sits way above the bottom line.

It still does and it always will. Even though that bottom line weighed far too heavily and with toppling over results at the recent art affair (the one which is called Joburg but which actually happens in America, Los Sandtos).

This picture of the picture of the bench is #lesfolies picture of the picture taken by the photographer his own self, David Goldblatt. We were a bit delighted that he took this picture of our nice place to sit down at all, and then put it up for the affair and then took it down when the affair went awry and then put it up again after everyone nearly kissed and made up, sort of with nuances which is a kind way of saying intractable.



Also taken, put up, taken down and put up again was this very lovely picture by Mr Goldblatt of this not-ending-anytime-soon story that you your own self are reading right this very second. And this is #lesfolies’ picture of his picture of this story. I am explaining all of this just to avoid confusion.

All of David Goldbatt’s images that were taken, put up, taken down and put up again were about many things, not least including how it is that what is up has a bearing on whether we - all - are up or down.


10 October 2013

Blue October


Rushes off on complete rebranding exercise through wild wind.

A solemn declaration is to be made.

Inbetween many conversations in passing traffic about small crowds of deranged people with red balloons and bakkies.

Singing uit die blou van onse hemel, uit die diepte van ons baie seer to the tune of like a mer err err err err maid.

Or The Statue of Liberty. Or the Rain Queen.

Is almost struck down dead by lightening. But survives.

Come let us pray ~

Dear Good Gods, please let it rain. Please let it pour. For like a few days even. And please let us be thoroughly cleansed of all prevailing idiocies. You said there would be only seven years of drought. It must be over soon then, surely? Where is the love? Show us a sign. Go on. Be a devil.

Yours Truly

Photographs by Nomqibelo Martha Mhlanga. Fabric by Nomqibelo Martha Mhlanga. Found stapler by Nomqibelo Martha Mhlanga. Lots of laughing and carrying on and wondering what Dear Johannes will have to hasay by Nomqibelo Martha Mhlanga.


6 November 2013



Still. When #lesfolies asked the young man now with a learner’s license to drop her in the middle of this story on the way home, that’s how it was, it was, that is how it was. She had the best ever in history yoghurt for breakfast, fat mulberrys dripping with, and thin slices of apple cut to the most delicate of turns, big spoonfuls of it, hungry and wiping her mouth in rapture, a salute to the chef in a town in a world where not being hungry is a sin.

A sin she tells me.

Ask me no questions said the spokesperson and I will tell you no lies. We are getting sleepless nights he said it over and over. Dear Johannes is missed as if Marlon never made it.

Making this with you for so long even though you up and chucked before we even saw the bricks lying there, undone.

You see what you want. Just like me, #lesfolies thought out loud.

Auntie. my name is Kyla Brown. We live in the valley, you know Auntie, down there. She points and leans against him, shaped as her voice, the colour of leaves and bark.

Get off this street. You are not allowed here. You are not verified. You are verified but your piece of paper is not validated. You have the wrong colour piece of paper. You have no right to sell bananas so cheaply. Why do you make the tomatoes look like marbles? This is New York do you not know that? Do you think this is a game? You must not come here with your accent. You do not look right. You are not the public. You are rubbish. We have to clean you out. We are sweeping you off the face of the city. Look at our big broom. Have you ever seen such a big broom? Look how much we like telling you how pro poor we are. Stand in this queue. No, stand in that queue. There is no queue. There is no clue either. How did this happen? I thought you were in charge.

Beautiful young people doing whatever they like in the Troyeville Bedtime Story. Which is as it should be said #lesfolies. Something like normal. Whatever that is she shouted at the top of her voice.

Here is Michael Barends, Jamie Kock, Chanell Wala and Kayla Brown. They live in the Valley of Happiness where the #innercitymeansweep is not evident. Not yet. They said they would help to pick up litter if someone would just pay them, just pay them, if someone would just pay them. Don’t worry Auntie, our parents are not on the interwebs or Facebook or that stuff you know, they are not on it.





Last modified on Friday, 08 November 2013 06:06