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Corporate Shill Fest

Corporate Shill Fest

by Brandon Edmonds, images by Jasmine Seef / 09.07.2010

We need reminders. Mine was a good black suit I’d bought off eBay years ago and hadn’t worn much thanks to my yo-yo girth. Recent weight loss (thanks to the transformative wonders of British Military Fitness on the Sea Point promenade) meant it fit. Only just though. The waistband ate into my hips. It reminded me of who I really am (a jobbing writer with good hair, failing teeth and no discernable assets) atop Penthouse 1 of Sol Kerzner’s One & Only hotel on the Waterfront. That gut throb, a Johnny Cash-like ring of fire, kept me grounded in a place where suites go for R50 000 a night.

A certain property powerhouse, it rhymes with disbelief, is selling Penthouse 1 for a rumored R110 million, “decidedly affordable” according to the powerhouse’s benumbingly affable CEO. So they threw an investor party – a property circus for the moneyed and well-heeled – to flog the thing. Mahala went along, why, because is the greatest phrase in the English language not “open bar”?

Rare photograph capturing the empty neon glow of estate agents

I wore sneakers, stared at the routinely hot service staff, and avoided the Nobu platters (a couple of California rolls on top of several imported lagers and my trousers and I were going to have a serious talk). There were Paris Hilton rumors (I wanted to ask her if it was Linda Lovelace who taught her to deep throat like that). There were Mick Jagger whispers (I had hoped to ask him what Marianne Faithful tasted like in 1968, or Bianca in the 70s: spicy, creamy?). Would Leo Di Caprio show? (I’d have ignored him for the thankless hours I sunk into Titanic).

Nobody worth showing showed though. Big names can smell a corporate shill fest quicker than Jim Crow pooches can an escaped con. Instead we got “former Miss Universe” Michelle McLean and Olympian Ryk Neethling. They naturally gravitated towards each other, ordained by the tractor beam of genetic attraction. It instantly felt like high school. Our species requires their mating. If 2012 really is the end for us, they ought to be sedated and shot off into space to seed new worlds. She’s tall enough to pluck soccer balls off roofs. He’s lean as veal with the kind of bluntly rude health that makes speckled teens flush. I’m sure it’s the love of Jesus not a burning waistband that keeps those two grounded.

Michelle McLean lays down the genetic imperative - I'm out of your league boys - before smashing these two chumps together like cymbals

“I should probably know who you are,” I tell the lead singer of the live band. She turns out to be Felicia Mabuza Suttle’s spawn. Lindiwe has an American accent and an admirable ability to consistently say no to carbohydrates. I’ve never been around someone with as much bare naked hunger and replete self-regard. Dating her would be like babysitting a panther – thrilling, but there’d be blood. She can sing a bit too. Her mother, whose talons are as castrating as ever, I keep imagining her slashing babies to death in a manga maternity ward, tells me she’s just about single-handedly responsible for the surprising amount of American interest in the World Cup. “I tell them Durban is Miami, Joburg is New York and Cape Town is Monte Carlo. Americans need comparisons!” I want to bellow at her that people died for her gormless sins. Kids were shot in the streets not far from Penthouse 1. That if you want comparisons I could mention a horse’s ass and her vacuous career. Instead we hug and I notice the one and only Danny De Vito.

I'm a eat your children in a manga video!

Oh no, it’s just Solomon Kerzner. The hobbit-like host. The man behind the hotel. He’s tiny and gray. Part of me wants to pat his head and go coochy coo, while the other wants to wrestle him to the floor and yell, Sun City motherfucker! Queen! How could you! Now hand over the vintage Anneline nudie snaps, or I’ll throw you off the deck. Shorty! Instead we take a picture together. He has the dreamlike self-distillation of the truly wealthy. All that’s left for him to discover is whatever lurks within him – the rest of the world is his oyster bar.

And that’s about it, really. You can imagine the view. 360 degrees of Cape Town at night. The new white candy wheel, the glamorous Spielbergian stadium, the eternal magic mountain, and all the slumped squashed suburbs with their working wounded, and the cold dark sea, blacker than black. I thought about R110 million, and how unimaginable it is for the majority of us, how obscene, and in the lift descending, returning to earth, I secretly undid my pants and farted.

Just look at these hideously overweight fatties as they lean back after all that Nobu sushi and try and stretch their massive guts and fart sheepishly

Just a few more drinks, son, and I'm gonna jump on that donkey-bunny statue thing and fucken ride it til they kick me out. I don't care!

Gary Bailey demonstrates the same bunny in the headlights glare that made him the fearsome goalkeeper he once was. Mrs Bailey seems to have inherited the look.

I swear doll, if you want to live here you'll have to fake orgasms under one of those awful fat, sweaty 60 year old golf junkies, til he dies.

Smile it's good for PR. I can't boet, this shit is killing me. Best I can do is stretch my lips over my teeth and look menacing.

Further proof that white men are boring

Lindiwe Suttle is a suggestive musician, babysitting a panther. Grrr

Where do all Felicia's cellphone videos go?

* All images © Jasmine Seef.

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RESPONSES (30)
  1. Sarah Dee says:

    Totally awesome.

    I used to write for a mag that made me go to events like this (usually hosted by their property mogul advertisers), and I’d have to go home and write a couple hundred words of ego-stroking, gag-inducing, toe-curling puff pieces about these strutting snoots and their B-grade celeb friends.

    I find catharsis in this. I might find healing yet. Thanks.

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  2. surely not not says:

    If there is a God, then He knows that South Africa needs more journalism of this nature to, how do they say, level the playing fields.

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  3. snapper says:

    where’s the pic of brandon with sol?
    and is it just me or are brandon’s bowels particularly active of late?

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  4. Anonymous says:

    @snapper i must say i was having the same thought. disturbing, unwelcome insights into the mind and biological preoccupations of the man.

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  5. brandon edmonds says:

    It was blurry but I’ll mail it to you if you want. You both seem irritated at my bowel syndrome. Time to explore other physical events, I guess: the sneeze, the cough…the yawn.

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  6. shaka says:

    this whole piece is pure poetry

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  7. Tommy Erstwhile says:

    Does anyone want to comment on this phenomenon?:

    The photograph third from the last reads: “proof that white men are boring.”

    If it had shown a picture of a white woman holding her chin in the company of three black men and had read, ‘proof that black men are boring’, do you think that would’ve been racist or sounded racist or invoked the self-righteous ire of several liberals?

    What do you guys think?

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  8. brandon edmonds says:

    You’re turning a puerile jibe into a self-serving racial trap, Tommy. It’s uninteresting.

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  9. snore says:

    @tommy *cue sound of crickets at night*

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  10. surely not not says:

    Hey Tommy, I think that depends a lot on the context. Let’s not forget that it’s Auntie Felicia doing the chin-stroke here, someone hardly renowned for her scintillating conversation. Now picture Paris Hilton in that pose with Jake Zuma and your caption – would that evoke outrage or a chortle?

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  11. :) says:

    Possibly the best start to a monday that I’ve had this year.I like the way you write exactly the way people are thinking, but are to ashamed to admit.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Tommy. You are in the land of the white-guilt-ridden-fist in the air-and-(I would assume)-up-each-others asses. Everything Brandon Edmonds scribbles is filled with not so subtle neo-liberal kak overtones. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had an assortment of beret’s and some shoes that never knew polish. Pseudo intellectual commie. It’s uninteresting.

    But. Whatever. That is Mahala’s vibe.

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  13. Tabitha says:

    i agree with ‘:)’ ,a very entertaining read on a very chilly monday morning. Thanks. 🙂

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  14. snapper says:

    Tommy – grow a flipping sense of humour already. One of the basics in poking fun is its ok to laugh at yourself or a group to which you are (voluntarily or not) affiliated. Not so much to put down others. Pretty simple really.

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  15. brandon edmonds says:

    I’m definitely not ‘neoliberal’ (you might want to look that up), Anonymouse. Accusing me of owning a beret is far worse than accusing me of fisting my colleagues by the way. A beret! How very dare you…

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  16. Anonymouse says:

    Shit sticks…F’d that one up…I’ll try try again…beret wearing left-libertarian fister perhaps?

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  17. brandon edmonds says:

    There you go, kid. Now you’re in the game!

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  18. Sol Kerzner says:

    Hobbit? Shorty? Next time you wear the suit, it’ll be the day they put you in the ground.

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  19. Whyno? says:

    Fucking hilarious! ‘I feel like a pig shat in my head.’ Withnail

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  20. ClaireinCT says:

    Excellent article! I feel like I was there & can just imagine it. Funny picture captions too.

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  21. Heidi says:

    One of the funniest things I’ve read in a very long time.

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  22. Annie says:

    I really enjoyed reading this piece. Working in Tourism means I spend ALL my free time at events, launches, pat-on-the-backs, AGM’s, openings, re-openings etc… and I concur.

    Nice one.

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  23. Mo says:

    Fucking wonderful piece of writing.

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  24. Nash says:

    Best review of an event like this that I have ever read. EVER!

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  25. Bcoop says:

    Well written, funny, but a bit like shooting fish in a barrel when you have subject matter like Felicia and Michelle McLean to take the piss out of

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  26. Debbie says:

    Love it – classic

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  27. lady earth says:

    hi there, i think i met you at the show, your opinion is very accurate of some of the people that attend these “events”, i also met allot of husband hunters. lol!
    thanx for being honest!
    well done!

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  28. brandon edmonds says:

    Is that you, Tessa?

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  29. lady earth says:

    sorry, im not tessa, ii was one of the girls modelling the jewellery…

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  30. brandon edmonds says:

    Did you sell any?

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