Launch of Jani Allan’s #JaniConfidential at A Tavola: future as waitress or writer?

Jani ConfidentialThe launch of Jani Allan’s new book ‘Jani Confidential’ created no fireworks yesterday, as many attendees had expected at the Literary Launch lunch organised by Gorry Bowes Taylor for Wordsworth Books.  The low-key, almost hidden, A Tavola restaurant was a good choice, with a special lunch, and reflected Allan’s shy and coy nature as a speaker. Surprisingly few attendees bought books, maybe because Allan did not do a good job in marketing her book to her audience, not reading extracts from it nor providing tidbits which would intrigue one to buy the book.

Soon after we arrived at the fully-booked launch event, for which we paid R280 for the three course lunch, a selection of Antipasti was brought to the tables of ten to share: Bruschetta

 

Jani Allan Bruschetta Whale Cottage(with tomato and Mozzarella, vegetables, and tomato), salads of mixed green leaves with long shavings of Parmesan, a tasting spoonful of garlic calamari, and wonderful Zucchini Fritti. Jani Allan Zucchini Whale Cottage

Our main course order was taken, being a choice of six Secondi dishes, the majority of us ordering Vitello ai funghi e vino bianco (veal scallops with wild mushrooms, white wine, rosemary and thyme, which was served on fresh pasta).  Other options were beef fillet, Saltimbocca alla Romana Jani Allan Veal Whale Cottage(chicken breast), seafood linguine, tagliolini with mushrooms and truffle oil, and oven-baked tuna.

Western Cape Sales Manager and Brand Ambassador Paula Teixeira from Solms-Delta, having sponsored the wines, including a Chenin Blanc 2014, provided the background to what she called a ‘social enterprise‘ instead of a wine farm. Co-owners Professor Mark Solms and professional benefactor Richard Astor have created a number of Jani Allan Solms-Delta Whale Cottagetrusts to benefit others, including their own staff, sharing the income of the wine sales on a 50%/50% basis. The farm supports ‘South African things’, and has a social conscience.  It has been surprisingly Afrikaans in its creation of wine names.  She made a passionate plea for us all to be part of ‘cause South Africa‘, and that we should all move forward together.  She did not share any information about the Solms-Delta wines in general, and about those which we were drinking.

Jani Allan launch lunch Whale CottagAfter the main course it was time for Allan to address us.  There were a number of surprises: she was late in arriving for her own launch lunch; she spoke very softly and without impact as a speaker, contrary to one’s expectation of her as a power-frau, at times one not being able to understand some of what she said;  she is trim and slim but her face is well-wrinkled and weathered (Google reveals her to be 62 year old, having been born on 9/11 in 1952, just 3 months older than I am); she was heavily made-up, laughingly telling us that her BA Fine Arts degree is well used in the art of ‘painting my face’ (the humour and word play a rare occurrence during her talk, of which one would have expected more), and that she spoke from notes, instead of speaking off the cuff, which one would have expected her to be good at.

Surprising too is how Allan edits out aspects of her past in the talk, to make it sound worse and to attract more sympathy. For example, her adopted father passed away when Jani (from Janet, her mother’s name too) was 18 months old. Her very detailed Wikipedia (auto?)biography mentions a stepfather, but he was not mentioned by her in the talk.  It was a surprise to many of us that Allan was at her journalism peak 30 years ago, when she wrote the notorious article about Eugene Terreblanche, a name she told us she would not mention in her talk (but it slipped through once thereafter), and would not write about in any future book.  She said that she was ‘coming out‘ at the launch, not in being Jewish nor gay (her words) yet wishing she had been both she said, trying to make a joke in starting a new life but not succeeding, not being half as sharp when speaking compared to her writing.

She described her alter ego, the loved-or-hated Hamilton’s Grill Room waitress Juliette, who lives in Lambertville New Jersey in the USA, with ‘hair done with an egg beater‘, who drives a beat-up yellow VW Beetle, and has three toy pom dogs, who are her one and all life.  A few of the colleagues know about her book, but she still has to clean the restaurant toilets, they told her.   It is impossible to imagine Allan as an order-taker, having to tolerate patrons, or moody kitchen staff, some of her frustrations being channeled into a blog she wrote about her restaurant life.  She became braver and braver on her Jani Allan blog, and especially on Twitter, loving the reaction her Tweets caused. Her Oscar Pistorius blogpost, accusing him of having taken acting lessons for his court appearances, and having a secret witness to confirm this but never identified, launched her back into public notoriety.  She has just over 5000 followers on Twitter.

She mentioned her (adopted) mother a number of times, twice telling us that she had taught her ‘survival’. She also sent Allan to a range of lessons: art, ballet, Scottish dancing, piano, tap dancing, elocution (she speaks British English) and Ikebana, to mention a few. But most importantly her mother taught her to be humble, of which one does not pick up much in her public persona.   She described herself as having been seen as a ‘Barbie Doll‘ in her hey day.   She explained that she does not take herself very seriously, and that she has ‘a huge dollop of self-mocking’, perhaps explaining her poor attempts at jokes and word-play in the talk.Jani Allan Pavlova Whale Cottage

She spoke about the Sunday Times, and its editor at that time (Tertius Myburgh), loving her and then signalling her end when he banished her to London, subsequently terminating her column. Interesting is the debate created on Twitter by Allan supporters that the Sunday Times is snubbing Allan, not having interviewed her since she arrived in our country, returning for the first time in ten years. She admitted to her addiction to the ‘Jani Allan’ column, which both drained her and put her on a high every week, and cost her the first marriage. She referred to her ‘friend’ and former colleague Linda Shaw, causing a surprise amongst the audience, but one suspects that this was irony at its best.  Shaw was a key witness against Allan in her London court case, which she lost.

The launch lunch ended off with a Dolci feast, being shared plates of Tiramisu, Pavlova, Jani Allan Tiramisu Whale Cottageand Panna Cotta, all polished by our table, despite the hearty portions of our main courses, and the Antipasti selection!

It was a surprise that the meal was so good, especially for such a large group of attendees, my last experience at A Tavola not having been a good one. Our waitron Adlady looked after our table well. It was the first time in a long time that I booked under a different surname, having been blocked on Twitter by Allan in mentioning her waitress career choice about a year ago, and due to the previous A Tavola review.  Allan hinted at wanting to give up her waitress job, obviously hoping that her book sales will tide her over financially.  The photograph on the book cover and the publicity pics clearly date back to 30 years ago! The book title is a contradiction, as little about Jani Allan remains ‘Confidential‘!

POSTSCRIPT 19/4 : The Sunday Times did write a review of Jani’s book, albeit a very short one, in its Lifestyle Section today.

POSTSCRIPT 19/4: We have found a reference to Gareth Davies, who has been vocal on Twitter about Allan, and who wrote a Comment to this Blogpost (which he also posted on his Twitter account @GarethDaviesZA but thought about it, and deleted it again!).  It appears that he set up Allan’s Twitter account, and may have had a hand in blocking ourselves (and others)!  He has all of 90 Twitter followers!

POSTSCRIPT 23/4: It was inevitable – Jani Allan the writer could not resist commenting on this blogpost, using a pseudonym ‘Mags/Mags Taylor’. She sent 13 comments, vitriolic and filled with hate-speech regarding myself and two other critical commenters to this blogpost.  It was her repeated issuing of instructions to Gareth Davies (see Postscript above) in the comments, and obsessive references to ‘Schaden Freude‘ (sic) and to the creator of the word Schopenhauer, that I recognised in the interview with Allan fan Marika Sboros, leading me to deduce that Jani Allan is the abusive and nasty ‘Mags Taylor‘ in the comments sent to our blogpost.  Not one of her Comments is publishable, but her threats will be watched, and Comments saved at the back-end of our Blog.

POSTSCRIPT 25/4: Jani Allan, a.k.a. ‘Maggie/Mags Taylor’, has stopped sending further abusive comments to this blogpost, as we have not allowed any of her barrage of 15!  She is now sending e-mails to us directly, including this latest one of blackmail threat: ‘I advise you to delete your comments to me on your Jani Allan slut shaming blog with immediate effect – I have given you a small taste of who you are dealing with and if you wish to avoid further retaliation online from me you will delete your vile untruthful comments‘!  Nasty lady!

Jani Allan: ‘Jani Confidential’, Jacana Media Twitter: @JaniAllan R220.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com  Tel (021) 433-2100, Twitter:@WhaleCottage  Facebook:  click here

41 replies on “Launch of Jani Allan’s #JaniConfidential at A Tavola: future as waitress or writer?”

  1. Gareth Davies says:

    You didn’t merely refer to her waitressing, you described her as a ‘down and out waitress’ on Twitter and appeared to be gleeful about it.

  2. So enjoyed your review, Chris. Also appreciate you saving me R220 – even tho I do enjoy some fiction from time to time. Thanks!

  3. Ursula Van Lelyveld says:

    I attended her book launch at Hyde Park Exclusive books and had a very different experience, I was compelled to buy the book and absolutely LOVED it.

    • Perhaps she was more intimidated by her Cape Town audience. Perhaps coming late rattled her Ursula.

      • Ursula Van Lelyveld says:

        Maybe you’re right. The set up at Hyde park was that she and her editor discussed the book, perhaps that was more comfortable for her.

        • Your comment has reminded me that Jani tried to get out of talking altogether, by suggesting that she take questions from the floor immediately.

          But then she changed her mind, and opened her book with her notes., and started speaking

    • Janet Sophia Fry says:

      Ursula we saw some photos of the former Eugene Terre’Blanche’s hot stukkie and her astonishing smile taken at Hyde Park and wondered how you were affected. Can you eat again? Has the panic nightmares abated somewhat?

  4. Janet Sophia Fry says:

    Jani’s legendary wickedness is only compounded by the raw ablative lies about her childhood and adoption which is one story on Wikipedia and another in the Sue Marshall Grant interview. And the inexcusable revandalization of Eugene Terre’blance, to whom she was a very willing hostess at her Sandton flat. Let us not forget how he used to sleep on her couch (her words) with no objection from her.

  5. Mags Taylor

    My, you are obsessed with this blogpost about the launch of Jani Allan’s book – 10 comments in total, one more vicious and filled with hate and venom than the other. It should be no surprise to you that I will not allow your ueber-nasty comments on my blog.

    Let me assure you that Caroline Hurry and Janet Fry are real people with real names.

    • Dearie me! Another minion on the warpath? How does she find them??

      • Check my new Postscript Caroline – ‘Mags Taylor’ none other than Allan herself, using a pseudonym! #Slutshaming

      • B Turner. says:

        I was deeply saddened (shrouded with grief and lilies etc) upon reading that Ms Allan behaved so disgracefully towards her old chum Mr David Bullard. Mere days before departing to fleece South Africa, she oozed excitement on this TL, but then stood him up. Twice. Not something which a lady does. It is provincial and parochial to do so and reflects on Allan. One wonders if this wasn’t done to the ultimate relief of Mr Terre’blanche as well after Allan claimed everything was his fault. It would appear as though Jani rarely employs manners when a situation is devoid of lucrative gain. No doubt she feared Bullard’s opinion on a book which doesn’t live up to expectation with 50 % of the subjects dead and the remaining ones inconsequential. Bitterness seem to bristle as the reality sets in that the only viral thing in this story is something she didn’t catch from the (alleged) encounter with Mr Terre’blanche and not her book sales. From the photos I see small venues containing very old groupies in puffer jackets and frail but dear old ladies, nobody of consequence went to see her. My wife remarked that an ugly gay men would draw a bigger crowd on Grindr. The likes of JCW and Sam Cowen interviewed her not as fans, but as a subject – as a disgraced then attractive blonde (allegedly) lying flat of her back with Mrs Marthie Terre’blanches husband, Eugene, between her wide open legs with her gnarled toes (eyewitness description) visible. The very old Dr Buthelezi (who also indiscriminately went to the Gupta Wedding) looks so uncomfortable with her that one wonders whether he came at his own behest or whether he was flown in as a PR stunt. Ultimately the proof lies in the pudding. The first print run is still on shelves, despite of its authoress, the once most liked person in SA, feverishly signing copies all over. If she retires gracefully and never has to waitress again we must eat our words. But standing people up after having used their online clout, being disgraceful about her mother and extremely rude about both a close personal friend and a houseguest (Mrs Terre’blanche’s husband) does not reflect well on her alleged personal growth.

        PS – Does anyone know how those two horrific deep scars over her cheeks came about? It runs from the corners of the mouth which was presumably lifted? What procedure is that? Does it have something to do with Shadenfreude? Or is it an erotic thing?

  6. Mags

    Now another 3 abusive comments filled with hate-speech – that makes it 13!

    You could well be Jani herself, issuing instructions to young Gareth!

    As the owner of this Blog I have the right to not post abusive, disparaging, and insulting comments.

    Your behaviour is obsessive dear lady!

  7. Ingrid Denzin says:

    It must be tough being a 62 year old waitress still cleaning toilets and lugging plates for a living. However, it also shows a distinct lack of entrepreneurial flair on her part.

    She reminds me of Christine Keeler who had no talents other than those that gained her her notoriety and so ended up penniless on skid row. Jani was a bit more evolved than that, but by worldwide standards she was a minor journalistic talent. No self respecting journalist from the outside world wanted to work in the SA media at that time. In a country where people were “shocked” by strippers with snakes it didn’t take much to attract attention. So she attracted attention where she would have been ignored elsewhere.

    Instead of knuckling down and actually getting into some line of reasonably paying work after leaving South Africa, she boasts about being so lacking in practical sense that she can’t boil an egg for herself. Anyone with a grain of sense would have cut it in some other field by now instead of languishing in a cramped bedsitter with a couple of Pomeranians for company.

    • I agree Ingrid. She has some dreadful TripAdvisor reviews about how rude she is to their patrons at Hamilton’s Grill Room!

      I do note that her Facebook page describes her as a ‘Journalist’! Really – from 30 years ago? Or is she recareering again?

      • Ingrid Denzin says:

        I read one very nasty review which was so long winded and bitter that it could only have been personal. Would you really wait until you left a restaurant to write such commentary? Wouldn’t you rather have called the manager if the waitress was that awful?

      • Ingrid Denzin says:

        I wish some women would stop resorting to astrology and “soul paths” to rationalise shit in their lives. As if it was all planned out before they had a say in the plot. Like religion, it’s all the same garbage to keep suckers in passive-aggressive mode and let them pay for their misery too.

        I hope Jani manages to finally extricate herself from her faecal situation but she seems her own worst enemy in keeping herself down, which predictably brings out the worst in other people.

        There is no afterlife, no reincarnation, Jani. Just the here and now.

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