Entries tagged with “Spud”.


Wordsworth Cheese Book 2The Wordsworth launch lunch of Agri-Expo Dairy Manager Kobus Mulder’s book ‘Cheeses of South Africa’ at Reuben’s at the One&Only Cape Town yesterday was most enjoyable, with great company, good food and wine, a charming hotel ambassador, and entertaining author/speaker.

Gorry Bowes-Taylor has been organising book launch lunches for Wordsworth for years, and will be a comedian in a next life, not being the most diplomatic lunch hostess, but is loved for making her guests laugh, and for finding new venues at which to hold the book launches.   As I have written before, the lunches have a cult following by some of her regulars, who are not really interested in the subject of the book or the author, but who find value in the R225 three course launch lunch, excellent quality wines, the chance of making new friends at the table, the chance of winning a prize in the lucky draw, and for being entertained by Gorry and the author/speaker. She did not disappoint with her lunch organisation yesterday. Wordsworth sets up a table to sell the discounted launch book at such a function. (more…)

A large part of the filming of the ‘Spud’ movie sequel ‘Spud – The Madness Continues‘ was done in Cape Town, even though the school featured in the books is Michaelhouse in KwaZulu-Natal.   The new movie, which is to be released next year, promises to be as successful internationally as its predecessor was, not least because of its famous comedy star John Cleese.  Filming for the movie was completed last week, co-inciding with the launch of author John van de Ruit’s fourth and final ‘Spud’ book, he has announced.

First published in 2005 by Van de Ruit as a biographical reflection of his life at one of the finest boarding schools in the country, the ‘Spud’ books describe boarding school life from a boy’s perspective.  Van de Ruit related that he is very similar to the ‘Spud’-nicknamed main character John Milton, played by Troye Sivan: ‘He’s my soul, I suppose, a recreation of my youth, but this doesn’t mean that everything is true’. He admits that many of the characters were modelled on his family members. Van de Ruit’s father was an important inspiration for his writing, and also was the model for Spud’s father in the books.  But he did admit that he is an ‘exaggerator’, always adding ‘my 10 percent to make it funnier, punchier’.

The first ‘Spud’ movie received interest from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, the Scandinavian countries, Turkey, and the Middle East, and this encouraged local investors to fund the sequel.

All the school scenes for this movie were shot at SACS in Newlands in Cape Town, the oldest school in the country.  South African audiences will enjoy seeing comedian Rob van Vuuren, of ‘Corné and Twakkie’ fame, playing the role of compère of a hotdog eating competition, set at a Nottingham farm show in the Midlands, but shot at Tokai forest in Cape Town.  Other than Cleese, and Sivan being South African born but living in Australia, the 115 crew, cast and extras are all from South Africa.

The Van de Ruit ‘Spud’ books have made him this country’s most successful author in terms of book sales, the first book selling 250000 copies alone, and it has not gone out of print in the past seven years. More than 500000 copies of the three books have been sold to date. The first movie not only became successful due to actor John Cleese playing teacher and cricket coach‘The Guv’, but also because of the criticism of Cleese’s character by Judge Edwin Cameron. The movie grossed R17 million, reports The Mercury.

Van de Ruit released his fourth and final Spud book ‘Spud – Exit, Pursued by a Bear’ in Johannesburg last week, reported the Cape Argus. He wrote one book per year of his life at Michaelhouse. His first book was about the coming of age, the second about rebellion, the third about boy politics, and the newest one is about awakening, writes the Weekend Argus.  His father passed away while the last book was written, and writing helped him ‘process(ing) the grief’.  It is unknown whether any further films are planned of the last two Spud books.

Given the success of the three ‘Spud’ books and the first movie, ‘Spud – The Madness Continues’ can only continue to bring more fame for Van de Ruit.  Van de Ruit is launching his new book at Reuben’s at the One&Only Cape Town on 13 August, at a dinner attended by another Michaelhouse old boy Aubrey Ngcungama, now a freelance chef.  The cost to attend is R275.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio:  www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

The fourth Franschhoek Literary Festival, taking place next weekend, has built up such a loyal following that it has virtually booked out the accommodation and restaurants in Franschhoek, a most welcome boost for the hospitality industry, given the quietest May ever experienced.

Author Christopher Hope is the Festival Director, and initiated the Festival Literary Festival, supported by organisers Jenny Hobbs and Sheenagh Tyler, as a “street party for writers and readers from across the country, and around the world.”   This is his last Festival as Director, Hope has announced.

A part of the proceeds of the Franschhoek Literary Festival goes to the Library Fund, and R 415 000 has been raised to date, allowing the organisers and attendees to achieve the objective of “the people shall read”, by buying books for libraries.

The Festival kicks off with the theme that Franschhoek has become famous for – gourmet food.  Donald Paul will talk to authors of food books Myrna Robbins (“Franschhoek Food”) and Marlene van der Westhuizen (“Sumptuous”), and Mark Dendy-Young, owner of La Petite Ferme, under the heading”The Chefs Who Played with Fire”. 

Other well-known writers who will talk at the Literary Festival are Antje Krog (‘Begging to be Black’), Aher Arap Bol (‘The Lost Boy’), Deon Meyer (‘Thirteen Hours’), John van der Ruit (‘Spud’), Rian Malan (‘Resident Alien’), Pieter Haasbroek (‘Kruispunt’), Damon Galgut (‘In a Strange Room’), Ivan Vladislavic (‘Flashback), Marita van der Vyver (‘Gourmet Rhapsody’), Christopher Hope (‘A Separate Development’),  Jonathan Shapiro (cartoonist Zapiro), and Margie Orford (‘Daddy’s Girl’).  

Alongside the Franschhoek Literary Festival will run the Autumn Music Festival, co-ordinated by talented classical pianist Christopher Duigan.   On Saturday 15 May Duigan plays two performances “celebrating Chopin”, honouring the composer’s 200th birthday anniversary, at 11h00 and at 18h00, both in the NG Church on the main road.  A Gala Opera evening will be hosted at Cafe Bon Bon, and costs R320 for a four-course meal, welcome drink, and music by soprano Bronwen Forbay.   Duigan plays “Music for a Sunday morning” on 16 May at the NG Church at 11h30, while Federico Freschi will sing Autumn Songs that afternoon at 15h30 at Cafe Bon Bon.    

Franschhoek Literary Festival, Franschhoek, 14 – 16 May. Tickets should be booked via www.webtickets.co.za.    Autumn Music Festival, 15 – 16 May – bookings for the Cafe Bon Bon concerts at tel 021 876-3936, tickets at the door (R80) for the NG Church concerts.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com

John Cleese, master comedian, has signed to play a lead role in the movie of the South African-written book ‘Spud’ by John van de Ruit, reports The Times.  Local teenage actor Troye Sivan, who starred in ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’, plays the other lead role in the movie.

The movie will be financed privately and produced in South Africa, a rarity in South African film production.   This means that the movie producers will make all creative decisions, rather than have them made by financiers and studio executives.

The book and movie are set at the elite private school Michaelhouse in KwaZulu-Natal, and John “Spud’ Milton is the principal character of the book.  Van de Ruit went to school at Michaelhouse.  The story is set in 1990, the year that the ANC was unbanned and Nelson Mandela was released.  The book won numerous prizes, including the Bestsellers Choice Award.

The movie will be a novel means of marketing South Africa.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com