Dial-a-Seat feels the heat over seating plans

Picture: Itumeleng English

Confused, even angry, concert-goers are baying for the blood of the long-suffering Dial-a-Seat team over marginal changes in the seating arrangements for all Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra’s concerts in the refurbished City Hall.

The first event in the Winter Season takes place on Saturday August 4 at 7pm and is appropriately called Resurrection.

Not only because Bernhard Gueller will conduct Mahler’s Symphony No 2 (Resurrection) but it will be the first time that everyone present will be able to judge the success of the multi-million rand upgrading of the hall which closed late last year.

To eliminate members of the audience looking into the head of the person in front, the architects have initiated changes.
There are more seats and rows and seat numbers have been changed. This confusion has resulted in “the appalling abuse to Dial-a-Seat”, particularly from longstanding concert-goers who think that “their seats” are no longer there.

In fact “their seats” in the same position might still be there but numbered differently and in a different row.

Complaints raining down on the booking staff include retorts like “I am taking you to the Human Rights Commission”… “I’ve been coming for 29 years and the people who have taken my seats only three”… “My wife is away and if we don’t have the same seats she will be furious. I must have them.”

Those booking in the bays may have reason to gripe.

Instead of two rows of five seats there will now be two rows of four and two seats for some luckless souls at the back.

Although, since the seats are not yet in place, this, sight unseen, may be fantastic.
Upstairs there is more space but the numbers of rows remain the same (A becomes AA) by taking the rows higher up and using the standing room (which was not for standing) at the back.

Some seat numbers have also changed but in most cases, not the location.
Another cause for raised eyebrows and voices is to hear that there is now a Q row. That’s because for the first time letters of the alphabet are being used which didn’t exist before.

Hopefully the abuse will change to appreciation once folk get used to the changes and sit far more comfortably and have a better view of the stage in new chairs.

And just think what summer will be like with air-con in the Grand Hall.

Fear fungi

In the days when I confidently picked mushrooms such as shaggy ink-caps, field mushrooms, pine rings and occasionally Boletus edulis (if my Italian neighbours had not found them first), I was always wary of white mushrooms because of the toxic Amanita Phalloides, commonly known as the Death Cap.

This deadly mushroom, which resembles several edible species, was famous, or rather infamous, for causing the death of Roman Emperor Claudius in AD 54.
Either he was fed a dish of them which he ate thinking they were his favourite Caesar’s Mushrooms, or a single poisonous one was added to those that were harmless. Either way it had the same affect.

Since the return of the rains we’ve had white and some coloured fungi popping up under the pines in the Tokai Plantation. Just as soon as they appear something, or somebody, knocks them over. I put it down to lots of little boys having fun playing football.

Now I’ve been told that they are Russulas, a big group of mushrooms which in the northern hemisphere grow on the ground in damp woodlands in association with conifers, especially pines.
Some of them are edible and but in Tokai they are mostly eaten by the squirrels.
One even squirrels should avoid is Russula emetica, commonly known as the sickener, emetic russula, or vomiting russula.

These common names refer to the gastrointestinal distress they cause when eaten.

Best leave fungi alone unless you are with an expert.

Take responsibility for recycling

Pasted on the Glass Recycling Company’s igloo in the grounds of a busy shop and petrol station in Tokai Road is a notice reading “Bottles in bin = recycling. Bottles next to bin is littering.”

Bottle littering continues to be a serious problem. It was one of the reasons that the igloos at the Tokai library were eventually removed while the general dumping of non-recyclable items helped to bring about the demise of Bergvliet High School’s once excellent recycling initiative.

Now another casualty is the recycling project at Langebaan. Some years ago an area next to the main road and opposite a busy shopping supermarket, was neatly cordoned off from public view.
There were various igloos for bottles, paper and plastics but the space quickly degenerated into a horrible mess through people dumping anything and everything on the ground.

When I went there recently I found that the igloos have been removed.

Now there is a large skip into which everything is being dumped whether recyclables or rubbish.
It is all going to land up at the town’s dump. When will people ever learn to take responsibility for their actions?

Warning worthwhile

I was pleased to read that the Bosch vs Bishops Derby last month was not marred by any Old Boys running on to the field at the end of a match, boozing or behaving badly.
Throughout both days the boys and spectators “behaved in the spirit of school sport, particularly during and after the First XV matches”.

Clearly that warning letter to the Rondebosch Old Boys’ Union worked.

Raised eyebrows

Remember when plastic surgery was a no no subject? Now you mention Botox and nobody raises an eyebrow.