Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I love travel - it has to be one of my favourite things to do.

Below is a recent article on

BTW talking of trvel - Cape Town is in a stunning summer mood today. It's on days like these we need to remind ourselves that this is why we love living here. Despite the niggles of political life, nothing beats a beautiful day in Cape Town.

Have a great day - I intend to!

Viv Pitt.

Am I the only one to stop and think…”Vivienne? What sort of a name is Vivienne?”

I am of course referring to Brad and Angie’s latest bout of baby making / adopting and their newborn twins Knox and Vivienne.

Something about the name just gives me no hope for the child; which is surprising given the alternatives it may have faced. Pax, Maddox and Shiloh shall never be normal names by any stretch of the imagination, but by celebrity standards they are the names, we as a Heat and People reading public, have come to expect.

In the heady world of Hollywood’s, “who-can-name-your-child-the-daftest-competition”, Vivienne comes in at a very low and pedestrian “Normal”. In fact it’s a name that we may have considered in the age of the baby-boomers to be okay, but have now tossed out, due to the fact that not only can you not name a baby “Vivienne”, but also that the name is so boring its beige; it’s on the wrong end of normal.

The Vivienne’s of the world will no doubt now all standup and tell me what a fine name it is, what it means and quote all the other famous Vivienne’s that made the world a safer place. No doubt too their husbands, probably named Boris, Heathcliffe or Rupert will also add to their war cry, but I am sorry; nothing doing. And don’t try and tell me that Richard is a beige name either. It’s a cheap argument and one that doesn’t wash – if you were planning to go that route you may be missing my point. I wasn’t, after all, born into the exotic world of Brangelina.

And it’s not that it just doesn’t work for a baby in the modern age. In a world where her contemporaries are named Tyger-lily, Apple and Harlow, Vivienne weighs in as decidedly non-celeb. Her brothers and sisters all have names with fascinating meanings or end with an X. Both ooze serious amounts of cool; now and later, when they are in high school. Baby Viv, I am sad to say, will never be able to live up to the same level of edginess.

She will be known as Viv Pitt. Her siblings however will be known in a way that we have come to know certain celebrities with only one name. Madonna, Cher and Seal to name a few. When, in the future, we talk of Pax, Maddox or Knox, no additional names will be necessary.

Ask yourself. In 10 years time if you tell someone you saw Vivienne shopping on Rodeo Drive, what will be their first reaction be?

“Oh wow, that’s so cool” or “Vivienne who?”

Just tell them Knox’s sister. The recognition will be instantaneous. And here I rest my case. Calling her Vivienne sets her apart and for the wrong reasons. It’s too normal for a celebrity child and to boring for a commoner. It lacks the identity she will need to survive in the world she has been born into.

The Change of life...

I try and avoid sounding and acting like a new father.

Nothing used to annoy me more than the newly-parented forcing pictures of their offspring on me, along with tales of lack of sleep and baby vomit.

I realize now however, and with more than just a modicum of respect, just how hard this can be. I now find myself whipping out my cell phone and showing random people pictures of my son, telling them how much nappies cost and the pitfalls of various brands.

It’s very hard to be normal when 4 plus KG’s of your own doing arrives into your life. You do become a gibbering idiot from lack of sleep, you do tend to make the conversation around children and you certainly find yourself spending more time around people who have kids so that you can talk about them, guilt free.

Prior to becoming a parent I had no clue what it was like to be dealing with babies. A case in point was just after friends of ours had given birth. The wife and I decided to go and visit them post-hospital and pay homage to latest edition in the way those without children can only do; arriving as we used too, without calling and without notice. You know the way. Just pop in. I remember feeling quite affronted when we were told quite politely that this wasn’t a good time and perhaps we should call ahead next time.

What happened to our friends? Who were these haggard people who had taken over their bodies and were now letting us know in no uncertain terms we were persona non grata at this particular time.

As hindsight is 20-20 I can only feel for them. Knowing what I do now, to have visitors arrive unannounced in the middle of a newborn screaming fit, or 5 minutes after you have just put them down is mentally devastating. The outside world ceases to exist when you have a newborn and its intrusion into your newfound sleepless reality is a harsh and severe invasion.

It’s not just your friends that tend disappear for while too. Your ability to think rationally goes too, it’s given that your brain will become mush. One of the strangest parts of the whole process is finding yourself having conversations you never thought possible. Conversations that begin, ”Won’t you just lookup yellow pooh on the net…” or “…is that pee on the mat or did he throw up?”

Conversation that in any other stage of your life would seem so far fetched but now presents itself as very normal.

You are told, by those who have trod the path before you that it does get better. They give it you in varying degrees and stages, as if to soften the blow.

First you hear it’s only the initial 4 weeks that are the hardest. Then it’s the first 3 months. After that it’s only when the have finished teething that life begins. There seems to be no end to the “your-almost-there” encouragement, and no end insight to the time when you actually arrive.

In truth, deep down you know you never will arrive. It’s not a journey that is intended to have a destination.

No doubt the talk of various color pooh’s, the pro’s and con’s of 4-wheel prams over 3-wheelers and just which pediatrician should be charging you the earth, will blend into the next stage of schools, universities and tales of teenage dysfunction.

Life as we know it has ceased to exist but a new one has taken it’s place. Not a bad one either – just one that requires a little adjusting.