Encore By Rafiek Mammon

Encore By Rafiek Mammon

“Come fly with me, let’s fly away…”

I got a call from one of my friends in Johannesburg on Tuesday – just a courtesy call – that ended up being a laugh-a-second reminiscence session about an evening in Jo’burg at the end of last year. Velvet sky, the airline or grounded airline, came up in the phone call as she lost some money having booked with them, and then having to book with another airline. And we were reminded of the evening in Johannesburg not so long ago…The conversation largely centred on our careers, and how we got to where we are at present – many of us started out from high school teaching backgrounds, would you believe? Now we are each in such diverse industries, mostly freelancing, and happier, we all agreed.

But, we also agreed that it’d be lovely to make an extra buck, as freelancing can be daunting when the end of the month draws near. Or, we thought it would be really cool to come up with a killer initiative for a business. So, we started to throw about a few ideas (and share some existing ones) with our tongues firmly in our cheeks… A scene (one of the many hilarious ones) in ‘Withnail & I’ came up for a chuckle once again where one of the peripheral characters Danny, who is constantly in a doped-up state, says he is no longer in the bottle industry, but thinking of changing careers to the toy industry. He got the idea at Christmas for making dolls. A friend’s sister got a doll on Christmas “what pisses itself” he says. “Then you’ve gotta change its drawers for it. It’s horrible really, but they like that the little girls…” he continues.

So now they are building the prototype for a doll that also sh!ts itself. The recollection of this scene is always good for a giggle at dinner parties. Then we spoke about ideas that we had for businesses – from the funny to the ridiculous. One good idea came from one of our productions that had the glow-in-the-dark toilet seat as an infomercial. That isn’t a bad idea. It started with one of the characters who, during one of those terrible Eskom blackouts, couldn’t switch on the light to use the loo. So, she had a eureka moment and invented the luminous toilet seat – no light necessary when you go to the loo at night.

Also, she is now working on the luminous light switch and the luminous coasters so that you can see your drinks in the dark – next to your bed, perhaps? No bedside lamp necessary. Great idea for hospitals and hotels…any takers? Remember, you heard it here first…royalties are in order!

I also told the story of how we did an industrial theatre piece for the CSIR on child inventors some 12 years ago – things that children can invent to make money and to prove that science is not just about crusty old white men in lab coats. I remember one of the youngsters invented a foam brick – painted to look exactly like a normal brick but made completely out of soft foam. The many uses included throwing it at the TV when your favourite team is playing terribly or at a loved-one when you are frustrated or angry with them…

Then the conversation steered itself from the ridiculous to the sublime…into the aviation arena. We thought, what if we had a sort of fantasy airline that had “naughty” (actually let me call a bitch a spade) that had pornography as its in-flight entertainment? And, that had topless, half-naked flight attendants (in both genders). And, and, and…the porn industry is so huge (not that anyone would care to admit) we may as well ride the wave. Imagine the chaos it would cause when businessmen book their flights and spouses want to know what airline they are flying? How much more mistrust could one possibly cause? Tut tut. Of course we had many, many add-ons like special areas for playpens and fetishes etc etc…the sky is, excuse the pun, the limit…

We also wondered how many people would like to try out the airline just for fun? Just with the first few curious customers already we would make our millions…we even had a name for our airline (but I can’t divulge that, I am afraid – this being a family paper and all). And we even worked out a tagline – one that would give Mr Branson a run for his money: “Now you no longer have to be a Virgin”).