A bit here, a bit there and a lot up in the air
THERE are days, good people, that Stoeps do not talk Isshoos; they talk sommer random. In fact that was Stoep Talk’s job, way back, a daily snippet diary.
James Clarke changed this comprehensively in his 20-year innings, making the Stoep a place of solid laughter. I changed it again, over the last year and a half, to what I like to think is variegated.
I do not know whether this is a huge plus for readers. By the way, the one who wants a growling political diatribe is scared of bumping into a lightweight search for the meaning of the slogans on the backs of taxis, or vice versa.
Maar toe maar, as they say, seems to me that sometimes on our stoeps we talk heavy, and sometimes light and sometimes jumbled up. And sometimes we peer into our beer and grunt.
One day I’ll write a blank column, except for an exclamation mark two thirds down the page, and round up some art critics to declare it genius.
Today, as I write, being a mind-inneutral day, we grasp at handy prompts:
ColdType magazine is run by Tony Sutton, a mad genius publishoholic who had a hefty Seffrican stint on his wanderings through the continents.
He was editor of Drum, among other things. He became one of the planet’s (arguably,) top three design gurus, with Jan V White and Roger Black. If he had a sense of poetry, he’d have changed his name to Grey but oh, dear, we live with our disappointments.
Tony is so-called “retired” but can’t keep his hands off his design app. In Toronto he monthly churns out ColdType – current affairs with zing, free to anyone anywhere, google it – except that as he gets older, he gets faster. Never did you get better value from a free subscription. Every month they come at you more rapidly until you pant to keep up.
Now he’s doing a classics series to boot, I discover from yesterday’s ColdType which includes a rerun of something I couldn’t remember writing. Damn risky, reading those; as often as not, you cringe and disavow.
This one, no, fine reminder of time in India – what I’d loved (like meatfree, booze-free delicious cuisine, once you attune), and what I’d not loved (such as perpetual defecation and expectoration).
Especially, an unforgettable exchange that I’d forgotten altogether.
At Udaipur airport, buying a flight on an airline that has just had a dire, big-news, crash, I do the stupid thing that people are supposed to know better than, saying in weird semi-jest: “… mutter-mutter, shouldn’t really get on your plane, mutter…”
The ticket lady responds in confidence: “Oh, no, no, not at all, no problem. We only have one crash a year and that was on Tuesday; relax!”
Thanks to ColdType for Prompt 1; thanks to J, K, & A for Prompt 2, remembering Ben Maclennan’s great contribution, Apartheid, The Lighter Side. Well, half-remembering.
We recalled several themes, like reclassifying races. How many Malay coloureds were reclassified as St Helena Creoles? How many Bantu were reclassified as Other Coloureds and so on?
Then we wondered, was Transformation: The Lighter Side coming up? Already none of us could rightly quote that police commissioner in court, solemnly intoning, down to the decimal points, how the transformation statistics couldn’t let an Indian woman apply for a brigadier’s job.
Then there was the fellow who said coloureds should kindly recognise that they were in oversupply in the Western Cape.
There are fine candidates. Is anyone on the case? The Stoep will gratefully receive info.