Graham over at Stet is going on hiatus, possibly permanently. Softly spoken, with blue pencil in hand, I shall miss the many fine gems he posted, and his valuable link to the SciFi world. Without him, for example, I wouldn’t have known that the roll of honour at the Hugo awards, gonged at the 62nd World Science Fiction Convention in Boston, included:
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Yet again, Robert Mugabe’s regime defies all attempts to find anything redeeming about it.
Systemic land reform, including expropriation without compensation for the colonial farmers who’ve made millions from some of the most fertile land south of the Sahara – that’s a fine idea. But only as long as the land goes to the poor, that there are adequate agroecological training, support and extension services, and the displaced farm labourers from surrounding countries are given a good deal in the transition.
William Kentridge is, in an opinion I’ve held long enough and against enough buffeting to feel reasonably confident about, one of South Africa’s finest living artists. Yesterday, he attended a rare public showing of his animated work in Durban – he’s Johannesburg based, and his art is infused with the sordid patina of that town – and explained how he works. Apparently, there’s a big piece of paper on which he has a drawing at one end of his studio. His camera is half a room away. He takes two shots, goes back to the paper, erases the charcoal (imperfectly, always) and redraws. And then walks back to the camera. Takes two more exposures. Goes back. Etc. The ideas for his animations come while he travels between canvas and memory. And he’s suspicious of “big ideas… I’ve always found Big Ideas to be like the jokes you tell in your dreams. They’re tremendously funny to you and everyone else, but when you wake up, they’re always much more feeble than you’d originally thought.”
Just got back from a splendid, militant march in support of public service workers today here in Durban. Mixed race, and with some fairly direct indictments of the ANC from the unions. The usual limp petition was backed up by a far more beligerent promise to strike on Monday and Tuesday next week if demands are not met. Seems like the union movement has found its spine again.
This is the first is what’s likely to be a fairly frequent series of postings, in which it turns out that I was hopelessly wrong, and repent accordingly.
So, remember my initial reaction to Yesterday, the first Zulu language feature film? Well, although I stand by my initial largely vacuuous assessment, I have been made substantially wiser through conversation with my new and excellent comrade Mark Hunter.