Sunday, December 11, 2011

Back In 2012

We'll be back in January 2012. Thank you to all of this year's guest contributors and, of course, to the regulars: Gary Cummiskey, Jenny Kellerman Pillay, Max Moodley, Michelle Nair and Victoria Williams.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wikipedia's Role In Euclid's Role by Pseudonymous

Plato was a regular solid
Tesselating Euclid's space.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bob Dylan, Stockholm, 4 November 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Victoria Williams: 0132

                                          
          Sketchomatic portraits available at Cornerhouse.

Monday, December 5, 2011

No Milk

Old joke: "Waiter, I'd like a cup of coffee, please, with no cream.
 

I'm sorry, sir, but we're out of cream. How about with no milk?"

Internet Sentences: 0001

"Its amazing how interesting it is for me to visit you very often."

Source: Comment Spam

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sister At The End Of The Bar

Like Wolraad Woltemade she could never stroll by drowning men.

Beards: 0019


Friday, December 2, 2011

Fishy by Gary Cummiskey


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Euclid's Role In The Misuse Of The Solidifying Process by Pseudonymous

Euclid thought being Platonic meant
finding the ratio of the diameter of the circumscribed sphere to the edge length.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Alcohol And The Literature of the American South


The Adventures of Huckleberry Gin by Mark Twain

A Street Bar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

The Kahlúa Purple by Alice Walker

Gone with the Wine by Margaret Mitchell

Port and South by John Jakes

The Wine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells

The Liver Rants by James Dickey

Beerfest at Tiffany's by Truman Capote

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Victoria Williams: 0131

Sometimes I think you don’t like being a man very much.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Beards: 0018


Friday, November 25, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Certified Sif: New Video From Sif Ous

If you're thinking of fucking with them, best not.

"There's low-budget, there's no-budget, and then there's my son and his friends." - Point Five's Mom

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Animal Romantic Comedies

The 40-Year-Old Sturgeon
Dove Actually
You've Got Tail
You've Got Quail
You've Got Whale
You've Got Snail
Boar Weddings and a Funeral
There's Something about Mare
Along Came Pony
My Big Fat Beak Wedding
My Big Fat Geese Wedding
50 First Drakes
Foals Rush In
While You Were Sheeping
Sheepless in Seattle
When Hare Met Sally
Sex and the Kitty
Sex and the Kitty 2
How to Lose a Fly in 10 Days
As Good As It Goats
Ass Good As It Gets
My Best Friend's Shedding
Notting Eel
10 Things I Hate About Ewe
Moose Congeniality
Pretty Wombat
Scent of the Wombat
My Bear Lady
Sweet Home Alligator
Mammal Mia!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Victoria Williams: 0130

In the morning, either we are leaving, or I am leaving. It’s up to you.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Beards: 0017


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Deeper And Down by Gary Cummiskey


Review of The Edge of Things, in Wordsetc

An edge is the most exhilarating point for a story to place itself. Ask any reader. We don’t need cliff-scrabbling above a literal precipice; masters (and mistresses) of the form can hollow out spaces of mystery and risk beneath the most prosaic inner or outer landscape. But what we do ask, as readers, is that the threshold matter somehow and that we are surprised and, perhaps, even changed when the story crosses it.

The Edge of Things, then, is an enticing title and a flexible one too, stretching to cover all manner of brinks. Characters cross the endlessly fascinating boundary between innocence and experience, naivety and self-knowledge, one sharing his first kiss at the company picnic, another beheading her first chicken.

What would infidelity look like? one story wonders, while another shows us what looks like cheating but turns out, in the flick of a needle, to be bridal branding instead. Worlds collide: matter-of-fact house renovations clang against soul-exchanges in one story while in another an empty house invites a range of intruders, from teenage lovers to lowering-the-tone buyers to symbolic creatures, recalling District 9, that challenge notions of inside and out.

Liesl Jobson’s “tips for super pics” apply with wit and pain to parent-child relationships, tracing shifts that the photographer protagonist catches out of the corner of her eye while her lens is trained elsewhere. Beatrice Lamwaka writes about a schoolgirl who wants to win a race on sports day. She has, after all, trained hard, fleeing rebel soldiers who abducted her. “I outran them so that’s an A+ for me. If anyone needs more practice in athletics, I’m sure it’s not me.”

Sometimes, an edge is sharp enough to draw blood. Then there’s literary edginess, fun with texts, intertextuality. Iconoclasm (“I don’t like Coetzee”) meets homage, for example, in Jeanne Hromnik’s exploration of new-South-African father figures both lecherous and pathetic. Perd Booysen amuses himself, and us too, with the device of the discovered journal, inadmissible as historical evidence because of its fictional finesse.

In David wa Maahlamela’s playful bus ride across the fiction/non-fiction frontier, we meet both Wordsetc and its editor, Phakama Mbonambi. In the optimistic view of the narrator, also called David, writers who describe lived experience “know exactly the impression they are intending to give their readers”. But this is perilous terrain for less adept scribes.

An event that bit your heart for real needs just as much construction on the page as a situation you make up from scratch. You can’t refer to that day, you must weave it, as Bernard Levinson does in “Tokai”. We have no idea whether the story draws on his life or his imagination or some alchemical meld of the two. What matters is that he shapes place, time and action so fully, so deftly that, like the narrator, we are moved by the mysterious intensity of the last scene.

The Edge of Things is in every sense a mixed bag. Alongside Levinson’s story, gems include Salafranca’s unforgettable image of a mother in an iron lung and Pravasan Pillay’s characters, dialogue and spicy small-canvas family drama.

Silke Heiss’s “Don’t Take Me for Free”, arguably Best in Show, nimbly outstrips our expectations. Like its trucker-clown narrator, Vonny, the story “was built to change”.

In Vonny’s extended appeal to her lover, “All-I-Have, Azar”, the  language is as elating as the ride across ostrich and canola country in a bright-eyed van “with its massive, roaring heart and load continuing to doer ’n gone”.

The collection’s subtitle – South African short fiction – proposes that we read the stories as a kind of national sampler. (In a one-off slip, the introduction makes an unwarranted claim to be presenting writing “on our continent”.) Clearly, South African fiction has moved beyond the imperative to be earnest, political or even particularly South African. Mischief is now acceptable story territory, while Fred de Vries’s chilling tale could take place in almost any big city and Aryan Kaganof’s junkies claim that Amsterdam may as well be Durban, “there’s no fucking difference. Bars are the same everywhere. Drugs are the same everywhere.” But it is also true that, as per Hromnik, “the past is hungry”.

Several stories tackle a mix of  race and privilege, either head-on or obliquely. In “Telephoning the Enemy”, for instance, Hans Pienaar crosses the “what if ?” line for an intriguing revisit of apartheid-era violence.

Solitude, as Salafranca notes in the introduction, features in many of the stories. We glimpse various anxious, closed, self-referential worlds. A man sits at a café table in the last story, telling himself consoling untruths and inking “NARCISSIST” into his crossword puzzle as he fends off contact.

What feels like a limitation, though, looking back over the collection, is neither inner landscapes nor low spirits (excellent fiction fodder) but rather a sense of stasis in some of the stories, a single note struck and held, Act 1 from curtain up to curtain down.

For these writers and for all the rest of us, Jenna Mervis’s story offers advice. Her protagonist “mentions nothing of … the fingernails of trees that have begun to tear at her corrugated roof in the night”. She looks for “a sign that … that the dangers outside have become manifest”. But by the end (and this won’t spoil it for you), she steps off the edge of the deck and plunges into the veld. Why not, writers? Instead of tamping down tension, why not let it explode? Approach the edge. Plunge. Leap.

REVIEWER: A Zimbabwean filmmaker and writer,  Annie Holmes has published short stories in the US and Zimbabwe and a short memoir, Good Red, in Canada. She co-edited, with Peter Orner, Hope Deferred: Narratives of Zimbabwean Lives

(Published in Wordsetc, Third Quarter 2011)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

He-Man

He-Man's a dude right?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Victoria Williams: 0129

He’s the second most important – wait, let me rephrase that – one of the most important...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Beards: 0016


Friday, November 11, 2011

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Double Clicking

I worry that double clicking on stuff makes it seem like I'm more enthusiastic than I am.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Victoria Williams: 0128

Those who lead lives that aren’t about hiding from things.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Beards: 0015


Friday, November 4, 2011

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Acerbic, merciless and funny


Playwright, poet and dramaturge Dr Anton Krueger has been exceedingly prolific of late.

The Rhodes Drama lecturer has written three books recently: Experiments in Freedom- issues of identity in new South African Drama, for which he was awarded the Vice-Chancellor’s Book Award 2011; a poetry anthology called Everyday Anomalies; and Shaggy, a collection of ramblings/monologues he co-wrote with Pravasan Pillay.

The latter was launched at NELM’s Eastern Star Gallery recently, producing chuckles and a fair amount of squirming as Krueger’s deliberately banal brand of humour was shared with the gathering.

Prominent local poet, Harry Owen, who introduced the book, revealed how it was written in a remarkable way after Pillay and Krueger struck up an online friendship a few years ago. Finding that their shared a subversive brand of black humour, they decided to co-write what they call “fourteen stories written by creeps, losers and an idiot”. 

The two have only met face to face on a few occasions yet their writing seamlessly melds into a distinctive and indistinguishable style. As Owen noted, one doesn’t know who wrote what. One of these ramblings, 'The Actress', came about when Krueger sent Pillay an article about a vacuous actress expressing her regret that her twin babies couldn’t share in her elation for an award she has yet to receive. Pillay is currently based in Sweden.

Shaggy was launched in Pretoria and Cape Town earlier this year, where some of the pieces were performed by professional actors. Owen describes the effect of reading it as “hilarious but uncomfortable; you squirm in your seat, asking yourself, could I be that one?”

Deliciously subversive and filled with bathos, almost everyone and everything is raked over the coals; from self-important academics to delusional community leaders; parodying the many idiocies of South African life. “He puts a pin into pomposity, ego and ignorance... deflates self-delusions, but does it lightly, with a smile” says Owen. He likened the seemingly pointless humour to Monty Python, Alan Bennet (Adding: “now that’s a compliment!”) and Ken Kesey’s One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest .“Biting, cutting commentary, acerbic, merciless but above all, funny,” he concluded.

Krueger then read 'The Activist'. It is told from the rather warped perspective of the ‘leader’ of the Margate University Communist Society, who chastises fellow members for not forgoing their cell phones and continually updating their Facebook statuses.

It soon becomes a jumbled ride into the mind of a down-and-out, power hungry, washed-out student, who puts his foot into it by inadvertently revealing his own admiration for high status jobs and fat salaries, coupled with an (un)healthy penchant for Grand Theft Auto. Packed with gems such as: “Suggestions for lectures entitled ‘Revolutionising 24-hour clock time’ and ‘Why poor people have less money,’” Krueger had the audience guffawing with laughter, concluding the banal and absurd diatribe with the immensely ironic “...now that’s enough laissez-faire discussion for one meeting!”

by Anna-Karien Otto
20 September 2011
First published on the Rhodes University website.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Casual Friday

I'm guessing Casual Friday isn't big in Thailand.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Victoria Williams: 0127

Everyone could guess what was happening. When they met at parties, he would first slap her face then kiss her cheek.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Beards: 0014


Friday, October 28, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Gingerbread

Whoever built the gingerbread mansion on my street sure has a lot of dough.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Happy Diwali!


Linda Stenman on Shaggy

Shaggy (BK Publishing, 2011) is a collection of amusing monologues from South African writers Anton Krueger and Pravasan Pillay. In each text, a - how shall I say this - not so successful individual speaks to co-workers, audiences and comrades.

After reading a couple of texts, you notice that you begin every new chapter with thinking, "no, not another one!". Loser, that is. Let's face it - the characters in this book impress no one but themselves. But it makes a funny book. My favourites are "The Actress" and "The Foreword" (I'm a huge fan of footnotes). My rating is four stars for some of the stories, and three for others.

I say: ***(**)

First published on Linda Loves Books

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Victoria Williams: 0126

You tried to sober me up by taking me to funerals. But then I started lighting cigarettes for the choir boys, from the altar candles.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Beards: 0013


Friday, October 21, 2011

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Eclectic mix of local short stories, by Janet van Eeden

Book of the Week: The Cream of South African Writers

The editor of this eclectic collection of short stories, Arja Salafranca, sifted through over 100 submissions before she chose stories from the cream of South African writers. There was no theme as such, but it seems as if the stories chosen examine people who are in extreme situations,emotionally or physically.

For example, Arja Salafranca’s moving story about a woman forced to live in a restrictive apparatus in “Iron Lung” is a million miles away stylistically from Aryan Kaganof’s tale of decadence and debauchery on a night out in Durban in “Same Difference.” What is similar, though, is both stories deal with  someone in extremis. The narrator of Kaganof's story is the edge of the emotional abyss. The young woman watching her mother in "Iron Lung" is too. There is no easy way to contemplate a happy future when someone you love is crippled in this way.

There are many gems in this sparkling collection. The enjoyment comes not only from the juxtaposition of many different writers, but also from reading stories with such a variety of subjects.

For example, Liesl Jobson’s “You Pay for The View: Twenty Tips for Super Pics” is a series of verbal snapshots of pivotal moments of a mother trying to find a connection with her children. It is written with poignancy and deep longing. “Doubt” by Gillian Schutte is a study of how passion can seep out of a marriage once the chase is over and when feelings of irrelevance grow due to being part of a couple.

Jenna Mervis’s “The Edge of Things” explores paranormal paranoia in a tangible way and examines the valid fear women feel on a daily basis.

The eternal clash with “the other” is explored in Gail Dendy’s “The Intruders”.  Perd Booysen’s “Sinners and Sinkholes” is a delightful modern-day Hermann Charles Bosmanesque tale of ghost towns and gullibility in the arid wasteland of the Karoo.


There are too many stories to mention individually, and some lend themselves to rereading many times. This is the beauty of the colection: there is something to appeal to all astes. And, fortunately, the real star of The Edge of Things is the genre of the short story itself.

(Published in The Witness, October 12, 2011)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Woolly














                Wanna make a woolly mammoth?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Victoria Williams: 0125

He took the cigarette from her lips and said, “I don’t want you to smoke anymore, until I’ve decided what I’m going to do.”

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Beards: 0012

Friday, October 14, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Folders

Porn Folder - OK

Porn Sub-Folders - Not OK

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lap

My buddy has just won a round the world yacht race. Victory lap's gonna be a bitch.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Victoria Williams: 0124

Love Letters, written aged 17
Those dark furry lines,
As on pages,
As between legs,
Such lines as these loves are woven from.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Beards: 0011


Friday, October 7, 2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011

On My Poems II - Something For The Ladies by Trevor Munster

Imagine, if you will
A will
If you can
A can
If you have
A have and a have-not and a
What have you?
Nothing.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Insecure

Just been told that I have an insecure email password. Thinking about giving it a pep talk.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Victoria Williams: 0123

Shut that huge, gaping hole you call a … mouth.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Beards: 0010

Friday, September 30, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

On My Poems I by Trevor Munster

The metaphors are random
The blade is muddy
The form instinctual
like a baby fighting a lion it
don't need to beat
The starker the article
the bigger the capital
You've made a keen enemy,
and can never be king

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pun Indented

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Victoria Williams: 0122

You are a cut above nothing. Or something.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Beards: 0009

Friday, September 23, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Shaggy Launch In Grahamstown

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Internet Prick

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Victoria Williams: 0121

How could that have woken you? It always sends me to sleep.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Beards: 0008

Friday, September 16, 2011

They Fish by Gary Cummiskey

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Posters: 0002

Janis Joplin (1943 – 1970)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Victoria Williams: 0120

A: You selfish, stupid whore!
B: Don’t quote me back to myself!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Beards: 0007

Friday, September 9, 2011

CBLQ (R80) by Gary Cummiskey

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sif Ous

The Durban rap group Sif Ous are smart, playful and funny. The immediate impulse is to file them under "joke rap" but this would be both inaccurate and unfair. Behind the bawdy lyrics and the scatological humour is a remarkable intelligence. It's clear that the trio have an excellent understanding of hip-hop tropes and while they subvert them, they do so in an affectionate way. Much like Das Racist one gets the impression that Sif Ous are, first and foremost, fans of rap music. Hopefully there are more music videos on the way. ~ Pravasan Pillay






More tracks on their MySpace page.

Interview at Mahala.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

If Web Then Porn

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Victoria Williams: 0119

Sometimes I feel sorry for people who aren’t your friend.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Beards: 0006

Friday, September 2, 2011

In Flight by Gary Cummiskey

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Buffering

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Victoria Williams: 0118

Roll down the window and ask the mayoress – how much darlin’?
(She’ll probably say yes.)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Beards: 0005

Friday, August 26, 2011

Little Prajna by Gary Cummiskey

Thursday, August 25, 2011

New Publication From Dye Hard Press: Closer Than That by Gail Dendy


ISBN: 978-0-9869982-0-1

Gail Dendy is one of South Africa’s most unmistakable and unique literary voices. The singing quality of her poetry soars and swoops, transporting the reader into a world of glittering magical realism. In this book a moon ripens in the window ‘whole and lemony once more’, mothers express longing and love, the sun and moon argue, there are gypsy women, and a fantasy piece with Shakespearean characters. This book is truly alive, presented in language that ‘rings like a gong from here to the far end of the world’.

Gail Dendy has grown in stature as a poet … Her poems are intriguing and at times playful, and she is in complete control of her subtle lyrical gift and delicate technique. Gus Ferguson

Gail Dendy moves across the landscape of a remembered past, and fictionalises into imagined other lives … An important voice in South African poetry, Dendy’s words are delicately polished jewels. Arja Salafranca

Gail Dendy’s seventh collection is elegant, sensuous, intelligent and sensitive.
Michelle McGrane

I was delighted to publish your poems … Harold Pinter

Perfect bound, 72 pages.

Soon to be available in bookstores countrywide, estimated retail price R105, or available directly from the publisher at R85, including postage.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Larva