Jun 01, 2023

Moral campaigning and the media

Newspapers are increasingly active on the moral stage. Which presents interesting challenges for actual advocacy groups...Over the last 18 months you could find a range of knock-offs of the some of the big names in the contemporary African art scene at a certain park in the Joburg suburbs. Smoothly executed copies hung over the green metal fence, flapping in the wind next to piles of fire wood and lawn grass. If you weren’t into African contemporary knock-offs you could also give the... more

Mar 02, 2023

One dry potato inside

The rising flood of automated content could also create more opportunities for actual writing…Maxi Jazz, poet and frontman of the band Faithless, died quietly last year. Occasional Instagram posts showed clear illness, but he never disclosed details. Two months later, there is still little public information beyond that fact that ‘he died peacefully in his sleep’.Faithless captured the gritty come down of the mid 90s dance scene with the track Insomnia, which featured (among... more

Feb 14, 2023

An afternoon with Don Mattera

(original version published in Money Web Life, July 2008)Book signings, literary festivals, dead-time radio and TV slots... All the things you sniff at as a young wannabe writer, you end up doing as an older hack. Nicholson Baker captured this dynamic in his 1992 essay, Reading Aloud, which offers a beautiful description of his first book event. We write to be heard, was the thrust of his piece. While no one is listening we are scornful of the machine that guides writers onto stages. But when... more

Aug 28, 2022

Bumbling through blackouts

Hero leaders aren’t as central to navigating complexity as we think. Which raises interesting questions about how to achieve social and organisational change...The take-over of Sandton traffic direction duties by the indigent was one of many strange scenes to pock-mark South Africa’s winter of rolling blackouts. At several of the biggest two and three lane intersections in the country (generally around the Fourways area) a mix of beggars, car guards and street entrepreneurs were in... more

Feb 03, 2022

Ezra Furman

If Liza Minnelli and the Violent Femmes had a love child, their name would be Ezra Furman – a songwriter who found recognition in their own country, the USA, pretty late in the game, and whose words, music and aesthetic currently provide the texture to Netflix hits like Sex Education.The Violent Femme’s playful, raunchy baselines echo through much of Furman’s music, which is equally peppered by the rasping genius of Minelli in her Cabaret prime. Furman’s sound –... more

Nov 18, 2021

Know your weapon!

Weaponisation is a hot media topic, but general public understanding of how rhetorical weaponry works is low. Which presents interesting opportunities for progressive leaders, and their organisations...Public discourse is a blood sport, and in 2021 the rhetorical warheads fly particularly thick and fast between us. The sport itself is also the subject of scrutiny. Who hasn’t read a thought leadership article lately about the ‘weaponisation’ of language, ideas, concepts or even... more

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