It was the New Yorker cover that started it all. In December last year, the front of the magazine of the chattering literary classes showed a young bookshop attendant in takkies pointing a perplexed older man in a suit towards a two-tiered bookshelf. On it were William Shakespeare and Mark Twain bobble heads, baseball caps inscribed with the names of Tolstoy, Kerouac, Poe and Brontë and a handful of books with indiscriminate titles. The e-readers were on display on another table. Behold, it grimaced: the modern bookstore.
IT WAS A STIFLING 35 degrees when we arrived in Musina, the kind of dry, dusty heat that makes every movement slow, even when you think you should be in a hurry. But then there is no need to dawdle in a border town.
THE FIX, an addiction and recovery website run out of Los Angeles, covers subjects such as celebrity sex addictions as well as more serious topics about, say, the state of addiction research. There’s also a section called “rehab reviews” where you can take a look at independent write-ups of various facilities much like you would before going on holiday.
THIS IS HOW YOU ARRIVE on Denis Island: after bouncing through the air for 25 minutes on an Air Seychelles 19-seater De Havilland Twin Otter Series 300 with a no-smoking sign, a no-cellphone sign, a barf bag and emergency procedures with helpful instructions such as “remain calm” in the seat pocket in front of you, the inky water will finally turn turquoise and a 900m grass landing strip will appear on a blink of an island circled in white sand.
THE GRIN ON MY FACE stretched from the deck to the point where you could just make out the last of the ship’s wake in the moonlight. I had one glass of red wine, just one. Well, and that frozen sweet-melon cocktail at this little beachfront bar in Mykonos, but no more.
THERE IS SOMETHING ABOUT doing 140km/h on a Jo’burg highway at 4:30pm on a weekday with no car in sight — except for the thousands of poor suckers who aren’t going anywhere, backed up and blocked from every onramp — that screams: hanging out with Michelle Obama is very, very cool.
WORLD LEADERS HAVE TRIED EVERYTHING FROM HIGH-LEVEL negotiations to prayer to get some peace in the Middle East. Issie Kirsh has a different approach. He’s going to serenade them. Then, when the Palestinians and Israelis are enraptured with music, he’s going to get the people to talk.
THE DIGITAL CLOCK GLARES DOWN IN RED NEON from its position above the Talk Radio 702 news desk. It’s 9.28 on a Thursday morning in early April and Johannesburg news editor Katy Katopodis, long unruly black hair, brown eyes, corduroy jeans and an olive-coloured sweater, is sitting cross-legged on a low slung office chair in the middle of the station’s Sandton news room.
WHEN THE BILLBOARDS WENT UP AT OR TAMBO, Durban, and Cape Town International Airports at the end of March, they marked the first glimpse of what’s coming soon to a TV near you.
TSHIVIS TSHIVUADI SITS AMONG PILES OF THIN, tabloid-size newspapers that sprawl in alternating heights across his wooden desk. The general secretary of Journalists in Danger (JED), a not-for-profit group funded by various British, French and Swiss organisations, has a wide face and thick fingers. He sits under the fluorescent lights, shielded from the afternoon sun by dusty blinds that — like many things in the Democratic Republic of the Congo — have seen better days. It has been a rough few months.