Was Sugar Man Actually Lost

November 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

I recently saw the documentary film Searching For Sugar Man, the story of a couple of South Africans trying to unravel the mysterious life of the musician known as Rodriguez. I must admit I was blown away by it. It resonated so clearly with my own experience of growing up in Rhodesia and South Africa.

It also evoked an emotional response to the man himself. Seemingly without any regrets for his ‘lost’ career or any desire to head for the nearest legal aid offices to begin a suit for the recovery of missing royalties. Still living the humble life of a construction worker and seemingly with no desire to use his new found fame to upgrade to a pop star lifestyle.

He also raised three daughters, imbuing them with a similar humbleness, but ensuring that they grew up understanding that they were not victims of their circumstances and that they were as good as anyone born into grander circumstances. He comes across as the epitome of a decent human being the sort of person most of us would aspire to be. Rich and happy in a way that money cannot buy.

After watching the movie I wanted more information and did a little bit of Google surfing. I came across two interesting articles, one by a UK movie critic and one by an Australian movie critic. Both articles, while generally admiring the movie, hinted that the Danish film maker had acted a little dishonesty in portraying Rodriguez as living in the musical wilderness despite ‘being more famous than Elvis’ in South Africa as he had achieved a modicum of success in Australia and New Zealand  where he toured in the 70s and 80s.

i don’t find a problem with this. His Antipodean success was modest and did not make the premise of the movie – failed American muso is oblivious to his iconic status in SA – any less honest. The isolation of the Apartheid era ensured that the SA fans were as oblivious to his fleeting fame Down Under as they were to his life as a construction worker in Detroit.

It must be surreal for Rodriguez to be experiencing this resurgence in fame not only in SA and Down Under, but in his native America who is discovering him at last. If you have not seen the movie I can thoroughly recommend that you do. If you have seen the movie, but would like to know more, sugarman.org is a good start.

‘Til next post…

 

Hi Everyone

November 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

I have just noticed that the site has been upgraded to WordPress. I have been waiting for this as it will enable me to blog from my iDevices while I am travelling. Might just start posting again. Not sure if any of the oldies are still around, but I will start looking around for some familiar faces. Anyway this is really just a test to see if it all works. Relieved to see that all my old posts are still here. Cheers.

‘Til next post…

Aaaaaaahhh

August 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

I love coffee, specially the milky ones, cappacinos and lattes. I even have a Nespresso machine, which I treated myself to a few birthdays ago, so that I can enjoy these at home as well. Not that I don’t like tea. In fact I am drinking a cup right now. I have a nasty case of sinusitus and am on all sorts of medication and have to avoid milk so I am drinking tea and I am enjoying it immensely. There is something very comforting about a nice hot cup of tea.

‘Til next post…

28 More Sleeps

November 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

As there is less than a month to go to the big day I decided to get the ball rolling with my favourite Christmas cartoon. Enjoy!

You will find the video by clicking on this.

‘Til next post…

Out of the mouths of babes…

November 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

I was walking along the Abu Dhabi beachfront this evening when I walked past a local woman sitting on one# of the benches with her two children, a boy of about 6 and a girl about 3.

As I walked passed them I overheard the boy say “But how does the baby come out mommy?”. The mother was looking decidedly uncomfortable. Unfortunately I couldn’t stop to hear the reply. I couldn’t even pretend to stop and do up my shoelaces as I was wearing slops, but I would have loved to hear the reply.

‘Til next post…

Thank Goodness – My Sensibilities Have Been Preserved

November 23, 2011 in Uncategorized

Movies in the UAE are subject to censorship. Being a conservative Muslim nation we residents are protected from seeing sex and nudity on the screen. It seems that profanity is okay with most 4 letter words surviving the censors scissors. All films have Arabic subtitles and I would love to know how they translate the most common ones. It does not really bother me. It is only occasionally that the sex and nudity in a movie are essential for plot reasons.

The latest blockbuster to suffer the censors attention has resulted in the title of the movie being changed. Yes good reader we have been saved from having to suffer the sight of a four letter word actually in the title of the movie. Or should I say our children’s sensibilities have been preserved. “What?” I hear you cry, “A four letter profanity in the title of a kids movie?” Yup. Your children will be rendered insensible due to the lax attitude of your censors. Our children will stay happily sensible.

In case you have not yet figured it out the movie in question is Puss in Boots. The local free daily, 7 Days, reported that “There were serious concerns from local regulators about the title. They felt that it would not be in good taste to a section of the public who might find it offensive owing to their religious and cultural orientations. The word ‘puss’ can be used as Western slang with sexual connotations.”

I think the problem with people who call themselves ‘conservative’ is that they are obsessed with sex. They see it everywhere. They see it everywhere because they are always looking for it. They are looking for it so that they can demonstrate how much better they are than everyone else. Censorship tends to steer people to illegal paths in order to see what they are missing. Although in this case I cannot see anyone making a fortune out of bootleg DVDs of Puss in his booted glory.

‘Til next post…

Good news for iPad users

November 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

Greetings Letterdashers – long time no post, but I have been motivated by the news that Letterdash is moving to the WordPress platform. One of the things that I have wanted to be able to do for a long time now is to create and post blogs via my iPad. I created a WordPress blog some time ago and decided to test a couple of iPad Blogging Apps to see how they fare. I will let you be the judge of that and would appreciate you leaving me a comment here on Letterdash as to what you think.

It is interesting to note that the only part of the test which failed was the attempt to create an italicised, bold and underlined piece of text. I say in the post that it worked because it worked in the App, but did not work when I published it to WordPress. I am not sure of whether this is something I did or a bug in the App, but I will communicate this to the developers so that they can investigate it. 

The test post can be found here

‘Til next post…

Is Freedom Under Fire?

July 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

Is it only me or are any of you terrified of where the UK hacking scandal is heading? Today on Sky News I heard the newsreader say “I thought that Parliament was accountable to the people and not the press?” This was in regard to the relationship between the current and previous prime ministers with the executives of News International and other news organisations.

Of course he is right, but how is parliament held accountable if not via the press? I do not see a problem with this if Prime Ministers and other politicians are so wary of the press that they make sure the relationship is good. I am finding the whole hysteria around the Murdoch empire more of a vengeance against a press that has called out politicians on many an occasions, the Expenses Scandal being a recent example. Also, the hysteria crossing the Atlantic seems to me an opportunity for the loony left to stick it to Fox News which is a perennial and much needed thorn in the side of the Democrats.

Don’t get me wrong. I do not condone what the News Of The World got up to, but I am really worried that in dealing with the hacking offences the end result will be a bulldog with some vital teeth missing. What say you?

‘Til next post…

Abu Dhabi catches Madiba Feva

July 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

I am amazed at how much attention Nelson Mandela’s 93rd birthday is getting here in the UAE. They have linked his birthday to a campaign to increase community awareness here. Local radio is running a competition urging people to send in their ideas for community work with the slogan “Nelson Mandela spent 67 years working for his community now it’s your turn.” Nandos are giving away R2000 to the best entrant each day and at the end of the week one lucky listener is winning a trip for two to SA.

At the Khalidiya Mall in Abu Dhabi they have built a “Mandela Wall” on which there are community messages in English and Arabic and visitors are encouraged to take a Koki and write a birthday message to “Mr Mandela” on the wall.

There is also a book in which visitors are invited to write a letter to Mandela with birthday wishes. The book will be presented to Mandela at the end of the campaign.

I find it extremely sad that the politicians who followed Mandela did not see him as a role model. He must be very sad. Thus the tone of my message that the world could do with 93 clones of him. The lovely ladies below were handing out pamphlets with a competition to come up with a community service idea. The 67 best ideas going into a book to be published about the event.

 

 

It was interesting to read the comments written on the wall. I even saw the Pakistani Ambassador being provided with a chair so that he could write up his prepared statement.

 

 

It was really interesting reading the comments which came in many languages. Here are a few examples. Try and spot the gushing, patriotic South African ones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some were even quite creative.

 

 

It is great to be in the middle of such a positive news vibe and for a change to be able to proudly proclaim – I AM A SOUTH AFRICAN

 

‘Til next post…

 

 

 

 

 

A Fighting Chance

April 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

The professional tournament was over. The reporters and camera crews were on their way home. I had filed all my stories and took a week off to attend the amateur tournament. The less frantic atmosphere of the amateurs was just what I needed. I could concentrate on my drawing and hopefully get some good action sketches under my belt.

The first bout of the week was between Ken “The Rock” Billington and a pugilist by the name of Wile E Jones. I was sitting about three rows from the ring. There were not many spectators. I think we were well outnumbered by judges, referees, timekeepers and other assorted “officials”. I had a really good view and readied my sketch book and charcoals for the first bit of action.

The Rock was the first to enter the ring. He was tall and muscular with a face that looked as hard as his nickname. He looked like he was used to winning and strutted around the ring soaking up the applause of the spectators while doing a bit of shadow boxing. He wore a silver robe with the words “The Rock” emblazoned in bright red on the back of it.

From the tunnel blasted the first bars of “Eye of The Tiger”. It was impressively intimidating. Out of the tunnel emerged Wile E and his entourage. Wile E was clad in a white towelling gown. It did not have anything embroidered on it, but I smiled to myself as I imagined it festooned with “Property of The Grand Hotel, High Street”.

As Wile E entered the ring The Rock looked down his nose at him with a look of obvious contempt. It was a look that said “Why must I bother raising a sweat over a little gnat like you?” Wile E was anything but a little gnat. He was not so much tall as broad. He was what can only be described as pudgy. Only his muscular arms alluded to the fact that he might have some skills. Whichever way you looked at it, it seemed a mismatch and Wile E was going to need all his wiles if he was going to escape severe punishment.

The two fighters met in the middle of the ring while the referee spelled out the rules of the bout. They touched gloves, went back to neutral corners, the bell rang and the fight began. The Rock wasted no time with “feeling out” his opponent, but went straight at him with a kick followed by a flurry of punches. I decided to draw very quickly as I did not expect to have the pleasure of their company for much longer.

Poor Wile E was not only having his arse kicked, but his head, kidneys, and virtually every part of his exposed body as well. That he managed to survive the first round was a testimony to his hardiness, but certainly not his fighting acumen. He was not a good looking man and looked even worse for wear as he sat in his corner getting some much needed advice from his handlers. I was of the opinion that their advice was being wasted on a lost cause.

The second round started much as the first had ended, with Wile E getting his head kicked in. Then, in the space of a couple of seconds, the impossible happened. The sure-footed Rock, somehow, lost his footing and tumbled forward at the precise moment that Wile E was lifting his leg to attempt a kick to The Rock’s body. The end result, in more ways than one, was that The Rock’s jaw met with Wile E’s knee with enough force to knock The Rock flat out on his back.

The referee dispensed with the count, waved his hands to declare the fight over and beckoned for the waiting Red Cross men to attend to the beaten fighter. It all happened so quickly that I was at pains to figure out how the skillful Rock could have slipped. There did not seem to be anything on the canvas that could have tripped him up. I then spotted the sly grin on Wile E’s face and realised that it was not for nothing that he had given himself that moniker and me the subject for a great action drawing.