Thursday, 25 December 2008


Here I am Christmas day evening - my brain still a bit wine-wrapped from the day's festivities and thinking about today's two deaths Eartha Kitt and Harold Pinter and wondering how I'd sum up my own year.

In terms of writing, my output has probably been boolspizzle. The commission I bashed away at - did lots of legwork before becoming dishearted and conflicted about the type of story it was and whether I was the person to tell it. Funny but right now I feel I could pick it up and smack it out while no one's noticing or expecting it. Shhhhh - let's see. Reminds me that I found an old school report from when I was 8 the other day: 'Amanda is a great waster of time' ha!

So the jazz book became the centre piece of the working year. Then a mid-year trip to the UK became an unexpected turning point. Seeing old, old friends including a best friend after 7 years was not only heartening but also unsettling. I spent evenings in her house in Brockley - my daughter happily playing outside with neighbours' kids in the communal garden - feeling a growing sense of relief that I was back on familiar territory with people who know me best. Also meeting you fellow bloggers confirmed these odd bonds forged through writing alone. So my return to SA fomented a subliminal discontent - and has become in some ways 'the writing on the wall' in terms of where I stay and what I do in the future.

Then blogging of course (funny how it becomes such a huge part of one's life.) I did try to wean myself off but... Contemplating and trying to make sense of all that, has been a bit heavy this last month, I feel I've weathered some kind of emotional maelstrom. There were times when I wondered about my own sanity and even had to ask my daughter - who said I wasn't bonkers. Phew.

Happily - making art took over and became a refuge. For the last couple of months, I've been drawing like a fury (something which I haven't done in nearly 20 years) - drawing change...

So today, Christmas day afternoon I sat sketching in Gugs - drawing extended family - new children - the same olds still swearing to go dry and thought; 'I won't be sitting here next year.'..

I can see that.

Happy Christmas!

Thursday, 18 December 2008


Here it is for my regulars...

Friday, 12 December 2008


Cor these blog posts are coming thin and slow innit? Ah well. Loads of bloggers seem to be going off the boil for various reasons lately. Can't say I agree with them all. I mean all this hish-hash about who reads your stuff and who may feel upset about this, that and whatever. Who cares? In about 3 years practically all of our lives will be online anyway - that's my prediction - ha! - there will be no secrets worth having. People will be scrambling to post their gynaecological ruminations, baby's head girths, descriptions of organs they may want to donate, photographs of the living room carpet that they may sell. You mark my words. All online the lot.
You know its a bit like that time Johnson (was it him?) ran some 100 metre race the fastest ever and I thought 'soon no one will ever be able to win any races without taking drugs because its just not humanly possible to keep getting faster' and kabboom: failed dope test. Not that I wanted to be proved right or anything - but it indicates there is a perimeter wall to everything, and when it is reached then everyone flings themselves at it. The internet is becoming like that. Does that sound bonkers? Ok yes.

Anyway, I'd actually planned a couple of posts. One about how hard it is to draw various parts of the anatomy sometimes - like feet. One time years ago, me and a group of art students were engaged to paint a mural in SOAS (long since over-painted). The rather banal design consisted of a line of people from around the world in various garbs. So there was one sari- clad woman dancing or summat - who was a bit fiddly to paint. Then a Professor at the Dance school across the road sauntered in, glowered at the lne of painted people and pronounced 'I'm afraid it is physically impossible to place feet in such a way!' In the end a plant was painted in front of the offending foot. I was reminded of this while drawing my orgy today -in the struggle to arrange limbs so that the recreational activity depicted was still humanly possible.....

So - flew to Jo'burg and back earlier in the week for the jazz book progress presentation. They were very impressed with the stunning, unseen photos - wish I could just sneak the odd one out and post it up here - but copyright, copyright ahem. There's one of a young Ted Kennedy chilling on the floor of a Soweto club watching Abigail Kubeka's flip skirted dance, and another of a translucent skinned Miriam Makeba - the youngest I've ever seen, backstage at the rehearsals for King Kong etc. Tons of stuff unearthed - magic.

That's about it for now. No writing - but its building up inside ready to burst.

Speak to me.

Sunday, 7 December 2008


Well blogging has slowed down to a snail's pace at the moment, but I'm still here. Making headway with the latest drawing - wasn't going to show you work-in-progress - but since I'm still saving your blushes as haven't yet drawn in most of the Bosch type orgy and masses of writhing flesh - which will completely fill out the top right hand corner - here it is...

The gallery people suggested that, in keeping with 'Hum of History's' international flavour, maybe each could feature a different historical monument/site from around the world - (so far Table Mountain and something that looks a bit like a cardboard Canary Wharf) - so I may insert an Eiffel Tower, Arc De Triomphe or even a Statue of Liberty or summat - ha!

Feels like the last month of the year is suddenly a mad dash to finish things off and make decisions. Have to present progress on the jazz book to the Department of Arts and Culture in Jhb, next week. I've been slogging at the accounts - always worse when you leave it all for months on end.

Made a big decision about that script I was working away at (see old blog) I decided to step off - oh yes. I went to see a new UK/SA film (whose title I won't mention) and hated it. But it made me realise that it was exactly the tortured type of drama which the producers and financiers were obviously looking for (and which I am loath to write, let alone watch) You have to follow your heart. While I've found it easy to do 'jobbing writing' on children's TV programmes and educational stuff - where parameters are set in stone - its a different ball game when you find yourself propelled to write something that goes against the grain of what you're about innit? I suppose it really boils down to ensuring a shared vision from the outset. What do you think? I had to go back to the old blog (fix that naughty karma) and edit one sentence just to free myself. One that said 'Let's see what blog karma does about that utterance'. Ha! Yeah yeah completely bonkers I know but they seem to have stopped badgering me....cross fingers...

What else? The sun is out, the sky is blue, the pool is open and managed 20 widths yesterday - a new record. At this rate I may even start swimming lengths..

Hope all is well there.