Shaun de Waal

Look but you can’t listen

On several occasions in the recent past I’ve bitched and moaned at the poor staff of Look & Listen, complaining about the sheer hopelessness of their jazz selection: very few of the great classics, for instance, or very spotty representation of even very-well-known artists. Sometimes a staff member says “I’ll tell the buyer,” which seems…

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Elusive books

Perhaps I am over-dutiful as a film reviewer. I often feel I have to read a famous book before I see the film adaptation, and frequently try to catch up with a filmmaker’s other work before reviewing his or her new movie. Sometimes I tell myself that the book/film comparison is unduly academic and probably…

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A God response

Mike A asks some honest, meaningful questions in his take on my recent God blogs. Instead of battling on about the existence or provability issues, he asks about the implications of atheism, so I feel it’s worth giving some serious, honest replies, accounting for my beliefs (or non-beliefs) on these matters. Q: Why do we…

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Okay, then, God is just a hypothesis

I’m glad my God blog got so many responses. The conversation continues, which can only be a good thing, though I do rather sympathise with those who say: “What? Are we still talking about this issue?” I didn’t mean to reopen the debate about whether there is a God or not, or at least not…

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God is a theory

A few weeks ago (April 25), in the “Courses” section, the Mail & Guardian carried two pieces in counterpoint to each other. The question was “Is religion a threat to rationality and sciences?” and replies were provided by the eminent philosopher Daniel Dennett (on the “yes” side) and someone called Robert Winston, a retired professor…

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Taking the measure of ‘4-5′

I was amused to see the February 22 front page of the Daily Sun, peppered with its usual plethora of exclamation marks. “Ex-lover slashed my 4-5!” That was the headline, and the story went on to explain: “He was sitting happily with his new sweetheart when the door to his house crashed open. “It was…

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e-Filing is e-driving me e-mad

You can file your tax returns on the internet! What a good idea, I thought. (I think we should be able to vote on the net as well.) But we should have been given some vital information. We should have been told: you can file your tax returns on the internet if, and only if,…

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Movies, movies and more movies

Oh dear, more movies to watch. It’s not like I don’t have three or four previews in a week, and then there are the DVDs piling up at home … The second edition of 1 001 Movies You Must See Before You Die (Cassell) is out. The previous edition (2003) ended with The Pianist; this one…

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A personal place

Surprisingly, or perhaps not so surprisingly, Jay Brannan, to be seen engaged in a sexually explicit (and hilarious) gay threesome in Shortbus, was “raised religious”. Brannan is in South Africa as a guest of the Out in Africa gay and lesbian film festival, accompanying another film he stars in, Holding Trevor. He’s probably still answering…

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Festival of what, precisely?

Publicists Total Exposure have announced a “Festival of Festivals”, showing at Ster-Kinekor’s Cinema Nouveau theatres from November 2: “For two weeks in November, Johannesburg will be transformed into Cannes and Cape Town into Venice when some of the world’s most acclaimed new films will be screened at the first annual Festival of Festivals,” goes the…

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