John Vlismas

Writing is hard

I read another self-published novel the other day … the author told me it’s really hard getting published. I read his book. There are reasons they don’t publish everyone’s book. Writing is hard. Writing well is almost impossible. After putting his book down, hard, I wept to know that there are now suicide writers as…

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Coming down

It’s early and the sky is downcast, reflecting the early morning kinks that leak from the displaced and sleep-deficient. Irritable at the early instant coffee, just enough to block a nap as we taxi, not enough to keep the words of the book before me in order — we nod and mumble, not looking. The…

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Pizza with the Commandant

We had been to visit the small township that clings to the crag above the monied guts of Hout Bay. Afrika is a tour guide who walks conscious tourists through this matrix of elemental and exposed souls. Reconfigured billboards are cold comfort compared to the promises they make on their faded skins. This notwithstanding, the…

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Did Lolly lick himself?

Just in case Steve Hofmyer reads this, let me preface so that we are clear: it is never good when anyone dies. Especially when it is an unnatural death, as this implies a violent violation of their rights, obviously. Now, when someone dies, and you ponder aloud the idiom “live by the sword, die by…

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A solid American

The first time I see Henry, he’s tired. He’s carrying a camera case and looks punished. He’s just spent a day in the townships outside Cape Town. His bag is heavy, and he doesn’t want help. This is a theme I’ll get familiar with over the next week. Once a son of the LA Punk…

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A report to an asylum

I met Madiba the other day. It’s not a boast (although having one of the Jackson Five behind you in any queue does provide a warm throb) but the meeting provided stark views of how far we’ve come — the chasm twixt us and that golden honeymoon yawns like HIV wearing a kanga. The great…

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Dear Steve, praat sense of hou jou bek

Unlike you, I struggle to take things lying down. Your dramatic pamphlet is problematic. I’ll elaborate. Firstly, when you need album sales, you become as Afrikaans as you can, then when it suits, you cling to these imagined roots. Last time I checked, yours were blond, big guy. So don’t go double-crossing that bridge, the…

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Pope Goes the Weasel

It’s about time we had some earthquakes in Rome. The historical home of the fiddle hasn’t had a shake in ages. Global warming may be biggie, and Iran may prove tsunamis to be minor ripples, but the man in the big hat has been bust, he fiddled while kids were razed. I’m comforted to know…

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Dear reader …

Of course, your opinions are more important than the blog — that’s the whole point. I was going to write something new — but wanted to respond to Maria. It is unfortunate that you feel I used the term “social Down’s Syndrome” in a shallow way to describe stupid. I didn’t. Just because someone has…

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Eugene and Malema, sitting in a tree…

Right-wingers continue to huddle and mutter about Armageddon. The Youth are supposedly led by a confused victim of social Down’s syndrome, and homosexuality has never had such a bad month. Ricky Martin and ET? Ouch. Obviously, the local crime scene experts have never watched CSI — letting an imaginary condom vanish, and failing to notice…

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