African Fish Eagle

African Fish Eagle

This was not one of thoseSwooping soaringPhoto opportunities, you know,Where the bird glides in fromStage left andExits beautifullyTo the rightWith a pristinePink and silverSalmon or somethingA missile ready to launchFrom its clawFlakes of morning lightFalling from its not yet barbecuedFlesh. This was murder, a brawl in the shallowsWhich ended badlyFor the thrashing creature in the [...]

I interview myself

I interview myself

In this series of posts, Glen the apprentice writer interviews Glen the apprentice photographer. There are common threads. First up, as a non-professional - someone with a day job, a family, obligations and commitments - how on earth do you create a viable path between the pressures of daily life and the urge to write [...]

Zurich Altstadt – Signs and Figures

Zurich Altstadt – Signs and Figures

Zurich Altstadt: Signs & Figures. I suppose you can't really 'get' the soul of a city, a spirit of place, from a (literally) flying visit, a one-day random perambulation through streets and squares, along the river and over its bridges, beside its churches and fountains - and yet, as I mentioned in my first post [...]

Reflections on Tillmans

Reflections on Tillmans

The work of Wolfgang Tillmans, a German photographer, seems perfectly housed in the downtown, chaotic, teeming environment in which the Johannesburg Art Gallery has washed up, like a shipwreck on the beach after Fukushima, faintly radioactive. Much of Tillman's art is seemingly artless - and sometimes, in his work, to my eye at least, art [...]

Sea Washing

Sea Washing

On the north side of the quay, just across the way from the Cape Grace Hotel, is the Victoria Basin, and a dry-dock where Taiwanese trawlers come to have their paintwork and their bodywork done - like elderly ladies at a beauty parlour. It is a study in contrasts. A contrast I like even more, [...]

Sunday constitutional

Sunday constitutional

I was taking my Sunday constitutional, last weekend, at the Emmarentia Dam, just down the road from where we used to live, and on my way in to the Botanical Gardens, just over the dam wall where there is a little harbour and model lighthouse, I saw yachts - a dozen or two model yachts, [...]

Pomes, unfamous ‘cos unknown

Then there are the poems - pomes, John Lennon called them - which are unfamous by definition, since they never were published, or submitted for publication. This is a conceit, of course - these poems like their published cousins would doubtless be languishing in the same dry obscurity even if they had been published. Still, [...]

Unfamous Poem

Woodsmoke. Embers. Whisky. Cigar. Good jazz playing, on a really nice system - Class A Marantz amp, Arcam CD player, B&W speakers, fat cables. Don't get me started. But the sound is warm, detailed, alive - every lick of the snares, grunt of the sax, deep and present, three-dimensional. Not loud, just there. As here [...]

Three poems from Staffrider

I was going through a box of old diaries and papers last night (there are things in there that will go with me to my grave!) and came across a few copies of New Coin, Sesame, Staffrider – small South African literary magazines from the 80s and 90s. I knew there were a few old [...]

Contemplating Havana’s Malecon…

Contemplating Havana’s Malecon…

The Vedado end of the eight-or-so kilometre Malecon in Havana has a very different feel to it, from the more grandly built-up and fortified stretch toward the harbour mouth. Crumbling apartment buildings face across the dual carriageway, and the sea that crashes coldly into the rocks seems a metaphor for isolation and banishment. People sit on the battered [...]