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Fred de Vries

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Johannesburg; The Elusive Metropolis

The Elusive MetropolisA whole flurry of books on Joburg has recently been published, trying to quell the impression that The City of Gold is a shit town, full of violence, poverty, crime and anger. Bit of a vain project, because of course it is a shit city full of violence, poverty crime and anger. And of course many areas that used to be great and exciting (think Yeoville, Berea, Hillbrow, even Melville) have changed so much that it’s pretty hard to still like them. Same goes for downtown, despite the efforts of the JDA and others to change the image.

But nonetheless, it is an exciting city, built from a mineworkers camp a little more than 100 years ago. It’s never dull, always changing, eternally edgy. And, as artist William Kentridge recently remarked: it may not have impressive churches or palaces (or even a great, accessible museum), it does have its summer cathedrals of huge storm clouds and spectacular lightning.

Anyway, one of the books that came out recently is Johannesburg; The Elusive Metropolis (Wits University Press), edited by Sarah Nuttall and Achille Mbembe. A lot of it is quite theoretical and academic. But fortunately it also contains chapters that are lively reportage, written by local luminaries such as the late John Matshikiza, Mark Gevisser and yours truly.

My contribution is about that ghastly phenomenon that has all but killed street life: the shopping mall. Get lost in Sandton City and get disgusted by all the new developments in Honeydew.

Anyway, read it, and ask yourself the question: how is Joburg going to deal with the influx of thousands and thousands of football fans when fifteen World Cup matches will be held here in June/July 2010, including the opening ceremony and the final?

 

Recent comments:

  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    March 5th, 2009 @14:31 #
     
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    Love your first paragraph, Fred - you've sold me. This place is a suppurating pustule on an otherwise blandly temperate and pleasant bit of veld; a festering wound which fosters reduplicated rage, greed and iniquity. Got to feel for the lovely birds and trees, though, who, like us, have washed up here with no conceivable way to escape the tarpit.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    March 5th, 2009 @14:45 #
     
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    BRISTLING with indignation in defence of my home town, which I love with a visceral and possibly irrational passion.

    Nobody moans about all the indigenous wildlife that died to make way for Manhattan. Nobody says it would be a fantastic place except for all the skyscrapers. They just accept it as a great city. Jo'burg is a great city too - the greatest in Africa. The buildings - old and new, crumbling and solid - are just part of its landscape.

    It also happens to be the largest urban forest in the world, which ought to keep the greenies happy. And what's wrong with shopping malls? Let he who has never visited an Exclusive Books or a Musica cast the first stone...

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    March 5th, 2009 @15:01 #
     
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    "Johannesburg is a vast, metastasizing metropolis, where the municipal authorities clearly take great pride in constructing as many routes of escape from the central tumour as possible. Desperate, car-free people kept knocking on my window, offering me trinkets to get them the hell out of town."

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    March 5th, 2009 @15:04 #
     
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    Not bristling, but frothing.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    March 5th, 2009 @15:04 #
     
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    hah hah! This could be an invigorating debate... I would get started but I'm busy choking on fumes and feeling the whip of a soulless mordorian, and I have to save some energy for the stock-car race that is my gauntlet back home.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    March 5th, 2009 @15:07 #
     
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    Oh and PS - Chain Bookshop in any Mall vs any bookshop on Charing Cross Road... I know who wins.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    March 5th, 2009 @15:10 #
     
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    PPS - As I like to quote at times like these: "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." (Edward Abbey)

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    March 5th, 2009 @15:13 #
     
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    I wouldn't want to be found dead in Joburg. But there's a pretty good chance I will.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    March 5th, 2009 @15:16 #
     
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    Focus, Louis, you're slipping way off topic, for some strange reason.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    March 5th, 2009 @15:17 #
     
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    @ Richard, the municipal authorities take even greater pride in blocking the escape routes with potholes, blue-light convoys and construction work doled out in silent tender to the campaign-funders and lifestyle-enhancers of said municipal authorities.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    March 5th, 2009 @15:20 #
     
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    Anecdotally, I recently had reason to drive along Barbara Road in the industrial hotspot near the airport. I haven't seen a tawdrier strip since driving from Cape Town to Gordon's Bay.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    March 5th, 2009 @15:20 #
     
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    On the bright side: it's nice to see them achieving excellence in some way.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    March 5th, 2009 @15:20 #
     
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    If you could find your way to Charing Cross through the lashing rain and stiff gale, I imagine it might be quite pleasant to find yourself in a warm, musty bookshop.

    I, on the other hand, am looking up at a cerulean blue sky, lightly dotted with fluffy white clouds, and feeling the beneficent warmth of a mild sun play across my grateful skin.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    March 5th, 2009 @15:22 #
     
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    That's what I'm saying Fiona. Lovely weather, lovely urban forest. Pity about the people.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    March 5th, 2009 @15:26 #
     
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    But surely, Fiona, such gentle pleasures are readily available beyond the shit-strewn apocalypse that is Growlteng.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    March 5th, 2009 @15:27 #
     
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    I think your neighbours are causing you to take an unusually bleak view of the situation, Louis. Can't say I blame you. I can't hear my neighbours, so I feel quite kindly towards them.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    March 5th, 2009 @15:31 #
     
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    Did anyone see the dig I made at Cape Town up there? Come on, this is the most fun I've had all day and it's time for the Slaapstad contingent to weigh in!

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    March 5th, 2009 @15:33 #
     
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    They're all out on their balconies in the sun, Louis, smoking zoll and watching the ships roll in.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    March 5th, 2009 @15:37 #
     
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    They've gone surfing with Sven.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    March 5th, 2009 @15:41 #
     
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    chiz chiz

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    March 5th, 2009 @15:46 #
     
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    I think they've taken the bait, Louis, and gone fishing off the point.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    March 5th, 2009 @15:48 #
     
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    They're all in their cars sitting frozen at the traffic lights, waiting for the information to filter through to their motor responses that the light has turned GREEN.

    (Sorry, but CT drivers make me crazy!)

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    March 5th, 2009 @15:48 #
     
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    They're looking at the mowntayin. There's a UFO landing.

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  • <a href="http://kathrynwhite.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Kathryn</a>
    Kathryn
    March 5th, 2009 @15:54 #
     
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    @Louis. i hope you're not writing this from a certain company email.

    @Richard. if yu play in the traffic like u did last time u can be certain of death.

    i am personally so in love with Joburg it hurts. i can't see up enough in Cape Town, in Jhb u get sky sky sky and masses of clouds. i am currently buying a flat in Cape Town but know it's pointless to pretend that i am going to move there. joburg has me, she's a bad affair that i can't snap out of, no matter how tumultuous she gets.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    March 5th, 2009 @15:54 #
     
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    If I were an alien, I'd choose Cape Town.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    March 5th, 2009 @15:56 #
     
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    LOL, Fiona - I guess even if I left Joburg, I'd always be a Joburg driver - that would be frustrating. Hand on hooter in case that guy in front of you isn't in first by the time the other light is orange... heh heh heh

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    March 5th, 2009 @15:58 #
     
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    If I were a stoned alien with no GPS in my spaceship I'd choose Cape Town.

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  • <a href="http://kathrynwhite.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Kathryn</a>
    Kathryn
    March 5th, 2009 @15:59 #
     
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    If i was an alien visiting Europe for a summer holiday i would choose Cape Town. but then i would fall asleep cos i was sooo tired.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    March 5th, 2009 @15:59 #
     
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    Again, Kate, I'm with you - Joburg is in a lovely spot - that's the tragedy of the situation. I wish everyone would just go away and take their corruption and filth and attitude with them.

    A few of the restaurateurs could stay. And some of the writers, and, er, well, that's about it.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    March 5th, 2009 @16:01 #
     
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    Hee hee, this is more fun than trying to defend Jo'burg. The Capetonians are really asleep at the switch this arvie. Where are the furious rebuttals?

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    March 5th, 2009 @16:04 #
     
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    It might be a matter of time zones.

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    March 5th, 2009 @16:20 #
     
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    Capetonian here. We're all currently choking on thick smoke from fires in the winelands. I've crawled under my desk with a wet handkerchief and my laptop. Maybe the others are cowering too. It's no time to deal with idle sneering from up north!

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    March 5th, 2009 @16:21 #
     
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    They're probably writing page-long eulogies and surfing the web in search of pretty pictures to illustrate their love.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    March 5th, 2009 @16:25 #
     
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    Good thing I didn't make my planned "Harvesttime Holiday" quip.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    March 5th, 2009 @16:27 #
     
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    I was about to say, "Damn, there goes all the cheap wine," but I managed to restrain myself.

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    March 5th, 2009 @16:30 #
     
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    F--kers. We're working!

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  • <a href="http://kathrynwhite.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Kathryn</a>
    Kathryn
    March 5th, 2009 @16:32 #
     
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    We can say anything we want and they won't even know:

    1. the clothes shops are awful - the clothes are often made of inferior fabric, not finished off properly, and sloppy styles - things hanging off, things swen off.

    2. the gilrs dress SO badly. they take fashion so seriously that they are willing to look ugly. the latest styles are a real shocker. this lo-fi vibe of broken fabrics and faded patterns. and BAd hats. and SHORT shorts. just because a shop sells short shorts don't mean u can u wear them.

    3. the guys.... so little! where are the men?

    4. WHERE are the black people? It freaaaksksksksk me out.

    5. what's with the not trying too hard thing. i can seethru u! you are trying too hard to try look like ur not trying so hard.

    6. why is money a bad thing??

    7. the flat i am most keen on buying is in church square - it will be like going to europe whenever i want, but cheaper :)

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    March 5th, 2009 @16:32 #
     
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    Hope I don't live to regret that last comment.

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  • <a href="http://kathrynwhite.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Kathryn</a>
    Kathryn
    March 5th, 2009 @16:34 #
     
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    8. most of my friends in CT emigrated from JHB. writers excluded :)

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    March 5th, 2009 @16:37 #
     
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    As any fule can see, Joburgers are NOT manic!!!!

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    March 5th, 2009 @16:38 #
     
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    Oh, Richard, put the restraints away - you're still on the clock.

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    March 5th, 2009 @16:41 #
     
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    Gotcha!

    Actually, just back from a boozy lunch. Yes, this is how we roll in Cape Town.

    Seriously, though, it wasn't boozy - one glass Rose, but that's value for money in this heat. One glass, and I am pooped, I may as well have biffed up a splifter. It is hotttttt.

    Malls? Fiona. Malls - no fresh air, a faux sense of pavement society, fake popcorn smells in the airconditioning, more stress than relaxation. I'd rather go to a chain on the street than a chain in the mall.

    Louis, hope you have some goodwidth; here's some pics of your favourite biblio-street:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/interactive/2009/jan/31/charing-cross-bookshops

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  • <a href="http://www.moxyland.com" rel="nofollow">Lauren Beukes</a>
    Lauren Beukes
    March 5th, 2009 @16:54 #
     
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    As a longtime citizen of both cities, I think I'm in a good position to comment.

    @Louis, no, no, no, the people are the best part of Johannesburg. Much friendlier than Cape Town. When was the last time a Capetonian invited you to come round and chill at their house? Or you got into a fantastic conversation with a random stranger in a CT supermarket?

    The ugly part of Joburg is definitely the mall culture, how nothing happens outside consumerland, the worst being the nightlife in Rivonia, especially News Cafe with the thong girls and the overly gelled boys and it freeaaaaksksksksks me out that the schoolgirls are better dressed than I could ever hope to afford to be in top-to-toe Diesel / other brand du jour.

    @Kathryn. You're spot on on points 1, 2, 4 and 5. Add in appalling driving and waiters / shop assistants who think they're doing you a favour (except at The Miller's Thumb)

    But Cape Town is beautiful and it attracts lots of interesting creative people who (foolishly) value creative work over well-paid work, and I can huff up Signal Hill at 6am and watch the dawn break (no picking up the pieces) over the city lights. And we have huge Australian-style wildfires and great white sharks.

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  • <a href="http://kathrynwhite.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Kathryn</a>
    Kathryn
    March 5th, 2009 @16:55 #
     
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    Good to see we are all on the same site/s this industrious thursday afternoon. here are some writers on the incredible pain of being a fulltime wellpaid novelist. maybe they can do some below the line internal casino radio. that'll make them laugh.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/mar/03/authors-on-writing

    I want to be boozy. I can't wait for tonight - tortellini d'oro. any joburgers know it? it is my FAV nice night out.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    March 5th, 2009 @16:56 #
     
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    Excellent link, Rustum. Thanks.

    (ANOTHER diatribe deleted.)

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  • <a href="http://sarahlotz.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sarah Lotz</a>
    Sarah Lotz
    March 5th, 2009 @16:57 #
     
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    Ditto, Rustum. But I had a Black Label. Blimey, it's smokey out there (and in here, but that's entirely my fault).
    BAd hats, Kathryn? WTF fuck constitutes a bad hat? I'm intrigued.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    March 5th, 2009 @16:58 #
     
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    Wine at lunchtime - that's what I'm talking about... but I wouldn't recommend it on Joburg's roads.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    March 5th, 2009 @16:58 #
     
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    Capetonian here: I decide to get some solid work done (in 40-degree heat and air thick with smoke, it ain't easy) and all you Jozi peeps crawl out the woodwork and party at our expense!

    Har har I will show you. I wasn't going to, in case it made you all sick with jealousy, but you have asked for it. I shall be sending Ben-editor shots from the latest bloggers' tea so he can post them and show you why we all squat at the foot of this mountain wearing bad clothes and earning little money...

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    March 5th, 2009 @17:03 #
     
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    @ Lauren - I actually was invited to chill at a couple of Capetonians' homes. maybe cos I knew an ex-Joburger who knew some Capetonians. Some very pleasant evenings whiled away.I have NEVER got into a fantastic conversation with anyone at a Joburg supermarket, unless you include, "Hey fuckwit, there's a queue here." Perhaps you left before the BIG RAGE set in? My now-Melburnian friend dates it to about 2003.

    Gosh, as for waiters / shop assistants who think they're doing you a favour............................... don't get me started! It freeaaaaksksksksks me out. And plus I have the sense that I really have no right to be freeaaaaksksksksked out.

    Hey, Helen, I live in Joburg and have no money. I'm too busy spending it on my Beemer repayments and Morgan and Diesel so that I can get through checkpoints without getting stopped, beaten and strip searched.

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  • <a href="http://kathrynwhite.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Kathryn</a>
    Kathryn
    March 5th, 2009 @17:06 #
     
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    Bad Hats - Or Hats Worn Bad.

    1. Spot a 20 year old.
    2. They are probably wearing short shorts (faded black denim) and a faded plaid shirt.
    3. they are probably wearing this hat. http://www.villagehatshop.com/media/christys-bowler-main.jpg
    4. From Mr Price.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    March 5th, 2009 @17:10 #
     
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    LOL, Kathryn... that sounds like the evil love-child of Anthony Burgess, Madness and (90s) Britney Spears.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    March 5th, 2009 @17:11 #
     
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    My old digs-mate from Rhodes, Chris McEvoy, wrote one of his Channel 24 columns on how he hardly ever sees black people at restaurants, concerts, music festivals, movies etc. It was a good column, but I don't think he realised what a uniquely Cape Town phenomenon he was writing about.

    Like Kathryn, I am somewhat freeeaaeeeaaaked out by the snowy whiteness of CT. Come to Jozi to see a blended city.

    And I agree with Lauren, the people are the best thing about living here.

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  • <a href="http://sarahlotz.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sarah Lotz</a>
    Sarah Lotz
    March 5th, 2009 @17:13 #
     
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    I think that's a lovely hat. Which is possibly why I don't live in Joburg. Cape Town's vintage stores are better (and cheaper), tho.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    March 5th, 2009 @17:16 #
     
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    @ Kathryn, eek, that IS a bad hat. I have no sense of the sartorial (Lauren will vouch for this) and couldn't spot a label if it got up and bit me, but I am vaguely aware now that Mowbray is full of first-year students again, that something is odd in the world of fashion. Most girls seem to be wearing three tops at once, involving a clutch of straps and flappy bits, and nothing on the bottom (ah, so those are shorts? I thought they were really bad-ass knickers). Or a sarong over boxers over ripped jeans with a bra on top. (That's including the guys.)

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    March 5th, 2009 @17:16 #
     
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    I HATE writing. It sucks hairy hippo nuts. All that BLOOD, that SWEAT, those TEARS.

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    March 5th, 2009 @17:21 #
     
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    Anyhoo. Must be the sugar. I made a mistake in having salty things on pizza. The gallon of water didn't help. I needed something fizzy, and sweet. A coke. Had it.

    At Cape Town station, got me some more. Now I'm walking that tightrope between drowsy and jitters.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    March 5th, 2009 @17:21 #
     
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    Mind you, that hat would look good on Sarah. It doesn't look good on the all the clones I see wandering up and down Main Road.

    But today I saw a delightful sight: in this heat, sauntering along Mowbray Main Road was a pretty girl (the Jozi folk might be glad to hear that she was black) daintily holding aloft a little purple parasol with CAT EARS AND A CAT FACE. Am enchanted.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    March 5th, 2009 @17:22 #
     
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    Poor Rustum.

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    March 5th, 2009 @17:23 #
     
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    I like Fordsburg and Brixton. But really guys, it's the weather. The dry winter. My delicate skin could never stand it.

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    March 5th, 2009 @17:24 #
     
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    Think I need some coffee...

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    March 5th, 2009 @17:28 #
     
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    Sounds like you need a valium, Rustum. Coffee's just going to tip you over the edge into hardcore jitters.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    March 5th, 2009 @17:32 #
     
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    Kathryn, just read your authors on writing link. Gosh, I want to smack the lot (except chipper Will Self and perky Julie Myerson -- might want to smack them too, but for making me jealous).

    Am reading Stephen King's On Writing (and it was an act of will to shut it at 2am this morning, and to stay away from it all day) and he makes it clear that writing should be FUN. Or, as Mr Eick of Achetown once pronounced: "to be able to write down a story is an amazing privilege."

    PS: If writers are going to whinge, then they need to do it properly, like Rustum. Am still cackling at the hippo nuts...

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    March 5th, 2009 @17:33 #
     
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    Sending you a cup of Douwe Egberts, Rustum, and a gas mask.

    (WARNING: Do no use simultaneously.)

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    March 5th, 2009 @17:36 #
     
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    Wise words from the wave man. Does his board have a built-in laptop?

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    March 5th, 2009 @17:37 #
     
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    I would smack them too if I could bring myself to touch them. Gads, did they take those pics specially?
    I think the secret agenda of the gloom club is to discourage others from joining their ranks - they know full well that writing for a living is a soft-handed pyjama party.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    March 5th, 2009 @17:46 #
     
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    @ Richard, I have seen the board in question, and alas, the answer is no. I'm trying to persuade him to install one, though.

    @ Louis, yup, those pics --!!! If I spotted A.L. Kennedy looking like that on a street corner, I'd press the price of a cuppa into her hand along with the number for The Samaritans.

    Even freelancing so fast you can't get any writing done beats almost anything else I can think of doing to earn a living. (Cue the pics I sent Ben to put up on the site...Be-e-en?) Even the whining is fun: I had lunch with Diane Awerbuck yesterday (our Last Lunch before her baby is due NEXT WEEK), and we whinged and bitched and kvetched about writing and publishing and editing, and had an absolutely glorious time. Good luck Diane and Justin, and enjoy welcoming your baby boy into Cape Town life.

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    March 5th, 2009 @17:59 #
     
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    A valium? No! Gimme some coffee, now!

    Thanks Richard. I love Douwe Egberts. (Warning: frantic trip down memory lane coming up once again, alas). Cafe Whatever, Observatory. Owned and run by a Hollander, sold Douwe Egberts. Good strong stuff. Also, uitsmijters. Brilliant. Alas, no more. DE used to distribute Drum baccie; no, more. Now Imperial Tobacco. British. Drum not so good no more. Also noticed that they don't go out no more; they keep on burning, like regular cigarettes. Must be adding saltpetre to the stuff, just as in cigarettes. Puff. Yes, perhaps some valium with the coffee.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    March 5th, 2009 @18:13 #
     
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    Note to self: Buy real shag for Rustum. And DE coffee, korenwijn, bitterballen and pickled herring.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    March 5th, 2009 @18:30 #
     
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    @ LOL at Richard, and remembering a deathless line from Blackadder: "Corporal, you and Captain Blackadder must get together for a pipe or two. I believe he does a very good rough shag."

    Alright all you snotty Jozites, check out the new photos (taken not by me, but by Karina with my camera). The location is Noordhoek, close to Sarah's thatched cottage in the woods. Note the mountain, the light, the sky -- and you should have seen the stars come out later.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    March 5th, 2009 @18:41 #
     
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    Yes, I'm rather partial to rough shag now and then.

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    March 5th, 2009 @18:55 #
     
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    I want a thatched cottage in the woods!

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    March 5th, 2009 @18:56 #
     
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    C'mon, c'mon. Admit it. Cape Town just delivered a knockout blow.

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    March 5th, 2009 @18:59 #
     
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    Where the pics at?

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    March 5th, 2009 @19:14 #
     
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    Check out the Book SA home page, under Latest Videos and Photos.

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    March 5th, 2009 @19:33 #
     
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    Aah... thanks.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    March 5th, 2009 @20:49 #
     
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    Uh, who was writing something about the Mandy annual the other day?

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    March 5th, 2009 @21:19 #
     
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    Now Louis. You're just jealous. Pity I didn't take a pic of Sven the surfer on horseback -- no trace of Bunty or Tammy there.

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  • <a href="http://alexsmith.book.co.za/" rel="nofollow">Alex Smith</a>
    Alex Smith
    March 5th, 2009 @21:53 #
     
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    Erm, Louis has a point though, horsing around is very Bunty, for example any of these titles (illustrated in this link http://library.doeth.net/bunty/) feature varying degrees of horsing around :Heartbreak Stables, Forbidden to Ride,Gwen’s Little Gallopers,Girls of Sundown Stables,The Clip Clop Clarks,Sandy of Silver Reins,Maid of the Mountain, and my favourite, Betty’s Great Big Ben

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    March 5th, 2009 @21:59 #
     
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    Alex Alex Alex. We are supposed to be gloating because we live in Cape Town. But that's an amazing link -- ballerinas seem to outweigh ponies by about 4 to 1, I see.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    March 5th, 2009 @23:08 #
     
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    Those pics could have been taken anywhere - Nigel, Dunnotar, Alberton, Krugersdorp even.

    And what's up with Sven? Has he started some sort of literary escort service? I only ever see him in pictures these days. Keeping it real.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    March 5th, 2009 @23:39 #
     
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    Richard, you need glasses. That mountain is unique. (Where IS Dunnotar?) Plus you don't live in Jozi. Brave attempt at deflation, but no go.

    I will let Sven know that you would like to know his rates.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    March 6th, 2009 @00:18 #
     
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    There's a sign outside Dunnottar that reads: "Like hell, but more boring." They still have a drive-in. Which also attracts visitors during daylight hours. http://is.gd/lZu0

    PS: Sven's rates are immaterial, I imagine.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    March 6th, 2009 @00:29 #
     
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    Mm, more like imaginary. Or do I mean fictional?

    The Du Nooy ability to make pics of almost anything materialise out of the web never fails to amaze me.

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  • <a href="http://kathrynwhite.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Kathryn</a>
    Kathryn
    March 6th, 2009 @09:20 #
     
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    Wow. Those CT pictures have my little horse-heart abeating. i am quite awed. Toffee would be so happy there.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    March 6th, 2009 @10:07 #
     
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    What's with the "Du", people? It's "De Nooy".

    I suppose it's better than the humbling intro I got at one of my first gigs, in Kalk Bay, where a certain person who will remain unnamed referred to me as "Richard du Plooy", immediately transporting me back to Louwtjie Vermeulen's woodwork class: "Du PLOOY! You wull neffa mayk a dufftail choint if you hold ve chissel laak vat!"

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    March 6th, 2009 @16:28 #
     
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    Sorry, Richard, I meant to write "Do Not Annoy".

    Yrs, Hilary Muffin (as some committee-minuter once called me)

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    March 6th, 2009 @16:38 #
     
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    *Chortling* Hilary Muffin, Soft Cookie.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    March 6th, 2009 @16:46 #
     
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    Richard, you softie. Here's wishing you chocolate chips.

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