Friday, November 5, 2010

The Loquacious Popularity Contest

Shakespeare would have hated Twitter. And not only because all modern communication forces us to condense whatever we’re saying into easily digested, tiny nuggets of scan-friendly information. Not only because our “Glance-and-Click culture” (to use Seth Godin’s genius term for it) has damaged our ability to engage with prose, to have the patience it takes to let something beautiful and transformative emerge from the storyteller. But also because writing today is as much a popularity contest as it is a display of insightful observation and a natural way with words.

Take my friend Simon. He writes very, very well. He’s published all over the place. And a good deal of his time is spent manning social media channels, chipping in with his opinion, responding to comments. He is also a very amiable person offline, completely at ease making friends at bars with a beer in his hand, getting worked up about the stuff he believes in and arguing with people about things. And the result of all of this, of course, is that he has very many friends. And very many fans and followers. His travel update emails no longer even display the recipient addresses for fear of overwhelming them.

Were he ever to write a book, his audience would already be there. His market may be untapped, but it is identifiable and quantifiable. And I would hazard a guess that most publishers today take into account the size of a writer’s social network before agreeing to sign them. This seems like a new era for writers, that requires an entirely new skill set. I’ve always imagined the Shakespeares and Hemmingways and Patons of this world to have been reclusive, introverted and quiet. And perhaps those kinds of writers will no longer cut it.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Importance vs Urgency Matrix

Being the ultimate nerd that I am, I attended a webinar on time management on Thursday. Actually it's less about nerdy proactiveness and more about survival. I felt I was teetering on the edge of a nervous breakdown a month ago, and I've seen enough people older than me to know that we only get more balls in the air, more to deal with and more to cram into our days until we're about sixty. To be overwhelmed by 26 is relatively embarrassing.

The hosts of the webinar had English-midlands accents, a slow, serious way of speaking and exuded whatever the opposite of charisma is. The whole experience was so washed out and linoleumy that I felt like I was in an episode of The Office. And all the matrices and quadrants they introduced did was to try and help people separate the urgent from the important.

I unplugged my earphones before the hour was up, pissed off that I'd lost time that I needed to put together a presentation.

It was only this morning that I realised that's not just a handy skill for effective time management. The inability to see the difference between what is important and what is urgent is responsible for pretty much every dysfunction of the modern world. It's why we mindlessly pursue economic growth at the expense of the planet and our survival. It's why we lose touch with friends because we're always rushing to a meeting. Urgency gives us an adrenaline rush. The adrenaline hooks us. And then we wake up at 65 and realise we've wasted our whole lives chasing unimportant things.

Maybe these quadrants will save the world.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Our global story

There were some incredible speakers at the TEDx in Stellenbosch on Friday. Lots of inspiration and some amazing work being done to end child slavery globally (it's everywhere, apparently), stimulate entrepreneurship in South Africa and help uplift women. The budding digital marketer in me loved hearing about how social media had triumphed over print media in reversing international public opinion about South Africa during the World Cup. And I even got to learn about the global and barbaric persecution of sharks (though the speaker failed to mention why they are so important. It turns out they keep oxygen-generating plankton levels healthy in the oceans and without them we will suffocate. But I had to find that out from my brother)

But the most interesting talk at TEDx, I thought, was Peter Willis's The Story of our Future. He made the point that never before has there been a singular global narrative; there have only been regional dominant narratives. And that human beings cannot function without a story. It's hardwired into our understanding of the world that there are beginnings, actions and consequences. We are motivated by stories with happy endings.

And so the dominant stories we told ourselves, and that provided context for all our actions, were:

  • In Medieval society, that God was  at the top of a hierarchical universe, in which everyone knew his or her place, and being humble and obedient and doing what was expected of you guaranteed you a place in Heaven.
  • In the Scientific Age, that the Universe functions on rules, and that if you study and learn all the rules, you can know everything worth knowing and alter the world to make it cooperate.
  • The current dominant story is that of capitalist growth. That if you work hard and buy things and spend money, you will be guaranteed a place in the mythical and always-just-out-of-reach Consumer Heaven.

The problem, of course, is that this story is rubbish. Consumer Heaven does not exist and does not make us happy, but, more importantly, the planet is finite, her resources are finite, and capitalist growth is simply unsustainable. And so we are confronted with a very bleak story: if we continue along our current path, we will destroy ourselves. If we do not, we may survive. "Maybe surviving" isn't much of a happy ending to believe in or motivate ourselves. Which is why, perhaps, there is such widespread inaction about our crisis.

The task we face, therefore, is not just one of proving the science of climate change. That has largely been done, and isn't galvanising people into action. Our task is to collectively define a narrative to believe in. And his suggestion, which echoes my man Ekhart Tolle, is that Heaven is right here. I'm thinking we need to make that a little more ordinary sounding for politicians and business leaders to get their heads around.

You know you've arrived

Since name-dropping seemed to be the favourite activity of the organiser of TEDx Stellenbosch (she must have mentioned the fact that she studied at Harvard as many times as ordinary people use the word "and"), I think it's safe to mention that I was stopped by no less than five people who wanted to know about my laptop bag. That's right people, five. And one of them even wanted a photo.

After 18 months in Cape Town, I'm finally a trendoid.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The meaning of work

My flatmate and I were discussing some work this afternoon, and how we find it almost impossible to motivate ourselves when we're not interested in something. Our initial hypothesis was that we are spoilt brats, torch-bearers of the Entitled Generation. But then, we are also very good at convincing ourselves we don’t have any flaws, and so we came to a second hypothesis: that girls (and, for the purposes of this theory, gay guys) are wired differently to men.

Men can emotionally disengage from whatever they are doing. If they are good at it, that is enough for them. They can sit in front of a spreadsheet all day or crunch numbers and watch stock markets. Skills and intelligence in exchange for money. A rational, simple transaction. We, on the other hand, need to see the bigger picture, know what the work is going to be used for. And, most importantly, we need to believe in what we are doing. It needs to make a positive difference to the world and mean something. Work is an emotional investment

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why men earn so much more than women. We have got to the bottom of it. It’s not prejudice. It’s not a secret community or a global old boy’s club. It’s the fact that meaning is a lot more difficult to find than projects or tasks that need to be done.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

This time for Africa

So there is a lot of buzz about the World Cup fanning the flames of xenophobia. The City of Cape Town is apparently making preparations to protect immigrants and minorities in the townships once it's over. I really, really hope I'm not missing something - but this all seems to be journalists feeling uncomfortable with constant good news and feeling like they need to bring up something scary in order to sound intelligent. 

Nationalism is a pretty scary thing. Aside from religion, it has probably killed more people than any other ideology. But it is a bittersweet pill, because nationalism also helps to build great things. It unites people in a common dream which, I think, is necessary to form a peaceful and functioning society. The trick is to balance the heart-lifting feeling of "us" without creating an exclusionary "them". And the only way to do that is to ensure the sense of nationality comes from living in a place, not from genetics or bloodlines. It needs to be an "opt-in" nationalism; whereby if you live in South Africa, believe in South Africa and want to help build it, you're a South African.  And I think that is the kind of nation we are trying to build.

And as for our African brethren, the World Cup has done a lot to foster a feeling of continental community. It has always been the African World Cup. Shakira has us all singing "this time for Africa" at the top of our lungs in the streets. And never have I felt such a strong sense of unity as on Tuesday night, when everyone in Cape Town was bedecked in orange to rally behind Netherlands for the simple reason that their opponents (Uruguay) had been the team to kick "our" Ghanaian team out of the World Cup. The world cup has fostered pride in where we come from without making us exclusionary at all. In fact, we have been delighting the world with our genuine interest in other cultures and other stories.

It may have been luck that we never played against another African country, but we didn't. Instead, the World Cup helped us to rally behind our neighbours and take pride in ourselves; a serendipitous leap towards the right kind of national community, and away from the horrors of the 2009 xenophobic attacks. I really hope we keep it up

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Breaking up

There comes a time in every break up, when you suddenly stop hearing the onslaught of excuses, the world goes still and you find yourself thinking: fuck, I am going to end up a strange old spinster with cats, living above my best friend’s garage and being invited for pity-dinners by all my happily married friends. The eccentric - and by then safely asexual - token gay at the table, that all their future kids think is hysterically funny and confide in about their teenage crushes. It is usually at that point that I start to cry.

That is, of course, if you are the breakupee, and not the breakupper. I realised the other day that I only really ever think of the breakups in which I was the breakupee. They form my whole frame of reference. In fact, I only consider the relationships in which I was broken up with proper relationships (the kind that get a whole finger when you’re counting). Which makes sense, I suppose. Because much as any decent person will claim they hate to be the bad guy, and they hate to hurt other people, it is much, much worse for the person who wasn’t expecting it and didn’t want it to happen: he or she was the partner who was more involved and more invested. The relationship meant more to them. And the breakupper, no matter how lovely, feels a sense of relief.

But there was an interesting twist in Friday night’s scene. Out of nowhere, it forgot to shatter my self-worth. I felt the usual shock and despair, obviously, and disbelief. And that nauseating feeling that I was about to lose someone who meant so much to me and defined so much of my life and experience in the past few months. The loneliness that pounces before the door has even closed behind him and the frustration that all the shared moments and imagined futures were for nothing. But not once did I think I had screwed up, or, as per previous self-flagellations, that I deserved it and it was obviously going to pan out that way.

Have I reached the end of teenage angst? At 26, have I finally grown up and learnt the Oprah (or was it Buddha?) lesson of valuing oneself and not taking things personally? It was a much healthier relationship than I have been in for years. Easy-going, natural, respectful and equal. Perhaps healthy relationships translate into less damaging breakups. Which is counter-intuitive, as there is more being lost. Or perhaps the man in question, a gentleman to the end, just put more effort into softening the blow, so the bruising will take longer to show. Whichever it turns out to be, I am going to hold on to the fact that my flat is too small a place to start collecting cats.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Noticing the happy person in your body

I have been told by three different people in the last month how happy I’m looking, and by the cleaner at work that I’m looking healthy (which, obviously, I assumed meant fat) The strange thing is, I hadn't noticed feeling particularly happy. I'm not unhappy at the moment, but I do have my usual background stress buzzing away in my head. And the propensity to overthink anything that could make me spontaneously happy hasn’t gone anywhere, either.

Which got me thinking about the bizarreness of not realising you’re happy, and then on to the nature of personality. How we feel about life is determined almost entirely by our own personality type with very little to do with external circumstances. Whether it’s chemical or spiritual or genetic, the point is the whole world is filtered and adapted so much by the kind of person we are that what we perceive often bears no resemblance to what others perceive. Think of the boyfriends you’ve had who you thought were fantastically wonderful to the utter disbelief of your friends.

And in the case of a depressed or judgemental person, or a bully, that personality type is abusing the experiencer within it as much as it is abusing others. It is the personality that makes us unhappy. So we are removed from our personalities; like they are behaviours and patterns and filters that float about out there annoying us about ourselves, or annoying us in other people.

And the experiencer is always the same. Simunye, the Hindus are right.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Trusting those who weren't paid to tell you something

On Wednesday to Friday last week I attended Dave Duarte's Nomadic Marketing course at UCT, and on this course I discovered what is supposed to be this year's Next Big Thing, Foursquare.

Foursquare is a social networking platform for mobile that centres around reviewing and sharing knowledge about a city. How it works is that people 'check in' to various spots around their city and leave comments, suggestions, ideas and feedback about the place that they're at. These comments also notify their friends.

So if I want to try a new restaurant out, for example, I would log in to foursquare on my phone and it will tell me where the nearest restaurants are to me right now (via GPS and googlemaps). I don't need to know this beforehand, and so essentially I don't need to have ever heard of the restaurant. As a marketer, it makes me think: is there therefore any value in 'brand awareness'? I don't need to have been bombarded with messages about which restaurants are the best in Cape Town, and I don't need to try and remember information that arrived when it wasn't relevant to me? (ie. when I wasn't looking for a restaurant at that exact moment).

We all know that 92.3% of stats are bullshit, but even so: a vast majority of people (between 70 and 90%) would trust their friends or even strangers over advertising. People have been barking on about the power of word of mouth for years. But now this word-of-mouth functionality is easy, instant and mobile. Assuming foursquare takes off, you will be able to see exactly what everyone (and especially all of your friends) thought of this restaurant just down the road from you.

Obviously, it means that marketing communications can't lie. No more fluff, no more exaggeration. But will there even be a point to advertising? If awareness is of limited value, and reputation is built by delivering something that people value rather than saying anything in particular, then why say anything? Your consumers will do the talking for you.

And what will the role and value of a brand be in the future? Brands are supposed to be shortcuts to make consumer decision-making easier (you don't have to think about the functional benefits or social ingredients of every soap in a store because the brand already stands for something in your mind) - but the route to mass peer reviews is becoming almost as short as the shortcut in your mind.

Granted this only works for location-based businesses at the moment, but I'm sure similar things will emerge for products and services soon. I've loved the platitude that "people are the new media" for ages, but only now can I appreciate what a massive shift this is going to be.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Some real green action in SA

Thanks to a cunning little banner ad on the Mail and Guardian this evening (making me wonder if they are starting to sell their adspace on user behaviour models or interests, and if chrome is mining me for every click and search and rss feed... a topic for another debate, another time) I discovered that South Africa has its very own electric car design. Granted, an electric car is only as clean as the national grid's electricity supply, which, in our case, is hideously filthy thanks to Eskom's obsession with coal. But it's an exciting step towards a cleaner future. Good on the Government and the IDC for the investment!
proteas in the cape floristic kingdom, one of the most biodiverse and threatened kingdoms
And on the same day that I drove past the first enormous wind turbine being erected in Coega. Maybe we won't be the last country to come to the table, after all

Friday, May 7, 2010

The future of Collective Experience

I had a strange thought while debating the growth of closed social networks with a friend this morning: that the only things that offer true collective experience are mass media, and terrorism.

Everyone remembers where they were when September 11 happened. Everyone remembers what they were doing when the London Underground was bombed. Massive and terrible events like that shake us from our little bubbles that we move in. It's not that our lives are isolated - we are more connected than ever before - but our connections are still exclusive; they are determined by shared interests or passions or careers. It takes something like that to make us break out of our closed networks and feel empathy for a larger group.

The other thing that let us do so was mass media. You used to be pretty sure that when you went to school in the morning, your classmates would have watched the same show as you the night before. You could discuss the stupidity of the star-crossed teen lovers characters, or argue over who looked hotter in the beach scene. Tannies had heard the same joke on the radio as their gardener's nephew, and seen the same ad. Mass media was blunt and irrelevant a lot of the time, but the very fact of its inability to target accurately meant it forced people to have collective experiences that had the potential to bring them together. They had something in common to talk about.

As digital media becomes ever more fragmented and targeted, we are fed information and content and shows and advertising that is supremely relevant to us. It taps into our interests and idiosyncrasies. We never have to sit through shows we hate anymore, waiting for something better to come on. But we also never get challenged. We read things about matters we already think about. We chat with people whose opinions we admire or agree with. It's great that we can connect around shared interests with people from around the world. But does it mean we no longer share experiences with the people from a few blocks away?

Is personalised media ultimately divisive, widening the rift between a Constantia trustafarian and a Gugulethu mom? What collective experiences do we have left, other than terrorism or natural disaster, to bring us together and spark our human empathy? We think we're throwing off the shackles of geography and building global community on our own terms, but perhaps the most local connections are the most real and seeing only what interests us limits our ability to grow.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The guy you met last week

I managed to make an instant enemy a couple of weeks ago. I happened to be looking at a beautiful leather Fossil laptop bag; a bag I could never afford but couldn't help trying on. My friend walked past with a friend of his. I gushed about how much I loved the bag. His friend decided I was a pretentious knob who spends his life buying R2000 bags and condescending to everyone who doesn't own one.

Admittedly, I wouldn't normally bother myself with someone who makes judgements so quickly, but because that particular summary of my personality jars so startlingly with the kind of person I think I am, it got me thinking about the randomness of first impressions. The timing of when you meet someone really does determine what they think of you. If I were weeping that day, or eating at Spur, I would have seemed like an entirely different person.

But it's much more than impressions. All of the perceptions we have about ourselves and each other and things are time-specific. I feel a particular way about lawyers now, for example, that I did not a few years ago. I have opinions and preferences that are new. I relate to my friends as the people they are in this particular lifestage, in their particular circumstances. I identify myself as 26, and a brand strategist, and a Capetonian. But not one of those identities is permanent, and not one of them was true two years ago. We have good days, and funny days and days when we're too tired to make conversation. We are generous and stingy, young and old, idealistic and jaded. We miss great loves because we were perfect for each other at the wrong time, or in sequence.

The more I think about it, the more I think we are are just balls of constant change blaring through life. So the trick is to never take anything personally, because the conditions that form people's perceptions of you right now are transient, and relatively random. Timing isn't just the key to great jokes, great loves and great brands.

All there is, really, is timing.

Friday, April 9, 2010

At what point does one panic?

Signs of the times
I have a propensity to panic. I have been known to force doctors to run expensive blood tests on me for my self-diagnosed mortal tragedies that turned out to be nothing more than pulled muscles. I have to drug myself so heavily when I fly than I cannot speak. And I’ve gotten off the tube many times long before my station because I thought it was about to be bombed by those who were selfish enough to wear puffy jackets in summer.

But one thing I have never panicked about is “where the country is going”, to use the term of so many opinionated expats (and would-be expats). It’s always seemed like a bizarre and tedious thing to discuss when the evidence has always pointed to us growing wealthier, more stable, more democratic and safer. It’s the kind of thing you listen to your friends’ parents go on about and politely wait for them to finish before changing the subject: it’s lazy, slightly bigoted and irrelevant. If you want to talk politics, talk about real issues, like health reform or why the World Bank approved Eskom’s filthy coal-loan. Don’t come out with archaic knee-jerk statements like “we’re going the way of Zimbabwe” because we quite obviously are not.

But this Malema thing has made me uneasy. For the first time in my life, I’m a bit anxious about the state of the nation. Is there in fact an underground movement swelling, to kill the boers? My Afrikaans colleagues were certainly not too happy about their relatives who live on farms when we chatted about this today. I remember reading about the Rwandan genocide at university and thinking, how the hell could these people not see it coming? The incitements to violence are so obvious in the media. But they just thought it wasn’t real.
And how do we know whether what we see in the media is worthy of panic or not? Is this a tide sweeping the country, or a lunatic fringe? And does all the publicity Malema receives in the media, though it’s negative, not just give him more power?

It makes me sad that organisations like the AWB even exist. And it makes me sad to hear the angry tirades of the ANCYL. I think of all the great leaders who built this country, from Nelson Mandela to Desmond Tutu and all the artists and fashion designers and musicians who brought us integrated normality. But am I living in a bubble, in the dream they created? Whose reality has critical mass, I guess, is the real question? And is it time to panic?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Happiness requires no adsl line

Seth recently wrote a piece pointing out that most digital natives are not particularly valuable to advertisers because they don’t pay any real attention. Everyone loves measuring trackbacks and impressions, but just because you can measure these things doesn’t mean you should, because the world today has spawned what he calls a glance-and-click culture. This culture probably began with TV channel-surfing and extends all the way to hopping between six parties in a night out and chatroulette’s amusingly callous ‘nexting’ of people. We think we are cramming more valuable, interesting and entertaining content into our lives but all we are doing is devoting less time to any one thing. The speed of internet connectivity cannot change the amount of hours in a day and so something has to give. So far it’s been our attention spans, patience, focus and concentration.

And I don’t decry this from a marketing point of view. I don’t think it’s a bad thing that the pressure is on for marketers to be quick and add value. It’s actually exciting that it’s harder to get – and hold – people’s attention, because it ups the game and means we have to work harder to deliver only what is relevant, only when it is relevant – and to invest in people as the real communication channel.

But I really don’t think this constant distraction is going to do us any favours as a species, or as individuals. Glance-and-click may be the only way to feel you’re getting a taste of the flood of content available, but nothing of true value is experienced in ten seconds. I've noticed I now skip tracks on my ipod before they’re even finished because I’m bored and want to move on, and I constantly get impatient the moment someone answers my call because the conversation is taking up too much of my time. I used to meditate enough to remember that true peace and contentment come from sustained and intense concentration on one thing. Your breath. Or a sound. Focusing all of your attention on what you are doing right now enables you to live in the present, and that has profoundly transformative abilities. It’s no coincidence that artists lock themselves away, or that Jesus disappeared into the desert for so many years; everything, from works of artistic genius to spiritual contentment, comes from focus and attention.

So I was very amused to read of a new app that enables people to disconnect by disabling internet connectivity for a predefined amount of time (and its password protected for the junkies who crack). Avoiding distraction requires serious discipline because distraction is easier than just being. And now that even our most remote corners have been connected up (you get 3G in the Transkei!), there’s nowhere to hide. You’ve gotta make the decision yourself and can’t rely on geography to liberate you.

So I'm going to bite the bullet and close TweetDeck, shut down my mail, turn off my blackberry and try to smell, feel, hear and see where I really am right now. Hell, for this long weekend, I even plan on forcing myself to listen to some classical music; music that takes ten minutes, not ten seconds, to get to the point. I hope I can find the patience to be content.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Creativity Hub

So if we assume for a minute that the world isn’t in fact ending in December 2012, then there are some pretty exciting plans afoot for our beloved city. Word on the street is that everybody’s favourite premier, Helen Zille, has Cape Town earmarked to become a creative capital of the world. I think that’s a fantastic strategy! For a start, it's already a city that's teeming with creative buzz. And creativity and innovation are what make regions such as California so successful. And it means politics which is about solutions, not problems. Instead of the familiar nationalistic diatribes against colonialism and racism, we find ourselves with the prospect of an intelligent, dynamic and forward-thinking strategy; from whinging to action. And becoming a creative capital of the world is exciting for many reasons:

It means us residents will live in a city which fosters the arts, innovation and creativity. More gallery openings, more live gigs, better graffiti, quirkier designers, more innovative companies that are inspiring places to work and inject energy into the environment. Nothing stimulates growth better than creativity. 

It means the best part of globalisation – the spread of ideas and of interesting people. Opening our city to the world’s most remarkable personalities and ideas. And opening our city's residents to our own creative geniuses. A city always in Beta. It’ll open our eyes, widen our frame of reference, and dispel any parochialism that may linger.

I love the idea of the 21st Century as a sort of neo-medieval network of global cities. A city is a much more tangible place to relate to than a country. We are citizens of cities, and our cities have a distinct character and history. Nations, on the other hand, are contrived and never did us any favours. The problem, of course, is that the nation still decides on immigration policy and so if Helen’s ingenious plan to win the war on talent and attract innovation to the mothercity is to work, it looks like a battle for regional autonomy also needs to take place. South Africa as a federation? Ha! We live in exciting times.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Fantasy to make you move

I finally saw Avatar last night, after weeks of it being sold out every night and then me disappearing for the vac into a province that is only now catching on to the newfangled concept of cinema.  It was just as fantastic as I had been anticipating (and I’m a master at sleepless-child-at-christmas anticipation.) The visuals and imagery were gratuitously stunning – to the point where you are genuinely disappointed to have to rejoin the real world afterwards. I was also delighted to discover an actor worthy of a crush again! Let’s hope Hollywood is coming out of its obsession with prepubescents. In return, I guess I’ll have to become open-minded enough to consider marrying an Aussie. But predictably, what really tickled me about Avatar was the allegory. So I engaged the one person I know puts up with my idealistic rants (my brother) in an email debate about the evils of the West. And he told me, after a few well-placed supremacist remarks to make my blood boil, that the problem with ‘green crusaders’ is their lack of a sense of humour.
Let’s disentangle the Avatar allegory a little. It was not only about the destruction of the environment and all the natural wisdom and biodiversity in it, but also about the subjugation of indigenous peoples by colonialists. The first was started by the West and is now pursued ferociously by everyone; the second was particular to the West but driven by the same economic forces that drive the first. And try as I might, I can’t really see what’s funny about either of them. But I do see his point. As he said, being overly earnest doesn’t get anyone’s attention. Entertain people or they will wander off. So the trick is to find the humour in an essentially grim subject. But entertainment is different to humour. The arts world has been entertaining us with stories of our stupidity for years. I remember reading The Wump World as a little boy, and, more recently, movies like Wall-E and Avatar make similar pleas. Humour, on the other hand, lets people off the hook and lets them feel better about not doing anything. And I'm not convinced entertainment galvanises people into action either. So how exactly do you change people’s behaviour to fix the world? It’s a good thing I’m in marketing – maybe one day I’ll know the answer to that.
In the meantime, I guess I better throw some alien sex scenes into my book. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy New Year!

So 2010 is upon us, and it feels pretty good. I’m hoping that the rule with New Years Eve parties is similar to that expounded on Sex and the City about weddings; that the more disastrous the wedding, the better the marriage. Because my New Years Eve was spent surrounded by food I’m allergic to, missing the party I was intending to go to, and paying R250 for a terrible cover band in a nondescript venue in a town in which I knew almost no people. It culminated in my passing out on the pavement at 2am like a derelict homeless person or teenage Essex girl and having to be rescued by my father - something that has never happened in all my 25 and three quarter years. But the defeat, symbolic as it was of my emotional state towards the end of last year, was oddly cathartic. Somehow in that broken mess I found my resolve, my backbone and my optimism. So instead of throwing my voice in with those who actually felt The Recession and shouting good riddance to 2009, I’m looking forward to 2010 with an unfamiliar and welcome lightness of being. If the Mayans are right, we’ve got less than three years to work with, and I’m not going to lose another moment. The non-believer in New Year’s resolutions finds himself plotting everything from running the Two Oceans to learning violin, falling in love, decorating the hell out of my new flat, and finishing my book. This is going to be the year, people. Yee-fucking-ha! as the cowboys get to say.