Joyride, by Richard Scott. http://ift.tt/1njgNwX
Vespa style, by Richard.Scott. http://ift.tt/1qGgaIl
These Vespas by Richard Scott, at Hyde Square in Johannesburg, evoke the 60s Mod style of The Who. http://ift.tt/1qGg7wa
Richard Scott is one of my favourite contemporary artists. He calls his style “Naive Pop”, and his works are characterised by bright, bold slabs of colour and thick black line. He is based in Cape Town, and he sells very well in Europe, particularly Italy. So it’s no surprise that he is returning the compliment with his latest exhibition, “Joyride”, which uses the iconic Vespa scooter as its inspiration. You can see these works, including a few beautifully-decalled Vespas, at Hyde Square in Johannesburg until next Tuesday. http://ift.tt/1niXILq
Harvest. They come from the municipal recreation center up the road, where the janitor runs a vegetable garden and sells carrots and spinach in bunches, fresh from the earth. http://ift.tt/1BgaOK4
It’s Rain Spider Season in Joburg. First come the rains, then come the rain spiders. Here is a fine specimen on the bathroom window, illuminated by my keyring torch. Usually I am alerted to the presence of these beautiful creatures by a piercing scream from somewhere down the corridor. But it’s late at night, so I was alerted by a Whatsapp. I am the official Rain Spider Rescuer in my household. My abiding instinct is just to leave the spiders be, but that would only cause more screaming, so I make a show of using a small fishing net and an appropriately sized Tupperware dish. Then I escort the spider outside, after which the spider calmly makes its way back in. It may even be the same spider that I rescue and escort, over and over again. I suppose I can understand why some people are afraid of spiders, but what I can’t understand, at least in my household, is why those same people will happily go and see a movie starring a spider as big as a man. To me, Spiderman is the much scarier creature. Rain spiders are as Joburg as the summer rain. I welcome both. http://ift.tt/1mUIFat
Taxis on Bree Street, by Peter Hall. You can hear the hooters, the mad rush of people in the traffic on a rainy Joburg day. http://ift.tt/1r9lOri
This oil on canvas, by Peter Hall, on display at Hyde Park, nicely captures the mood of a late-afternoon Highveld thunderstorm in Joburg. The sudden darkness at the close of a long, hot day, the crash of thunder, the filaments of lightning on the horizon, and then, the deluge. As I was admiring the painting, and tapping away on my phone, a man came up behind me and said, “I hope you’re not thinking of buying that”, and I said oh no, I’m just admiring. And he said, “Good, because I’ve just bought it.” The price tag: R38,500. Not bad for Hyde Park. http://ift.tt/1r9t998
Photography has always been a social medium. What other artform, after all, can claim “smile!” as its catchphrase? (“Cheese”, too, but that’s just another way of making you smile.) In the wink of a shutter, a moment is frozen in time, crystalised into a souvenir of memory that will outlast us all. Archaeologists of the future will be overwhelmed by the evidence of who we were and how we lived and what we looked like, captured as much by the lens turned inward on our selfies, as outward on the world around us. I must have held at least a dozen cameras in my hands over the years, from the Kodak Instamatic I took with me on primary school trips, to the Pentax Spotmatic I was given and ordered to use (but not shown how to use) on my first day as a cub reporter on a small town newspaper, to the little Minox spy-cam I picked up in a pawnshop, to the hefty Leica M4 with the whisper-quiet trigger, to the Nikon D200 with the 18-200 zoom that now feels as heavy as a mortar. But I never could have guessed that in the 21st Century, my favourite camera would be not a camera at all, but a simulation of a button on the glass face of a device that was originally built to make and take telephone calls. Instagram is a window on the world, not just the world as I see it, but the world as it streams into my life, here in this little square theatre where the lives of others are put on parade. Instagram connects us through the power of touch, and it’s no coincidence that the primary signal on the medium is a quick double-tap that turns into a heart. In 2012, according to an annual study by World Wide Worx and Fuseware, there were just over 100,000 Instagram users in South Africa. The latest study, released this week, puts the figure at over 1.1-million. That’s a lot less than Facebook (11.8-million) and Twitter (6.6-million) but it’s still a massive rise in percentage terms, and proof, once again, of the magic of the image, and the way it draws us to each other, across the gulf of distance and time. http://ift.tt/1wOjsl9
Typing on the iPhone has always been a bit of a challenge, which is why the new SwiftKey app for IOS8 is such a breakthrough. The Flow option is intuitive and it quickly learns your way of working. It’s on the Apple Store now, for free. Of course, Android users will tell you that they’ve had SwiftKey for ages, but then they’re always looking for an opportunity to start an argument. http://ift.tt/1qQo8Vx
Blessed be the Cheesemakers. Cheese Gourmet, fondly known as “Cheeses”, is one of the great Little Shops of Linden, along with Allbang & Strummit (guitars & drums) and Not Bread Alone (bread, but not bread alone). It’s always nice to browse at a village-style shop that is run by someone of single-minded obsession and in-depth knowledge. I recommend the Raclette. It’s very soft and melty. (I’m talking about cheese here.) The lady behind the counter, upon my enquiry, told me that the best way to store cheese is in a Tupperware-type dish with a little clamp, with a piece of dry pasta to keep it company. You’ll find the shop on the corner of 3rd and 7th in Linden, Johannesburg. Enjoy. http://ift.tt/XhfK43
Learning with an iPad, Bovet Primary, Alexandra. http://ift.tt/1sBMr8X
Children at Bovet Primary School in Alexandra, Johannesburg, await their teacher’s instruction at the start of a Grade 3 maths class. The children use iPad minis on a shared timetable system. This is the “hands-on-heads rule”, and it’s become a tradition at the start of an iPad-based lesson. When the teacher says “hands down”, the children can start using their iPads. Friday is Civvies Day at the school, but the class were asked to to wear uniforms because they had visitors for the lesson. http://ift.tt/1sBCfNG
Edward Makasani is the newly-appointed Principal of Bovet Primary School in Alexandra, just across the freeway from Sandton. The school consists of a few mobile classrooms, prefabricated from metal or wood, arranged on the perimeter of a bare and dusty playground. The classrooms are sweltering in summer, and freezing in winter. During “creative activities” - dance - the floors and the walls shake terribly, says Mr Makasani, with a laugh. Bovet is a Quintile 1 school, which means it caters for the poorest of the poor. It serves an area of Alex known as “Little Limpopo”, and lessons are conducted mainly in Tsonga or Venda. There are more than 1,600 children in the school. The Principal, a passionate educator who says he can’t imagine doing anything else with his life, plans to raise the average level of marks at the school from 30 percent to at least 75 percent. It’s a daunting task. But as he says: “Children from Alex also have ten fingers and ten toes. They are no different from children in Sandton. They can also succeed and achieve.” http://ift.tt/1sBCcRO
I went to an EasyEquities function tonight. They’re a new online trading platform that aims to make investing in shares accessible and affordable for medium-to-small-to-micro investors. Only a tiny percentage of South Africans invest directly on the JSE, because the costs and complexities are prohibitive. I think these guys are going to shake up the market. They remind me a little of Afrihost, who’ve done the same to the broadband and mobile data markets in SA. I think the JSE is probably a better bet than the LOTTO, but still, I’m going to hold on to the ticket, just in case. http://ift.tt/1xPLKNO
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