Upon hearing some of my life story so far, a few people have suggested that the next book I write should be an autobiography. However, I remain convinced that the best is yet to come, and besides, I may have a healthy ego but really?!?!?!?!?!
However, I find myself in a sort of limbo with my writing right now. I need to think long and hard about a serious re-working of the novel JOHANNESBURG that I have spent the best part of the last 3 years writing… and I am not in the right head space to do that.
This is partly because what I have also realised is that, honestly, I haven’t quite decided what it is that I want to say. My brother Simon once said to me that you cannot escape your paradigm. And I have discovered over and over that he is right.
The problem is that I am not entirely sure what mine is. As a white, middle-class South African, you’d think I would be one thing. But I am not quite that. Having been self-employed for nearly 20 years, I have drifted. And I don’t mean gainfully, sinfully rich self-employed. I mean chasing the dream, barely making a living, living the life, fake-it-till-you-make-it self employed.
It’s been hard and weird.
Also, I am not really South African. I was born in England. My family came to SA in 1974. If you do some research on the economic situation in England in the early 70’s you’ll understand why. So in fact, I benefitted hugely from apartheid. We fled utter degradation to enjoy good lives in SA, and part of that was of course at the expense of the majority of the under-trodden black population.
That’s a truth I have avoided for a long time because, in 1985, I discovered punk rock. This gave a voice and identity to my sense of alienation and focussed my anti-authoritarian, contrary attitude on just about everything I saw around me. In many ways, I avoided this admission because, well, I hated the fucken Man as well. Convenient.
Because at the same time I played A-team rugby, was in the school-play, debated, won full colours for athletics, tried out dagga, sniffed glue and drank too much for a teenager. Standard middle class white stuff.
Why am I telling you all this? Well, I am going to tell some of that story so far here: As a catharsis, as a ‘practice,’ as a way of sharing what I have learned. I am privileged in that in 2010 I discovered that I have something I can give back with: My knowledge of the music business and the creative world in SA. And I have been giving back. This is no small part is directly related to my sense of how privileged in fact I am. Sucks in a way, cos giving back gives back to the giver so hard that you end up feeling even more privileged and I am never sure how much good what I have undertaken thus far has done.
Maybe somehow, sharing the story thus far can do some more of that. If it doesn’t, well… fuck it. It’s fun to write. I remember all sorts of weird sit. Watch this space. There will be more!