astonishing things in 1977

“Rust organized a writers conference at New College, in Sarasota. It was 1977, I believe. Astonishingly, he got William Gaddis and William Gass to come and actually confer with students.”

Photo by Anne Dalton

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the hedge

‘The hedge must have swallowed it, man. It swallowed it I tell you.’

‘Swallowed what?’

‘Oh, madam, our tennis ball. We’re looking for our tennis ball.’

‘Playing tennis out here, are you?’

‘That’s right, miss.’

‘Without tennis racquets? Do you think I was born yesterday? A tennis ball!’

‘Have you got it? Did you take it? Can we have it back?’

‘What? Your tennis ball? I’ve got loads of tennis balls. I can give you one if you want.’

‘Your hedge has swallowed it miss. It’s swallowed it.’

‘I can give you one if you want.’

‘We were smokin’ it miss. We’re respectful. But the hedge has swallowed it.’

‘It likes a smoke.’

‘We can’t find it. It’s gone. If you find it, miss, will you give it back?’

‘I might.’

‘Don’t smoke it will you miss?’

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at the museum II

MOMA lady 2

At the Met, New York, October 2015.

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to the museum I

Moma lady

“Fuck you, Van Gogh! Look at me!” At the Museum of Modern Art, New York, October 2015.

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23 years ago

Leibenberg Dos Santos ad 1992

Photograph by John Arthur Liebenberg, Luanda 1992.

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Bernie Sanders, here I come

On Monday, I am heading to the US. I’ll be there for nearly four weeks, travelling across several states, meeting up with old friends, coming face to face with more recent ones and, I hope very much, making new ones too. I’m going to be spending quite a lot of time at universities, bookshops and the odd radio station in North Carolina, Wisconsin, California, Indiana, Massachusetts and Chicago. In a nutshell, I’m going to be discussing my book with people including Emily Burrill, Delinda Collier, Kathryn Mathers, Will Reno, Vincent Barletta, Anna Klobucka, Victor Mendes, Martha Saavedra, Ellen Sapega, Deolinda Adão, Ugo Nwokeji, Jess Auerbach and many more, including lots and lots of students. For the last few weeks I’ve been swinging between excitement and anxiety, but if the past is anything to go by that can only bode well. I’m also going to be  hanging out in New York for the first time, hooking up with more friends & family there. I confess, I’m packing my trainers so I can jog around Central Park. It all seems a long way away, but this time next week I will be preparing for a round table discussion at Duke with a group of graduate students who will be asking lots of questions about In the Name of the People. I imagine I am going to be challenged in many ways, and it’s going to be interesting to experience this from a US perspective. It’s alien territory: I don’t know what to expect. As ever, I consider myself an interloper: I’m not an academic. I always feel the need to state this publicly. But I will be trying to keep Justin Pearce in mind — and not to worry about it. Who would have thought? Definitely not me. I’ll probably still be pinching myself on the flight home. In the meantime, hoping to avoid Mr Trump & encounter Mr Sanders.

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Photo: Julian Richards

“There is a lot going on here”

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