Monday, October 4, 2010

Verities and balderdash

I am nearing the end of my stash of "incidental drawings". These are images created on my reporter's note paper during the mid- to late-1980s while working on the Evening Post and later the EP Herald in Port Elizabeth. I've stolen the title to this section from an album by Harry Chapin.

Just a bit of fun in the sun beside a fort.

As with so many of these, the drawings are alongside incidental writings which would not otherwise have survived. Here the reference is to the Lock Street Prison in East London, which opened in 1988 as an arts and crafts centre.

An interesting fellow.

My bread-loaf fetish continues on the left, as does one involving articulated steel shafts. On second thoughts, perhaps it's an elongated pillow case. Note in the typed section references to squatter camps, Thembalethu and the courts. This was where apartheid was biting. The two written names are of locals involved in tourism.

This probably belonged in an earlier post in which matters political were juxtaposed with my drawings. Anyway, this was done on a press release from another of the leaders who happily enjoyed the fruits of the tricameral parliament. The House of Delegates supposedly represented Asian South Africans in the system, which excluded the vast black majority.

This poor fellow seems to be doing some eye press-ups.

Done on two pages, I think this is a portent of hot summer days.

My late father smoked Consulate, so there is a poignant reminder here. In the 1950s, of course, smoking wasn't even considered damaging to your health. Indeed, some said it calmed the nerves.

All manner of press releases reach a newspaper office, and somehow this landed on my desk, and in a moment of quiet reflection I added a couple of images.

Who was this "co-worker of Mother Teresa", I wonder.

Ah, integrated in this somewhat Asian-looking man's hat are some names to conjure with. I recall attending a press briefing by Archbishop Desmond Tutu at the Diocesan offices in Hurd Street, Newton Park, in probably 1989. I think he was again defending his line on sanctions. John Allen was his press officer.

In the apartheid era, the term fat cat wasn't heard as often as it is today. Despite the moral bankruptcy of the regime, I didn't seem to notice the sort of conspicuous consumption one sees today from those in privileged positions of power and patronage.

There is a timeless, Easter Island-statue feel to this figure.

Which "Zille" could this have been involved in public life in the late 1980s. Surely not Helen, the premier of the Western Cape, DA leader and one-time Rand Daily Mail journalist.

I rather like this sunflower figure casting a dark shadow.

There was an Essop Pahad in the Mandela and Mbeki governments, but he was in exile at this time, so I wonder who this was.

A totem-pole figure.

Note the two little line-dot faces.

Dealing with PR companies is another facet of the journalist's job. This one was clearly promoting a Ward Afrovan story.

There was no ducking this fellow.

Or this one, which seems to be growing wings.

Back in the East with a rock hovering above his head.

On the back of the above, a bit of history. Part of a night reporter's duties was to fill in figures from the Weather Bureau on a file for use in the next day's newspaper. Not surprisingly, no rainfall was received.

In the late 1980s, thankfully no longer stuck in the courts, I was called upon occasionally to sketch an accused, since it seems in those days no cameras were allowed in. The fascination with this chap was his earrings.

The face of this guy looking on has something of Chuck Berry about it.

Ending with a blast. I'm not sure where this trumpet player was, but I draw him all the same.

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