End Of Exile

There was a brief moment tonight when I looked at my friend Kate with surprise/shock in my eyes. We were having a glass of wine at a rather crowded exhibition opening. It was one of those exhibition openings where it’s so crowded you barely have room to actually observe and appreciate the art on the walls. My friend is a life-long artist, curator and arts administrator, and so I was shocked when I thought she’d placed her empty wine glass on top of one of the works of art.

Although I’d had a fairly decent look at the paintings on the wall which I thought were nice, though not really to my taste, I hadn’t fully engaged with the “works” on the benches in the middle of the room. The works looked interesting, as they combined some lovely coloured patterns, and some small sticks were randomly placed on top of the work. Again, it wasn’t really to my taste, but I thought it looked interesting, as I observed them from the corner of my eye, but I still couldn’t believe Kate had just dumped her wine glass right on top of one of the works.

Kates Glass

“I guess this is my first senior’s moment”, I thought to myself, when I suddenly realised the “art works” weren’t “art works” after all. The “canvas” was, in fact, butcher’s paper, and the purple colouring was probably where a beetroot dish had been. The small sticks? Tooth picks. “How embarassing!”, I thought to myself with a laugh. “I can’t wait to blog about being so stupid”, I told Kate.

After several weeks “in exile” I’m starting to re-emerge on the social scene. In addition to the weather being cold and wet on the weekend, I’ve also been fighting off some kind of bug. I’ve had a sore throat since Friday, and I spent most of Saturday, Sunday and Monday resting in bed. I took Monday off because, quite simply, I can’t afford to be sick later in the week. There’s a lot going on at work at the moment (as you’ll know if you follow the national and international news, with speculation about the health of Madiba/Mandela, as well as leadership of the Labor Party) which means I need to be healthy in the event of some breaking news.

On top of that, I’m heading to South Africa on Sunday. As a result of my appearance at Radio Days Europe a couple of months ago in Berlin, I’ve been invited to speak at a radio conference called Radio Days Jo’burg. I’ll be speaking about a range of things including audience and creativity, as well as the opportunities and challenges of digital radio broadcasting. I’m incredibly flattered and excited to have been invited, and I’m looking forward to it very much.

And how’s the timing with the now “critical condition” of Nelson Mandela? If he survives or not his current illness, it will be an amazing time to be in Johannesburg, I suspect.

The “social exile” of the last few weeks has also been time for me to recover my finances a little after this year’s trip to Europe. Now pretty much back on track, I’ve decided it’s time to leave the house again. As well as the exhibition opening tonight, I’m also going to the “Now Hear This” story-telling night on Wednesday, and on Thursday, I’m heading to a community radio birthday celebration, and then to a recording of “A Rational Fear” (a topical comedy programme currently running on RN/Radio National).

So yeah, I’m back.

6 Replies to “End Of Exile”

  1. I read this at lunch time and thought, nah James, Julia is safe. Mandela not so safe. The royal we was wrong.

    1. We had a brief moment of dark comedy at work the other week where we looked at the “trifecta” of Mandela, Prince Phillip and Gillard and wondered what odds Tom Waterhouse might give.

  2. It was quite the news day and not what I expected either in terms of “results.” Plus the US news…
    Have a great time in Jo’burg!

  3. I’m reading this at the weekend afterwards. You were wise to take Monday off rather than have to do so later on! Safe travelling to South Africa, James.

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