I had a carefully linked list of recent good things which lead one to the next in a pleasing series of elegant segue-ways and I appear to have deleted it by mistake. Never mind.
The first good thing, which occurred after the demise of the list, has to be the result – a draw, but an honourable one. I speak, of course, of the firstborn’s endeavours on the AstroTurf this morning. He scored the equaliser.
Staying with the family, my gorgeous cousin Jules got married. She’s beautiful. She’s funny. Talent oozing out of her fingertips – acting, singing, directing. And so clever they didn’t have a grade high enough for her degree. I love her.
Here she is giving a specially customised rendition of “Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall in Love” at her wedding reception.
Obviously I want to be her, but it’s rather too late now so I take delight in watching her being her.
And on Monday I had the most wonderful time at Mr Beelicious’ birthday party.
We met on Holy Island last August where already his excellent taste in headgear was well in evidence. He came from New York to celebrate at Les Trois Garcons. The food was fabulous, the decor outrageous-flamboyant-baroque and his friends so delightful and interesting and funny and sympa.
After eating we were taken upstairs to the living quarters of two at least of the trois garcons which had enough quirk and fluff and spangles to keep me happy for several lifetimes. And an African grey parrot with which I (and others) immediately fell in love. It was a night I hope never to forget, thank you so much Mr B!
To the realm of work. The major excitement for us at Global Voices was the launch of the new Reuters Africa site. It has a feed of the relevant Global Voices content on every country page across the entire continent.
The announcement made quite a splash since it’s the first time that blogger content has been incorporated quite so extensively in a mainstream media site. My friends and colleagues Rebecca MacKinnon and Ethan Zuckerman both wrote great analyses of its significance and from openDemocracy came an excellent article by Becky Hogge.
The comments on the announcement article also let me discover the blog of my friend and former BBC colleague the journalist Lara Pawson who is currently in Luanda, Angola, and also writes for openDemocracy.
Hold that openDemocracy thought, we’ll be coming back to oD a bit later. Because this is where the filaments multiply beyond my ability to keep a single thread. We’ll continue with GV and another great thing which is the appointment of Sami Ben Gharbia as our new Advocacy Coordinator. Yes, for those of you with good memories, the same Sami Ben Gharbia of the Tunisian Prison Map about which I waxed lyrical last year.
We stay with the people of GV and move to the lovely Neha Viswanathan, our South Asia Editor (and reader of 3000 blogs). Quite how she finds the time to do anything beyond her work I don’t know but she does. She came over the other day and, despite being a confirmed dog person, fell for the cat big time. She also writes. Beautifully.
Click through to the previous link and you will see a picture of the aforementioned cat. The writing may be a response to or triggered by the picture – in other words ekphrasis. And, delightfully, the theme for this month’s edition of qarrtsiluni is that very thing. You can submit an image for inclusion in the gallery which acts as a seedbed of potential textual inspiration and you can submit “poetry or poetic prose” inspired by any of the gallery images or any other image you choose.
This is where Ariadne’s thread proves inadequate for navigating the maze of contemporary existence. I cannot, for the life of me, knit or even navigate a path from ekphrasis to Bamako, although no doubt it is possible. So I have to invoke the oD reference I asked you to keep in mind, and on your needle, earlier.
Some weeks ago I mentioned going to see the film, Bamako. The next day I interviewed the director, Abderrhamane Sissako, and the executive producer, Maji-da Abdi for openDemocracy. They also happen to be married, Maji-da speaks English and translates for Abderrhamane of whose European languages French is better. The interview is here.
This was one of those interviews where everything “clicked”. I have been privileged to talk to many interesting and inspiring people over the years. Abderrhamane and Maji-da are up there with the best. The more I think about the more convinced I am that everyone should see this film. It’s even had good reviews in the London press – do yourself a favour, go and see it!
This is the downside of infrequent blogging – the complexity of the catchup. However there was another good thing fueling this marathon. Purchased from the recently opened Nigerian wine merchant’s down the road is a delicious Saumur blanc from Saint Vincent in the Loire Valley. Spicy, as promised. Pale amber in colour. Complex. Citrus. A honey nose. And I’ve finished the bottle.
Also, while accentuating the positive, my pictures got some fan mail today. They were pleased, I was delighted. Which reminds me there hasn’t been a picture of ages. Here’s one the boys and I all like called “pollen”.