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Saturday, 06 November 2010 02:00

Postitive thinking doesn't hurt

By  Elan Gamaker edited by Mehita Iqani
  Describe your perfect day.

My perfect day...

Any day in which I'm able to clear my head of thoughts and be present, like not worrying about the future or being remorseful about the past. Clear blue sky, crisp air, waking up with my wife, both of us the right temperature and swooning from a decent spell of sleep, to a breakfast that tastes good and is the right size. Being in nature, a park perhaps, a quick jog, then falling into my first and second loves, the companions of my childhood that have come back into my life in a way only adulthood allows: football and film. Yes, watching an old beautiful film that makes the hairs stand on your neck.

What project or activity captures most of your energy and passion right now?

As usual I'm battling for focus and juggling several things, but it's always about writing or editing. Perhaps, to a certain degree, that's a linguistic form of life through a lens, but processing ideas into projects is the only way to generate the energy needed to complete things. So I'm reworking my novel, rewriting my script, re-editing my film and developing a new website. And more.

What makes you smile?

Alcohol. Food. Nicotine (a former love but still makes me smile), friends, Peter Sellers, Groucho Marx, Monty Python, Blackadder, Yes Minister, Portnoy's Complaint, Graham Greene, Billy Wilder among others. All self-explanatory, really.

Show us a picture.

 Al And El
Al And El
 

This is a picture, circa 1984, of me and my late sister jumping on to Camps Bay Beach, Cape Town. Taken by my mother, I love the simplicity it captures: the pure joy of two landlubber kids (we grew up in Johannesburg) launching themselves onto hot sand.

Do you have a 'life philosophy'?

Positive thinking definitely doesn't hurt, but I avoid Oprah-style quick fixes or the fetish of looking East under the assumption that all Asians have in-built balance and wisdom (I'm sure there are depressed people in Laos). I guess my single life philosophy is to have empathy and a sense of humour. This is sadly contradictory as, given the way humans generally behave, it's hard to have them both at the same time.

How would you cheer up a sad friend?

Alcohol. Food. Nicotine (a former love but still makes me smile), friends, Peter Sellers, Groucho Marx, Monty Python, Blackadder, Yes Minister, Portnoy's Complaint, Graham Greene, Billy Wilder among others.

Do you use emoticons?

After years of resistance, to my shame I must admit I do occasionally. At first it was only in ironic moments, but then I realised there's no such thing as an ironic emoticon. The damn things sprung into existence precisely because irony in e-mails is so difficult to achieve, and the emoticon is a way of establishing mood. In that sense one might argue they represent a remarkable leap in human communication, as important as the question mark. Or perhaps not. But welcoming them into the canon meant I could no longer sustain my snobbery. I must say I wish they could have stayed as emoticons. Surely software that strips away their link with punctuation by turning them into those horrible little smiling vitamin tablets is missing the point?



One of a series of short interviews with people that Mehita Iqani (ITCH Editor) knows and likes a lot.
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