Review: Myrna Robins
GREENFEAST by Nigel Slater (4th Estate)
Let’s start with the design of this hardback, which does not resemble a cookbook at all. Shocking pink cover, featuring a swathe of gold, a single brushstroke by artist and calligrapher Tom Kemp which, he points out, are not pictures or representing anything, but a small aside to remind readers about the “nature of nature… where ultimately the food in this book comes from”.
Glued on to this hard cover is a half-page, glossy red, listing author and title on the front, and a photo and quote from the author on the back.
Unconventional. Intriguing. But as every foodie knows, we can rely on Nigel Slater to produce another title that features his simple prose that is English culinary writing at its brilliant best. Seldom prescriptive yet always thorough, so that beginner cooks are guided unobtrusively to success. An occasional command: “Don’t even think of using horseradish from a jar.” Continue reading
Review: Archie Henderson
The Barefoot Coach: Life-Changing Insights from Coaching the World’s Best Cricketers. By Paddy Upton (Self-published).
Paddy Upton worked with two of the best cricket teams in the world, South Africa and India. He was fitness trainer for the former and mental coach to the latter. Was it any wonder, then, that India won a World Cup and South Africa didn’t?
South Africa’s cricket team, the Proteas, one of the fittest teams in the world, are famous for having lost World Cups in their head as well as on the field. At the most recent World Cup, they lost on both, but that is another story. This is about an extraordinary man who delved deeper into sport than most, and discovered that motivating athletes was no different from doing the same with the athletes of business, a path he is now pursuing.
Upton, a pretty good cricketer himself, had ambitions of becoming a sports scientist, which was how he was recruited by Cricket SA in the first place. He worked with the team during Hansie Cronje’s era as captain, then abruptly left to broaden his horizons beyond sport. This entailed backpacking through Asia and joinning an NGO in Cape Town to work with homeless youths. It opened his eyes to life beyond cricket. Continue reading
Review: Vivien Horler
Blood on her Hands – South Africa’s most notorious female killers, by Tanya Farber (Jonathan Ball)
One late afternoon in 1974, when I was 22, I went with my boyfriend to visit his brother Rob in the boarding house where he lived behind St Paul’s Church in Rondebosch.
Rob hadn’t been in the boarding house long, and his initial relationship with his co-residents was bedevilled by the fact that soon after he moved in, someone’s portable radio had been stolen. As he was the newest resident, suspicion fell on him.
Rob, an engineering student, had also been a victim of crime in the boarding house. He had a pistol, which he kept locked in his wardrobe. One day it disappeared.
We hadn’t been in Rob’s room long when a slim young fellow resident called Marlene strolled in. She had shoulder-length hair, lots of eye make-up, and was wearing a Truworths mini-dress. Continue reading