13, like De La Soul’s 3, is a magic number. Of course for many it’s more of a bad-voodoo than a lucky one, thanks to JC and his last supper companions, but hey one person’s treacherous, bad-omen inducing arithmetic is another’s creatively auspicious accounting.
This is thus either the JRB playlist you should avoid like black cats, the plague and indoor opened umbrellas, or the one you should thank your lucky stars for as we exit Easter, Passover, Ramadan and Freedom Day and arrive serendipitously on Worker’s Day and more importantly the publication of issue #50.
Congratulations, salutations and celebrations to the dedicated, hardworking team behind the best and brightest analysis of all things literary that our-not-so-rainbow-for-a-very-long-time nation and the criminally underestimated continent have to offer.
As we exit the uncertainty of the pandemic and emerge into the depressing uncertainty of the realities of where we are 28 years after democracy, we can follow the lead of our leaders and when all else fails, just blame it all on the rain … or we can keep on keeping on and thank heavens we’re not Russian.
If you’re asking yourself in the much misquoted words of Clint Eastwood, whether—after proper social-media inspired consideration of the current situation both at home and abroad—you feel lucky, then look no further than this 50th issue and the 50 tracks offered in this 13th playlist to find the answer.
You may be surprised at just how optimistic a solid collection of excellently crafted pieces of writing and an all-over-the-place, humbly curated soundtrack can make you feel for a brief but treasured moment.
And yes, Radio JRB is still using Spotify to broadcast but due to the present precipitation induced chaos, we are still in the process of assessing the situation and will be releasing a draft report in due course … weather and Eskom permitting. Thank you for your patience and please keep tuning in for future updates. If you’re feeling lucky.
- Tymon Smith is a member of The JRB Editorial Advisory Panel, and a freelance journalist who writes about the arts and South African history. Previously the literary editor of the Sunday Times, he is the recipient of a silver Standard Banks Arts Journalist of the Year Award for feature writing. He was the head researcher for the interactive DVD Between Life and Death: Stories from John Vorster Square, and is working on a book about the Johannesburg police station.