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Monday, 16 January 2012

Books of the Year, 2012

After all the lively, meandering debate of the previous post ( a post that not everybody agreed with - see  Conscientious here and eyecurious here), it's time to go Old-School for an early contender for the best-of-lists of 2012. And I do like lists.

The book's called Billy Monk and it's published by Dewi Lewis.Billy Monk was a hard nightclub bouncer in Cape Town in the 1960s. One day he decided to start photographing instead of bouncing. The pictures are little windows into a peculiar corner South African life in the 1960s, a strange place where the Immorality Act meets the stifling worlds of Raymond Carver and Richard Yates short stories, but with  race, drugs and gangs thrown into the mix.

 This is what David Goldblatt says about it.

“These are photographs by an insider of insiders for insiders. If inhibitions were lowered by the seemingly vast quantities of brandy and Coke that were imbibed, trust, nevertheless, is powerfully evident. Not simply in the raucous tweaking of bared breasts, or the more guarded but evident ‘togetherness’ of two bearded men, as well as the open flouting of peculiarly South African sanctions such as prohibitions on interracial sex. It is also present in the quiet composure of many of the portraits. People seemed to welcome and even bask in Monk’s attentions.”

See more pictures here.

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