The No Spectator ‘office’, April 26th, 2011 (image courtesy http://www.jonx.pillemer.co.za)
You know it’s working when they fall silent. It requires their full attention, then, which is quite the compliment in its own right considering the fleeting attention span most people nowadays display, in this, the age of the electronic media blizzard. For someone to be rooted to the spot engrossed in a simple piece of paper is a beautiful thing to behold, particularly if you were party to the creation of the document in question.
It took a few weeks’ worth of figuring out the technology and the method, in order to produce The No Spectator on site at AfrikaBurn. And it should really be stated that none of it would have been possible without the help and encouragement of Rob Weinek, who provided the insight and suggestions necessary to put some flesh on the bare bones of the idea, at just the right time. Sure, we took up the challenge and rode that wave to the beach, but without the spark set off by Rob – and his advice on the use of the Roneo and Riso machines which formed the backbone of the technology that brought it all together – it would all have been that much more of an ordeal as opposed to an enjoyable crash course in extreme publishing. Fair dues must also go to Jono Hoffenberg for his enthusiasm and the use of his Roneo machine, and also to the team at the AfrikaBurn HQ at the Bijou, whose eagerness to see the creature come to life was infectious and spurred us on, and Jacque who created the templates for us.
It’s only a simple double-sided A4 document, and only five editions were produced at the event for each of the days of 27 April – 1 May 2011, but the purpose and content make it more than a simple document. It’s a start, a vehicle and a ballistic missile, a slightly rabid, entirely kooky and somewhat razor-toothed nudge in the ribs which serves to add a new dimension to AfrikaBurn as an experience and provides a platform for putting the spotlight on a range of issues relevant to the community at large. It has now taken on a life of its own, with the first out-of-event edition planned for the next few weeks’ time, with these planned for release more or less every three months, both digitally and in hard copy.
There’s no doubt in my mind that The No Spectator will continue to serve its purpose, both during the event and in the large spaces between, when the fires smoulder in downtime and the presses are largely silent. That said, the opportunity now exists to create the paper both within and without the context of producing a document designed for the event itself – there are more stories to be told and an audience which deserves addressing throughout the year. Fair enough – this latest incarnation builds on the previous versions created by Brad Baard, Rob Weinek and Heath Nash – and will no doubt in turn serve as a building block for greater endeavours.
For your reading pleasure, nostalgia and to spur on the participation of all who wish to make a contribution in future, the five editions of The No Spectator as produced at AfrikaBurn 2011 are now available on the facebook page as downloads:
Was it fun? Fuck yes, and how. An unexpected bonus was that, as we had ‘work’ to go to every day, we got good sleep each night after crawling home from one of the many rocking dancefloors. Massive respect and shouts go out to Ali B, Regan, Pierre and the other DJ’s who kept us hoofing it till late at the VuvuWagon, not to mention the VuvuCreative crew who put together a damn fine experience: Mike Hayward, Richard Bowsher, Sebastian Prinz and Graeme Allan, we salute your gypsy caravan of love and its Jellyometer lampshade groove rating scale!
Many thanks also go out to our posse of ‘paperboys’ – Nick the Mustache, Timmy, Patrick, Shawn and Ingrid – who were a great help in getting the day’s edition out when we were still waking up and heading to ‘the office’ to create the next day’s paper.
The office? Well, it’s not such a bad way to work, when you set off for the office with a six-pack of cold beer to fortify the senses, and ‘work’ is over by mid-afternoon.
Yes, I think we could get used to that kind of work…