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We speak jive

Andrew Johnson Archive

Andrew Johnson

Kaffirjimtao

October 18th, 2009
by Andrew Johnson

LONDON, UK-

My best friend and I met a man on the cross-Channel ferry from England to France during a summer of blissful ignorance in the late 1990s. We christened him ‘Kaffir Jim’, mainly because neither of us could remember his name after an embarrassingly short period of time.

Like ‘Dave’, ‘John’ and ‘Joe’, ‘Jim’ was generic enough to be amusing, and ‘kaffir’ served as a convenient synechdoche for his identity as a fairly right-wing white South African; a representative of a people who, from F.W de Clerk to Joss Ackland’s villain in Lethal Weapon II, have had a chronic PR problem at least since the turn of the last century.

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Andrew Johnson

London Feels

September 6th, 2009
by Andrew Johnson

MILE END, LONDON, UK-

“Visiting London, I always have the sense of a city devised as an instrument of political control, like the class system that preserves England from revolution. The labyrinth of districts and boroughs, the endless columned porticos that once guarded the modest terraced cottages of Victorian clerks, together make clear that London is a place where everyone knows his place.”

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Andrew Johnson

No Men Clue Chore

July 8th, 2009
by Andrew Johnson

HONG KONG, CHINA-

No matter how far and how resolutely Hong Kong remains off the terrorist radar, a young Semitic chap in a backpack, stepping into an underground railway carriage, muttering and clutching what appears to be a Qur’an to his chest, is a particularly acute species of brain violence, as far as I’m concerned.

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Andrew Johnson

The Case for Disbelief

June 3rd, 2009
by Andrew Johnson

HONG KONG, CHINA-

“It’s easy to be cynical,” people say. Does it follow then that being a nihilist is like falling off a log?

Rejecting all systems of belief or belonging on the basis of their existence, no matter how attractive or unattractive they might be?… I don’t know about you but that sounds pretty difficult to me.

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Andrew Johnson

Blog Will Eat Itself

May 5th, 2009
by Andrew Johnson

HONG KONG, CHINA

“Is there anything more ridiculous than a blog about blogging?”

Yes. There are a great many things more ridiculous than a blog about blogging. Stop trying to make it sound more important than it isn’t. For instance - the career of Oliver North. Oliver North is infinitely more ridiculous than a blog about blogging.

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Andrew Johnson

The Monster, Created

April 21st, 2009
by Andrew Johnson

HONG KONG, CHINA

It’s impossible to know whether the world is going the way of China or China is going the way of the world. An uncomfortable layering of capitalism and communism on top of one another, as embodied by the city of Hong Kong, is not the answer to this question.

Hong Kong is the question.

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Andrew Johnson

I (Aint) Afraid of No Ghostface Killah

April 1st, 2009
by Andrew Johnson

HONG KONG, CHINA-

I spent my first 10 days in America in New York City in November 2008, just after the election and right around the time the financial crisis was just starting to bear its rotten molars.

Walking around a deserted Lower Manhattan on a Saturday afternoon – along Gall Street, past the New York Doom Exchange and up around the Ground Zero mausoleum – as the sky promptly went black at 3.30pm and the wind came howling in off the Hudson, it crossed my mind that perhaps Ghostbusters was more of a tourist information film than I’d first thought.

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