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AROUND AND ABOUT (article first published : 2004-09-27)

Michael Green is well-known to artSMart readers for his reviews on the KZN Philharmonic and Friends of Music concerts on the Music pages. He also writes a regular Wine Column which appears on the Supper Theatre, Miscellaneous and LifeSmart pages.

Now retired, he was Editor of the Daily News for 15 years and editor-in-chief of the Sunday Tribune for three years. His book, Around and About - Memoirs of a South African newspaperman was recently released. It’s a look at the people and events that have made up the varied tapestry of his life over the past 50 years or so.

The cover of the book features a cartoon by Durban’s much loved Jock Leyden who died in 2000 and whose cartoons of theatre productions form a collage on the walls of the Wellington Tavern at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre. Anyone associated with The Daily News will be fascinated by Jock Leyden’s cartoon depicting people who worked on the Daily News between 1927 and 1980.

Michael Green writes as he speaks, economically and with a dry sense of humour. He states disarmingly in his Foreword: “This book is not an autobiography. I am not important enough or interesting enough for that,” adding that he has tried to write as any competent reporter should – about other people, not about himself.

The result is a highly interesting read and, for people like me who were educated outside of South Africa, a very informative one.

Michael Green met eight of South Africa’s 11 prime ministers and executive presidents in the course of his working life. He takes readers from the time he joined the Cape Argus (at the tender age of 17 and three months) in 1947 to the present. He also writes about the difficulties of running newspapers in a country run by the Nationalist government, the legal minefield editors had to tread in order to get news out as truthfully as possible and the very real problem of keeping a publication solvent under the circumstances.

He has amusing anecdotes and incidents galore to relate involving all sectors of life - from prime ministers and sports heroes to opera personalities and journalists. Citing music as the strongest single interest in his life, he talks with fondness about his association with young Durban pianist Lara Jones with whom he has played two-piano music since Lara was 15.

This is the kind of book you can leave on your bedside table and dip into every now and again. It’s full of interesting and diverse information.

Around and About is published by David Philip in soft cover and retails at R140. ISBN 0-86486-660-7 - Caroline Smart




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