Three bits and a piece

I am enraged at the utter crassness, crudity and weapons-grade stupidity of whatever organisation now manufactures and sells the almost immortal game of Scrabble. I went to buy a new Scrabble set the other day. The box was marked Original Scrabble and, like a fool, I took that on trust. What did I find when I got home and opened the box? It was as about as original as a Darrel Bristow-Bovey column — more of him later.

Forgive my terminology but there is really only one word to describe whoever was responsible for what has now happened to the Scrabble set. Some cardinal arsehole in the Scrabble organisation has decided to abandon the standard, loved, light grey board, replacing it with a hideous green one.

What persuaded the Scrabble company’s sphincter-brains to do this is beyond explanation. It is a step in the commercial degradation of a wonderful game. Once upon a time the Scrabble tiles were made of polished wood. These have long since been replaced with plastic ones. Once upon a time the little shelves on which the wooden tiles rested were also made of wood. These are now lurid green machine-turds. The letters on these latest tiles are effected in the same nauseating shade of green.

From where, I wonder, does the commercial world recruit the pricks who do these things? From the tip outside what seventh-rate art school did the Scrabble company dig out this moron, the meddling little piss-brain who decided things should be tarted up for a Scrabble set that we have loved and cherished for years?

A big Help! If anyone knows of an original Scrabble set going — I know the wooden-tiles versions are too valuable to part with — let me know at [email protected] I will pay premium price, packing and postage for a set that dear old Aunt Lucy had and that no one now wants.

Next in line is my democratic offer of the week. I have noted with great despair that the magnificent -Pierneef landscape owned by the SABC has been stolen — for the second time, is it not? This is awful and the SABC is diminished by such loss.

Therefore, in both acknowledgement and celebration of the deep respect and affection that exists between myself and the SABC, I make my offer. Until the SABC’s invaluable Pierneef painting is returned, I hereby formally offer to lend the SABC, free of charge, a ”stand-in” Pierneef landscape that I happen to own. It is depicted in the accompanying photograph and those who know the 1928 work — Study in Blue — will recognise that its proportions are not quite right.

My Pierneef is not original but it is unique. What happened was that a large South African painting was a necessary prop in my play, Panics, which was set in the office of Dr Dauntarse Truss, vice-chancellor of a mythical Cape Town University. The play’s designer, the gifted Denis Hutchinson, wanted a painting in wide landscape format, and so we had Study in Blue ”stretched”. The late and gifted Derek Bauer copied the original and modified it to wide-screen at the same time. It is acrylic on canvas, its measurements are 180cm by 105cm and the SABC is more than welcome to borrow it and use it as a filler until the cops, or even someone efficient, gets back their original. The SABC may contact me via the previous e-mail address.

I call it cosmic vivisection. Am I the only one who feels a sense of outrage at Nasa’s firing a bloody great bomb into an innocent passing comet? I’ve heard the scientific arguments about how the debris from the explosion will give us a clue to the origins of the universe — or so they say. But who gave them permission? The comet isn’t Nasa’s property unless, of course, as raw Americans, they believe they own the galaxy and can do damage to anything in it they can reach. They are forever dropping their things onto other planets — and Middle East countries — talking of mining Mars as if it’s theirs. These self-appointed overlords need to be reined in a bit.

Those of us who follow the absorbing story of the life, bewildering Mondi media awards, literary thrills and spills of master copy-typist, Bristow-Bovey, will be enchanted to read some blurb on the Zebra publishers website. Zebra, a subsidiary of the once-mighty Struik publishers, persuaded Chris Roper, an admiring crony of Darrel’s at the non-mythical UCT English department, to write a few lines about his idol. Have a paper bag ready.

”Bristow-Bovey has released an absolutely brilliant collection of his columns. Once editors read this book, and are reminded of the vast gulf that exists between the wit, intelligence and craftsmanship of a Darrel Bristow-Bovey and the plodding attempts of everyone else, they’ll be clamouring to have him back again.”

It would seem the editors are also doing some plodding. Quite unclamoured-for, Darrel has been left to endow his wit, intelligence and craftsmanship on the scripts of the television media-soapie Hard Copy. I suppose a mythical news-paper is -better than no newspaper at all.

An actual Black Friday deal

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