Empirical findings at the Empire launch

empire1.jpg Lastnight we hit The Saxon for the Empire magazine launch. It’s already three or four magazine’s old, but tonight was the launch. It’s the first time I have ever had to park outside the Saxon. That’s how full the party was. One doesn’t like to have to walk too much when doing the Saxon. It’s the second launch event by the same publishers at this venue. Empire’s publisher Branko Brkic launched Maverick here a few years back. Things must be cooking at this magazine.

I arrived late with Mail & Guardian COO Hoosain Karjieker after another M&G function earlier that night and bumped into Sarah Britten, author of “The South African insult” who had first mistook me for Afrigator’s Justin Hartman (I think we must have the same jawbone or something). We later joined up with Vincent Maher who was parking cheesy with our ace Thought Leader blogger Ndumiso Ngcobo who was also with his missus. Ndumiso is also starting to pen for Maverick magazine… which explains the fewer Thought Leader posts ;-). We chatted about stuff, my inability to say the K word, and a Polokwane conference invoice I still, embarrassingly, have to sign off. The Sumo phoned during our conversation, but alas cellphone reception is not what it used to be.

Famous cricketer Vince van der Bijl gatecrashed the event. He’s a very famous guy, so maybe gatecrashed isn’t quite the word. He’s also a tall guy. Very tall guy. I think if he bowled today Bangladesh would be in trouble. His daughter Sarah Rice was running the event. I spent a part of the evening with his big hand on my head. The other half of my meeting with him was a surreal experience involving Vincent Maher confessing to Vintcent that he had actually been named after the cricketer. Seriously. So there you go Vincent Maher named after Vinctttcccent van der Bijl. Van der Bijl’s younger daughter is also apparently a blogger, but we didn’t go into that.

Also bumped into George Mazarakis, who runs Carte Blanche and congratulated him on the big Eskom SMS vote. I can like to make my TV interactive. He’s excited about his interactive editor Peter Griffiths who is doing a good job (it was my old job, some time back). Philip de wet, who is deputy editor of Maverick and one of the editor’s of Empire, bought me a full whisky which made me realise it was time to head south. Also had a few words with Thought Leader blogger/Maverick/It Web Columnist/Ivo.co.za/blogger Ivo Vegter and new Stuff editor Toby Shapshak, and did a bit of plotting with Simone Appleton of Headlines who has just scooped the Loerie account. Also bumped into my old Rhodes friend Vaneshrie, which was cool. Missed Kevin Bloom at the event.

As the night was wearing on, I found myself with Sunday Times columnist/raconteur/blogger/rollsroyce-borrower David Bullard in a smoky corner. He suggested a plan to lunch at the Rand Club in about two weeks time (aren’t the randlords dead?). But that’s only after the trip to Tuscany. We invited him to Saturday’s bloggerati, but alas, not sure the parking space is big enough for the Phantom. While chatting to him it struck me that Gwen Gill is the country’s oldest blogger, but I decided to keep that random thought to myself for fear of being laughed at.

Nice party. Where’s the next one?

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