Friday, August 18, 2017


To the South Bank last night to hear Teju Cole talk about his new book Blind Spot.

I went with Jean Morris, Rachel Rawlins and Dave Bonta, all of us old friends of Teju's, part of a group of about a dozen bloggers who met online around 2003, when blogging was a new, uncrowded and exciting platform. Somehow we found each other's blogs via common interests in reading, writing, art, ourselves, seeing and interpreting the world through rainbow-coloured glasses. Then we met in real life, in New York, in London, and over the years followed each other's lives and work.

Teju Cole's career took off with Every Day is for the Thief in 2007, soaring steadily ever since and there's no doubt at all that he's headed for the stratosphere. Unsurprisingly, fame hasn't changed him a bit and I mean that in a good way. His warmth, humour and insightfulness are always genuine and of-the-moment. When he answers an interviewer's questions he takes his time, thinking on his feet, coming up with answers which you know are born right then and there. This is a quality I particularly appreciate when so many public utterances, on any subject, are so often calculated soundbites, selfie salestalk or rehashed re-heated rehearsed rhetoric.

Teju Cole and interviewer, Royal Festival Hall, 17 August 2017

Teju Cole, Royal Festival Hall, 17 August 2017

Photo by Teju Cole from Blind Spot

Clouds above the Thames, from the Royal Festival Hall, 17 August 2017


Catalyst said...

I love that last photo. And I may just have to check out Mr. Cole.

Anonymous said...

It's inspiring to hear or read creative artists of whatever kind talking about what they do and telling it how it is for them.

The halcyon days of blogging... I intend to turn my attention to blogging again (how many times does one hear people say that?). I put it on the back burner when I realised how much time I spent on it. I then started posting improvised music on Soundcloud, a kind of musical blog/diary. However, I keep thinking of things to write about, so...

I too love the last photo. I can imagine breathing in the air there (I mean that in a good way) and feel a nostalgic twinge!

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Bruce, do check out Teju's writings. Aside from the books, he also writes regularly in the New Yorker and a photography column in the New York Times.

Dominic, I'm always nostalgic for those 'good old days' of early blogging. There was something magical about suddenly being able to float freely in cyberspace, strapped to one's own hand-made glider: The Blog!