Over Thursday’s lunch at Morgenster’s Field House (starters: fresh peeled figs, a wheel of parmesan from the chariot of a Roman emperor and buffalo mozzarella drizzled with extra virgin olive oil; mains: rare fillet on truffled mash courtesy of Giorgio Nava of 95 Keerom fame), some more horror stories from the deadtree winepress.
A national Afrikaans language newspaper converts a weekly wine column into a monthly one and abandons restaurant reviews. But at least the columnist was offered a blog at zero salary which for years was the pay at the deadtree Sindie. All this Sunday downsizing arrives the week after the news that the London Sunday Times is to retire Joanna Simon.
I met Joanna at Winecorp in Stellenbosch some years ago on a panel tasting of Winecorp offerings vs. the opposition and was much impressed with her modesty and competence. Quoted in Decanter, Simon “expressed sadness at her departure but added ‘it was good while it lasted’.” The word is that the newspaper will take wine in-house to save costs.
One glamorous local magazine reporter had to leave the lavish lunch early as the mag was on deadline and the editor was out of town presenting a public tasting to raise both awareness and funds. “It’s hectic. I have five stories to write for next month’s edition as we have no budget for freelancers.”
When we left, the only journo holding up the bar was one who’d had the good fortune to swap the Sindie for a quango a few years before the axe fell and has now become something of a professional party animal, paid to attend fashionable launches and stuff without minor irritations like having to file copy to impinge on the party atmosphere.
There were more blogists in attendance than deadtree denizens with one communal blog supplying two to the pre-lunch tasting and three to the lunch. Or perhaps the third pip dressed in black was one of Giorgio’s waitrons. With all this retraining in a recession, one can never be sure.