Why did you decide to join the world of blogging?
I’ve always enjoyed re-inventing myself ever now and then. I’ve gone from TV critic/features editor/consumer columnist/social columnist on the Sunday Times over the years.
Blogging is fun and informal but it’s not really new for me. For about five years I came home every night (usually from a party) and wrote what we called at the time an “online column” which, in much the same way as I post my blog today, I used to put up on the Sunday Times website myself.
When was your blog launched?
About three weeks ago.
Where can it be found?
It’s on href=”http://blogs.thetimes.co.za/thegspot” target=_blank mce_href=”http://blogs.thetimes.co.za/thegspot”http://blogs.thetimes.co.za/thegspot.
Great name, don’t you think?
How often do you blog?
Usually every other day.
What do you blog about?
All the “effs”! Fun, folk, frivolity, food, fashion.
As South Africa’s resident “party animal”, what was the best event you have ever covered?
There have been many brilliant parties over the last 12 years, but I’d have to go for the bi-annual Fancourt Ball in George.
Fancourt owner, Sabine Plattner, throws the ball to raise funds for local family and child welfare which run into millions. Edith Venter (her recent wedding at Thorneybush would also rank among the great bases) and designer Gert van der Merwe have both done wonders organising the ball over the years, and this year Pieter-Dirk Uys is co-hosting with Sabine. The guest list is stellar with Patrice Motsepe, his wife Dr Precious Moloi and Reserve Bank Governor Tito Mboweni among recent guests, and schlebs like Jo-Anne Strauss acting as MC.
A posh magazine for UK millionaires once voted it the fifth best social occasion worldwide, mostly because of what I wrote about it.
Which young and upcoming journalists are you most impressed with at the moment?
We have a whole bunch of them on both the Sunday Times and The Times. I wouldn’t like to pick any special one out – they are all great colleagues. Good photographers too – I’m a great fan our our Muntu Vilakazi.
What are your thoughts about the state of consumer journalism at the moment?
Utterly dire. I have no idea why consumer journalism is no longer sexy – there was a time, 15 or so years ago, when people bought papers or turned on the telly just to read or watch the late Isabel Jones, Pat Sidley, June Bearzi and Yours Truly.
What is the highlight of your journalism career?
There have been a lot, but recently a one-on-one meeting with Nelson Mandela when we talked about grandchildren, the Millennium Eve party on Robben Island, winning Consumer Columnist of the Year Award (around 1993), being appointed features editor of the Sunday Times when I’d only been a journalist for three years, and meeting fabulous people.
Ask me who they are and I’d say my best ever is Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Oprah (I’ve interviewed her twice), Shane Warne (I know why women fall for him!), meeting the Queen and Prince Philip. That’ll do!
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style=”MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0cm”Ã¢Â–Â The address of Gwen’s blog was corrected after this story was first published.