Almost 1.4-million copies of Platter’s Guide have been sold since the first issue came out in 1980.(Image: Platter’s Guide)John Platter and his wife Erica left their day jobs to run their small wine farm in Franschhoek.(Image: Cape Wine, Hong Kong)MEDIA CONTACTS • Philip van ZylEditor, Platter’s Guide+27 82 490 1820 or +27 28 316 3210 Janine ErasmusInternational credit card company Diners Club has snapped up the Platter’s Guide, South Africa’s oldest and best-selling wine guide. The guide will complement Diners Club’s other wine-related offerings in South Africa.Both parties have been actively involved in the local wine industry for years. Diners Club holds an annual wine list competition, which encourages establishments to refine and improve their wine offerings to their patrons and to consistently match global standards.For the past 31 years the company has run a winemaker of the year competition and since 2001, a young winemaker of the year competition with the aim of encouraging talent in the industry. It also sponsors the Diners Club Bartho Eksteen Wine Academy.“We are committed to enhancing this great relationship, in making South Africa’s most iconic wine companion an even more invaluable tool for wine lovers everywhere,” said Diners Club South Africa’s MD Ebrahim Matthews, in a statement.The company said it would continue with the guide’s current format for the time being, but would investigate broadening its digital reach.In-depth information about the local wine sceneThe Platter’s Guide is now in its 33rd edition. It was started back in 1978 by John and Erica Platter, journalists, wine lovers and novice vineyard owners, after they saw British wine expert Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book, which first came out in 1977 and is also still going strong today.The couple were confident that they could produce a “modest” version of Johnson’s publication for the local industry, and their first edition came out in 1980. Since then it’s become the first choice for locals and international visitors wanting to know more about South Africa’s world-renowned wine industry.The latest edition of the guide – and it’s a guide, not a competition or a set-in-stone publication, asserts editor Philip van Zyl – includes more than 7 300 wines from 800 producers. Wine estates submit their products for inclusion, and these are subjected to a tasting process by a group of experts, who will then assign a rating of up to five stars.The Platters have blogged that today they’re amazed at their presumption in daring to intrude upon the mysterious and hallowed Cape wine scene, which had hundreds of years of tradition behind it and was dominated at the time by men. They further state that “We had no idea what we were letting ourselves in for”.The project was seemingly doomed before a single book was produced – even the printer described the first edition as “boring”. But the couple persisted, with John personally tasting every wine until the arrival in 1987 of Angela Lloyd, the first member of the tasting team. She’s still with them and is a respected wine writer in her own right.Since the early days around 1.4-million print copies – in a different colour for each year – have been sold. It’s available in hardback and for Apple devices, with other platforms reportedly in development.The annual print run is almost 40 000 and the current hardcover price is around R170 (US$19) while the app costs R89 ($9.99) in the iTunes store.The guide won the Le Prix du Champagne Lanson for best wine guide worldwide in 2001, as well as the Louis Roederer International Wine Writers ‘Domaines Ott’ award for best annual wine guide in 2007.Besides the rating, the guide includes maps of wine-growing regions, a glossary of wine terms, GPS co-ordinates for all estates featured, a guide to wine farms that cater for visitors with special needs, information about wine varieties, and restaurant recommendationsRewarding talent and dedicationThe Diners Club Winemaker of the Year for 2012 is Razvan Macici of Nederburg. He’s Romanian by birth but he fell in love with South Africa after visiting the country in 1994 and his wine-making talent has found its perfect spot in the Western Cape.The young winemaker for 2012 is Anri Truter of Beyerskloof, who, like Macici, inherited his love of the grape from his father.The winemaker of the year for 2011 was Johan Jordaan of Spier, and the young winemaker was Matthew van Heerden of Uva Mira Vineyards, near Somerset West in the Western Cape.Other past winemakers of the year include Coenie Snyman of Rust en Vrede (2009), Peter Ferreira of Graham Beck (2004), Nicky Krone of Twee Jonge Gezellen (1995), and Günter Brözel of Nederburg (1985 and 1983).
Tinariwen describe their music as assouf, which translates from Tasheq as nostalgia. (Image: Marie Planeille/ Tinariwen)• David FlowerJob positionSASA Music [email protected]• From Daveyton to New York, Lira’s still singing her heart out • McGregor’s music captures the African village • Songbird Abigail Kubeka remembers songs for Mandela • The joy of music reigns in Kinshasa’s veins • Voodoo Funk: Ambassador of Afrobeat Sulaiman PhilipAt the southern end of the Tanzerouft plain in the Sahara, west of the rocky Adrar des Ifoghas Mountains, sits the town of Tessalit. Tanzerouft is a place so barren and vast, a National Geographic wit once put it: “It is said that migrating birds land beside people just for company.”For decades it has been the stronghold of rebels, first those fighting French colonial forces, later al-Qaeda fighters battling the Malian army. The presence of the Islamist rebels prevented Tessalit’s most famous sons from recording their latest CD, Emmaar, in the Sahara Desert, as they did with their previous release, Tassili.Tinariwen, Tuareg tribesmen from Mali, have been producing their own brand of African-influenced rock music for 30 years. Their bluesy, graceful daydream music is built on a skeletal framework of electric and acoustic guitar, and poetry sung in Tamasheq, the language spoken by the Tuareg, and specific to the North African desert area spread across Mali, Algeria and Libya. It explores longing, revolution and awareness, and wields extraordinary power.Emmaar, released in February, was recorded away from the desert around Tessalit. The band decamped to Joshua Tree, California but retained the sounds of the Sahara. Influenced by the Mojave Desert, best known for inspiring country rockers like Gram Parsons, they fleshed out their mix of traditional Malian music and rock.Bassist Eyadou Ag Leche explained: “Deserts are places where we feel good to live and create. The air is different, the moods are different. Recording in the America brought us a special mood: the landscape, the big space, the South. We watched western movies during the recording and ate burritos and the engineer was from Nashville, so I suppose it changed the way our music was captured.” The tranquillity of the desert is at the heart of Tinariwen’s music, influenced as it is by the experiences and poetry of the Tuareg ishumar – the unemployed Saharan Generation X – who crossed the desert to flee persecution in Mali or to find work in Libya. It is the sound of a group of friends sitting around a campfire, sharing a cigarette and telling stories under the blanket of a starry desert night.But more than that, it is the anger and hope of a generation of youngsters like bandleader, vocalist and guitarist Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, who received military training in Libya and returned to fight in the Tuareg rebellion of the 1990s. Alhabib took up arms after his father was executed by the Malian government. He told The Guardian in 2011: “It was hard during the rebellion for me. But it healed me. I forgot everything, even the death of my father. It was like therapy.”Tinariwen was formed in a Libyan refugee camp by Alhabib, Alhassane Ag Touhami and the Inteyeden brothers, Ag Ablil and Liya Ag Ablil. Alhabib built his first guitar with bicycle wire, a stick and a tin can and taught himself to play Carlos Santana and Jimi Hendrix songs. Influenced by rock and American Blues, the band’s first audiences were fellow refugees. Their soulful re-interpretation of the blues mixed with North African pop made them pied pipers to the ishumar and bootleg cassettes of their impromptu performances were traded throughout the Sahara. Tinariwen’s music doesn’t really bloom to full intensity until the band plays live. (Image: Mário Pires)In 1990, the Tuareg rebels began an insurgency against the Malian government, fighting for their own homeland. The members of Tinariwen put down their instruments and took up arms for the yearlong insurrection.When Alhabib sings Ikyadarh Dim – “my lips fall silent, but my heart still speaks of you” – he could be speaking of a lover or the desert around Tessalit. It’s a song that best expresses what Tinariwen are about. Ag Leche describes it as being “between happiness and sadness”. It is the sound of survival, he explains. “It is about basking in the complex joy of having survived, even though further hardships lie ahead. It is a simple as being heartbroken, recovering and knowing there is likely more heartbreak to come.”The Tuareg rebellion has burst into life sporadically, but now Tinariwen and the Malian government face a far more insidious enemy – al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. They have banned music in the areas they control. This has endangered the lives of all musicians and is a denial of the political, social and cultural force that is music in Mali.Mali has a griot tradition that predates the modern country; post-independence music was used to build a nation and heal the fissures between the Arab and African communities. As successful, globe-spanning musicians, the band have been able to escape the worst of the tyranny but they continue to choose to live in the desert, in the border towns of Algeria and Niger. Their global success serves only to give them money to support extended families and a megaphone to highlight the plight of their homeland and the dying Tuareg culture.The new sound of Tinariwen is born out of nostalgia, but it comes from a stubborn resistance to forgetting, to adapt the music they make to an ever-changing world. As long as they are given a stage Tinariwen will continue to celebrate an overlooked, oppressed culture. Alhabib explains: “The Tamasheq language uses a lot of metaphors. It comes from the old traditional Tuareg poetry that tells about the Tuareg tribes, their adventures in the desert, the wars, but also the beauty of the desert, the sky, the lands and the Assouf, our blues and nostalgia of an old time.”
(AP) – The fate of Missouri’s only abortion clinic is at stake in a hearing scheduled for Wednesday in St. Louis.Circuit Judge Michael Stelzer will hear testimony in a hearing on Planned Parenthood’s request for a preliminary injunction that would keep open its abortion clinic in St. Louis.Missouri’s health department last week declined to renew the clinic’s license to perform abortion procedures, citing concerns about patient safety, including allegations of “failed abortions” and legal violations. Clinic leaders say the allegations are part of an effort by an anti-abortion administration to eliminate the procedure in the state.Stelzer on Friday issued a temporary restraining order to allow the clinic to continue to perform abortions, at least until a decision is made on the injunction request.(Earlier story)A St. Louis judge says testimony from non-staff doctors at Missouri’s only abortion clinic will not be necessary for a hearing that will determine if the clinic can remain open.Circuit Judge Michael Stelzer on Tuesday agreed to throw out subpoenas for four doctors who worked briefly at the Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis during their training. Stelzer’s ruling also set a hearing for Wednesday to consider Planned Parenthood’s request for a preliminary injunction to stop the state from forcing the abortion clinic to close.Missouri’s health department declined to renew the clinic’s license to perform abortion procedures, which expired last week. The state cited concerns about patient safety and legal violations.The judge on Friday issued a temporary restraining order to allow the clinic to continue to perform abortions, at least until a decision is made on the injunction request.
British luxury label Mulberry’s Spring campaign for 2015 starring model Georgia May Jagger, daughter of Rolling Stones rocker Mick Jagger is out.In the advert the 23-year-old has been unveiled as the face of the luxury label’s Spring advertisements which aim to give the impression of “an impromptu photo shoot set up in a country house”, reports femalefirst.co.uk.She stuns in the photos from the campaign which sees her posing next to a silver tea set, ornamental arm chairs and carrying the brand’s Delphie bag in a traditional-looking British sitting room.Another shot shows the model sporting the Mini Cara backpack in front of a vintage bicycle with roses spilling from the back pocket of her jeans.Image credits: MulberryImage credits: Mulberry