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Justin Fox

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Somebody That I Used to Know* by JM Coetzee

Ghost written by Justin Fox

Now and then I think of when I used to live in Cape Town. Before moving to Adelaide. Before the Nobel Prize. I told myself Cape Town was right for me. But felt so lonely in its company. Intellectually lonely. But that was love and it’s an ache I still remember. The fynbos, riding my bicycle along the peninsula’s roads, the beauty of the place.

You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness. I definitely have. It’s what gives my writing a certain kind of poignancy. Like resignation to the end, always the end. Like Michael K. So when I found that I could no longer make sense of being in South Africa, being a South African, well, I had to go. I felt I could still be – how should I say? – ‘friends’ with the place. However, I’ll admit that I was glad that it was over.

But now it’s as though South African critics have cut me off. Made out like it never happened and that I was never a part of them. And I don’t even need their love. (Australia has been good to me, brought me out of my shell a bit.) They treat me like a stranger and that feels so … rough. Coovadia and Poplak didn’t have to stoop so low. Or even the traitorous Rian Malan. I didn’t need that. I felt naked, without even a lick of body paint to cover my privates. Now they’re just some critics that I used to know.

Now and then I think of all the times they screwed me over, but had me believing it was always something that I’d written. Or said in some convocation speech. Whatever the case, I don’t want to live that way, reading into every word they write. Which is what I do anyway. I am, after all, a man of letters. I moved to Australia to let it go. You won’t catch me hung up on critics, controversy mongers or members of the UCT English Department that I used to know.

They’re just nobodies that I used to know.
Nobodies that I used to know.

* Original by Gotye, another Australian writer


Recent comments:

  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    January 17th, 2013 @12:16 #

    Next thing to do, Justin, is post a video of yourself singing these amended lyrics.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Luso</a>
    January 17th, 2013 @16:06 #

    This is brilliant! rofl!

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Justin</a>
    January 17th, 2013 @17:56 #

    Unfortunately I can't sing Australian, mate.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    January 17th, 2013 @19:42 #

    Justin, you really do have a gift for satire.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Lauren Beukes</a>
    Lauren Beukes
    January 18th, 2013 @12:07 #

    Love this. You definitely need to do the music video


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