Brewer's Droop #282

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WELCOME to 2021!

(Which is really only 2020 plus 12 months as I doubt very much will change)

Hi and a happy New Year! I haven’t written a blog for a long time for obvious reasons but here I am again!

I’m not going to comment on viruses, political madness, corruption or incompetence – better writers than I cover it well, but what a year 2020 was – probably the worst since WWII (in terms of affected civilians anyway). According to my calculations that makes it about two and a half decades of watching a nation slowly bleeding to death.

It’s provided me with ample opportunity to reflect on the situation, our recent history and portents for the future.

The first guy to get it wrong was Nelson Mandela (assisted by de Klerk). Initially the nation was joyful because here was a man who didn’t want revenge, he wanted progress.

My guess is that the ANC wouldn’t let him do that and they blocked his every turn.

He was then followed by a succession of inept Presidents who became progressively worse.

Despite the fact that I’ve always been an optimist I fear the worst. I doubt very much if any improvement will be seen this year.


Firstly I’d just like to share a few words about my dear friend Nigel Twidale who died last week. He’d had a rough year and become weak. Fortunately he passed relatively painlessly, although he was a tough old bugger anyway. A big man with a big heart. He helped me a lot when I started out in the ad business and, oh dear, I’ll miss him.

Much of the industry will share the loss and doubtless join me in sending condolences to his family – especially Nadine and their two sons James and Graham.


If the above two pieces are sad then so is the state of our communications systems. I regularly get messages via:


And I’m sure I’ve missed out a couple of dozen.

If you want to contact me you’re very welcome – these are my favourites:

Phone: 082 551 1371

I have nothing to be secretive about and I really don’t understand why it’s all become so complicated? And I’m not even going to begin talking about languages used for attachments and all those damned passwords you have to remember.

It’s rather funny that these companies are continually changing their systems “for security reasons” so they probably weren’t very secure in the first place then?

And as for “fake news” well, that’s been around since the Yellow Press began hundreds of years ago. So all I do is ignore messages from people I don’t know – or who look dodgy. Easy.

I stopped a large number of subscriptions (print and TV) because, frankly, many are highly influenced (or owned) by the ANC – and I’m definitely NOT going to believe them.

So I follow respected journalists and, even with them, I am insouciant.

And what’s this thing that banks and many other companies are doing? I can’t even talk to a human being. And if I do it’s to someone who’s based in Delhi. They send emails with no return address! What’s that all about? And why are so many companies following this trend?

My closing remark is that, whilst those people who want to call me a Luddite, they’re very welcome because I point-blank refuse to be a part of this “secret” society with those who think they’re so important that they have to “protect” their identity (like the banks do for example). They won’t share emails and God forbid if you ask for a contact phone number. Forget it.

This is me. You know who I am. I don’t have to keep anything secret. If you want to to speak to me you know how. And if you want to hack into one of my accounts I think you’ll find it’s hardly worth the effort.

I’ll talk to you or respond to any messages whenever I can.

Right! So let’s think positive and get on with making South Africa a better place in any way we can.

My kindest regards,

Chris (Please feel free to forward this link to anyone you think may be interested).

Filed as:


  1. Totally in agreement.
    Do I need to sign on the dotted line somewhere?

    • Ha Ha. No, just send money.

        • In a far more serious tone I would like to add my condolences on Nigel’s passing. I heard the news last week from Dave Leutchford in England via messenger.

          • Thanks Adriaan.


  2. So sorry to hear of the passing of Nigel. That is very sad. May he rest in peace. Condolences to his family. May he RIP.

    • Thanks Brenda. Great loss.

  3. Ha ha, Dad! Still not sure what point you’re trying to make by simply listing the various social networks and messaging platforms. There are too many, granted, but you’ve clearly installed them so you also have the choice to remove them. No one is forcing you to use them 😉

    Some people prefer not to be tracked and their data used for commercial purposes, so their choice of platform changes when the policies change.

    It IS annoying, which is why I just reply to messages after opening a bottle of wine!

    • If my clients want to use obscure or various platforms that’s their right and it’s my responsibility to reply. That’s the point.

  4. Nice to see that you are still active… keep well..


  5. Always such a pleasure to read your rants, Chris. You echo the thoughts of so many of us grappling with the perpetual stupid. I love my bank, as it has real people on the end of the line when I call, and they’re local… imagine! Yes, their pricing is not exactly cheap, but it’s clear that everyday banking falls to bots to manage. It’s sad when big institutions don’t value the individual who’s critical to the whole. I have always been of a mind that it’s not a few big fish that make a company successful and have it enjoy longevity, but the many more smaller ones who grow over time. Yes, I’m lonely dreamer in a dystopian minefield 😉 Stay safe, sane and healthy.

  6. Thanks Chris, another bullseye.

    • Thanks Ken!

  7. Love your Droops Chris … please write a book.
    Sorry to hear about Nigel Twidale. Please extend my condolences to the family.
    Keep safe and well.

    • What a nice thing to say!

      We did, in fact, do a collection of Droops many years ago (thanks to Ken Varejes and Sandra Gordon) but never got around to doing a repeat.

      Maybe I will. Good idea.


  8. Brilliantly put, as always, Chris!

  9. I hadn’t read any rants in while, so read all from last year. i smiled a lot, thanks

    • Thanks Tony. It’s amazing what you’ll put up with during chronic boredom isn’t it?

  10. Thanks for sharing your stories. They are both entertaining and true! I have a big gripe with banks (or my bank in particular), bought over or partly by the Chinese ( I think..). They have suddenly done away with the Tellers. If you want to see someone, you have to sit in a queue and wait. When it comes to going home time, they tell you to come back the next day (sounds like government hospitals – everyone runs for their lives at 16.00, leaving patients to find their way out by themselves (even if they are in a frail or poor state after a procedure)! I vowed to take my business to another bank (a local and cheaper one), but I am still with them :-(. I have always wondered how banks can treat customers with such poor service – open at 9.00, close at 16.00, open on Saturdays until 11.00…. and you pay them! OK that was my rant…so glad I had a chance to.

    • Banks, I believe, were the first shops to encourage customers to stand outside in the street and deal with a machine.


  11. Again well written , Chris, and to the point.
    First of all – condolences on your sad loss – a good friend I am sure.
    Secondly, yes it has become almost impossible to talk to anyone in the corporate world, especially the airlines and , as you rightly ponited out , the banks. It has become very frustrating !!!!

    • Thanks Fred, I think that a lot social media platforms have fragmented the market and all that does is lessen the efficacy of communication. There are so many options…I have a couple in particular and it’s almost impossible to tell the difference. The advertisers must be very confused as are the consumers!

      Thanks for the words about Nigel – you would have liked him.

  12. I echo the comments about banks. I have an issue with FNB who now have a recorded voice which asks you to describe your enquiry, then promptly disconnects you as the AI doesn’t either understand your acescent or its programmed to disconnect either to avoid taking up a human’s time or to make you feel as though you’re stupid or illiterate.
    Tried sending an email to the address on the bank statement – got a reply that this site is no longer attended, FO!

    • Thanks Robin,

      One of my biggest gripes is when you phone them (if they answer of course which is 50/50) they always seem to have to “transfer you to another department”. That happens a few times until finally you’re put through to a robot whose only function is to terminate the call!


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