Frozen Chicken Train Wreck

You’ve got to give it to the people who come up with the newspaper posters lined up on lampposts all over town. Especially those guys at the Daily Sun. If there was an award for poster headlines, they’d be the winners every time. Whether these one-liners are scary, worrying, perplexing, amusing or as is most often the case, a combination of all these, they make any drive in Jozi interesting.  

Robin and I have ‘stolen’ one or two, but Laurence Hamburger, award-winning filmmaker living in Joburg, is no amateur collector like us. He began collecting these posters in 2008 – just to preserve them, he says. And it has now culminated in his book, Frozen Chicken Train Wreck, a collection of his tabloid posters.

On the Chopped Liver Press (one of the co-publishers) website, Laurence mentions: “The newspapers themselves were not keeping an archive, and however ephemeral they might seem I thought there was a relevance in them that was not being recognised; something uniquely South African.”

He calls them an “alternative history of the city, a tabloid summary of our age that read like an everyman’s state of the nation address, full of comedy and antagonism”. For me, Frozen Chicken Train Wreck shares a unique take on our Mzansi story, which like most stories also needs some reading between the lines.

I asked Laurence about his three favourite posters. Here they are:

1. ALL BLACKS ARE BRILLIANT

Only in South Africa could that have such a grand array of double meanings and possibilities for re- and mis-interpretation.

2. KARATE GOAT HATES ME

This was an early one and hung in the office for a long time. It just doesn't get more Daily Sun than this, and yet it wouldn't surprise to have seen it as a phrase written by Duchamp or Picabia in the 1920s.

3. DRUNK DRIVERS CAN LOSE CARS

Enough said really…

The book can be ordered by contacting info@fourthwallbooks.com. And don’t forget to mark the book launch dates in your diary:

Joburg

Saturday, 9 November at 4 pm

Edition, 44 Stanley Avenue, Milpark

Cape Town

Friday, 15 November at 6:30 pm

Clarkes Bookshop, 199 Long Street

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