THE rent-a-newspaper business is not big in South Africa, if it exists at all. The thought of renting a dirty newspaper, with its ink of all colours and fingerprints of previous readers, is probably too much for South Africans to consider paying for. But in Kenya, many people can’t afford even a modest 50 shillings for a newspaper, so street vendors came to their rescue with a rent-and-read arrangement, according to The Economist. The rent is probably calculated on the number of minutes a reader uses the newspaper, with a discount likely on offer for those reading yesterday’s newspaper today, but this librarian approach to keeping up to date with national affairs strikes the Insider as rather smart. The closest to such entrepreneurial flair are the pavement traders in some Joburg suburbs who will let you weigh yourself on a battered bathroom scale for a small fee (usually R1).
If you want to be reweighed because the first reading showed you heavier than you thought, you have to pay another R1. He cannot confirm that if you weigh even more the second time, you get a R1 refund.
Fame by defrosting
RODRIGUEZ fever has gone global because of the Oscar nomination for best documentary for Searching for Sugarman, which the Insider has seen. Suddenly, the long overlooked Rodriguez whose Cold Fact album informed so many South African lives back in the day, is playing at major music festivals and has fans falling from the skies. A colleague of the Insider has a friend in Windsor, UK, who wrote on Facebook, "For years I have been listening to his music and always wondered about the story about him. Cold Fact is in my top 10 best albums of all time."
The Insider is a little sceptical. The documentary showed outside of South Africa, Rodriguez, was a non-event, something that mystified his friends and colleagues in the music industry then, and should still do. But thanks to South Africans "finding" Sugarman, his popularity is on the ascendancy. At the weekend, it was announced he would play at UK festival Glastonbury and US festival Coachella next year. Although the Insider still can’t find his Cold Fact album in the shops. But Good Luck to him. He had a hard life and age should not stand in the way of a newfound fame and fortune.
Almost foot in the mouth
REUTERS reports that US fast-food chain Subway got caught up in an online furore after an Australian teenager measured his "footlong" Subway sandwich and found it was an inch short. Matt Corby’s photo of the sandwich next to a tape measure attracted thousands of comments on Subway’s Facebook fanpage. This is further proof that the US urgently needs to go metric; nine inches is nearly 23cm, which sounds much better value for money.
"The metric system did not really catch on in the states, unless you count the increasing popularity of the 9mm bullet."
Dave Barry, US columnist (born 1947)
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