Extra Extra November December 2009

Everyone loves a happy ending. Any romantic comedy that dared to end without a last-minute dash to the airport would feel like a waste of money. Often the presence of Jennifer Aniston has already made it a waste of money, but believe it or not there are a few romcoms she hasn't appeared in this decade.

Imagine if all those Hollywood endings had been bad. Imagine if Meg Ryan had told Tom Hanks he really shouldn't have bothered flying all the way from Seattle, or if Frodo had died in Mordor and Gollum survived, or if Leonardo had died by sinking into the freezing ocean at the end of Titanic. What? That actually happened? Sorry, I was asleep.

What Hollywood is trying to say with its typical storyline is that everything will be OK in the end. It's a sentiment that doesn't hold much water when heard alongside Hollywood's other life maxims: If you inflate your lips to resemble a defeated boxer you will be beautiful; egg white omelettes are delicious; Lindsay Lohan is 'important'.

And too often we see that things, in fact, aren't always OK in the end. Life is more like a French film; it starts perplexingly and ends just as perplexingly, with some perplexing bits in the middle. But this year, it looks as though we might have the Hollywood ending we so deserve to the grim documentary that was the credit crunch.

In this month's money column, David Mayfield sees further evidence that the corner has been turned to economic recovery, but warns us not to get the champagne out just yet. In our music section, we direct you to South Africa's five best rock bands and learn the life-changing potential of olive oil and tea sets.

His recent Nobel Peace Prize only made clearer what was already decided by approximately 03 January: Barack Obama is 2010's hero. To make our happy ending even happier, we look back at some of his best moments and nod our heads vigorously at his shiniest pearls of wisdom. Elsewhere, we ride up Table Mountain on a battery powered bike.

The November edition will be our last for 2009, because with any luck you will all be very far from your computer screens come early December and concerning yourself with far more important things than work. Beach bats, for example. Happy holidays.

Matthew Freemantle


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