Branko Brkic is not a whacky guy. He's quirky and a dark horse. This selfappointed guardian of good reading is something of a renaissance man, having dabbled in classical music, astrophysics and a spot of goalkeeping.
He is such a devoted reader that he started Maverick, with his friend Phillip de Wet, because no local magazine held their interest. Branko wanted something informed, honest and well crafted. All of this in an age where mergers and acquisitions, and affiliate networks have bound loose cannons everywhere.
We hit him with a zillion questions,but his Kevlar armour stopped us short.
Branko is a gaunt sentinel standing at the gate of the higher mind. Around him swirls a pall of existential grey, generally the cloak of the Eastern bloc intellectual. Unusually, he has no glass of straight spirit or full ashtray in front of him. His eyes are not bloodshot from hangovers and harangues.
He likes his nihilism clinical, undiluted and crystal clear. It is evident that Maverick is not just a magazine, but a stand against the average.
What is your title?
Editor and publisher of Maverick magazine.
Brkic, as an editor, shouldn't you be open to using the odd vowel?
Well, "r" is a temporary vowel in Serbian.
Would you ever take a vowel of silence?
I would rather die.
What do you do every day?
Would you describe yourself as a risk taker?
It's my life. One huge unadulterated risk, whatever that means.
How do you measure success?
The measurement in business is the bottom line, but I don't agree that everything is about profit. In our industry, we have the responsibility of guardians of our society. The public puts their trust in our hands.
Do you feel you are successful?
Depends on the day. It's a roller coaster ride.
Is laughter the best medicine?
I prefer Myprodol.
What is your view on crime?
It's an issue of skills. Raise the skills in the whole country and we will be able to deal with crime.
Is R1 million a lot of money?
Depends who you ask.
How does one cheat on one's taxes?
I actually don't know.
Who's the funniest person you know?
Ken Finkleman. Thabo Mbeki also ranks highly.
What is the first thing you think of when you wake up?
That's a depressing question.
Is bipolar disorder necessary to be an editor?
I think it helps.
Can you tell us what the smallest particle in the world is?
"Richon" as it is known in Serbian, which is smaller than a quark.
Why is it that Westlife sells so many albums?
Who is Westlife?
Are you a maverick?
Are we mavericks?
You pretend to be. Very well, I might add.
Can you suggest any other magazines we should read?
Vanity Fair. Fortune. Top Gear.
Hey, do you think we are big magazine readers or something?
I hope so for your sake.
Do you think the world needs all these magazines?
The world needs all the good magazines it can get; 95 percent are rubbish.
Are you going to go bankrupt any time soon?
I hope not.
What does a Maverick do for fun?
Learn. I am a data hog. I love hiking and travelling.
How do you feel about a bonus question?
I hate bonus questions. This reminds me of that Seinfeld show.
What does the future hold for us?
I am the wrong guy to ask. I think the next president of America is going to be more into debating than into military action.
Did you eat your veggies as a kid?
No, and feeling the consequences.
Can you tell the difference between a proton and a crouton?
Protons never fill you up.
Has science failed us?
Yes and no. It provided us with breakthroughs, but our minds are left behind. We are like a bunch of kids playing with very big guns. Science is growing up, but we are not.
What is your view on kissing ass?
I am a maverick.
Would you let either of us date your daughter?
My daughter is seven years old and I have a huge shotgun.
Is imagination more important than knowledge?
Is global warming starting to irritate you?
It's a good way to make money.
When is the last time you went to the movies?
About three months ago.
Remember the Village People?
Yup, they were phenomenal.
How now brown cow?
Do you know how to make a small fortune in the entertainment business?
You start with a big one.
How is that George W Bush cat?
Don't get me started. In the next issue of Maverick, I start a countdown.
If Bill Clinton can mess around, then shouldn't the rest of us?
Good question. I wish Bush was messing around instead of messing with Iraq.
Is making a difference just a nice bumper sticker phrase?
It's useful but overused. Reminds me of words like "challenge". I refer to the word "challenge" as a swear word, same as "MBA".
What's your problem with Camry drivers anyway?
Oy, let's put it this way. I don't make colour magazines for grey people in grey suits in grey cubicles driving grey cars.