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issue 34 / autumn 2014
my life, my coffee
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1 al pit r t ca fo ig n at d es se 04 my life 08 w t- r o fron
This issue we’re feeling a bit nostalgic, so go put on your records; go ahead, let your hair down…
WE PLAY WORD GAMES WITH OUR COVER DESIGNERS FROM THE MARK STUDIO (NEITHER OF WHOM IS NAMED MARK, BY THE WAY). FREDRICK PEENS AND CRAIG KEOWN TAKE THE FLOOR... Tells us two truths and one lie: We enjoy a good beer. Dogs are better than cats. The client is always right. So what can you tell us about your approach to design: If we’re not having fun, it’s not worth doing. There is no such thing as a... Bad brief. Every single piece of work should be given the attention it deserves. Whether a client buys it or not doesn’t matter, as long as the output delivers reward and it’s a job well done. (And the world is without one more piece of average design!) As a design team, you will never... Stop admiring great design. The first time you knew you were going to go into design? Fred: When I found a stack of old Graphis magazines in our town library. Craig: While visiting our next-door neighbour’s marketing
agency. And the last time you regretted going into design? The day PowerPoint was launched. You would rather... Get between a lioness and her cubs than compromise on the design we live by. Fortunately... We’ve been able to work on some amazing projects with clients that trust us. Unfortunately... Sometimes, clients require some convincing that they need to trust us. Fill in the blank: Cape Town being chosen as the Design Capital for 2014 is huge because... All eyes are on us to produce a high standard of work. Considering some of the work done in Helsinki, we’re really excited to see what can come from it. Find more of their work at themarkwebsite. co.za or at facebook.com/themarkprofile
editorial director susan newham-blake | editor delené van der lugt: firstname.lastname@example.org | designer aqeela sasman | copy editor wendy maritz advertising enquiries bronwyn mccafferty: email@example.com, 082 770 0463; grant van willingh: firstname.lastname@example.org, +27 (0)21 488 5959 vida e caffè grant, lloyd, papa, paul and andrea www.vidaecaffe.com
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The Publishing Partnership (Pty) Ltd. Executive Directors: Mark Beare and John Morkel. Advertising enquiries: Bronwyn McCafferty(email@example.com or 082 770 0463); Grant van Willingh (firstname.lastname@example.org or 021 488 5959). Editorial address: PO Box 15054, Vlaeberg 8018, +27 21 424 3517, www.tppsa.co.za. Copyright: The Publishing Partnership (Pty) Ltd 2014. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited without prior permission of the editor. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of vida e caffè, the editorial director, the publisher or the agents. Although every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of its contents, the information published is for information purposes only and cannot be relied on as the opinion of an expert. vida e caffè, the publisher or the editor cannot be held responsible for any omission or errors or any misfortune, injury or damages that may arise therefrom.
SILOS ARE GOLDEN You’d be forgiven for thinking that the only tenant an abandoned old silo could attract would be the proverbial church mouse. But for those at the cutting edge of upcycled living spaces, they’re an opportunity for beautiful, even awe-inspiring, transformation. There are three types of silos in widespread use today – tower silos, bunker silos and bag silos – and as urbanisation continues, more and more of them are going unused. South Africa’s first silo conversion came in the form of the sixstorey Biscuit Mill in Cape Town. Joburg’s first 40-metre building, The Mill Junction, was completed earlier this year, and consists of five silos, topped with four floors of colourful shipping containers and houses 375 apartment units. Next on the list for an upgrade is the Grain Silo in the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. After her extensive facelift, this grand old lady will house the largest collection of African contemporary art across 9 500m2 of space. We hugged ourselves with glee when Thomas Heatherwick was announced as the architect tasked with the design of what will be known as the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art. Just in case you’d like to impress at a dinner party with this information, be sure to mention Heatherwick also designed the new red London buses and the Olympic cauldron for the 2012 Olympic Games.
BANG BANG! Boost your day with the #vidabullet: a double shot of espresso with a dash of coconut oil, a 3/4 cup of steamed milk and a cap of foam. Available at selected stores in Cape Town, Johannesburg and KwaZulu-Natal.
TEQUILA TIME Fancy a timeless tipple to sip at sunset? It doesn’t get more Don and Betty Draper than a Gimlet or Rickey. We just prefer ours with a little sting in the tail using a premium 100% Agave Tequila. Tequila Gimlet: 60ml el Jimador tequila, 30ml lemon juice and 7ml lime juice.Tequila Rickey: 30ml el Jimador tequila, juice of 1 lime wedge, club soda to top up, and salt and fresh lime juice for the rim. Available at retailers from R159.
CAPERS FOR CRUSADERS Wouldn’t it be super fun to have just one day where good triumphs over evil, all damsels in distress are saved and you could wear your undies over your trousers without being judged? Well pencil in 3 May 2014, which is Free Comic Book Day. What is FCBD? Well, it’s held on the first Saturday in May each year – when participating comic-book shops around the world give away at least one comic book to anyone in-store. So to the bat pole, Robin, and get thee to Readers Den in Claremont, Cape Town, Comic Corner in Melville, or Cosmic Comics in Northcliff, and enjoy a shazamtastic day of free comics, specials and cosplay!
DO CYCLISTS DREAM OF ELECTRIC BIKES? You can hear purists and Argus Tour veterans choking on their coffees. But hey, we don’t all have the masochist gene required for endurance sports. So forgive lesser mortals for being excited about a revamp of the electric bicycle. Imaginative designers and city planners have made, erm, assisted-cycling an option again with lightweight designs and batteries that charge in under three hours, giving you 60 to 100 kilometres of pedal power without the perspiration. China has 120 million plus electric bikes; they’re the fastest-selling two-wheelers in pedalmad Netherlands; and the US has more than 900 retailers catering for the nation. Have a look at www.pedego.co.za for electric recreation. If it offends the purist in you, there’s always the compact eco-friendly foldable bicycle. There are road bikes, regular commuting models and leisure wheels, all so light and compact that you can take them onto the Gautrain or Cape Town’s BRT buses without cramping your style or annoying other passengers. See it unfold at www.dahonbikes.co.za.
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DEFYING CONVENTION In 1994 a group of skateboarders developed a viewpoint that was nearly unheard of at the time – that skate shoes should be designed with skateboarder’s needs in mind. The spark of innovation caught fire and led to a revolution in skateboard footwear and apparel we now know as DC Shoes. Fast forward to 2014 and Ken Block, Damon Way and the DC crew are celebrating ‘20 Years Of Progression’. To celebrate, they’ve launched an anniversary edition of the iconic Lynx Skate Shoe.
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Oranjezicht City Farm
Local girl-about-town Zanele Kumalo shares some insider info on how to get in on the best World Design Capital action
all about design this year and we’ve been painting Cape Town yellow, Pantone 109 C to be exact – the official colour of the World Design Capital 2014 (WDC 2014). Being named the WDC 2014 has given the Mother City license to do more than just bat her eyelashes to welcome visitors from around the world. Besides making the city look prettier for our amusement, the WDC 2014 is all about promoting projects that show how design can improve our lives in a uniquely South African way. So while I’m going to share which chic market you can sip your fresh beetroot and pear juice at, and where to spend your evenings in the City Bowl and beyond, more important is how it all forms part of the city’s development and creates Ubuntu between residents. Taking it all in with a local vino won’t hurt though.
The Oranjezicht City Farm, a neglected bowling green that was converted into a working farm with the help of NGO Straatwerk. The farm empowers the vagrants that once used to squat there – along with other homeless adults – by teaching them skills and providing jobs. After you’ve harvested your greens or plucked your herbs with the help of Cecil Rossouw (one of the farmers who will show you where the best pickings are), seek out the shade of a large oak and enjoy artisanal specialties at the market. OZCF Market Day: every Saturday 9am-2pm (all weather); guided selfharvest: Wednesdays 4pm-6pm and Saturdays 9am-12 noon (weather permitting). www.ozcf.co.za
Take in an exhibition on First Thursdays at the Black Box Gallery
Wine and bubbly from the surrounding Western Cape wine pockets served at various eateries, galleries, museums and craft stores in and around Bree and Church Street on First Thursdays (the first Thursday of every month). Wander in and out of shops that are open until late, new stores that pop up just for the occasion, and art spaces that showcase exciting work by creatives ranging from ceramicists and artists to musicians. Invite that neighbour (yes, that as yet nameless one you always nod to in your block) and take back the city together. www.first-thursdays.co.za
Local art at the Maboneng Township Arts Experience in Gugulethu; a public festival (coming in November, www.maboneng.com) that will turn residents’ homes into gallery spaces. You can get there with Coffeebeans Routes, which also offers day tours (all year round) to film screenings, theatre and live music in places not immediately associated with design experiences and opportunities. (Check website for details of the tours on offer.) www. coffeebeansroutes.com.
Tapas-style bites washed down with a Chenin Blanc slush puppy at the Spier Secret Courtyard. When arriving at 64A Wale Street, you wouldn’t think that inside you’ll find an ancient-looking alfresco square with tiled floors and design elements conceptualised by invited artists. Enjoy themed secret pop-up dinners on Thursdays, live music on Fridays, movies on Saturdays – but it only runs until the end of April. www.spiersecret.co.za
Another culinary highlight, is the Good Food & Wine Show that runs from 29 May to 1 June. Unleash your inner foodie with South Africa’s best food trucks, wine tasting tours and celebrity chef demonstrations all under one roof. Chefs who’ll be strutting their stuff include Gennaro Contaldo and Carlo Cracco. We’ll bet you a bucket of gourmet popcorn that the Drive-in Dining Area, complete with topless VW vans and a big screen may stop you in your tracks – for a bit. www.goodfoodandwineshow.co.za Dine at the drive-in at GFWS 2014
Spier Secret Courtyard
All the bottles, containers and packaging from the goodies you enjoyed at, for example, the Secret Courtyard. A Western Cape cooperative will be taking our junk and upcycling it all year round; the Too Good To Waste project aims to turn the refuse into design items to reduce the burden on landfills and make us more aware of our consumption habits. During the year, manufacturers will also be climbing on board by sharing their waste materials with design students to use to experiment with and create valuable prototypes for the Ex-Sample Waste Showcase. www.toogoodtowaste.co.za
101 GOOD IDEAS: Celebrating 20 Years of Democracy (Umuzi R350), penned by Ashraf Jamal and published by Brendon Bell-Roberts. Jamal teaches Film and Media at Cape Peninsula University of Technology and is the editor of Art South Africa, and Bell-Roberts serves as the cofounder of the Sustain our Africa summit, festival and expo. It’s too heavy to carry around with you as a city guide, but flip through it to see just how innovation and creativity have already transformed Cape Town and the rest of the country.
Bucket stools by Pedersen + Lennard
Zanele Kumalo is the features editor of a local women’s glossy so part of her job involves eavesdropping on conversations at lunch tables. It’s the best way to get story ideas. She never leaves home without a pen in her bag as she can’t type as fast as she can scribble. nine
FAMOUS FOR: Being the first truly ‘new South African’ TV talk-show host Before we’d even heard of Oprah, we had Felicia. If there was an issue that needed airing, she was on it. Comedians told Felicia jokes, ultimate proof of cultural relevance. If we’d had Twitter back in the 1990s, Felicia would have trended every week. Today she co-owns an executive training company based in Atlanta, Georgia, and hosts Conversations with Felicia on The Africa Channel in the US.
FAMOUS FOR: The ‘Yebo Gogo’ man It took an ad for a new-fangled gizmo called a cellphone to make this distinguished academic and author’s broad smile instantly recognisable. Even after the 1994 elections, an ad showing a likeable black character outsmarting a white buffoon was a major step. The pair tracked South African history for the rest of the decade until they were replaced by a meerkat. Professor Omotoso now lives in Akure, Nigeria.
FAMOUS FOR: Being a 5FM DJ A very popular DJ during the 1990s, Tich Mataz blazed a trail in postapartheid South Africa. Real name Tichafa Matambanadzo, Mataz returned to Zimbabwe to work as Star FM’s programmes manager. Recently he was in the news after being accused of swindling Star FM out of $125 000. Some Zimbabweans still accuse him of shortening his name to make it sound Zulu.
FAMOUS FOR: Holey green underpants The most famous, most glamorous reporter of her time. If print was king, she was the undisputed queen. Every Sunday, we devoured her latest exposé – especially her report on Eugene Terre’ Blanche and his infamous ‘blowtorchblue’ eyes. After a controversial stint as a talk-show host, Allan emigrated to the US in 2001. She now lives in New Jersey, where she has worked as a waitress for the past 11 years.
FAMOUS FOR: Saying yes. A lot. And fist pumping In the late ’90s, former ad man Mike Lipkin was the one who motivated us with his story of moving to Toronto, overcoming depression and learning to be positive. Mike is still saying yes, but he’s doing it in the US. Still a motivational speaker, his website shows him shaking hands with Bill Clinton. South Africans will be relieved to know that he hasn’t lost his Joburg accent.
ILLUSTRATIONS: DAV ANDREW
Have you ever heard the name of someone you thought you’d forgotten and thought, ‘Hey! What happened to them?’ Sarah Britten set out in search of some of the celebs we used to love – and loved to hate – to find out what they’re up to now.
FAMOUS FOR: Being Miss South Africa In a decade when everything was bigger, especially the hair, Michelle Bruce was a star. Not only did she have a dalliance with Tony Leon, she also advertised condoms at a time when official culture was still verkramp. Known today by her married name, Mountain, Michelle is the founder and owner of Strawberry International, which imports natural make-up and beauty products.
Clean-lined furnishings, pops of colour, tons of texture and Don Draperish threads – what’s not to love about mid-century modern inspiration? Photos: Sean Calitz Stylist: Ingrid Corbett
BALL CHAIR (1963)
Ah, those wacky Finns. Designed in the ’60s by Eero Aarnio, the retro modern ball chair, also known as the globe chair, still looks like something out of the future! Before it, fibreglass was simply not funky. The chair sums up the minimalist mindset – less is more – which is key when incorporating any retro furniture into your living space. Ball Chair in vintage chrome and black leather R24 995, Weylandts; Morris jeans R2 299, G-Star Raw; Floral-print cotton shirt, R680, bluecollarwhitecollar; Black leather patch sneakers R1 399, Dune; Camel canvas satchel R780, Adrian Kuiters; Vintage Scandi side table R800, Midcentury Modern; Black Pedersen + Lennard single hook (large) R175, Quirky.Me
PLASTIC SHELL ROCKING CHAIR (1948)
You’d be hard-pressed to find a cooler couple than the Eames. Charles and his wife, Ray, made wooden splints and stretchers for the army during World War II. After that, they got stuck into their famous plywood chair designs, followed by furniture in fibreglass, plastic and aluminium. Their mission statement: ‘Get the most of the best to the greatest number of people for the least.’
Replica Eames rocker, R904, Chair Crazy; Irina blouse R499, Jenni Button; Jacquard skirt R829, Top Shop; White mesh lace-up shoe R999, Jessica Simpson at Edgars; Danish double-cage glass pendant light R2 800, Midcentury Modern; White Scandi side table (50cm) R859, @homelivingspace; White Pedersen + Lennard single hook (large) R175, Quirky.Me
EGG CHAIR (1957)
Designers of the era relied heavily on angles to achieve a modern look, but they often softened the sharpness by incorporating organic shapes. The great Dane of 1960â€™s design and architecture, Arne Jacobsen, took inspiration from organic shapes like the humble egg. Originally designed for use in Copenhagenâ€™s Royal Hotel, the egg chair offered the user a bit of privacy in a public place.
Replica egg chair R6 499, @homelivingspace; Apricot and black heel R1 199 and Darrel quilted handbag R999, both Dune; Leather lace-up ankle boot R1 699, Aldo; Patterned knit wool scarf R449, Country Road; Round oak Muuto Dot Hook (medium) R480, Entrepo; G-Plan nested table (set of three) R3 550, Vamp; Copper light R5 800, Midcentury Modern STOCKISTS: @homelivingspace 021 938 1911; Adrian Kuiters 021 424 5502; Aldo 011 884 4141, 021 5553594; bluecollarwhitecollar 011 024 1380, 021 426 1921; Chair Crazy 011 483 2225, 021 465 9991; Country Road 011 290 2500, 021 4054300; Dune 011 685 7055, 021 529 1970; Edgars 021 529 1900; Entrepo 087 802 6380 (JHB), 087 802 5358; G-Star Raw 011 784 0321, 021 555 1176; Jenni Button 011 783 3209, 021 552 8844; Midcentury Modern 078 343 3359; Quirky.Me 079 223 3203; Top Shop 011 685 7070, 021 529 1900; Vamp 021 448 2755; Weylandts 011 262 4747, 021 425 5282
Vinyl is returning, spearheaded by a doublepronged interest from collectors on the one hand and hipsters on the other. Evan Milton takes a look at what’s behind the vinyl revolution
Needle in the groove. B-side. Singles and EPs. A hit record. All terms from music’s past: the era of gramophones and record players with their single-song seven-inch formats, and the larger 12-inch extended play releases. But vinyl is no longer a nostalgic memory from a bygone era. It is back. Stephen ‘Sugar’ Segerman, best known as the man who helped find 1970s folk icon Rodriguez, owns Mabu Vinyl, the record shop you see in the cult documentary Searching For Sugarman. ‘During the fallow period after CDs took over in the late ’90s and 2000s, vinyl was kept going at Mabu Vinyl by the dance stuff – mainly house – that DJs bought to play live,’ Stephen says. ‘But it wasn’t just about the actual records;
For a young person to buy and play a record is an amazing thing
dance DJs also kept an interest in turntablism alive. Then they started using CDJs to play live and taking tracks off the web. But at the time (a few years ago), we had people asking about old pop, rock, soul and jazz vinyl records. They were buying second-hand – there was no new vinyl then – and we saw it appealing to two generations. There was the older crowd who grew up with vinyl records, and younger okes across the spectrum – white hipsters with beards, trendy black kids, the hip-hop crowd – all coming in looking for classics.’ There are a number of factors driving the resurgence of vinyl, says Benjy Mudie, founder of Vinyl Junkie, presenter of 702 and CapeTalk’s ‘Solid Gold Jukebox’ and long-standing South African record-industry insider. ‘As the music industry changes, groups like Band of Horses and Arcade Fire are going back to independently funded and recorded albums. They’re using analogue recording gear – vintage microphones and amplifiers – to capture the essence of the independent
rock of the ’70s. That just lends itself to being played on vinyl. Also, there’s no character to a digital download, nothing tangible that differentiates it. And when I ask the young people who buy vinyl from me why they do, they say it’s partly for the complete listening experience. Then, you also get vinyl as a commodity – an extremely collectable retro artefact.’ Apart from the resonance and timbre that vinyl playback offers – and the delight of not hearing the metallic and sibilant ‘s’ sounds that many CD systems suffer from – there’s something more to music when it’s enjoyed with the tactile reality of a vinyl record. ‘Why vinyl?’ asks Kenneth ‘DJ Kenzhero’ Nzama, Soweto-born founder of Party People events and radio show. ‘It has a real sense of touch.’ It smells like art and care, rather than the product of an assembly line. It has text that’s big enough to read and pictures
If you have R10 000 to spend, you will get a very nice system that will last not for years, but decades.’ The mystique of vinyl is such that collectors will go to great lengths to hunt down a particular album – even one they own already on CD or in a digital format. Why? ‘It’s such a different experience,’ says Sugar, ‘I know exactly what it is, but there’s no way I can put it into words.’ Is the vinyl resurgence a passing fad? I don’t think so,’ says Benjy. Will the sales go back to what they were before CDs? ‘Definitely not. But vinyl is back, and it’s here to stay, because it offers a full, rich experience in ways that CDs and downloads never can.’ Consider South Africa’s ‘Soweto rock rebels’ the BLK JKS who released their seminal album After Robots on vinyl. It was snapped up in weeks in the US, with only a few copies brought into South Africa. Or Cape Town psychobilly stalwarts Them Tornados, who had their seven-track album pressed to vinyl in Eastern Europe. Pretoria-based alternative duo Make-Overs are about to release their seventh album and don’t ever make CDs. It’s all vinyl, and of their most recent record, The Devil’s In The Detail, they only pressed 300 copies. The precious black circles (or red in the case of the Make-Overs) stand upright, are handled with great care and only ever played with a new needle. I own them, and you don’t. Welcome to vinyl, welcome to the chase. Mabu Vinyl and Vinyl Junkie are on Facebook. Benjy Mudie’s ‘Solid Gold Jukebox’ is on 702 and CapeTalk on Saturdays at 9pm. Visit Mabu Vinyl at 2 Rheede Street, Cape Town or phone (021) 423-7635. Serious collectors should ask about their ‘Blue Trommel’ archives. Look & Listen also stocks a good range of new and classic Vinyl. Make-Overs, Them Tornadoes and BLK JKS can also be found online, where you might be able to order your own copies. But probably not.
Belt drive or direct drive? DJs need direct because they can be turned backwards, but audiophiles swear by belt. It soaks up motor noise and vibrations so they don’t get to your platter. A light base can produce better sound, but get something heavier for a bouncy floor or your stylus might do the hop, skip and jump. If you want a digital back-up of your records, look at models with a USB port. For rock-steady hands a manual tone-arm is fine. Otherwise, get a player that drops and lifts the needle automatically.
KING CRIMSON COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING ‘It’s one of the scariest images. Forty years later, it still inspires a sense of wondrous fear’ (BM)
TALKING HEADS MORE SONGS ABOUT BUILDINGS AND FOOD ‘Yes, those are individual Polaroid photographs.’ (SS)
Crosley CR8005A Cruiser Want radical retro? This portable beauty is built into a classic little suitcase box that’s pure ’50s. It has built-in stereo speakers and three speeds, so it can spin your singles and 78s as well. From R1 999 at Incredible Connection or Musica.
IIMAGES: DELENE VAN DE LUGT, SUPPLIED AND SHUTTERSTOCK
big enough to look at. Often, it has pull-out liner notes or more artwork. Modern vinyl releases are also not a Luddite affair – they will often include codes that unlock extra material online, like custom videos, interviews with the band and additional rare versions. ‘Why is vinyl cool?’ says Anton Marshall, founder of One Music City and contributing editor for Rolling Stone SA, ‘It’s less automated; there’s some physical action every 20 or so minutes in order to advance the experience. Flip the record, change it altogether. You are invested.’ There are two schools of thought on what’s needed to play vinyl. ‘You get these cheap Ion USB and Quick Play turntables with their own preamps and people can play vinyl through their DVD set-up or computer,’ says Sugar. ‘A young person buying and playing a record is an amazing thing. They’ll come in looking for The Doors or Led Zeppelin and they want the records, not CDs. Shops like Musica are selling The Beatles and The Rolling Stones albums. A generation, which has grown up being able to get any music instantly just by doing a digital search, discovers that there’s something more – the fun of the search and the chase, and of owning something you can hold in your hand.’ The more serious listener, or someone serious about protecting the precious grooves on their vinyl from the inevitable ravages of friction caused by a diamond stylus, may need to spend a bit more. ‘If you’re serious about taking care of your vinyl, forget about these things sold in music shops that are complete music systems, or convert vinyl and cassettes to USB – they look faddish and they sound faddish,’ says Benjy. ‘Fortunately, South Africa is awash with old record players. You can get a Thoren or a Rega reconditioned for about R5 000, with a good cartridge. That’s the all-important part of a record player that converts the grooves on the record into vibrations that get amplified as sound. A nice set of speakers like Boston Acoustics would be another R3 000 to R4 000, and if you hunt around for a good amp you tend to find them.
The Judges: Evan Milton (EM), Stephen ‘Sugar’ Segerman (SS), Benjy Mudie (BM)
IIMAGES: DELENE VAN DE LUGT, SUPPLIED AND SHUTTERSTOCK
THE ROLLING STONES EXILE ON MAIN STREET ‘All those small photographs on a big cover: brilliant.’ (SS)
PINK FLOYD ANIMALS ‘A real inflatable giant pig, really flying above Battersea Power Station, and photographed. My copy signed by vinyl album art genius Storm Thorgerson, is one of my most prized possessions.’ (EM)
THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE AXIS: BOLDER THAN LOVE ‘The cover art adds to the experience of the sound, and evokes the spirit of the times and the music.’(BM)
MIRIAM MAKEBA MAMA AFRICA – THE VERY BEST OF MIRIAM MAKEBA ‘So classy; so simple. Timeless.’ (EM)
Rega RP3 Rega is a good name to drop when you’re surrounded by audiophiles. There’s some smart tech behind the tone-arm, while the light base and stylish design make it sound and look like top of the range. From R9 490, Audio Vision.
THE BEATLES ABBEY ROAD ‘I’ve got it sitting across from my desk.’ (SS)
DOLLAR BRAND MANNENBERG - ‘IS WHERE IT’S HAPPENING’ ‘It says where the music is from, but also so much more..’ (SS)
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Phono USB This comes from a legendary line of turntables that was introduced in the late ’90’s. This one has the USB port you might want. Pick from seven highgloss colours. Cool. From R10 399, www.ultrasound.co.za twenty-one
Chisanga Mukuka takes us on a recce through the cultural minefield of being an expat
are, for the most part, still determined to raise you as if you’d never left, lest you do, say or wear something ‘embarrassing’ on the rare visit home. So forget those shorts that Seventeen is raving about (and anything else that flaunts your knees for that matter), those pre-teen slumber parties and definitely the co-ed school dances. Ditto for friends of the opposite sex. You may have embraced the concept of platonic friendships but, for your parents, this is and will continue to be a major culture shock. All this is a bit awkward to explain to your friends at first, but soon enough they get used to the strange customs that govern your household. A bit of leniency is possible, but as with all things in life this doesn’t come easily and has to be worked for – a fact drilled into you from the moment your passport is stamped. Good grades can be exchanged for weeklong field trips, iPods and time spent with those friends that your parents don’t particularly approve of. All is possible, and plenty can be forgiven if you’re willing to live the almost hermit-like life of an overachiever; doing so indicates to your parents that you’re actually making the most of the opportunities that they created by leaving everything and everyone they know. In the end, this really is what it’s all about. Most expat parents essentially give up all that is familiar to them in order to open doors for their offspring that would otherwise not even exist. As you get older, you realise that what you sometimes perceived as extreme parenting was actually just your folks trying to retain some connection to a place they never stopped belonging to, but which to you grew increasingly foreign. You accept your role as mediator between them and their adopted country, become comfortable with your ambiguous place in the world and start to appreciate the unique outlook that comes from living between worlds and cultures.
Most expat parents essentially give up all that is familiar to them in order to open doors for their offspring
IIMAGE: SUPPLIED AND SHUTTERSTOCK
eing born in one country and spending most of your life bouncing between a few others can lead to a bit of a personal crisis. You’re caught in a tangle of languages, customs and cultures from which you attempt to construct some kind of identity. You’re also brought up in a home that is a cultural fort of sorts, where the rules often contrast with those of your surroundings. Growing up becomes a curious struggle to bridge the two worlds, one that ends with setting up your own culturally dubious safehouse. But, as confusing as it can be, growing up as an expat kid does make for a fascinating experience. Firstly, there are the multiple language barriers. While some pick up their native language before they’re extracted, others leave the motherland while the language isn’t yet fully formed. The resulting situation is one where you’re taught English at school; the playground is home to a new language spoken by your peers; and at home your parents speak your native tongue only to each other because, hey, you’re in a foreign country so you might as well be fluent in a lingua franca. In the end, your first, and often only, language is English, peppered with various vernacular terms and exclamations that you’ve adopted from your peers. This can be both funny – and problematic to explain – if you’re black and have lived in Africa your entire life. Then there’s the parenting, which isn’t exactly battle hymn of the tiger mom (and dad), but comes very close. ‘When in Rome’ doesn’t quite apply, as your parents
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South African speculative fiction is on the rise, courtesy of a new generation of writers who craftily explore social issues, while entertaining readers with tales of zombies, time travellers and things that go bump in the night. By Mandy J Watson hile international filmgoers were entranced by aliens and spaceships in District 9’s reimagined South Africa, we were faced with the uncomfortable truth that what was really being depicted was a clever reinterpretation of a massive issue that plagues our society: xenophobia. That’s what’s so enthralling to fans of speculative fiction (the umbrella term for fantasy, science fiction and horror) – the stories can be escapist and fantastical, or they can use a metaphor to explore humanity. The possibilities are endless and often highly imaginative. In South Africa speculative fiction has a long history, with authors such as JM Coetzee, Eben Venter, Karel Schoeman, and Nadine Gordimer publishing work long before the genre became popular here. Now, spurred on by successes such as District 9 and author Lauren Beukes’s award-winning Zoo City, local speculative fiction, whether represented by films, novels, or comics, is gaining in popularity. But how should we define it? What is South African speculative fiction? ‘I think we’re still figuring out what South African speculative fiction means as both writers and readers,’ says Charlie Human, whose debut novel Apocalypse Now Now (a very
South African title) is set in Cape Town and features a frenetic mash-up of myths and marvels that includes zombies, magic and tokoloshes. ‘For me it’s writing that reflects something of the South African experience, or at least a South African experience, be it in tone, style or content.’ Fantasy and horror author Nerine Dorman, who organises the ‘Bloody Parchment’ literary night at The Book Lounge in Cape Town each Halloween, looks to the author first and worries about content, plot and language later. ‘I’d say that, as creatives, we are informed by our heritage and environment. A South African writer currently living in India and writing about a futuristic world in another solar system would still be a South African writer,’ she says. Diorgo Jonkers, who writes for and publishes the comic anthologies GEP and GEP Pulp, believes that it is ‘any speculative fiction created in SA’. Even though he frequently collaborates with international artists, he believes that the work is still South African, although ‘some may be referred to as semi-SA or international if they were, say, written and published in SA while the art is created by an overseas artist’. ‘It does get a bit tricky when it’s someone who’s not necessarily African writing about South Africa,’ Nerine adds. Comics writer Moray Rhoda has a similar opinion. ‘It might sound simplistic at face value,’ he says, ‘but I feel that identifying the work as South African has little to do with place, background, time or setting, and that the writer being South African is what defines the work as such, whether the story is set in Soekmekaar or on Mars.’ Moray, who co-publishes the comics anthology Velocity, which exclusively features work by artists and writers in Southern Africa and Australia/New Zealand, does concede that some people, by virtue of having lived here long enough to have been ‘assimilated’ into our culture even if they weren’t born here, can also be considered South African speculative-fiction writers. A perfect example is Sarah Lotz, who grew up in the UK. Sarah collaborates with her daughter, Savannah, on a series
of zombie novels for young adults and with author Louis Greenberg on a horror series. ‘I consider myself a South African writer – I set most of my books here and have lived here for longer than anywhere else,’ says Sarah, whose new novel, The Three, will be out in May. ‘The definition of South African speculative fiction could encompass all sorts of elements, including the author’s heritage, the content, the plot and the language. It’s definitely on the rise, as is other genre fiction, partly because writers, such as the fabulous Ms Beukes, have shown that ‘spec fic’ can tackle social issues in a multitude of exciting, fun and genre-bending ways. It’s also hitting the South African mainstream and being published and reviewed here. It’s being taken seriously in schools and universities, where countless students are now writing theses on it.’ ‘As much as we can define anything, I think there are two distinctions here: South African speculative fiction about South Africa, and speculative fiction written by South Africans not necessarily set here,’ says Lauren Beukes. ‘What makes it all South African is the perspective, and even the most raucous and wonderfully crazy stuff has a social conscience and political undercurrents (such as Charlie
‘My zombie apocalypse strategy is to get bitten first, rise to be queen of the zombies, and pick the survivors off one by one. Brain-munching goodness.’
Human’s zombie strip club frequented by dodgy politicians in Apocalypse Now Now), and I think that’s uniquely South African – we can’t get away from it. You can’t live here and not be aware of social injustice and that becomes at least part of the background of your story.’ That’s why the social injustice in District 9, which manifested via the xenophobia undercurrent, was so appreciated by local audiences and why the movie felt so South African – it wasn’t just because it was set here. As if to illustrate the point, when I asked the writers to imagine a future in which the zombie apocalypse has happened and to consider, in South Africa, where the survivors would regroup and who would be in charge, those very aspects that Lauren highlighted immediately came into play. ‘After the initial wave of undead decimates Cape Town, survivors regroup at the Castle under the leadership of retired supercop Piet Byleveld,’ says Charlie. ‘Piet knows monsters, and he has a hunch about how the virus started, but this is one case he has to solve. For the sake of us all.’ Sarah expects to find the survivors ‘at the Woolworths cake aisle. Led by my nan, probably. She’s terrifying.’ Diorgio, on the other hand, places his bet on the survivors regrouping ‘at one of the SAB breweries, with a corrupt politician in charge’. ‘The survivors (the smart ones) will head twenty-six
for a place such as Robben Island as it’s a well proven fact that zombies can neither swim nor operate boats,’ says Moray. ‘Meanwhile, all the members of the bornfree generation will be gathering at the mall because, let’s face it, they will only see a zombie apocalypse as a fully integrated LARPing [live-action roleplaying] situation, where they get to kill things with impunity. As for who will be in charge – it will be the people with the best weapons and most ammo.’ ‘I’m not particularly interested in the survivors, except for cutting them off from weapons supplies,’ says Lauren. ‘My zombie apocalypse strategy is to get bitten first, rise to be queen of the zombies, and pick the survivors off one by one. Brainmunching goodness.’ ‘I reckon we’ll see some hardcore game ranger take charge,’ says Nerine, ‘and a game reserve or national park with good fencing will make a fantastic refuge for survivors. Okay, now you have my story seed sprouting...’. That story seed, and the endless possibilities that our complicated, fascinating society offers, is exactly why South African speculative fiction – however you choose to define it – is now on the rise. If zombies do attack, feel free to join Mandy in the safety of Nkandla. She’ll be on a Lilo in the fire pool after the tuckshop provisions run out.
ILLUSTRATIONS: THEY DID THIS ILLUSTRATION & DESIGN
‘After the initial wave of undead decimates Cape Town, survivors regroup at the Castle under the leadership of retired supercop Piet Byleveld’
Unless you’re a professional explorer or scientist with the tenacity of a leopard seal, Pieter van der Lugt reckons you probably haven’t been here or done this.
magine a holiday in the middle of the coldest continent on the planet – you can soak up the sun at a summer high of -5°C, relax in the great white outdoors, or go all Bear Grylls and abseil from ice cliffs, or take lessons in technical mountaineering or kite-skiing. The milder options include visiting an emperor penguin colony or exploring ice caves. Home base is Camp Whichaway, situated on a 50-metre cliff. No shivering in mummy sleeping bags or melting snow for drinking water here – instead you’ll find luxurious tents and snug fibreglass pods. The adventure awaits after a five-and-a-half-hour flight from Cape Town in an Illyushin 76 jet. Could this be real? We checked with Simon Richman of White Desert about a holiday that seems equal parts eco, extreme and extravagant.
How did you get this job? What was on your CV? I used to be a British Army physical-training instructor, and have extensive snow and mountain experience. I was lucky enough to be recommended to join the White Desert team. I also make a great cup of coffee, so that must have swung things my way!
White Desert founder, Patrick Woodhead, said: ‘Only scientists and the odd polar explorer have been able to access the incredible beauty of Antarctica’s interior. We wanted to change all that.’ Who do you get more of – adrenaline junkies or penguin huggers? Good question! I’d say a bit of both, as simply being in the Antarctic gets your adrenaline going. The open vistas and fresh, pure air are invigorating. The outdoor activities, like hiking, cross-country skiing and climbing, are really amazing. In terms of hugging penguins, that’s a ‘No’. Our camp is environmentally friendly and it’s important that we do not impact on the wildlife. Penguins are decidedly tough and hardy. Their beaks are razor sharp, too. The Adélie penguins near the camp walk over 80km over frozen sea ice to get there. That’s super impressive with their little feet.
What are Camp Whichaway’s best features? It is lavishly furnished and has a gorgeous view of a glacier and a frozen lake. Guests are made extremely comfortable in their private en suite pods, and the food is prepared daily by a cordon bleu chef. I’d say the best feature is the staff
(I would say that, wouldn’t I?) – a dynamic and energetic group. We have French Alpine guides and South African staff. They’re superfriendly, knowledgeable and passionate, and relish being able to share their love of Antarctica with the guests.
requested to brave a snowstorm. Guests are equipped with snow boots, which can handle temperatures of -50°C, and other cold-weather gear, and all activities are planned in accordance with conditions.
How many daylight hours do you have to play outside?
There are no insects in Antarctica at all, so you won’t get woken up by mosquitoes, that’s for sure. No car alarms either. The only animals are seals, incredible emperor penguins and skuas. We often get visits from the skuas – basically they are what you’d get if you crossed an eagle with a seagull. They prey on other birds and penguins, as well as scavenge the coast and sea for anything they can find. The only other noise is the wind. On a still evening, it is the quietest place I have ever been to.
penguins are usually very relaxed. The Antarctic treaty is very strict in terms of ensuring that wildlife is not disturbed, so you are not allowed closer than five metres to the little guys in tuxedos. That said, they will happily sit and let you take photos of them.
Are there any night sounds, or just white noise?
The camp is only operational during November, December and January, when the weather is milder and there is more light. The sun stays up all day, so you get 24 hours of light in the summer months. It takes a bit of getting used to – going to bed when the sun is still up.
There aren’t any pics of icicled beards, frost-bitten noses or people flailing about in snowstorms on your website. How tough are the conditions? Antarctica is the coldest, driest and windiest of all the continents, and the weather can be ferocious. We realise that our guests are on holiday, and our aim is to keep them as comfortable and safe as possible. We haven’t yet had a guest who has
About those penguins – how close can you get before they go into fight-or-flight mode? There are no big predators on land aside from leopard seals along the coast, and the skuas don’t readily attack grown penguins, so the
Guests can plan a bespoke holiday with extra thrills. What’s the most challenging special request you’ve dealt with? If you want to fly a hot-air balloon over Antarctica or ski to the South Pole, we can help you. On the last trip, we had a couple who wanted to get married in Antarctica, so they came down for just one day to tie the knot. Making sure the wedding cake was in pristine condition after the flight and the drive to camp was a challenge.
What are the chances of slipping into a crevass and being flattened into a frozen patty? Well, there are crevasses in Antarctica, but we keep guests out of them. All guests are always well briefed about their surroundings. We avoid any chance of the frozen outcome!
Of course. The South Pole trip is one of the unique adventures we offer. This is a once-ina-lifetime opportunity and does come with a big price tag. But if you think that more people have climbed Mount Everest than been to the South Pole, it’s an amazing thing to do.
Any essentials to pack for the trip? There is a very long and extensive clothing list for Antarctica. My New Zealand merino wool icebreaker thermals and T-shirts were an
absolutely brilliant base layer. They keep you warm, but not too hot and they don’t smell. Even after a whole month down there, they came up smelling like roses. Want to sniff?
What would you say to people who call this kind of adventure ‘trophy tourism’? They can call it what they want, but no animals die for a trophy and the only shots taken are with cameras. White Desert is also 100 percent wind and solar powered and we offset all our carbon emissions. We feel that the right kind
of people seeing the last great wilderness will help preserve it for future generations of coffee drinkers. Being this close to nature has inspired a lot of our guests to be more aware of nature closer to home and to be more environmentally responsible in their everyday lives. The White Desert experience: only four eight-day trips from November to January (maximum of 12 guests). Price: 39 400€ for ‘Mountain & Emperors’ and 59 000€ for ‘Emperors & South Pole’ trips. Includes flight from Cape Town. For more info, www.white-desert.com.
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ICE MARATHON What: A classic 42 195km dash in the southernmost marathon on Earth. Where: At the foot of the Ellsworth Mountains. Why: An average wind chill temperature of -20°C and an altitude of 700 metres. How much: The fee of 10 800€ includes flights from Punta Arenas, Chile, to the Union Glacier camp in the Antarctic interior. Brag Factor: You’ll need this to join just over 100 athletes in the Seven Continents Marathon Club. No South African yet. Gear pick: Yaktrax Thermal Insole. It’s dense enough to insulate your foot and won’t pack out. It’s a mix of natural and synthetic fibres that provide extra cushioning on any surface.
SKI TO THE POLE What: A 934km ski inspired by Reinhold Messner’s epic Antarctic crossing. Where: From the edge of the continent to the South Pole. Why: The challenge and the novelty of a seldom-travelled route. How much: From $60 500. Brag Factor: Official, personalised ANI Certificate of Achievement. Respect. Gear pick: The DeLorme inReach SE. For when you feel like a good LOL or have an SOS situation. Running on the Iridium network, it allows you to send and receive messages from anywhere, way off the grid and beyond cellphone range. You can text-talk with the searchand-rescue centre until help arrives.
SURFING ANTARCTICA What: Brave the cold, fog and unmapped rock formations. Wait patiently for a good swell. Where: Around the South Shetland Islands where Ramón Navarro and Dan Malloy became the first Antarctic surfers ever earlier this year. Why: It’s the final frontier. How much: Depends. Brag Factor: You surfed Antarctica. Gear pick: The Garmin VIRB Elite. One of the hazards is that people might not believe you did it. The VIRB Elite – rugged, waterproof, full HD – is up to the extreme task. It can be mounted and used almost anywhere and has valuable features such as WiFi and GPS for recordings triggered by action.
DIVE ANTARCTICA What: See otherworldly creatures, like giant isopods, in controlled dives under grounded icebergs. Where: Board the polar research ship Polar Pioneer in the world’s southernmost city, Ushuaia, in Argentina. Why: Diving under ice in water around -2,2 to -1,6°C is decidedly different. How much: From R76 000, excluding flights. Brag Factor: Makes the Great Barrier Reef look like a picnic. Gear pick: Water sucks heat from the body 25 times faster than air – that’s enough reason to get a neoprene dry suit. You’ll have to kick harder and sharpen your buoyancy skills, but the payoff is huge.
IMAGES: COURTESY OF WHITE DESERT
Any chance of standing on the actual South Pole?
METRONOMY – LOVE LETTERS Love Letters sees the four-piece dressed in matching black turtleneck sweaters and maroon blazers, claiming inspiration from the likes of electronic darkster duo Autechre. What gives? Metronomy recreated themselves from fairly standard glitch-hop beginnings by delving into ’70s early-synth sounds and fusing this with catchy pop lyrics. It’s Lalo Schifrin (the original Mission Impossible soundtracker) meets Loveboat and ABBA-style riffs, with The Beatles Rubber Soul as a visual reference. How do you make nu-rave new? Go back to the past, keep a firm grasp on how being cheesy and ironic need to be kept in check and reinvent retro as fiendishly catchy dance-rock. thirty-two
TEMPLES – SUN STRUCTURES Think The Byrds rather than The Beatles for this debut by the band from Kettering, UK. It’s a heady, ’60s psychedelic popinspired record that could sit comfortably beside folk-pop pioneers Simon and Garfunkel, the spacier songs of The Beach Boys and Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd. It’s also damningly clever in how it blends the modern and the old and has been name-checked by artists like The Rolling Stones and Noel Gallagher. Expect a dreamy romp through an English countryside; a perfect soundtrack to lazing on a picnic blanket doing some cloud-busting. Want even more modern vintage? Track down Temples’ ultra-rare debut vinyl release, ‘Shelter Song’.
DAMON ALBARN – EVERYDAY ROBOTS He topped the charts with Blur, reinvented pop iconography with Gorillaz and spotlit African music with collaborations on our continent. But this is Albarn’s first solo album, and it’s gloriously personal. Simple and clean, but layered with samples and touches that evoke, rather than replicate, the sounds of the past – something he’s been hinting at since working with ’60s soul legend Bobby Womack. Expect delicately phrased musings on how modernity is changing human relationships, a pentecostal choir doing backing, a cameo from Brian Eno, and a song about an orphaned elephant in Tanzania.
JOHN NEWMAN – TRIBUTE This debut by the funk-and-soul-inspired crooner – actually, make that ‘roarer’, since 23-year-old John Newman has a superb set of pipes – hit number one on the UK Albums Chart. It’s title track name-checks the legends that inspired him (think Sly Stone and The Temptations), after which Tribute rolls into 11 tracks of old-school-drenched soul-pop. The cinematically sumptuous album goes electronic when it needs to, but always remembers the R&Brollicking and soul-stomping of the Motown era. For some listeners it will evoke the joy of first seeing The Commitments; for others the power of hearing Amy Winehouse’s revisioning.
IMAGES: SHUTTERSTOCK, SUPPLIED
By Gray B Frazer
lvis wasn’t trying to sound like a swinging big band, and The Beatles didn’t hark back to the skiffle music of their forebears. So why, as we surge into the 21st century, are some modern bands replicating vintage sounds? Fashion has always embraced ‘retro’, and artists often include a nod at the old masters who inspired them. But this is different; it’s a new trend of sounding old. These are not tribute bands, ie performers making a living from the nostalgic memories of an audience. No, these are contemporary creators, facing all the highs and lows of making brand-new art, but doing it in a way that sounds as though it’s come from another time. Why? Partly because it’s any artist’s privilege to be inspired by whatever they choose, but then there’s also no doubt that the modern world of instant gratification, ‘always-on’ downloadable songs and over-processed TV pop-stars has led to a kind of rebellion. We crave an authenticity and a tangibility that contemporary entertainment often does not offer. We want some reality with our reality TV. Modern vintage music is about sound, yes, but it’s also about heart and soul.
OARONA MOLEKO, STUDENT What gives you the tingles? Shopping. I love shopping; it makes me happy. Clothes make me happy. The worst piece of advice your mother ever gave you? ‘He’s just not that into you,’ but he was into me; he just wasn’t that good at showing it. If you could have a drink with any musician, who would it be, what would you drink and why? Drake. He looks like a man who pops bottles, so Ciroc vodka is perfect.
LUKE SALES, STUDENT What gives you the tingles? Watching live concerts or sports matches, and getting ‘that’ look from a girl. The worst piece of advice your mother ever gave you? Brush your teeth before breakfast. If you could have a drink with any musician, who would it be, what would you drink and why? Mick Jagger, whiskey on the rocks. Reason? Rolling Stones, sex, drugs and rock‘n’roll.
THATO SEROJANE, STUDENT Have you ever owned a record? If so, what was it and why did you buy it? A demo of mine, because I sang it. You’d give up drinking coffee for… Nothing, unless I was paid a lot to do it. The worst piece of advice your mother ever gave you? To give my ex-friend a chance. If you could pick a decade in which to live, what would it be and why? Millennium. I was young and didn’t have any responsibilities or cares in the world.
PHUMZILE MEMA, BAKER You’d give up drinking coffee for… I wouldn’t give up coffee for anything. The worst piece of advice your mother ever gave you was? Listen to any elder I meet in the street. If you could have a drink with any musician, who would it be and what would you drink? A Grapetiser with Boity Thulo. If you could pick a decade in which to live, what would it be and why? The apartheid era, to be part of the struggle.
chats: aqeela sasman snaps: thameenah sasman
LEEROY BROUWERS, STUDENT You’d give up drinking coffee for… I wouldn’t give up coffee. The worst piece of advice your mother ever gave you? My mamma don’t give bad advice. If you could have a drink with any musician, who would it be? Beyoncé Knowles – she’s my obsession. And we’re both Virgo, so I am basically Beyoncé. If you could pick a decade in which to live, what would it be and why? From 1910 – so I could experience the drama of Titanic sinking.
CHRISTIAN, 29, MANAGER Have you ever owned a record? If so, what was it and why did you buy it? No, but my parents had one by Julio Iglesias. What gives you the tingles? A beautiful lady. The worst piece of advice your mother ever gave you? Don’t marry a short woman – she will always give you problems. If you could pick a decade in which to live, what would it be and why? 1990s – it was the time of Kris Kross and MC Hammer.
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hat’s it, hipsters! You have officially gone too far. I don’t consider myself an intolerant man. For a long time I’ve walked past your neck-beards and face-fur and stupid plaid shirts and suspenders and welder’s goggles (and was that a 19th-century steam-train driver’s stovepipe hat I saw the other day?) without once succumbing to the natural human urge to start a fire, so that a fire engine will rush to the scene and I can take advantage of the confusion to snatch a high-pressure hose and turn it on you. When I saw one of your rotten number wearing a Lowly Worm Tyrolean hat, complete with feather, and using a fountain pen in a coffee shop the other day, I did not rush in and pelt him with coffee creamer. I understand the pleasures and seductions of belonging to a tribe and having a weird uniform. I was a Goth, and a Goth in Durban at that. Short of being an Eskimo or someone with ambition, there is no worse thing to be in Durban than a Goth. Trenchcoats make sense when you’re stomping through the grey ennui of Birmingham, say, but less so in a subtropical sweatbox beside the Indian Ocean. Underneath my black polo neck I was a pale permanent sheen of moisture, like a maggot in an eyeball. And let me just tell you, if you’ve never tried it, humidity and Tim Burton hairspray go together about as
well as humidity and eye make-up. (Fortunately, when I was a Goth no-one had invented the words ‘guyliner’ or ‘manscara’ yet, so we might have looked like tools but, at least, we didn’t have cutesy puns to go with it.) So, I get that you guys have an association of mutual chopitude going, and that it’s nice to be
able to identify each other, and either ignore each other (as we did), or huddle to discuss the mechanics of manual typewriters or how to build a penny-farthing, or whatever you fellas get up to in your urban clubhouses. It’s sort of sweet in a way, and it does beat the charnas in their Ed Hardy shirts (although I do fear it’s only a matter of time before one of you starts wearing an Ed Hardy shirt ‘ironically’, at which point the whole universe may just implode). But frankly, sirs, you have stepped over the line. The other day, as I was minding my own business, trying to think thoughts of wisdom and lasting beauty, as I do when doing my shopping, I saw a man – one of you guys – with a tattoo of a beard. Let me be clear about this: it wasn’t a tattoo of a beard on his shoulder or his forearm, although that in itself would be sufficient grounds for punishment. His face was tattooed with a beard. Are you following me here? He had a beard tattooed on his face. That chap was saying to the world, a beard of hair isn’t sufficiently ironic; I shall quote a beard instead. I have a ‘beard’. Look at me. Look at me! Well, it’s too much. I don’t like wars, mainly because people get killed and beautiful things get destroyed and the price of petrol goes up, but what else will cure this generation? I see no alternative to a good war with conscription and compulsory shaving and noble sacrifices and plenty of tragedy. If you need me, I’ll be invading Poland. I have nothing against the Poles, but we’ve come too far to turn back now.
IIMAGE: THERESA MARTINEZ / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
Normally a tolerant man, Darrel Bristow-Bovey grapples with the uncomfortable phenomenon of the modern-day hipster
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