Thursday, January 6, 2011



With hip-hop MCs People under the Stairs rhyming in my ears and change for a loose kept safe, the street is the place I catch myself smiling off-guard.  There’s a feeling of wonder. Dialogues I hope one day to understand hustle past in rising tones, and I find rhythm to gooey electro beats that resonate around me. Visual indulgence and sensory delight.

I fucking hate the word trend I never have enough cash to buy them or the magazines that tell me what they are. In a society that finds solace in forecasts and structure, there’ll always be definitions and commodities of contemporary ‘cool’. But out on the streets, aside from high-end mass production, there’s something magical happening. People are starting to think for themselves again. The street is celebrating the carnivalesque, liberation and pleasure.

The youth, brazen and unpredictable, strut the new catwalk — the street. A reservoir of stimulation, the street is a show we’re all part of, you and I all part of the revolution of Concrete Couture. Before you cool kids start freaking out, this isn’t a piece about what we’re seeing on the streets. It’s about what the street represents. And who’s representing it.

I found four individuals, four friends, all collaborators who epitomise the liberation of raw aesthetic self-expression. Meet Jamal, Jade, Illana and JR.  Spreading their vision throughout the arts, they collaborate with various mediums, with each other, and with you. They’re a quartet that orchestrates controversy. Fun controversy that’s full of texture and form. Forgotten items are given second chances, and the Salvation Army skank to the wub wub wub of the underground.

Jamal, Jade, Illana and JR are designing and styling, capturing and documenting fashion in ways that represent what, to me at least, the street is all about. Energy, colour, motion, surprise, shock and raw beauty. All these elements find form and integrity in their creative rendezvous.

Association, intertextuality and colour-coding, Jamal Nxedlana’s designs are lyrics of the city — construction sites, cultural strife, the illusion of the high life.  His concepts are bold, vibrant and visually enthralling. Think the beautiful flamboyant frenzy of Durban’s Warwick Junction turned wearable.

Sarah Claire Picton:  Is there much androgyny in local fashion these days?
Jamal: There’s a fair share of it. Like the androgynous vagrants in Cape Town.
SCP: You’ve collaborated extensively with the other three, such as in the fashion/art website The Beard and on various London shoots. What’s your plan for 2010?
Jamal: I’m preparing for a trip to the Congo with Justin McGee and JR… we’ll be undertaking a few creative projects that side.

Early Kwaito and bad taste pulled off, condom beanies and 2010 forecasts of sleaze: time with Jamal is all pins and needles. And for his lady, Jade, it’s all needles through noses and brightly coloured hair. Bring back PVC, Buddha print tees and “those plastic chokers that look like tattoos” and they’ll both be smiling diamantés.

A Swiss at birth but Cape Town girl at heart, Jade’s been spending time abroad, assisting SA artist Mustafa Maluka in Berlin and collaborating with Jamal in London.

SCP: Where do you stand on the ideology of ‘trend’?
Jade: The pendulum always swings and the current liberal attitudes in our cultures look to daring individuals who break the rules.
SCP: Complete this sentence: ‘Out on the streets, we call it…’
Jade: Out on the streets, we call it shante! Or sashay away!

Another prolific girl shouting a big fuck you to fabrication and buying individualism from an over-priced boutique is Illana Welman. Forty pairs of sunnies, a 14 full-piece cossie collection, one pink fur coat and a girl named Illana. Coming from the Zulu Kingdom’s poison city, Illana moves gallantly through the realm of fashion, all teethy smiles in her cherry-smelling black-and-white Melissa brogues. A fallen angel, charmed and armed, she’s a femme fatale of fashion and has lots to say.

SCP: So, aside from your professional time spent with Jamal on shoots in London, talk to me about your time with our dear friend JR.
Illana: JR… well, we lived together along with Justin McGee, ‘the photographer’ (ha ha), and we all created creations (ha ha) every day. All the time. We had so many clothes it was easy just to have fun and create like that. I can’t even remember if we did anything professional together. It was great, it was fun. It kept us inspired.

Like me, she’s inspired by the street’s everyday heroes: “Like the local African at the shisa nyama shop. African brothers bust some crazy styles, and old grannies never fail me.”

And an African brother that really needs no introduction, and comes with no warnings, is Jene Rene Onayngunga. Born in Kinshasa DRC, JR aka Pacha aka DR Pachanga is possibly the only other person I know who is louder than me. I can’t keep track of him, and hope he can’t keep track of me. Except in summer, and on weekends.

SCP: What you doing now, Kid?
JR: At the moment I’m pushing street photography and journalism. It’s basically a little memo of DR Pachanga on the streets of SA. (Check out

He’ll come to my house, eat my cheese and trade a pair of sunnies for two Black Label quarts or a bottle of Tassies. And then we’ll both end up so wasted we’ll hustle off his other 12 pairs to a German on Long Street and spend the profit on tequila. Jozi’s red skies, Cape Town’s blue waters and Durban’s green poison — he’s all over the country, having fun testing people’s patience and pissing off all the original fake fucks.

SCP: The word ‘fashion’ — what does it mean to you?
JR: Fashion means the power to manipulate, dictate many floors by disguising and dominating the norm.

Street ‘style’ doesn’t exist for JR. Or for me. Trends and seasonal cools are fading as we begin to see the street as a space for free creative dynamism. “There is no such thing as High Street, Street Street or even Hippie Street. Street Fashion is what we see every day on the street, the outfit someone puts on the minute they walk out.”

Functionality and accessibility have taken over; it’s now about finding ways to implement expression in these two variables. And that’s what these kids are helping us with. Thank god.

A little bit of JR’s faultiness revealed…
SCP: What do you miss that isn’t seen much in today’s designs?
JR: Zoot suits!
SCP: Your favourite street to walk down?
JR: Grey Street
SCP: Do you sleep naked?
JR: Only when Justin and creepy Steve are not around.

High-spirited and high-dressed, Jamal, Jade, Illana and JR are fresh, rough deviants of fashion. They’re part of the Concrete Couture subculture, crucifying the fake and resurrecting the new. B-boys & bergies, emos & pigs, a blur of kinetic energy… out on the street somebody is always somebody else’s muse.

“We’re taking it back to the concrete streets, [us original freaks, all fashion MCs]” Or maybe we’re not? What do I really know? I’m just another undignified street renegade you’ll pass on your way to buy a loose tomorrow. Just another everyday hero trying to find what she’s looking for.

“Out on the streets… I call it life”.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Writing about Canadian punk-rock band Billy Talent’s live performance at the 3 Arts Theatre in Plumstead, Cape Town is what my initial intentions were. Or rather what my duty was – a 600 word blog in exchange for a red re-used RAMFEST media pass. Alas, post-interview – with the lead singer Ben Kowalewicz and drummer Aaron Solowoniuk – dutiful intentions got drowned with sips of whisky. But, whatever, intentions have never been my strong point anyway.

As I made my way across the grassy parking lot of the 3 Arts Theatre I felt nostalgic as I gazed, distracted, at the pre-20 crowd. I saw around me righteously rebellious renegades, full of youthful insecurities that they’ve managed to disguise with vengeful faces and provoking dialogues. I’d like to think that at 25-years-old I’ve found some sort of identity, happy that I’ve escaped those youthful years that were a whirlwind of heightened emotions and never-ending questions. But those years, in hindsight, have formed some of the best memories I have today. They were years of reckless abandonment, where anything was possible and I really had no idea of what being responsible actually meant.

And on 7th August I felt wrapped in the beautiful youthful energy that was resonating around me. Despite my lack of Billy Talent knowledge, I realized it was this distinct force that formed the fundamental elements of punk. A sub-culture that is raw and without expectations. Being able to lose inhibitions and not giving a shit. And I realized that this feeling, whether we’re talking about the ‘60s beat culture and free-love hippies to the massive acid-rave scene of the late ‘80s and then the big beat scene of the ‘90s to where we are today – the feeling has remained throughout.

So, with this in mind, I hoped I would find some common ground with the guys from Billy Talent. In my mind I imagine a night at CBGB’s in 1974. It’s not a pretty picture. I’m part of a hyped crowd that is ready to make a riot, whilst getting completely trashed… Cultivating controversy and spreading it to the streets.

Sadly, this scene was a world apart from what I experienced backstage with Ben and Aaron. Madly chewing gum, they too seemed to be in a mental place that was a world apart from the small room we all sat in. Indifferent and distracted, the mise-en-scène was surprising and resembled nothing compared to what I would imagine their influences – The Clash / The Specials – would have been.

“[They’re] just not that kind of band” that can tell of crazy festival experiences, and the draining experience I had in that backstage room was the exact opposite to what they delivered four hours later on stage. Maybe they were saving their energy, being a punk rocker these days must be demanding. Perhaps, after seventeen odd years of playing, interviews have become mundane and insignificant. Yet, I had naively hoped for an experience that had traces of a warm ‘80s night with The Dead Boys. This ain’t no Hot Generation no more. But I guess, like intentions, being politely objective has never really been my strong point either.

Words by Sarah Claire Picton

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


The Cyberpunkers have remixed it, and many people are still asking it... Who the f*** is Haezer? Whoever he is, the point is rather what he's been doing, not only to us locals but to the kids abroad as well. His message is hard, dirty and only going to get louder. Only recently back from touring Europe, Haezer is off to tour Australia to show them exactly who the f*** he is. Still trying to figure this question out for myself, I caught up with him just before he left. Check it out.

SCP: So Haezer….Who the f*** are you?
H: A Boerseun who makes music and likes to party

SCP: What do you do?
H: I press buttons and then people dance.

SCP: Where in Australia will you be touring and with who?
H: I'm touring Sydney, Wollongong, Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra with GTRONIC.

SCP: Without using the word ‘electro’, please describe your sound?
H: dirty/gangsta/thrash/rock 'n roll

SCP: If you had to link one image/association/song/artwork/word/colour to yourself – what would it be?
H: I’ve always loved The Misfits’ logo.

SCP: Musically – what artist/collaborations inspire/influence you?
H: I grew up with beck, violent femmes and offspring. I then got more into punk and from there expanded into electronica/breaks/drum 'n bass and electro.
Now I generally listen to all genres, as long as it's good.

SCP: The first record/CD you ever bought?
H: Monster Hits 2

SCP: Current favourite artist/track?
H: Waterboys – ‘We Will Not Be Lovers’

SCP: Your European tour in 2010 – any crazy antics that went down that you could share?
H: A lot. In Warsaw, Poland the gig got cancelled because their sound system flipped out, so the promoter said he'll take us out and get us drunk... I don't think there was a corner of Warsaw where I didn't puke in by the end.

SCP: Your favourite moment of the tour?
H: Just seeing kids loving the music, and at one stage singing with to 'Smut Me'.

SCP: What can we expect from you when you get back from Australia?
H: I’ve got my EP with Tuffem Up! records, but also eight remixes I’ve done for various labels and two more
record deals in the works.

SCP: If you could play alongside any DJ for a night, who would you choose?
H: I would dig to play with SebastiAn.

SCP: Music - give me one word that you relate this to?

H: Life.

SCP: What elements make a killer track?
H: Good songwriting...if the composition is kak, no matter how good the production is, it'll never have a long lifespan. That’s why I like to use vocals in my tracks.

SCP: What’s been your best party so far this year?
H: I can honestly say that ALL the Assembly gigs are just so much fun.

SCP: What’s next for Haezer?
H: More touring and hopefully good memories and more EPs... no full album in the works just yet.

Thanks Haezer... can't wait till you are back on home ground! And also thanks to Adriaan Louw for providing the awesome photo.


Fuhrer is the brainchild of Shaun Gardner, Jason de Villiers and Sean Metelerkamp, and whether you like it or not Fuhrer is here to stay. Fuhrer is more than just a tee company – it’s a tangible example of brazened originality, from conception through to execution. These three like-minded creative’s, these three friends, have created a brand that is underground yet accessible, a brand that is causing glitches of social contest and a brand that speaks to the masses without using any audio aggression. Bold aesthetic dialogues of red, black and white say it all.

Despite only recently being stocked in astore – one of Cape Town’s ‘Cool Cape Town Kid’ stores – Fuhrer has been evolving since around early 2009. Shaun, Jason and Sean didn’t get ahead of themselves, and strategically let mechanisms fall naturally into place. Patiently, they spent time and money they didn’t have to do things the way things should always be done – with passion, professionalism and unpretentious perseverance. Don’t fuck with this trinity – Fuhrer knows their shit. I caught up with Jay to clear any neo-Nazi rumours, and to chat about the designs, concept and future of Fuhrer.

SCP: The designs – is there a theme that you have followed?

J: Not, exactly, we work on the aesthetic of the design first, Fuhrer has a set tone, which is quite abrasive, and the designs adhere to the tone, from the concept to the delivery.

SCP: What influences (styles/artists) are apparent in the first set of designs?

J: The designs have a graphic novel inspired feel to them, but interpreted in our own way.

SCP: How’d the name, Fuhrer, come about?

J: We wanted a name that spoke about authority, and the abuse of power. A couple others we thought of were Priest and Church. When Sean mentioned Fuhrer, we all said ‘yes’.

SCP: So, if no relation to neo-Nazism… then what does the name represent?

J: In the dictionary a ‘fuhrer’ is ‘a ruthless or tyrannical leader’. Africa has seen its fair share of furhrer’s, and we want people to realise that people in authority can easily be corrupted by power. Usually this realisation comes after the human cost. That’s why our logo is a rabid dog. Something that was once loyal, now in an aggressive frenzy. Aside from that we think it’s just a cool name for a tee company.

SCP: Finish this sentence:

“If I were a soldier I’d …”
J: “If I were a soldier I’d mutiny.”

SCP: The colours – black, red and white – these are bold colours that have, throughout time, been synonymous with revolutionary agendas. They are colours of power, force, defiance and passion… what do these colours means to you?

J: Exactly that, they are very bold colours. They’ve been used as the key colours for countless graphic campaigns; they were also the key colours of anti-apartheid poster design.

SCP: Maintaining a simple yet unabashed approach seems to show in your designs, would you agree with this?

J: Yeah, totally, the designs work mostly on concepts, which is unapologetic and quite raw. The style is a by-product of the concept.

SCP: The Fuhrer shoot directed by Sean Metelerkamp that took place earlier this year - what was the concept behind the shoot and how was it applied?

J: We created a photo-concept for each tee design, which in turn is going to form part of a viral for Fuhrer. It’s going to be mad.

SCP: Barks, balls and bullets aside, what is Fuhrer really about?

J: Getting shit done.

SCP: Do you have any other ideas in the making… such as rabid dog stickers perhaps?

J: Yeah, we have a whole bunch of ideas, but we’re not going to give any away just yet.

SCP: With Facebook continuing to shut you guys down, will your website be up soon? What can we expect to see on the site?

J: Yeah, Facebook really hates us for some reason; I guess they can’t see through the surface to who we really are. The website is going to be up by the end of this month and its going to be better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

SCP: Aside from astore – how else can we get hold of some tees?

J: On the website

SCP: Lastly, is Fuhrer going to release a ladies range?

J: This is something a lot of people have been asking us about, but for now, I can only say, ‘maybe, maybe not.’

Thanks J… and thanks Fuhrer – my rabid dog tee is a social lubricant that keeps on whetting the crowd.

Hello M F Nasty - A Cape Town Illustrator

Hello Mother F*&king Nasty is Shaun Gardner, a Cape Town illustrator who’s making a new name for himself with his unique employment of all things creative. When trying to dig deeper, in search of some report-style info, Hello MF Nasty was cryptic in his answers, leaving me with more questions than I intended to ask. It’s refreshing not to be verbally abused with philosophical arty explanations that always leave me with too much to write about, yet nothing real to share. And without much elaboration on the ‘what’s and why’s’ I had written down, it really comes down to self interpretation with Hello MF Nasty’s art work. Art is subjective, and it’s empowering to be given the liberty to make up one’s own mind whether there is some bigger meaning, or if things really are sometimes as they seem.
Hello MF Nasty’s eccentric style is a reflection of his multitude of influences. Mixing together, mashing up, juxtaposing ideas and mediums – technology meets tradition in his nasty style, where layers of innovation are cut out, drawn over and mixed in with an infusion of clean vectors. Postmodern elements are prevalent in his designs, specifically through his use of intertextuality and pastiche in style.
There are no absolutes in any of Hello MF Nasty’s work. Each work is as surprising and nasty as the one before. It’s as if each new design gives a little bit more of himself to the viewer – another piece to the human puzzle that is Hello MF Nasty. He leaves us hungry for more, not quite knowing what we’re even craving for. And he has earned respect with the levels of integrity and passion he shows in his art work.
Hello MF Nasty has been involved in various collaborations, with no intentions but to help out another like-minded creative, gaining experience and building a sick portfolio along the way. Some of his bigger projects have included all design work for rising rock/indie Cape Town band The Curious Incident, designing their album cover & amp; booklet, event posters and tees.
In terms of band collaborations, Hello Nasty is currently involved in design projects for new Cape Town band Jam Jar (, who describe themselves as “a spasm of electronic, a shiver of dirty, filthy, salt up your nose kinda bass”. Jam Jar is a glitch-rap duo: Soundproof and Bakaman, and they’re here to “tear your eardrums asunder with a cache of tracks ranging from dub step to glitch-hop, and all the other beat-stops in-between”.
Hello MF has also been involved with SCARAB Industry & Design, The Sunday Times and Calyx Art ( His latest exhibition has been with Calyx Art at Royale Eatery on Cape Town’s infamous Long Street. The exhibition is titled Ignore This, and Hello MF Nasty’s 'Kill Cool', 'The End' and 'When I’m Fill' are showcased. His artworks are a true expression of all his inspirations; Dash Snow, The Beastie Boys, E boy, Further, Swank, old skool horror posters, vintage adverts, B grade films and all that nasty behaviour that makes up the elements of the underground.
He is also involved in Fuhrer – a t-shirt design brand – along with Jason De Villiers and Sean Meterlerkamp. Together the trio are bringing back the essence of novelty to Tee design – keeping people on edge and causing a bit of trouble along the way… There are no niceties with Hello Mother F*&king Nasty, just pure creative nasty rendezvous.
Check out his FlickR – iamHelloNasty
Later punks.

One Person's Story of Saturday's at the Biscuit Mill...

So, in the Realm of Writing you get 'The Story', and then you the the STORY behind the Story'. You know. The Real Sh*t. The sh%t you won't find on Google...I guess, until it is blogged. I find in depth subject matter research highly important before I behind an article. I always do it, but sometimes never even print it (I can only work with pen and paper), let alone read it. It depends, you see, on what the story is really all about. And this story, well if you want the facts -here's a link to them - I'm giving you my experience.

Cape Town, like most major cities, provides it's citizens with a selection of comfort zones for the range of "crowds" it plays host to. The buccaneer wearing kids can tap tap streets away from the old school Reebok high-tops, a welcomed segregation of harmony...oh how the New South Africa has changed.

But, on a Saturday morning, The Neighborhood Market in Woodstock at the Old Biscuit Mill - situated near the once highly political zone District 6 - Cape Town is no longer a place that, at times, resembles a type of modern Lord of the Flies hierarchy. The peeps all hang out together, meandering amongst the chili plants and morning Bloody Mary's, mindful, I suppose, but in a pleasant way, of each others unique attributes. I feel a beautiful transcendent-like ambiance that crushes any type of social-city-trend-phobia. 

This - my - opinion could all be bullshit though. I start drinking my Bloody Mary's at 10am, usually have had an all-nighter before - so it could, to some, be a place of obnoxious freaks....all on a leash and licking their lamb chops feeding their fat German bellies burping beer burps in between loud, obnoxious conversations.

I doubt it though. I might always be a little tipsy. But the smiles I see....the smile on the little children (who do not drink)...on old grannies..on pregnant ladies...on a kaleidoscope of human differences, well, those smiles are real. And the lamb burgers with rocket are made with love and are so good I wish the Greek guy had a little stand next to my flat...and then another by my work. The fashion area is filled with love for buttons, and details, stitches and vintage brought back to life. The graceful, exquisite designs are truly a testament to the talent coming out of our CT fashion designers. I had a really significant point to tell you, but, found myself lost in thought and now that significant point has found a comfy spot amongst all the other one's I've temporarily (I hope) lost over my life time. Just like socks. All chillin' together. Maybe each thought sleeps in a sock, that way it can stay warm until I remember it.

Anyway, losing yourself in thoughts and dreams, escaping reality for a few hours is actually, for me, what Saturday's at the Market are all about. It's usually just myself and my Bloody Mary's. We roam around, and from above must look strange as I feel I am the only person not in a rush to get through to "the other side". It's those lamb burgers, I bet the Greek guy has some type of Japanese-like hand fan that he uses to transcend all those juicy little lamb smells across the

I love to roam alone, as a free agent I find clarity and peace. My intense, difficult, spontaneous, impulsive vices (to some) gifts (to others), are difficult for some to understand.

But at the market, as in life, I love walking around; internalizing, analyzing, questioning, blanking, sitting on the floor and having a smoke....just indulging in everything I possibly can. Being greedy with my senses. Feeding my heart, my intellect, humbling myself. It's good to realize that I am just another pea in the pod.

The Market, seen through my eyes; is a place that is everything a Saturday should really be about - music - in the form of chords, laughter, conversation, pancakes flipping, cameras snapping or draught spillage....of new vintage bright cotton red buttons and Lomo cameras, lucky beans for R5 and garden plants...

At the end of the day, this report has been written through my speckled blue eyes, and, albeit many arguing otherwise, I believe that every person has their own story. Everything is always subjective. Facts, and "truths", ideologies, trends, 'cool', whatever you like to call it is all really there to make life a collective price tag accessible product. It's up to you to make it real. And understand what integrity really means.

I hope one day you guys can come meander with me.