Monday, March 29, 2010

Happy Days !!!

My first feature in Onesmallseed ---> hopefully this will lead to opportunities that lift me up and carry me away !

Friday, March 26, 2010

my love for gonzo

Lomo Days

Is Less More ?

(a feature I'm working on for the next 021 mag issue)

Cape Town is our Mother City and a place of sensory explosion. Her changing landscape is extraordinarily beautiful; the mountain meets the ocean, and the city finds harmony in between. Cape Town is my sanctuary, and I know, that whilst the city’s streets will be moved upon by changing feet, the natural structures shall remain loyal. Many MNC’s like to bank in on Natural Beauty. Setting up borders with boom barriers, handing out day passes and guiding tour groups….we all end up living vicariously through The Council. And, let me tell you, this is no way to experience Cape Town. Especially if you only have R100.
A day in Cape Town for under R100 really is subjective. Travel, food, drink…primary expenses one cannot do without. Hunter S Thompson, in an interview with Matthew Hahn in 1997, refers to the metaphor of a tree falling down in a wood. You cannot hear it, but it did happen. Silent actions. This is the heart of my feature. You do not need any proof of your day to show to people when you get home. He or she will experience this, perhaps, in his or her own time. And if they don’t, well, they can just ask you. You will be able to tell a lot more than a present you could have bought for them would. So here is my day in Cape Town for under R100. Enjoy.

Breakfast – been granted as the most important meal of the day. Usually, for myself, Breakfast comes in the form of a dry double skinny Cap from Seattle, gulped down before I scramble into my office. But, this sets me back by R19. So, today, there will be no foamy black gold. And besides, today I am not dealing with any drones dressed in ‘suitable attire’. That’s what double Caps are really needed for. So, I head to Beleza on Kloof Street. This will be my starting point today.

Staying clear from ordering any coffee, I go for the trusted R12 fry up breakie. Being hostage to a R100 budget, I take pleasure in taking my sweet time carving my way through two pieces of toast, sunny side up egg, a fried tomatoe and two rashes of bacon. The great thing about Beleza is this breakie special is on all day. If you are up before 7 however, many little cafes in town will serve the Early Bird which will set you back about R10.

Long Street: A famed street, where the spirit of Cape Town is at its most obtuse. A straight stretch of concrete; Long Street wears a different face every day. Flanked with backpackers, the street is a constant runway for tourists, and if filled with the energy they exert. The Street is your base to explore the city. It is a fairyland, filled with goblins and hides many secrets. The architecture, a merge of Victorian and Art Deco style, creates an old-world ambience filled with new life.

The attraction of Long Street is that it offers a juxtaposed experience; where by high art meets popular culture and old blends with new. It is a street of textures; oil paintings, rich in colour, exist across the street from plastic retro creations and soft cashmere cardigans.

It is a street for all ages, all races, all cultures, all Everything. And each person has a favourite part. I cannot decide yours, however, I can try capturing the feeling you will come inhale. You do not need to reach for your wallet to be included the magic of the City. Why buy something tangible to trigger a memory you will not forget in any case? It all comes down to opening your eyes, your mind and your heart to the people, sounds, sights, smells and tastes around you. Forgetting my dogma falsely attached to Cape Town, I spend the next two hours exploring the mystique hidden behind each corner and in each smiling face.

Welcomed overdoses for my senses, my legs are tired and I crave the soft, velvety feel of grass. Cape Town is no Big Apple, but we do have our own inner city park – The Company Gardens. I find a spot under a tree and close my eyes, clearing my head. Time stands still and the rush of the city seems lifetimes away.

My next destination holds the promise of lunch and requires a return train ride that’ll set me back R13. I am off to Kalk Bay; a fishing village about 40 minutes outside Cape Town and a haven for all us city slickers. As I build invisible steam, the graffiti walls and hustled side-walks give way to ocean views and salty air. I feel like a child again, and I realize moments like these cannot be bought, with R100 or even R1000 000. I soak in the beauty of Kalk Bay; and bask in the energy of a culture that is a joyous blend of classes that celebrate life in his or her own unique way.

At the local store, I buy two bread rolls and a large packet of Simba Cheese & Chives chips, and a banana for later. This sets me back R7.5, and is my substitute to the traditional slop chips and fish all wrapped up in newspaper that I would usually opt for. I did check for a half portion size, but life in Kalk Bay is simple and complications and exceptions are avoided.

I sit on the harbour, surrounded by wooden fishing boats and bunch of young children running around in leaps and bounds, arms waving, all bright-eyed and rosy-cheeked. I miss those days. The ones made up of innocent hours.

I walk down the main station and find stores filled with obscure treasures; some old and some new, and all a small part that makes Kalk Bay the charming town it is. Second hand stores have given a home to past decade remnants, and you don’t really want to wipe away the dust off the dolls, books and hand-built yachts; it is the ashes of a life gone. A little magic dust that comes from a place far away.

With my thoughts still caught up in someone else’s past, I treat myself to a glass of pomegranate juice (R10) at a charming sea-side cafĂ©, feel indifferent to the fear I had earlier felt of having only R100. So far, the money is really just an excuse for me to stay here longer. I am buying my time, one could say. I guess in a world of Capitalism and gross consumption, even time can be bought.

The train ride back is a sweaty interlude, and after arriving back at the station, I make my way, pushing and shoving, to the taxi rank. I follow directions that are shouted at me by various people, and hope to God I’m on the taxi that will take me somewhere close to Camps Bay.

A taxi ride in Cape Town is in its own right an experience like none other. Such as the motorized rickshaws are to India, the Taxi is to Cape Town. You’ll find yourself a sardine in a large automobile, that you pray has working brakes and a driver who has a licence and a sympathetic heart. It also costs only R5, and you rule the road. Pedestrians, cyclists, vendors, strays…you name it; everyone stays clear of The Taxi. Expect to go through a red robot and listen to some crazy base blasting through speakers that sound like they were used in a night club.

I get as far as Sea Point. I can’t really complain; I realize walking plenty is a given in a day limited to R100. Just behind me I can see the public Sea Point Swimming Pool. It’s a free refreshment opportunity here, I know. But time waits for no one and I have plenty on my agenda still to do! And, at least in the ocean I cannot see any pee that someone took the liberty of having. A 30 minute walk alongside the promenade, I am at Camps Bay – the gem of Cape Town’s Golden Strip. Beach vendors roam the ivory sand, luring topless sun bathers with popsicles and Coca-Cola. I grab a Popsicle (R6) and count my remains. (46.5)
The cold, menacing Atlantic Ocean engulfs me, and my whole body becomes a canvass of salty goose bumps. I’ve seen this landscape scene all in a post-card before, and I do find myself wishing a few certain others were here with me.
Its 4pm and the next two hours are dedicated to climbing Lions Head. As clichĂ© as it might sound, this walk / hike really is a must do if you’re on a tight budget. I’ve prepped myself with essentials, which include walking shoes I stored in my backpack, a PowerAde (9) and an apple (2.40) The sun is still bright at this time, I reach the summit in sweaty smiles and as I gaze over the city below me I am filled with gratitude to be living in this city of wonder.

As the day draws to an end, I catch a taxi (R5) back to town and walk back up Long Street. A transformation from the day, the street is filled with night-time energy that’ll be used up in dancing and drinking, in mingling and laughter…all in all, in good times that will probably not be remembered tomorrow. But, fuck it, you know there will be plenty more to come.

I resist all the Nigerian hustles trying to sell me all sorts of goodies, and get myself a R10 boereworse roll that is dressed to impress with onions and three sauces. 6pm and I have about R20 left. A day of shenanigans, like this one, deserves a cold beer. And in the spirit of celebrating local, I head to Mixes bar and restaurant on Kloof Street to take advantage of 5 – 7 R7 beer special. One Black Label (R7) and an introduction later, I get up to leave in fear of presenting some kind tourist with a mid conversation yawn. I’m exhausted anyway. Eating the rest of my lunch-time chips I had shoved in the back pack, I find my way to the Salvation Army, where I will be spending the night. A shelter in Cape Town costs around R12 and this takes me to R98.9

So there! Cape Town not only can be done in R100, but in less! I retrace through my day and take thought at how my budget went to primary survival elements. If only I was a vampire who could chill in the sunshine. God, human consumption is a bitch.

Get drunk - Charles Baudelaire

Get drunk

One should always be drunk. That's all that matters;
that's our one imperative need. So as not to feel Time's
horrible burden one which breaks your shoulders and bows
you down, you must get drunk without cease.

But with what?
With wine, poetry, or virtue
as you choose.
But get drunk.

And if, at some time, on steps of a palace,
in the green grass of a ditch,
in the bleak solitude of your room,
you are waking and the drunkenness has already abated,
ask the wind, the wave, the stars, the clock,
all that which flees,
all that which groans,
all that which rolls,
all that which sings,
all that which speaks,
ask them, what time it is;
and the wind, the wave, the stars, the birds, and the clock,
they will all reply:

"It is time to get drunk!

So that you may not be the martyred slaves of Time,
get drunk, get drunk,
and never pause for rest!
With wine, poetry, or virtue,
as you choose!"

Charles Baudelaire

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


The hypnotic, crazed sounds of Pendulum have been intruding my dreamsthese propane nightmares…all night. And tomorrow I’ll be seeing them live. “I’m telling ya’ll its sabotage!” With headphones on, sitting in my office, the voices of the energy thieves who surround me fade as the pulsating beat of ‘Slam’ reigns mightily through my mind. Today’s going to be a great day. And an insane weekend lies ahead. It’s Real. It’s Alternative. It’s a carnival of music. It’s RAMFEST 2010 boys ‘n girls.

Cape Town’s renowned for her mad trance parties, but I’m a rock festival girl at heart. There’s time to actually chill and not everyone is bouncing around loving’ strangers all fuct on some type of psychedelic tripor MDMA. Oh, and there aren’t swarms of ‘trancies’ or hippies. I always wonder where the hell these people gather during the interludes between trance weekends. Can’t help thinking of that Island of Lost Socks. Maybe they have there own little island, existing only through song, dance and luminescent fabric. As Hunter S would say, all these “savage beasts” are disguised as people lovin’ hippies.
Then again, those beasts are at the least, entertainment. Us, on the other hand… Well, we’re all a cranky cult of cocks ‘n c*nts, disguised as ambitious hard-achievers. All in the assembly line, waiting for our luck to strike double platinum. Hustlers, existing in hourly breaks and self-depletion.

Friday night: the prelude to Saturday. Fokofpolisiekar, The Narrow, Yesterday’s Pupil and Kidofdoom….just a few of the names I should mention.
For those of you who can’t figure it out, Fokofpolisiekar translates in English to “Fuck off police car”. Originally, with the band’s inception in 2003, Fokof had come together as a bit of a mock to the long-standing conservatism renowned to Afrikaans culture. From there developed a new wave of music – Afrikaans Rock. An English girl myself, I generally don’t understand most of their lyrics, but I sing along and jump around just like the other rock kinders (children) around me. Fokof is renowned for putting on a crazy live show and they pulled through for all of us. Fok Of Polisie Kar!!!

A band without a vocalist, Kidofdoom always amazes me; these guys are something special. Trade in a keyboard and hype stage presence and you won’t miss any such scrambled syntax. With Kidofdoom, The Music does indeed speak for itself.
Yesterday’s pupil – another band everyone’s talking bout. All I can say is a hot lead singer and an energetic performance. The last act, their rock-indie lullabies put no one to sleep. I know this because at about 6am I woke up to sneak a pee next to my ‘tent’ (a shade cover with gaping spaces either side) and was welcomed by a group of metal heads hiding in the early morning shadows and a lonely photographer delighted to have captured the splendour of my wake up call.

Saturday. I’m cut for space here, so I'm sticking to the highlights.

Voodoo talk.

It was all playful splashes and 10 second dunks until I got told that some faulty dude shat somewhere downstream. Apparently this was all warm-vodka-OJ-mix nonsense talk, but that was the end of my murky rendezvous. Great vibe up on the river bed though. It happened to be the place where all my disappearing friends had vanished in wonderful oblivion to.

This ‘Voodoo Island’ spawned all the essential ingredients for a good time; sick dub-step and electro beats, plenty of spliff and booze and a mountainous backdrop to the flailing bodies, all sweating and probably covered in pooh. It was a festival within a festival, and it was definitely the best spot to be in the 38degree furnace, which that Saturday had turned out to be.

Band talk.

Jack Parrow – Afrikaans Rap, need I say more? He’s a parody of pretty much everything and wears a hat as long as his arm. Check out youtube for some insight.

Lark. If there ever was an angel trapped on earth and destined for hell, Inge Beckmann would be her. An estranged such angel, with a voice that projects the strength of an orchestra: haunting, daring and beautiful all at once. She pierces our souls by a route through our ears. The whole performance is sex on stage; an experimental ride of operatic trip-hop twisted with macabre lyrics and crazy stage effects. And,albeit no longer together, Lark remains truly astonishing.

Pendulum!!! Slammed and crammed, everyone had planned to ‘meet everyone else at the front’. I’ve been toReading and some other UK festies, and aside from the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s and 2 Many DJ’s, Pendulumseriously blew me away. The only way I can describe their performance is that it was as if they were playing their first every show, just for me. Their professionalism, tightness and true appreciation to be in Africaresonated throughout the 1.5 hr set. These guys are masters at hyping up a crowd, and my God, I’d love to see them again in a small, underground venue.

I was just coming off a gram of shrooms and had managed to salvage a 2l coke bottle with some type of wonderful mix inside. It was the perfect moment. I and the bright skies above overlooked a crowd gone madto the banging sound of D n B. I was happy to be alive. Looking around, everyone was sweating and smiling, and I knew there were happy too.

A few days of unrivalled silliness is an addiction one just needs to feed at times. Myself? Well, I couldn’t have picked a better time, or place, for some reckless behaviour. Nothing like the present hey? Such like right now. It’s time for my designated smoke break. You see, you have to remember kids; I am, after all, just another human “caught in the rush of the city of madness”.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

High-Tops and Highways to Hell - The Life of a Free Agent

 I asked the subject of this week's MOOKS Report, to give me three adjectives that describe a photograph? And he gave me two... not because he couldn't conjure up a third, but because following rules isn't really his style. 
Say hello to Justin McGee, a guy who is making his way in advertising and fashion arenas throughout the photography world.  Just check what his plans are for 2010: "I and two other friends, Jamal and Jean, are going to be opening a studio in Kinshasa... it's going to be mad!"

Indeed it will. If there is anything I know from third year economic history classes and hanging out with these guys, it leaves me unsure as to who I should be wishing luck. Is it the rebels or rather Justin and his crew? Well, at least the rebels can now look cool. A bit of colour and texture can go a long way in making an impression, good or bad. A change of tone can lift even the gravest of souls. Life isn’t all that bad when you're dressed in thigh-cut skinny's and some dashing old school Nike high-tops.

The naked eye can see many things, but put a slutty SINAR 8X10 in front of it, and some wicked style behind it, and you will see the dirty and the pretty, the sad and the vicious, all juxtaposed and over-exposed in primary colours at the same time. Silly ideals of records and mix tapes, written letters and supper at the dining table, well Justin has managed to keep real this magical feeling of the old-school. The untouched, raw beauty of imperfection. He brings this feeling to each photograph and in a way that makes a girl like me stoked to be writing about a guy like him.

Here's a bit of my interview with mister McGee.....

Finish these sentences please: "The city is......"

Dirty and wonderful

"It's all about the....."

Jacket and cap.


Cool denim

"These fucking....."
Girls kill me.

Do you have any other current creative pursuits?
I do these digital collages that are huge in size like 2.5 meters by 2.5 meters, which I have exhibited in Cape Town and Durban, and turned into wallpapers for clients.

If you could match a song to Cape Town - what song would it be?
Fischerspooner - Emerge.

Fashion photography - where did your interest in this start?

Nick Knight was a huge inspiration for me but the interest came from the different stories you can play with.

Your craziest shoot to date is?
Shooting for this High class strip club. Three days 20 strippers... Totally FUN!!!

What's your favourite piece of clothing in your cupboard - or on the floor?

I collect jackets! But my unsurpassed jersey at the mo is this 50's Springbok bowls jersey. It’s amazing, and still has the original Springbok symbol on the heart section.

F*ck peripheral success; hybrid culture that leeches onto what others have already established as 'cool'. And, although he admits to using a digital: "my clients want fast service and confirmation on the spot that images are perfect", I'm sure one day he will turn the lights down low in his Repunzal-sized room, mix-up some chemicals and delve into the realm of film. 

The digital will be sold and a pair of spanking new kicks will find a home, as for the rest of us? Well, we'll still be riding a digital highway, freaks on speed, all wired up and ready to get nasty. And rich, of course. But madams and sirs, let's not forget that this is a highway to hell. As Hunter S Thompson said "A pig today…bacon tomorrow" bitches!

But, whatever, f*ck the pigs, let’s eat and drink. To what you may ask? Well, to trips to the jungle and making it back safe. And I'm sure they'll make it back just as fine. After all, the bacon in Kinshasa's got nothing on the A Grade streaky we got here.

Always should be someone you really love...

I’m paying tribute to life's distractions today. More specifically to lovin’ these little distractions. And living love. Bra Boys just ended. “ooo ooo my friends, I’m glad I turned out like that”.

I’m feeling all warm-like…red red wine and a little hash rolled with love. Simplicity. Sweet fucking simplicity. I’m lost in my cold coffee, smoking a Marlboro, distracted but happy.

This is a report about a boy. And a girl. And summer in Cape Town, and new years on a roll. It’s about eating blueberry nerds and getting messy on school nights. It’s about laughter, inspiration and popcorn. Like life, I guess it’s about everything, and nothing, all at the same time.

Fuck being Emo, everyone here is digging being happy. And being Cool with being happy. Perhaps it’s the endless summer that’s got the whole of Cape Town caught in a spell, but for once I am a part of it.

Things I HEART about CT:

R5 taxis
The Atlantic Ocean
Drunk bergies shouting “Jou mas se POES” on the street
That the mountains meet the ocean
A whole city of people happy to be in South Africa. (Fuck those of you who aren’t!)
The Rock
XXX lifestyles
Foreign-people getting lost
Taxi drivers recognizing you as a local and charging the tourists double
Getting tourists to buy us drinks
Being a girl
Finding a boy
The Endless Summer
Mooks and all the other street stores
Black Label drafts at Rafikis
A joint effort to push Keeping it Local

My bro always told me you got to go through the shitty times to appreciate the good ones. Life keeps reminding me of its inherent inconsistency. Time fades, space becomes earth and dreams become smiles. Humanity. Pleasure. Eye contact. And glorified mornings for two.

“Such boundless pleasure…leave no time for later” (Frou Frou) No more waiting, it’s time for livin’ and lovin’ and, yes, everything that comes with that.

This is a report about love in Cape Town. And it’s about a boy with the “eyes of the bluest skies” and a girl chasing butterflies.

Peace. Love. Sunshine.
Sarah Claire