Becoming: Gil Hockman breaks through the loops

Solo musos on guitar, synthesiser and feedback loop. They pop up at weird festivals in rural towns, like the olive festival in Riebeeck-Kasteel, or the pumpkin festival in Heidelberg. They’re ubiquitous and they all sound like Jeremy Loops. Actually they all might be Jeremy Loops. Not that there’s anything wrong with Jloo, thousands adore him, it’s just his voice strikes the wrong note for me. Him and Jack Johnson; whatever they choose to sing about, they sound ultimately happy and self fulfilled, as if life, all told, is easy. Which is a lie. Continue reading →

Whatever: Sex, drugs, and Cape Town’s elite

Book review

By Matilda Tullie

The daughter of eccentric artist parents and the granddaughter of DRUM founder Jim Bailey, Saskia Bailey grows up in an extraordinary home where a train station of wildly interesting guests formed the wallpaper of her childhood.

Earlier this year 21-year-old Saskia Bailey weighted South Africa’s book shelves with the release of her debut novel: Whatever: A 21st Century Memoir. Recounting harrowing stories of sex, drugs, death and eating disorders, Bailey writes about her experiences in an honest and brutal tone. She wants her readers to feel uncomfortable, yet keep them curious.

I would like you to take Whatever not with a pinch, but a bucket of salt.”- writes Baily in her preface. Continue reading →

Mango Ginger: Fresh and zesty in Obs

Coffee shop review

Apricot and venison, and chicken and leek pies, with potato wedges on the side.

The geography of Observatory is such that it enables a sense of community; it has a ‘high street’ of its own separate from the main road from the city to the south, and has a continuity of architecture and narrow streets that contributes to an egalitarian sensibility.

With its collection of bars, a few theatres, coffee shops, vintage shops and dives, it is often described as Bohemian. Being close to UCT means there’s also lots of students living around which keep it young. It can also be a bit grimy, especially if you have memories of one too many dawns following a looong night of bar tending (hello Ruby in the Dust, anyone?). Continue reading →

The Old Man and the Sea: Sailing safe waters

James Cairns reveals himself as a master of mime in The Old Man and the Sea.

Machismo is so passe. Activities such as bullfighting, drinking, arm wrestling, fishing are no longer to be revered, or be written about except in terms of irony or disapproval. It’s only natural. There has been too much blood and killing, conquest and destruction in a world teetering on the edge of annihilation. Too much of patriarchal capitalism raping the Earth’s natural resources for the last two centuries. Thus Hemingway, or at least what he is perceived to represent, is history. To admit being a fan is to risk being branded conservative, right wing, a throwback. Nurture, holism, empathy and understanding are what are needed to pull us back from the brink, off the rapacious path of climate chaos and on to the possibility of a future, not killing things.

Yet The Old Man and the Sea remains a classic tale. Continue reading →

City policies choke arts and culture initiatives

The Events By-law ‘one-size fits all’ approach makes life difficult for smaller organisations trying to do good work.

Cultural capital… Open Book has to deal with restrictive event requirements in order to host a five-day inclusive festival of literature. Photo: Retha Ferguson

Frustration with the City’s funding procedures and event permit policies have been expressed by a number of arts and culture organisations, with one internationally award-winning organisation having given up on trying to deal with local government bureaucracy.

Four significant organisations believe the City’s Events By-law is geared for large, well-funded and well-staffed organisations, and fails to acknowledge the challenges faced by smaller initiatives in the arts and culture sector.

Complaints include the cost of public display permits for advertising posters, opaque application procedures for grant-in-aid, and onerous and expensive event permit requirements.

Heal the Hood, a 20-year-old organisation using hip hop to develop a sense of self-worth among school children and young people living in suburbs of the Cape Flats, has simply given up trying to obtain funding from the City or organise their own events. Continue reading →