Everything we experienced in the month of August


Ate Mexican

Since my last review, it seems that the gods of food and drink have answered my silent prayers – another establishment has appeared on my doorstep. Of course I’m talking about Taqueria, El Burro’s latest offering which recently opened opposite the P&G on Kloof Nek. Yes, exactly where that pharmacy was that used to hand out prescription medication with no more than a smile... RIP. First impressions were good. The decor is gorgeous, it’s got a vibrant, cosy atmosphere and the friendly manager worked very hard to seat us fast even though the place was filled to the brim. Then, disaster struck. We were informed that the restaurant hadn’t quite received their liquor license yet. Panic set in. What happens when you go out to dinner without a drink? Did Mexican food even taste good without a margarita? I was reassured and only a little concerned when the table of three next to us set up camp armed with four bottles of wine (you can currently bring as many as you want, no corkage charged). I quickly ran across the road to procure our own. Crisis over. When it comes to the food, the place has a straightforward, tapas-style menu that focuses on individual tacos priced at about R30-R35 and other snack-style food (you’ll recognised some favourites from the El Burro mothership on Somerset Road). I opted for the Ceviche plus the beef taco – both were incredibly delicious and surprisingly filling. On exiting I happened to notice the adjoining shop fronts were currently being renovated and whilst eavesdropping a conversation heard that they were opening a Mexican-themed bar. This may or may not be true, but the prospect gets me pretty excited. I may never have to leave my block again! – Rosie Goddard

Got arty

Twenty Journey kicked off at Commune.1 on 18 August, an exhibition that conveyed the photographic journey of three South African photographers on a quest to discover democracy twenty years after a new political dispensation. Sipho Mpgongo struggles to grapple with the question: What is a ‘born free?’, Wikus de Wet seeks for meanings of ‘Land’ and Sean Metelerkamp explores unsuspected ‘Idiosyncracies’. We featured some of Superbalist 100 campaigner, Sipho Mpongongo's work here, and after you've checked that out you should definitely follow the full Twenty Journey, too. – Melanie van der Merwe

Watched Premier League

The football is back! Thank the Lord. It’s been too long but finally the football is back! Seven weeks with no melodrama enriching our dreary lives... We had to see our families and partners, go on hikes and to lunches, and indulge in our very own personal human experiences (all-too-real, all very close to home). Seven horribly long weeks with absolutely no real football to speak of. I mean, there were friendlies of course, but those were basically nothing more than glamorous showcases to watch new players perform and to see teams’ urgent needs to buy new players NOW, giving us links upon links and pages upon pages of inane fictional transfer excrement to worry about. Oh, and then there was the Copa America, but I only woke up for those 3am games twice. Did you see Arsenal played three must-watch finals before the real stuff even got started (“You reckon they could surprise us this season? This is Arsenal’s year I tell you!”) I’m setting up an office fantasy football league, everyone chuck R50 in the pot, winner takes it all – I’m in three other fantasy leagues at all with different colleagues but ja, sure, I’m totally amped. Did you see United’s new kit launch? It has a new sponsor! I wonder what the 3rd kit will look like? “Aw my boys are going to put yours to the SWORD when the league starts! You Mancs always roll over when us scousers come into town!” – a real conversation between two very South African South Africans. It’s been such a long seven weeks without football. Ironically for those blessed few who don’t care about this pantomime sport, and who are unshackled by fervour and ignorant to the strobe-style “BREAKING NEWS” tweets, to them it seems football never went away. We haven’t shut up for seven weeks about how much we miss our arbitrarily assigned British teams that entirely dictate our weekend moods, who project our personalities as we vicariously indulge in happiness and misery through the kick of a ball into a net. Well the football is back baby, and now we finally have something to speak about in the office come Monday mornings. – Max Dylan Lazarus

Danced the taxi driver

The International Pantsula, Zulu Compura, Futuremfana, Mfanafuture, Smart mampara, Zuper Tsatsatsa, Bhut’yangchaza, Bhut’yang’washa, Matsatsela, Mr Partytime, Uptown Skhothane, Zharp Zharp That O, Ok Zharp Zinto The First, Umswenko Voetsek Hamba Kini, Simiso Vishuali Swaghili, aka Okmalumkoolkat, went Rambo at a warehouse in Paarden Eiland. Friday 14 August saw the first Party Time Shandees eSpezialle Cape Town Edition go down, where Maramza kicked things off at ten bells and DJ White Nite closed the party after four. In between there were sets by Christian Tiger School and Jumping Back Slash, but it was Okmalumkoolkat and DJ Lag playing his first ever Cape Town set that made us go Ishuuuuu! And while Okmalumkoolkat was all, “Whip, working, flipping, swenka, asidlali, bafana, thina, thina, we drippin, we rockin, swenka, swenka, asidlali, bafana…” we did our best version of the rapper’s famous taxi-driver dance, which was more hopeless than Hiace, but at least the interview that we got with the man was dope. Keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming edition profile with the man and find out about his new R20 000 gold fronts, birthing a scene and, but of course, dancing. – Dylan Muhlenberg

Watched Kids for the first time

This month I watched Kids (1995) for the first time – Larry Clark and Harmony Korine’s gritty, immortal exposition of New York youth street-culture gone wild and my first thought was: “Bruh, my parents had it easy with me.” The film got slapped with an R18 age restriction when it landed in SA in ’97, and it’s totally understandable why. It revolves around a sex-obsessed, McLovin-with-swagger-esque skate-rat named Telly (Leo Fitzpatrick), whose goal it is to sleep with as many virgins as possible for two overarching reasons: because they’ll remember him for the rest of their lives, and because it’s the easiest way to stay STD-free.

And that’s where the film’s firm grasp of irony comes out to play [spoiler alert]: Telly is HIV-positive, and the film’s female lead, Jennie (Chloe Sevigny), has contracted it from him; Telly having been the only person she’s slept with. Jennie spends the duration of the film looking for our protagonist to inform him of their status (cellphones weren’t teen staples back then), and to protect Telly’s latest unknowing conquest from exposing herself to the same risk. Plot aside, the unique insight into New York’s skate culture, the controversy around its making and the sad fate of some of its cast-members make it a fascinating document in their own right. It unfolds something like this: photographer-turned-director Larry Clark was a 50 year-old who hung around skate-parks, teaching himself how to ride a board so he could somewhat creepily infiltrate young skaters’ circles to earn their trust and study what made them tick – this interest spawning, of course, from a rudimentary idea for a film that would document the lives of these adolescent, street-trawling delinquents with a penchant for unprotected sex and wrongdoing. Knowing that his limited perspective would not lend itself to compelling authenticity, Clark needed someone from the inside – someone who shared these kids’ worldview – to write the script. That insider turned out to be 18 year-old Harmony Korine, and yes, Kids loosely resembles events from his life. Crazy, right? These wanton, nihilistic, potty-mouthed bruisers were not simply Korine-crafted characters to shock you into celibacy – like it did our blog editor, Dylan Muhlenberg, as a teen. They were real people. And for that reason Clark knew that the actors needed to be real, too. To the chagrin of censorship boards worldwide, actual teenagers were used. It’s jarring to watch, especially during moments of intense sexuality and violence, and the characters’ dialect at times calls for subtitles. Korine admitted to The Guardian earlier this year that you’d never be able to make a film like Kids today. For some of the actors, like Rosario Dawson, Chloë Sevigny and Leo Fitzpatrick, Kids provided a break-out role. But for others, like Telly’s mate, Casper (Justin Pierce) and the cock-flapper, Harold (Harold Hunter), this film was merely the highlight of a troubled life. Pierce hung himself at the age of 25 and Hunter died from a cocaine-induced heart attack in 2006 – a tragically predictable conclusion to the lifestyle we witnessed in the film. Kids is an iconic piece of cinema history and if you haven’t seen it, you really ought to do so. Its influence as a street-culture staple is undeniable – this year, New York streetwear legends Supreme released a limited-edition line of Kids-related attire to commemorate the movie’s impact on the very world in which it thrives. As a narrative, it will both shock and entertain; it’s a richly consuming experience that boasts searing honesty and candour about the irreverence of corrupted youth with little to live for other than sex. Self-proclaimed “virgin surgeon”, Telly, puts it best: “When you're young, not much matters. When you find something that you care about, then that's all you got … fu**ing is what I love. Take that away from me and I really got nothing.” – Zia Haffejee

LOLd at Women’s Day

Because what is there to do but LOL, really? 

We were set to post this piece right before August 9th – Women’s Day. But as any anyone who has endured August in SA knows, to write it that early would be to miss out on some great material. A mere 24 hours is not long enough to express all of the straight-out sexism and patronising two-for-one pink drink specials that brands and individuals keep bottled up all year – so now we've got all of August for that. And we were right. What a month it’s been!

First up (and getting a bit of a head start by having their issue on shelves before the month even began) was Marie Claire, ‘getting people talking’ about domestic violence by posing a maybe-or-maybe-not domestic abuser and some noted misogynists (and some well-intentioned non-misogynists, it must be noted #notallmen) in high heels. While I did little more than devour a Man-Sized Lunch Bar because masculinity is fragile, Louise Ferreira (freelance writer, and, full disclaimer, a friend of mine) called out the campaign as a 'cheap gimmick' in this piece. Some took issue with, you know, the hypocrisy, while others spared an eye-roll for the fact that high heels were used as the symbol of walking in ‘her’ shoes, they’re definitely suited to the lifestyle of the average South African woman. Louise went on TV with the magazine's editor. The interview stayed civil. We cringed inwardly nevertheless. You can do the same here. We didn't have much to say, because Louise was pretty eloquent about it all, so we bought some sneakers from the menswear section to strike another blow against gender binaries.

Not to miss out on the action, the Department of Women and Children tweeted, ‘What should be done with women who press charges then later withdraw them?’. If you don't see why that's problematic, you can find out here. That's not dismissiveness or even sassiness you hear in my tone, I'm just tired. LOL. 

But it wasn't over yet! Soon enough Women’s Day dawned, temperate and full of misattributed quotes about women being able to achieve anything with the right shoes (high heels, amiright?) superimposed over black-white-and-pink images of Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn or Coco Chanel. Helen Moffett’s annual sweary Women’s Day essay was as always a breath of fresh air amongst the perfume of pink flowers, 2-for-1 pink drinks, cooking chocolate fashioned into the shape of lips or handbags, discounted bikini waxes and, well, perfume. Because while a glass of rosé is a delicious alternative to that all-time feminist favourite, male tears, it's worth pointing out again and again that it simply can't solve our country's domestic violence statistics, and probably isn't discounted because the gap between men's and women's salaries remains

Bic had the answers: In order to be taken seriously, as women, all we had to do was think differently. We had to think like none other than... Men! Although I have always preferred fineliners for plotting the downfall of The Patriarchy and dotting my ‘i’s with small flowers and hearts, Bic’s campaign was nevertheless disturbing. Well, they made it to Vogue.com, which is further than the average SA ad goes. 

Oh, how we laughed!

And then, we got outraged, and that was a good thing. Some pointed out that this wasn't the stuff that good jokes are made of. And we saw some small changes that made us feel hopeful. And given that Women's Day discounts had allowed us to save so much this month on everything we've bought that's pink, scented or frilly, we could give generously here. We'd suggest you do the same.

– Cayleigh Bright

Won a Loerie (kind of)

So there we were, laughing at how silly advertising and, more specifically, advertising awards are. And how almost everyone we know won something at the most recent awards ceremony in Margate. Egged on by Max – who is not a bag egg, I just crack under peer pressure – I posted the following status: "Stoked to have won a GOLD Loerie for best effective blogging in the dynamic retail blogsphere. Look under your chair, you may just have won something, too." Problem was, most of the Loerie titles are so ridiculous nobody noticed the subtle humour and that the category I'd won doesn't even exist. Obviously. That, together with perfunctory comprehension skills, resulted in 130 people mindlessly clicking "like". There were even encouraging remarks congratulating me on my win. Then my mom phoned to ask me why I never told her about my award, that she had to hear from a friend at the Spar... But the clincher was when my high-school took the information I'd posted, did some irresponsible Googling and created the attached visual, which they posted on their Facebook page. At time of writing the lie has gone so far that I've had no other choice but to add the award to my Linkedin profile, and if for any reason Mark Andrews or Mark Boucher can't speak at our alma mater's Founders Day this year, I'm going to be the guest speaker. – Dylan Muhlenberg