Monthly Archives: June 2011

Detroit’s DJ Carl Craig at J&B’s Start a Party

Detroit's DJ Carl Craig at J&B's Start a Party
I'll get to Carl Craig in a second, but first, don't you love that HUGE mirror ball? You can't see in this photo, but there were green lasers bouncing from its shiny surface all the time - it was totally awesome!

Carl started his set after Culoe de Song ended off in spectacular style. Even though I'm not a regular listener of electronica/techno music, I immediately picked up that Carl's style was different. I've just read a little about him and have found out, in fact, that the thing that makes his style different from other Detroid-based artists is that he often remixes worldbeat and jazz music into his techno. Interesting, hey?

Having been in the business for about 22 years, it's clear that Carl's a far more seasoned muso. What was cool about his performance was that he interacted with the crowd on the dance floor far more than his peers - he clearly got into the party vibe; see the second photo below.

Carl Craig was the last of the DJs that we saw performing at J&B's Start a Party. Even though he was great and interacted with the crowd well, in terms of musical performance Monique Pascall, Culoe de Song, and Carl Craig were pretty much on par - or this is at least what my untrained ear tells me. :)

Culoe and the drums of Africa at J&B’s Start a Party

The African house beats of Culoe de Song
Culoe de Song (aka Culolethu Zulu) was the second of three artists performing at J&B's Start a Party on Saturday night. This super-tallented DJ and producer from Durban took over from Monique Pascall, paving the way for Detroit city's famous DJ, Carl Craig, to make his much-anticipated appearance.

Don't be confused by the photo - that's not Culoe - this is Culoe. The man in the photo was one of two drummers who added the distinctive African sound to Culoe's electronic music. I'm not sure if this applies only to us who've grown up in Africa, but African drums always seem to awaken the spirit of African in us, it's like we're drawn to the sound, to the beat, by some innate force. They're awesome. :)

Culoe's set was by earwitness accounts brilliant - and I guess that's to be expected. He's about 20 years old now, but at the age of 18 he was selected to attend the Red Bull Music Academy in Barcelona, and subsequent to that was asked to submit a mix Resident Advisor - the world's premier online electronic music magazine. Isn't that something - especially for an 18-year-old?!

Monique Pascall – the real party-starter

Monique Pascall - the real party-starter

We arrived at the castle for J&B's Start a Party at around 9pm which is just about the right time to start getting a party going, wouldn't you say?

As we walked into the venue, we were greeted by the electronic sounds of the lovely Monique Pascall - which her bio refers to as being "Minimal and Techno with tough, dirty, progressive, rolling bass lines". Now, I'm not a huge techno/electronica geek, but on reflection and after critically listening to her tracks on sShadoworkss I'd say that the description is pretty accurate, and well deserved.

The most difficult time for a DJ to perform is at the start of a party, when everyone's still a little tense from the day and has had just a little too little alcohol to relax the inhibitions. Up for the challenge, Monique picked up the beat and got the party started, enticing the first few party-starters onto the dance floor. By the time she handed over the reigns to Culoe de Song, the party was pretty much tripping.

In case you're wondering who the guy in the photo below is, that's Ivan Turanjanin, a DJ who's pretty much synonymous with Fiction nightclub's Killer Robot.

Mirrorball Man! He knows how to start a party.

Mirrorball Man!
We were transported by bus from the fabulous Pepper Club hotel to the castle - and guess who was there to greet us as we stepped off the bus for the J&B Start a Party? Yes! Brighter than a candle, faster than a dingo, more flexible than Kerry-Anne's pilates instructor - it was the one, the only, Mirrorball Man! (I can hear your collective roar as I type this.)

Mirrorball Man loves parties, hates drunk party-spoilers, loves revelers, hates drink drivers, and loves conga-lines! Mirrorball Man and his men-of-yellow have a simple philosophy: don't drink too much alcohol, drink lots of water, and don't freegin' drink and drive - ever.

Keeping by Mirrorball Man's philosophy meant that we could actually remember every detail of the party. We remember the awesome Joburg peeps that we met, the wild Mexicans who raged on the dance floor, the beautifully-spoken French men who always make Kerry-Anne's knees wobbly, and even Bogun, the crazy and sometimes confused Korean (who spoke no English) in the top left of the photo. :)

Don't you think it's kinda odd for J&B to create a "responsible drinker" like Mirrorball Man? Naa, I didn't think so - I guess you can see the logic in it: live to party another day (with J&B of course). ;)

What made J&B’s Start a Party awesome

Refresh with Valpré

As you may have gathered from my articles on Friday and Saturday, Kerry-Anne and I joined about 350 other people at the Castle of Good Hope for J&B's annual Start a Party party.

Given the title of this article (and if you were actually at the event) you're probably wondering why I posted a photo of an ice box with water when I could have posted a photo of the dance floor, bars, or DJs. If so, well then hang ten - I'll get to the party in the next post. This post is about the little extras that made Start a Party so memorable.

The first thing was that J&B made sure that there was always ice-cold water available, free of charge. Notice the text engraved in the ice pictured below? "Refresh, rehydrate, and remember the party." In addition to encouraging party-starters to drink plenty of water, they provided everyone with only 5 free coupons for mixes and cocktails (to discourage over-indulging). And, since 5 drinks would set everyone except perhaps Chuck Norris over the limit, J&B provided a free taxi service to anyone who wanted to make use of it.

The theme of the party was "party of the future", which brings me to the second thing that was awesome about the event. The halls and rooms of the Castle were filled with coloured lights. Bright-green lasers from along the floating stage cut through the smoke bouncing against mirror balls - and even mirrorball man on occasion! J&B had even arranged digital photo stations that took snaps of our faces, which were later used on huge touch-screens to bring life to our virtual cyber-party characters.

There were many more ancillary aspects that made the party different, and worth remembering; however, if I were to write about them all I fear that I'd eventually fall asleep on top of my laptop and awake with a keyboard embossed on my forehead. So, I'll leave it at that for now. But stand by, I'll post a couple more photos soon!

Lights, cameras, and a J&B party-starter

Cameras, lights, and a J&B party
Even though the weather's been particularly chilly and wet over the last few days, there was a huge gathering of local and international celebrity party-starters and guests, as well as a fairly sizable entourage of media at J&B's Start a Party launch last night.

We were pretty excited about the party, but are now even more so after hearing about the video mapping, LED dancers, video dance floor, and floating stage (although, I'm not sure where the stage will be floating - it's not like the castle is filled with water!).

Any party needs an awesome DJ - and we'll have four of them tonight. The well-known Detroit-based DJ, Carl Craig will be headlining the party, with backup from South Africa's Monique Pascal, Culoe de Song and Ivan Turanjanin.

Tonight's J&B Start a Party is going to be legendary - over the next day or two I'll share a few stories and photos from the event; but right now, I think it's about time to start suiting-up for the big gig. :)

About to Start a Party with J&B

Mixing J&B cocktails
You may have heard about the outrageous party that J&B's planning on hosting in Cape Town's Castle of Good Hope tomorrow. If not, I'm sure you'll remember the ad campaign for the last one - it was held on Mexico's Caribbean coast and the theme was Under the Mayan Sun. Remember? Didn't you wish you were there?

From what I've seen and read, tomorrow's J&B Start a Party party at the castle could be the biggest, most energetic and extravagant party that Cape Town has ever seen. Through some good fortune, Kerry-Anne and I were invited to the party. We'll driven from the Pepper Club hotel to the Castle; we'll be forced to party hard (how terrible); and then Road Trip will drive us back home in the early hours of the morning (assuming we've partied too much ;) )! Doesn't it sound awesome?!

I took this photo of a mixologist preparing one of the J&B cocktails designed especially for the party tomorrow. This one, called Ellicious, is made from J&B whisky (obviously!), peach schnapps, mango puree, lime juice, and pineapple juice. Doesn't that sound like one crazy-hardcore drink?

The vineyards are orange

The vineyards are orange
On 2 February 1659, Jan van Riebeeck (founder and Dutch Commander of the Cape), produced the first wine recorded in South Africa. Today Cape Town and its surrounding areas are well-known for wine production - possibly because of the ideal weather (not too cold, not too hot, with a lovely summer sea breeze to cool the grapes) but more likely because of its inhabitants love the drink (arguably) a little too much. :)

This is a closer view of the vineyards shown in yesterday's post about graffiti. Many vines in vineyards over Cape Town have already lost their leaves, but like this one, some still have a beautiful red/orange hue.

Graffiti, vines and ambivalence

Graffiti and vines
I normally like graffiti - but I'm not really thrilled by this expression of art. For me it's a combination of the wrong canvas (face brick), the location (which was among the vineyards in Stellenbosch) and I guess the lack of originality that makes me a little ambivalent about the work.

How do you feel about artwork, and about graffiti in general?

Die Oude Molen mystery

Oude Molen - 1925
As I wrote in a previous article - I can't find any information about this building on the Web. The only details that I have is that the building is called "Die Oude Molen" (where "Die" means "The" in English and not "die"), and it has the dates 1925 and 1710 embossed on a beam and at the top of the gable, respectively.

If you know something about this house or property, please do leave a comment on this post.

Through the fence

Through the fence
I some times wish that Cape Town had an underground metro. Wouldn't it be great to catch the underground from the city center to Sea Point, then across the Waterfront and back to your apartment in Gardens?

Thinking about the large amount of granite that we'd have to excavate and the huge amounts of ground water that we'd have to contend with I guess it would cost far too much money to build one, and our best bet would be a monorail (like one that we traveled on in Sydney).

Strelitzia, the bird-flower

Strelitzia, the bird-flower
Given its appearance, it's no wonder that the Strelitzia is some times referred to as the Bird-of-Paradise, or Crane Flower.

The Strelitzia Reginae is indigenous to South Africa - and in fact, although this isn't ours, we do have one in our garden. The foliage of this plant is evergreen and the large leaves are shaped a little like those of a banana tree - only smaller.

An interesting piece of trivia, that may help you out in a game-show some day, is that (according to Wikipedia) the Strelitzia is named after Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the wife of King George III - although, I believe the flower is somewhat prettier than the painting of the queen shows her to have been. :-o

Pillars and tiles

Tiles and Pillars
This photo is of the same building that I posted yesterday - only looking in exactly the opposite direction, and from the patio.

My grandparents use to live on a farm way north in South Africa and had a patio that was, in some way, similar to this one. The patio had red tiles, much to these, and was kept shiny with a brick-red coloured polish. I think my mother still has a photo of my brother and I covered in red polish after sliding around on the tiles. :)

Pillars and leaves

Pillars and leaves
I took this photo at Oude Molen in Stellenbosch. The Dutch words "Oude Molen" mean "Old Mill" and presumably refer to the old water-driven mill once located on the property.

I took a walk around the property and unfortunately couldn't find the mill; which I presume means that it was really really old and either fell apart or was replaced by one of the other buildings. I searched for information about the property but could find nothing much, except for references to Stellenbosch University's Oude Molen men's fraternity.

If you do know anything more about Oude Molen in Stellenbosch, please do leave a comment on this post.

The Red Bulletin and the iPad app

Extreme Red Bull
Let's face it, companies like Red Bull don't sponsor awesome events for fun - they don't spend their money for nothing - it's all about advertising and brand building. That said; that out of the way, we're flippin' glad that they do and that's why we don't mind calling them awesome.

Red Bull sponsor dozens of events in South Africa, including music, BMX, freestyle motocross, surf, skate and even b-boying! Without sponsorship there would be far fewer (perhaps no) whole-day music concerts and extreme sport events... in fact I'd risk saying that most (if not all) large sporting events would simply not exist.

If you have an iPad - check out the Red Bulletin iPad app. I don't have an iPad, so leave a comment here and tell me what it's like.

From teenager to dad – once a skater…

Graffiti at Son Skate Park
Once a skater always a skater - even if only at heart. It feels like it's been forever since I last touched a skateboard, and going along to Red Bull Manny Mania really got me excited about skating again - it's awesome.

If you missed my previous two posts about Red Bull Manny Mania - click here to read a little more about the event, and hey, you may even decide to dust of your old board and compete in Durban or Johannesburg. :D

Notice how the dad in the photo is keeping his young-one focused on the ramps? I'm sure he's going to be a champion some day!

Reach for what life is all about – Red Bull Manny Mania!

Skateboarders relaxing
Aren't skaters just awesome? I took this photo just before the start of Red Bull Manny Mania got underway - clearly the guy on the left had worked hard on his tricks and was taking a well-deserved rest before the competition started.

If you're in Durban, try to make it through to the competition on Saturday; it's going to be awesome!

Isn't that a great piece of wall art?

Red Bull Manny Mania 2011

Skateboard in flight
I recently went along to the international Red Bull Manny Mania skateboarding competition at Son Skate Park in Stellenbosch.

Red Bull Manny Mania is an international skateboarding competition that focuses on skateboarders performing tricks (vs. downhill, or street luge). The competition started in Cape Town and is working its way up to Johannesburg through Jefferys Bay and Durban. Durban will, in fact, be this coming Saturday (18 June) at the Wave House Skate Park and the last SA leg will be held at Revolution Skate Park in Johannesburg on Saturday 25 June.

The tree best skaters from all four cities will contend in the SA finals in Johannesburg (on 26 June), and the winner of that event will find themselves competing against the rest of the world in New York in August. Imagine that. New York in August! :)

Segregation, even at death

Segregation, even at death
If you never caught the first post in the series of photos taken at Stellenbosch cemetery – click here to see what the photos are all about.

I meant to comment in a previous post on how a graveyard is a universal leveler. Even though this is mostly true - to some extent anyway - in the case of this cluster of graves it's clear that the family was segregated from the rest of the cemetery's residents. Not only this, but it even looks as though the people in the two graves in front were placed there to guard over those behind the fence. Spooky.

I should actually have read the inscriptions on the headstones - I have a feeling there's a particularly sad story about this cluster.

Dove and the snail

Dove and the snail
If you never caught the first post in the series of photos taken at Stellenbosch cemetery – click here to see what the photos are all about.

I only spotted the large snail towards the bottom left of the photo after taking a few photos of this headstone. The question is, can you spot all three snails?

The leaning gravestone

A concrete cross
If you never caught the first post in the series of photos taken at Stellenbosch cemetery – click here to see what the photos are all about.

Most of the gravestones in this graveyard have started leaning over a little due to soil erosion and the natural movement of earth. These are in stark contrast to the photos I've seen of the impeccably neat and well-maintained US defense force cemeteries.

Isn't that a sad sight?

The narrow road, not often travelled

The narrow road, not often travelled
If you never caught the first post in the series of photos taken at Stellenbosch cemetery – click here to see what the photos are all about.

I first walked among the graves at Stellenbosch cemetery, taking photos, but later discovered that this little road wasn't only for official use, but was made for visitors to drive along - presumably because many people aren't able to walk the steep incline to see the graves of their loved ones.

I hopped in my car and took a drive through the graveyard - it was a little eerie, I have to admit.

Autumn leaves at the cemetery

Autumn leaves at the cemetery
If you never caught the first post in the series of cemetery photos – click here to see what the series is all about.

Sometimes the most unusual perspectives lead to the most interesting views. Looking at the photo on my over-sized monitor makes me feel like diving though the screen into the bed of leaves. Aren't they pretty? :)

Hauntingly eerie in Stellenbosch

Hauntingly eerie gravestones
If you never caught the first post in the series of cemetery photos – click here to see what the series is all about.

It never looked quite so haunting at the time, but looking at the photo afterwards gave Kerry-Anne and I both an eerie chill.

Only after closely inspecting this photo and others taken from different angles did I realise that this particular spot in Stellenbosch cemetery appears to be dedicated to children's graves - hence all the small angelic figures. It must be terrible to lose a child - especially a young one like Marina Van Eck. It looks like she was just shy of 5 years old when she died.

The inscription is an excerpt from the Christian bible and reads "Want aan sulkes behoort die koninkryk van God". translated this reads "For to such belongs the kingdom of God".

Le Roux

Le Roux's Gravestone
If you never caught the first post in the series of cemetery photos – click here to see what the series is all about.

This is a different perspective on the same grave as the one shown in my previous photo. Looking at how this one has deteriorated over the years, I wonder what this, and similar graves, will look like in 100 years from now. Will they be completely run down? Who will restore them?

Checkerboard gravestone

If you never caught the first post in the series of cemetery photos – click here to see what the series is all about.

I wonder what the significance, or symbolism of this checkerboard gravestone is. Was it that the deceased was particularly good at chess, or simply that the style was fashionable at the time?

Cemeteries often have a few graves that look very different to those around them. Have you ever walked through a cemetery and wondered why particular gravestones have particular designs? I don't normally hang out at cemeteries, but on the occasions that I've visited one I've often found myself wondering what lies behind the distinctive nature of certain designs.

A beautiful view from Stellenbosch Cemetery

A beautiful view from Stellenbosch Cemetery
If you never caught the first post in the series of cemetery photos – click here to see what the series is all about.

Isn't it interesting that graveyards often have the best views? This is clearly not for the sake of those buried, but I'm guessing more for the sake of their visitors - the people who come here to remember those whom they've lost.

From the colour of the trees, and the vineyards in the distance you can see that it's between autumn and winter in Cape Town. It was rainy on this day, but on clear and sunny days it sure is beautiful to walk among the trees and vineyards of the Cape.

Angel at Stellenbosch cemetery

Angel at Stellenbosch cemetery
If you never caught the first post in the series of cemetery photos – click here to see what the series is all about.

It seems strange to me to have statues of angels watching over graves. I suppose what I find strange about it is that the statue is really only there for the living who visit the graves of their departed loved ones.

Do you think it offers some kind of comfort? Would you erect this kind of statue at a loved one's grave? How would you feel about one being erected in memory of you? I'm really interested to know.

Autumn leaves at Stellenbosch cemetery

Autumn leaves at Stellenbosch cemetery
If you never caught the first post in the series of cemetery photos - click here to see what the series is all about.

This place must have seen a great amount of sadness in its time but yet manages to be so beautiful. Isn't autumn lovely?