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OK – I confess, we do get winter in Cape Town. In the last couple of weeks it must have rained at least twice and the temperature at night has plunged to as low as three degrees. But even the weather succumbs to Cape Town’s laid back attitude. As I write this, I am sitting in the sun under our lemon tree, thermal vest long since discarded. [Read more…]

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This versatile young honours student – also a composer, arranger, session musician, teacher and conductor for the Wynberg Girl’s High School Jazz Band – was holding a fund-raising concert to pay off her baritone saxophone .

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The clear highlights were the portraits, both for me and for Joseph. He loved picking out the blue highlights of the skin and seeing how the red of the lips might be the same colour as her hat or as a flower on her dress.

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For those who have never heard of Flanders and Swann, you are not alone. As old-style musical hall entertainers their music is unlikely to be found on the average iPod. But their songs are as relevant and witty today as they were in their heyday of the 1950s and 60s.

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The atmosphere was electric – with the audience shouting ‘hopa!’ and ‘ole!’ along with the dancers and musicians – making me feel I was at the centre of a dusty little Spanish town.

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From the first shaping of the orchestra’s sound in Maestro Bonynge’s hands to the unrestrained “bravos” at the end as we rose to our feet, the tight cast of talents carried us through a concert that will not easily be forgotten.

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Situated on the grounds of Constantia Nek Restaurant, it comprises a series of ropes, ladders, swings and nets that offer an aerial obstacle course in a small glade of tall bluegum trees, with platforms up to eight metres above the ground, and zipwires up to 60m long.

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I had the pleasure of attending the world premiere of ‘Saying Goodbye’; an unassuming documentary about an ordinary family and how saying goodbye had dire repercussions for them all.

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The way in which we listen to classical music has certainly changed. A lot. Today, there is absolutely no reason not to ‘attend’ a performance by world-class musicians, in the most prestigious of concert halls, the world over. And no, you need not be an international jetsetter or a world-class performer yourself in order to achieve this.

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For people who love pure unadulterated guitar, the Folk and Acoustic Music Festival is a regular treat. Now in its fourth incarnation, this time in the Baxter Concert Hall, the atmosphere was set to a comfortable note by the audience who seemed familiar with the performers as well as the performers who seemed familiar with each other.

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What with the great view and the generous portions to work through, the idea is to linger and to lounge at the Clubhouse, which also serves as a venue for private functions such as birthday parties and bridal showers. It doesn’t claim to be overly fancy, pricing is not at all exorbitant, and that’s probably why it’s already becoming something of a local favourite among friends and families.

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And so the morning continues, with moments of historical humour, sadness and revelation. The guide may disclose, if asked, the mystery of the three roads beginning “Buiten” and the role of the bell ringer. And be sure to ask about the cannons!

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If the hipsters and the hippies had a love child, it would be Rocking the Daisies. The annual pilgrimage to Cloof Estate in the middle-of-nowhere-vaguely-near-Darling, revealed the usual combination of part flower children in a 70s timewarp, and part hipsters with skinny jeans, black-rimmed glasses and iPhones.

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Having spent a day emerged in everything Linkin Park, we were now teetering on the very edge of the stage, sharing with those 45 000 others that Moment before the band struck up their first chords. And this moment was beyond everything else we experienced during the day. The unanimous euphoria of 45 000 fans was a pure adrenalin-rush thrill.

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With a houseful of dusty bits of junk and mismatched furniture and a wardrobe that includes my old school skirt (yup – still going strong after nearly two decades) I am not necessarily the best person to judge what is groovy and cool and This Season’s Must-Buy. But believe me – if you weren’t at the Design Indaba last week, you should have been.

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Initially I felt almost guilty at Breyani. I felt a bit like a peeping tom looking in on a jam session. Then David Kramer walked on stage with his big smile and his trademark hat and I immediately felt welcome…

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I was dead centre, just a couple of rows from the front… easy pickings for the self-proclaimed “hilarious” hypnotist. I’d had my misgivings, simply from the name, but the guy who shambled on to stage wasn’t quite the slightly podgy overly-cheerful character I’d pictured. Instead he was tall and skinny with hunched shoulders, a sort of ginger version of Lurch from The Addams Family.

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“Curator Sarina Jordaan’s exclusive debut dining event marries a myriad of sumptuous South African dishes with a unique setting and a line-up of up-and-coming Capetonian Arts performers.”

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Peachy Keen took the stage to a packed Mercury and immediately had the crowd dancing to a series of pop-esque rockabilly jams from their new album, Backseat Bingo.

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On the outskirts of Shippensburg in Pennsylvania is a small factory that makes plastic bibs expressly for Oktoberfest celebrants. There’s a choice of these accesorio para fiestas (as the label refers to them): a life-size top part of lederhosen or a life-size cleavage bursting from a frilly blouse and dirndl. Needless to say, the female versions were the first to run out last night at the inaugural Newlands Brewery Oktoberfest.

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From the vivid pop art paintings to the funky soundtrack and glossy red logo, it’s obvious that The Chanel Bettison Beauty Concept Store is not your average salon. Daylight streams in through the floor to ceiling windows, and bounces off the whitewashed wooden floors and walls, creating an effect that is both slick and sunny.

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Schmid draws on his personal experiences living in South Africa with hilarious results. While not every joke is side-splitting, many are the kind that worm their way into your memory, eliciting smiles weeks later. I’ll certainly never look at a seal in the same way again.

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The conference – aimed squarely at die-hards – is both exhausting and exhilarating. One is immersed in creative concepts and imaginative ideas for three long days, literally eating, breathing and sleeping design (case in point – I dreamed about Dave Hakken’s edible pen).

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It is the intimate and joyful portraits of families capturing tender and spontaneous moments that show us as we truly are. Unadorned and unaware, Pinto’s subjects reflect the honest and warm way in which she sees the world.

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It was the Rolling Stone Original Voices concert. When a friend told me the bill, I almost fell off my chair. Sara Blasko, Willy Mason and Cat Power. All of them. On one night. No time for falling out of chairs in dramatic surprise, tickets needed to be booked. It’s really hard not to just gush after going to a concert like this so forgive me, please, I am about to gush.

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Their melodies seemed to take on lives their own, their source emanating from the musicians’ obvious love for their instruments, moving almost unnoticed through their fingers and setting the strings in motion, producing a sound so intricate that by the time the tunes reached our eager ears, we believed that the guitars were in fact singing with angelic voices.

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