The Heartman’s taking his vitamins… as in Glaceau glug glug!

I know that The Heartman, our intrepid Durban to Cape Town unicyclist, is a strong oke. I know that he is mega-determined to do the Heart & Sole Tour. I know that he will. I know that, if he could, he would leave tomorrow.

I also know that he is hard in training. That he has a huge heart. And I know, without a shadow of doubt, that is completely off his rocker.

But what I didn’t know is that he so damn good at marketing!

The Heart & Sole is accumulating a nice collection of sponsors for the big roadtrip by unicycle. We hope to leave Durban sometime late in November. We will set the departure date when we are ready to announce The Heart & Sole’s complete list of sponsors and when the two specialist touring unicycles have arrived in Umdloti.

So we’re not ready to reveal the names of our sponsors quite yet. But I must make an exception in the case of Glaceau Vitmainwater, which will be providing us with many cases of their delicious, nourishing and rehydrating drink for the 1,700km ride.

Why? Because they gave us so much of fun this week. The Heartman (Geoff Brink) was about to unicycle down the hill for his daily surf – that’s how he rolls – when the Glaceau marketing bus arrived to hand over a few cases of their magic liquid for training purposes.

Their marketing team, Christine, Kelly and Ashton, suggested we put on a unicycling display right in front of the Umdloti Centre on the beachfront… and The Heartman jumped at the chance to show off his skills. What a show-off! What a schmarketer! What a nutter! What a total jol!

This is how it looked…

Marketable or what? the Heartman thirsts for the elixir which will carry him through to Cape Town...

Marketable or what? the Heartman thirsts for the elixir which will carry him through to Cape Town...

Then he gets a little kiddo to go Glaceau while he chats up the parents...

Then he gets a little kiddo to go Glaceau while he chats up the parents...

The Heartman gets totally confuzzed by a little game sprung on him by Glaceau marketing angel Kelly...

The Heartman gets totally confuzzed by a little game sprung on him by Glaceau marketing angel Kelly...

… and then, and I suggest you take a deep breath and sit down somewhere safely for this one, wait for this….

Old Heartie throws us a trick on top of a mate's Landie!

Old Heartie throws us a trick on top of a mate's Landie!

Yowzerness! Cheap schmarketing stunt or what? Actually, no. This is just how he is. Umstoppable. Let’s just hope he’s unstoppable on his AmaOneTyre all the way to Kaapschstad! And I, as his publicity guru (I just point him towards a moment of madness, he does the rest) and back-up man (er, that’s driving the back-up vehicle while blogging, photographing, tweeting, facebooking, e-mailing, phoning ahead, changing the tunes, picking him up and sticking Mickey Mouse plasters on his cuts and scratches), firmly believe that if anybody on this planet can cover the 1,700km on one wheel, it’s my top mate Geoff “Heartman” Brink!

What do you think?

Durban’s World Cup 2010 stadium gets a rave review – from a Capetonian!

It’s not often the idyllic Indian Ocean holiday resort that is Durban gets the thumbs-up from a Capetonian. It’s not often Durbs gets anything from the superiority-complex-burdened Capetonians. Not even a visit. The only people you’ll find on a plane about to leave Cape Town for Durban are Durbanites, open-minded enough to want to experience a drop of that ridiculously over-rated rain-sodden, wind-shaken and most Eurotrashy of South African cities.

But, refreshingly, Seth Rotherham, the Camps Bay sex symbol celebrity blogger, has gone against the grain. He rolls like that does Rothers. You should check out his website 20ceansvibe. Seth is a funny oke. And brave. Not brave enough to actually visit Durban – despite an open invitation to spend a night or two at Hatman Mansions, Umdloti – but brave enough to be a Capetonian and openly express his admiration for something or somebody belonging to Durbs-on-Sea.

Just last week he showed remarkable taste for a Capetonian when he gave his adoring 2oceansvibers a glowing recommendation to visit fredhatman.co.za (see here) and now he too has fallen under the entrancing spell of our Moses Mabhida Stadium, far and away the most impressive of all of the 2010 World Cup stadia.

However, before I refer you to the spot where he absolutely raves about our new stadium, previously described by an insanely jealous Capetonian as “looking like Paris Hilton dropped her handbag in the middle of Durban”, let’s revel in the outrageous beautifulness of the pic our friend Seth used on his blog…

Durban's architectural stunner works on its tan in the year-round sunshine, waiting patiently for the world to hit on her next June and take full advantage Pic: Lefty Sivambu/Gallo Images

Durban's architectural stunner works on its tan in the year-round sunshine, waiting patiently for the world to hit on her next June and take full advantage Pic: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Utter gorgeousness, hey? Needless to say, some mealymouthed Apetonians just had to leave disparaging comments about our Moses under Seth’s post (read it here), only serving to show that they just can’t stand the fact that we’ve upstaged them big-time on the World Cup front. I suggest that they try really hard to get over it. Come June next year, when glorious winter sunshine is smiling upon Durbs and the rage of the foulweather gods is vented on the Smother City, it might finally dawn on them that all of the World Cup visitors will have chosen to hang out on our golden beaches, goofing in our warm ocean and ogling our unsurpassable bikini babes while waiting to take in the beautiful game under our gleaming skyscraper arch.

However, it now appears that Seth might have briefly been under the spell of some of Durban’s finest local produce when he raved over Moses because he has gone and spoilt it all by saying nice things about Cape Town’s Green Point Stadium. He has succumbed to publishing a snap by one of his viewers which shows the “half-sucked Polo mint” structure all lit up at night.

Here is the incriminating evidence…

All of the long-retired Cape Town models deserted their skinny lattes at Green Point's Giovanni's and ran for cover as the alien spaceship, carrying an army of giant crayfish invaders from Durban, landed right over the main road Picture: Joanne (a friend of Seth's)

All of the long-retired Cape Town models deserted their skinny lattes at Green Point's Giovanni's and ran for cover as the alien spaceship, carrying an army of giant crayfish invaders from Durban, landed right over the main road Picture: Joanne (a friend of Seth's)

OK. So I’ve since been irately informed by a number of Apetonians (golly, they take themselves soooo seriously) that my “caption is all wrong” and that thing (above) is actually Cape Town’s World Cup 2010 stadium.

Fine. You can stop e-mailing me now, Cape Town. Thank you. Now I’ll show some Seth-like graciousness and Durban bonhomie and say that their stadium actually looks quite nice.

By night. All lit up.

But then so does Gugulethu.

PS: Should you want to help me win a Foozi football table game for the township kids who attend Waterloo Primary School near Umdloti, please go to the Shine2010 website right here and ease your cursor to the right and down until you get to the heading “POLL”… now go down to the headline “A Golden Day at Durban’s World Cup 2010 stadium… sometime in 2019″, click on the little button next to it and then click “Submit”. Doing that might enable me to win their Bloggers’ Challenge so that I might donate the Foozi game to the kids… can you imagine their joy? Check out the prize…

Total coolness overload, hey? I so want to see the kids' faces when they play on this baby during big break... please vote!

Total coolness overload, hey? I so want to see the kids' faces when they play on this baby during big break... please vote!

Thanks! I love all of you. Even you Capetonians (who voted for me). spreadthelovesaysfred

Talk about a cheeky monkey!

Here in Umdloti we are very accustomed to dealing with cheeky monkeys.

There’s Julius Malema, the loudmouthed oke from the ANC Youth League who uses any media forum available to tell all South Africans what to do and not to do, there’s the Manchester United chop at the Bush Tavern who never fails to get on my case when Liverpool FC lose (currently every time they play) and then there’s the local troop of vervet monkeys (see one of them below) which use Hatman Mansions as their local supermarket (well, they would if The Scrapster and Doodlebug, my Jack Russells, weren’t constantly barking up their blue arses).

Yes, the southern African vervet monkey (male gender) have bright blue arses and, wait for it, crimson-red penises. They are colourful characters and I apprehended three in my bedroom the other day just as one was about to chomp into the Hatman Mansions copy of Kama Sutra 365 (Dorling Kindersley, R106).

This is what Juli, I mean the southern African vervet monkey looks like (when it’s not making inroads into my bedtime reading)…

A vervet monkey, not in a book-eating frame of mind

A vervet monkey, not in a book-eating frame of mind

Apologies for not showing you the blue derriere and red “tummy banana” but this is a family blog, OK?

OK. So then there’s something else completely. A monkey that takes taking things to a new level altogether. Allow me to introduce you to, at first glance, a rather charming little monkeyette (a Tamarind I believe, and not indigenous to South Africa) which I stumbled upon on Umdloti beach while cowrie-collecting with The Darj. It managed to nick her ear-ring and, as swift as a Julius Malema insult, deposited it in her pram from whence it never returned.

That’s right. I said “pram”. Patience, please. Watch this most heinous of South African crime stories unfold before your astonished eyes…

Frame One…

Tammy, dressed for the beach in her best pink frock, sucks up to me (and my leg) in order to strike up an instant cameraderie...

Tammy, dressed for the beach in her best pink frock, sucks up to me (and my leg) in order to strike up an instant camaraderie. Please note the ring on her finger... this will become important as we go on...

Frame 2…

Tammy, by frolicking on the arm of The Darj, shrewdly engages with her sweet nature and lulls her into a sense of false security...

Tammy, by frolicking in a most appealing manner on the arm of The Darj, shrewdly engages with her sweet nature and lulls her into a sense of false security...

Frame 3…

Fun turns to felony as, suddenly, snatch-bang-wallop, The Darj's right earring disappears into Tam's little pink frock...

All the fun under the sun turns into felony as, suddenly, snatch-bang-wallop, The Darj's right earring disappears into Tam's little pink frock...

Frame 4…

Quick as a thief, Tam's back in her pram, the earring is secreted away deep in her stash and she's already scanning the beach for her next victim...

Quick as a thief, Tam's back in her pram, the earring is secreted away deep in her stash and she's already scanning the beach for her next victim...

No pork. This is actually what happened. What do you think of that? I’ll tell you what I think of it. The couple who were sitting next to the pram and to whom Tam intermittently jumped to and fro from her pram, probably receiving logistical instructions, remained silent and stared out to sea while all this was going on. When The Darj exclaimed “Hey, it’s taken my earring” – to which I responded with a loud “What? The monkey STOLE your earring?!” – the couple turned and looked northwards down the beach with deadpan faces.

When I moved in front of them and said, far too politely, “Excuse me, your monkey appears to…” the guy looked at me, smiled and shrugged his shoulders. At the sight of me starting to suck in my stomach so as to increase the size of my chest, The Darj said “Hey, Hatman, they’re cheap earrings, just forget about it.” I stared at the guy and he gave me the laziest of eyes, as if he were from Kakkiesfontein and didn’t understand English.

We continued our search for the ever-elusive cowrie shells while I toyed with various guesstimates of how much jewelry was hidden under “baby” Tam’s pillow in that ridiculous pram.

Yowzerness. Given the tough economic climate and all that, I reckon that couple are on to something there. Catching a tan on the sun-drenched sands while putting your pet Tamarind monkey to work on innocent beachgoers is taking “Living The Holiday” to another stratosphere, isn’t it?

A taster for “The Umdloti Interview” #2: Jacki Bruniquel

You know those promo things they put on television? Where they promote a programme that is to be aired in about two weeks’ time?

What do you call it? A blurb? A flighter? A puff? A promo? A pain in the arse? I call them “a pain in the arse” because the telly channels seem to fill every available gap with them, even after the actual programme has come and gone, and by the time you’ve seen the chuffing thing 937 times you’ve pretty much vowed to yourself not to watch the prog. Out of principle. And because you feel you know the programme better than you know your mum.

So I’ve got no excuse to do the same myself. But I will. To blurb the second in my new series of “The Umdloti Interview” (chats with some of the nutty creative types who live in my hometown of Umdloti, KwaZulu-Natal north coast, South Africa) I bring you a piece of work by art photographer Jacki Bruniquel, who lives around the corner from Hatman Mansions and diagonally opposite another close mate of mine, Gen Morton.

Check this out…

A Jacki Bruniquel i-marge of Esjay Jones, lead singer of South African band Stealing Love Jones

A Jacki Bruniquel i-marge of Esjay Jones, lead singer of South African band Stealing Love Jones

Coolness, hey? OK, so full interview with Jax on here on Saturday. It rocks. Don’t even think about missing it. This was just one of those blurby promo things. I won’t do it again… this week. Promise.

Music Monday… a song for a Jack Russell

Look. I’m one tough South African oke, OK?

I learned how to rort (fight) at two months old, beat up my younger sister just eight months later (after intensive training), flattened a string of boys in the school quad, saw things in the South African army that would make Chuck Norris’s knees like granny’s Sunday jelly, have been a battle-hardened journo since time began and have stared death in the face a number of times (2. Well, it is a number, isn’t it?).

So I don’t do nice, OK? Nice is a cup of tea and I only drink tequila. Nice is the scent of granny’s perfume when she hugs you as a kid and my granny was too terrified to come near me. Have I made myself clear? What? Speak up. That’s better. Now sit down and shut the chuff up. I have a video to show you.

OK. So don’t get me wrong but I have a thing about Jack Russells. I have two. That doesn’t make me nice, all right? Anybody who owns a Jack Russell knows what I’m saying here. They’re not nice. Well not after they’ve stopped being puppies, that is. They turn into stark raving loony monster dogs. Mine are so bad, I’ve had to stop taking them to Umdloti beach because the locals have ordered a hit on them.

This morning, The Scrapster got hold of one of the troop of vervet monkeys which charge each morning through Hatman Mansions to devastating effect and we nearly had an international incident on our hands. I threatened to take her and her mate Doodlebug into the local petshop and swap them for a pair of hamsters or goldfish but that would be just too nice.

So when I came across this sickeningly nice video of South African songstress Verity teaching some kid to sing and “reach her dream” of becoming a pop singer, I was about to run for the sickbucket. But then I noticed that little Lize’s song “Song for July” was a tribute to her life with a Jack Russell and I instantly felt her pain.

I began to feel some sympathy creep in… and, well, here’s the video…

OK. So I admit that I was moved by this. Not by Verity’s humility and kindness in helping this kid, who is indeed a cutie, but by “July”, her Jack. Schweetness! Beautifulness. I hope you enjoyed this divine little piece of inspirationalness. I did.

So much so, I feel inspired to share a pic of my Scrapster and Doodlebug enjoying a jolly jape on Umdloti south beach at the weekend…

That's Doodlebug trying to rip the ball out of my hand after just having had a piece of his left ear removed by The Scrapster (left), still frothing at the mouth

That's Doodlebug trying to rip the ball out of my hand after just having had a piece of his left ear removed by The Scrapster (left), still frothing at the mouth

Isn’t that nice?

The Umdloti Interview: Artist Darren Aiken

Umdlotian Darren Aiken is a sculptor of international repute. He lives in a beautiful home which seems to tumble down a hill on different levels until it lands almost on Umdloti’s north beach. He shares a home and studio space with wife Audrey Rudnick, also an internationally acclaimed artist.

In this, the first of a series of interviews with some of a whole bunch of amazing people who help to make Umdloti the idyllic South African seaside village that it is, Darren spoke to fredhatman.co.za…

Darren Aiken... with some examples of his miniature sculptures. That's Archbishop Desmond Tutu listening in awe to Metallica guitarist ... with Springbok rugby star Schalk Burger looking on   Pic: Hatman

Darren Aiken... with some of his miniature sculptures. That's Archbishop Desmond Tutu listening in awe to Metallica guitarist James Hetfield... with Springbok rugby star Schalk Burger looking on Pic: Hatman

FH: What was your early inspiration to take an interest in art?

DA: My first introduction to plasticine, at four years old. My inspiration for it to become all-consuming was the 1978 World Cup soccer in West Germany. My dad was there on business, I collected the Tiger comic weekly (a sports action boys comic book) and I sculpted each player from West Germany, Brazil and England 4cm high, with pin pricks for eyes and a cut for the mouth and a blob or spike which suited the shape of the nose, complete with hairstyle and “sidies”  of the time, full colour clothes, numbers and bootlaces and stripes. These players I used as working toys, physically striking the ball to each other (with my help of course) and at goal on a green painted field with lines on a wooden board – it was my favourite game or toy of my youth.

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