News is reaching Hatman Mansions this morning of an extraordinary application made by a black Canadian to be granted asylum in South Africa.
Bernard “Big Bernie” Hunted, 19, has told South Africa’s Department of Homie Affairs that “Canada is completely white, except for a few patches of green in mid-summer, and I am sick and tired of being shot at by white Canadians in lumberjack shirts and those ridiculous caps with flaps on the sides”.
Ms Nomfundo Mfutha, a spokeswoman for Homie Affairs, said that the refugee board was still considering the application by Mr Hunted – a process that is expected to take several decades – but was “almost inanimately (sic) sympathetic to Mr Hunted’s awful situation which was almost certainly brought about by the most abhorrent form of racism practised by whitey Canadian big game hunters”.
Mr Hunted said that his life in Canada had been characterised by “extremely long periods of having absolutely nothing to do in the most boring and whitest country in the world, punctuated by sporadic outbursts of extreme racist violence”. He had produced a photograph to Homie Affairs, in which “his torment, suffering, persecution and abject boredom were clearly depicted”.
Mr Hunted: clearly ravaged by boredom while surrounded by extreme whiteness in Canada
Mr Hunter had said in his application that he was “attracted to South Africa by its rich cultural diversity, flora and fauna, lack of white snow, exciting nightlife and the fact that white animals also occasionally got shot at”. He added: “Back home, polar bears, on account of their total whiteness – apart from black eyes and nose – are protected by a plethora of laws and sit around on icebergs all day while we brown bears routinely have potshots taken at us.” This amounts to nothing less than the most perverse form of racism, he said.
“It all stems back to when the white settlers, finding Britain and France not nearly boring enough, arrived and started building log cabins in the snowy wasteland. We thought it would be like totally cool to welcome these strange animals into our midst but they called us names like ‘Ursus arctos horribilis’ and pointed muskets at us when we tried to provide baritone accompaniment for their ‘I’m a lumberjack and I’m all white’ cross-dressing anthem around their very camp fires.
Ms Mfutha, in a Homie Affairs statement which will be received by fredhatman.co.za in roughly two years’ time, said that “Mr Hunted’s allegations of racism, transvestitism, lumberjackshirtism and capflapism were being viewed in a very serious light” and that Mr Hunted would be kept in the most luxurious and reasonably safe accommodation available at Pretoria Zoo until enough people got off their fat asses to make a ruling on his application for asylum sometime in 2067.
There are children who grow up to be adults. And there are children who, despite growing very tall and wearing corduroy jackets with leather elbow patches and having a mane of hair bearing an uncanny resemblance to that of Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant but with grey streaks, remain children.
Thank goodness. This phenomenon allows us to feed on stories such as James May and his new house. You might know of James. He’s the tall, somewhat posh oke who often hangs out with Jeremy Clarkson and Richard “Hamster” Hammond on the BBC’s Top Gear show, in which they drive very fast cars and make lots of very funny jokes. Well, Jeremy handles that side of things while The Hamster crashes cars and James stands around doing a very languid Stephen Fry impression while teaming a houndstooth blazer with that Robert Plant barnet.
All very entertaining. But it’s showhouse day so let’s have a butchers at the house that James has nearly finished building in a vineyard in Surrey, England…
Colourful, isn't it? And, yes, made out of Lego. Er, James, you appear to have forgotten to put in windows, old chap?! Pic: Murray Sanders
Settle down, children. I know that this is terribly exciting for you. It’s Lego overload, isn’t it? But, and this is worrying me, where are the windows? Hang on. I think James has just found the window he forgot to put in…
Unless, of course, this is James auditioning for a job on National Geographic.Pic: Murray Sanders
You have to love the English. So much of delicious eccentricity. James is building Legoland because, as he puts it, “‘your imagination is always bigger than your stockpile [of Lego bricks] when you’re a kid”. And we’re fine with that, aren’t we, Hatpeople? Nothing wrong with being a big kid. That’s why I’m petitioning the municipality to close down the roads of Umdloti for a few months while I build the most humungous, most radastical Scalectrix set ever known to man. Or boy. That’s how we roll, James and I.
To be entirely honest, James is building his house – kitchen, toilet and all – out of plastic toy blocks for a new BBC show, Toy Stories, and you can read all about it right here.
I liked the comment from a concerned reader who worries that sitting on the Lego brick loo in James’s house might leave quite a lasting impression on his bum. It worries me, too. But not as much as the lack of windows.
Forgive me, my dear Hatpeople, for a humungous indulgence but there is something I feel driven to share with you. Oops, your radar has instantly picked up a Fred-alert signal.
Totally understandable. But you have nothing to fear. I was a good boy at the weekend. So good that I flew to East London to take some photographs of a new baby produced by two very good friends.
Their genes have done a mighty fine job. I must ask you to run your eyes over little Ava, proudly presented in this picture by her mum, Jules…
I know. Complete and utter beautifulness overload, isn't it? Pic: Hatman
I hope you liked that. If you didn’t, I’m not apologising. I can’t help myself. I’m not usually into photographing babies or kittens or puppies or little flaxen-haired and freckly girls in polka-dot dresses hugging massive teddybears. Not my style. Just seems too obvious. A grainy, gritty reflection of a homeless drunk in a puddle taken through a dusty window by the light of a streetlamp is more my scene.
But I had to make an exception here. One (and let me get this out right now), I’m just downright broody. Two, the man who fathered this sweet angel is top-notch mate Brett Horner, a rising star at the Daily Dispatch, who thought it high time I softened my focus and recorded a day in the life of his little gem.
I had no idea photographing an eight-week-old baba could be so challenging. But Ava and Supermom Jules were naturals in front of the camera and I loved every minute of it. Now to get one of my own. Baby, I mean. If only the ever-creative crew at Woolies were to stumble upon a way to offer Ava clones. Organically grown, of course. I’d happily pay top dollar!
This video is hilarious. Well, funny and sad. Like Julius Malema. But I dig funny and sad. Double the emotion. For the price of one. All at the same time. Nice.
Latest tune from the Black Eyed Peas? Not so much of nice. But before I offer you my review, check it out (it’s just as well Jewish people are generally known to have a highly developed sense of humour)…
Yowzers. What was that all about? Not very much, hey? Apart from the flash of um, breasts at about 47 seconds in (thanks to the testosterone-fuelled comments section on YouTube for pointing this out… hey, you’re not going back to watch it again!), this muzak vid leaves one feeling, well, a bit cheated. I have been labouring under the grand delusion that the BEPs were a bit of alright but this tune is complete shite.
“Tonight’s gonna be a good night”? The band might have had a good night but we didn’t get much of it, did we? And that “Mazeltov” malarkey? The lyrics, if one can call them that? So many questions, so little inclination to ask them. Unlike that Gladstone geezer on the vid who’s trying to come over all Simon Cowell, only smoother (looking) and a lot funnier (not hard).
I know music today isn’t about the words (oo-er, sounding like my Dad here) but what the chuff has happened to lyrics? I mean, I found an old Hotel Costes compo gathering dust behind my Marantz the other day and slapped it on. The first two tracks contained exactly 10 words. Variety Lab gave me six (“I love London in the rain, ooh-yeaaah” – hope you don’t mind me not counting “ooh-yeaaah”?) and The Method offered four (“I’ve got a cat, arrr-yeah”). What? My sweet lord.
I wonder what Dylan, Waits and Cohen make of all that? Never mind the Slack Assed Peas.
Remember Polaroids? No? Well, of course you don’t. You’re only 33. Phone your dad. If he’s still down the golf club and you can’t get any sense out of him, call that rich old oke who tried to tap you up in your local. Just do it. You have to. No arguing, OK?
Look, it’s not often I wander into geekland. Once there, I’m as much use as a fish on a bicycle. But I dig photography on an epic scale and I make an exception to my total fail at geekdom when it comes to camera tech.
Now, thanks to photographic maestro and top Twitter connection Liam Lynch, who has been playing around with Poladroids, (kiff snap of The Black Hotels, hey?), I must most urgently point you towards downloading the Poladroid application!
First, check this out… even I was able to get the thing on my desktop and transform an arb snap I took of The Popsicle (an occasional suiteholder at Hatman Mansions) into a retro-cool image looking for all the world like it was taken by my grand-dad:
Whoa! Hold on to your pixels, this is my original pic... here we go...
... there! How rad is that, my babies?
Excuse me being over-excited and all, and losing any command I once had of the English langwidge, but this app is just killing me.
When you download (remember, amid all the uber-excitement, that I gave you a link earlier AND you have permission to go back to it once I’ve finished, thank you!), a completely sick little Polaroid-like machine pops up on your screen, you drag and drop a pic of your Tannie Johanna, it makes the old Polaroid noise (I only know it because my granny taped it for me on reel-to-reel for future recognition purposes, like now) which sounds like ker-click-sscchhick and then you light a cigarette (only if you’re over 18) or anything you want and watch your kiekie slowly turn into summat circa 1971 (or whenever Polaroids were all the rage). I wouldn’t know. I’m way too young for all that.
It’s complete coolness overload, Hatpeople. But I think I’ve made that clear. Unlike any of my pictures.
Now have yourselves some fun. And don’t thank me. Thank Liam. And the boffins at Poladroid. And Twitter. And, oh go on, you can thank me too. If you must. But, remember, I’m only here to provide a service. And it’s been my pleasure. As you can tell.
Have a slightly-faded-over-time, somewhat saturated with muted colours kind of beautiful day! I’m off to try out my Poladroid obsession on my neighbour Genevieve Morton. “Gen!“
My apologies to those Hatpeople who might already have witnessed this remarkable story.
But I cannot resist relaying the hugely inspiring story of Ben Underwood who refused to be disadvantaged after having his cancer-ravaged eyes removed at age three.
Like only children can, he responded by devising a set of strategies to enable him to be independently mobile and active. Even to the extent of rollerskating and playing computer games.
Among his arsenal to overcome total blindness, Ben refined the “clicking” noise used by sonar-equipped dolphins to calculate the distance between himself and lampposts, walls, cars… in fact, any obstacle which stood between him and getting to where he wanted to go.
You will notice I’m writing about Ben in the past tense. The cancer which ate away his eyes took his life when he was 16, earlier this year.
With thanks to social media guru Arnt Eriksen and very nifty blog bitrebels.com, I give you a small slice of Ben Underwood’s short and extraordinary life, nourished and nurtured – of course – by his remarkable mother…
Shell collecting. The most innocent and becalming of pastimes. Fresh sea air. Crashing waves caressing one’s ears. Kids building sandcastles. Seagulls wheeling and whingeing. Dogs with sticks in their mouths shaking saltwater over bodies browning under sun’s grill.
Time was when Mom and Dad would take us down the South Coast for a Sunday of bodysurfing, Coke floats and burgers and Swingball on the beach. We would wade in the rockpools, wonder at crabs and gigglingly stick our stubby little fingers into ever-alert anemone. And pick up, seemingly, huge cowrie shells almost at will.
Many years later, now that I enjoy the “live-the-holiday” luxury of blogging on my Umdloti verandah instead of enduring endless newspaper strategy meetings in drab offices, I have begun to take walks on the beach – just 40 metres away from my front door.
Bliss. It is during my seaside solo sojourns that I feel the eye-crustiness of hours spent hovering over my laptop wash away, cleansed by breezes surfing off the Indian Ocean, my feet cooled by flirtatious tides, the scrunching sand exfoliating my toes.
Umdloti beach: in more chilled times
That was until I rediscovered what I remembered to be the joys of finding the enticingly elusive cowrie shells. Those subtly coloured beetle-body shells of porcelain sheen, with the tiny teeth that once protected the gogga which lived inside. The shells that, centuries ago, were used as currency in much of the world. Eulogised in myth to boost fertility in women whose bodies are adorned with them. Oh, what elation to be had when, among myriad fragments of oystershells, mussels and limpids, I spot a cowrie furtively shooting off a watery wink at the wintery sun.
Shells on the seashore: can you spot the cowrie?
Aaah, got it... did you get it?
But no more. I have stumbled upon a secretive, sophisticated network of local cowrie collectors. And they’re scary. They emerge silently and menacingly at the crack of dawn from their hi-des double-storey homes lining Umdloti South Beach Road, clutching roneo’d copies of tide-tables in one hand and Friendly Store plastic bags in the other.
Wearing crazy-paved, granny-knitted and grotesque jerseys to defeat the early-morning chill, they fan out on the sands with nary a glance at sky or surf. Heads down they plod away, scouring around every granule of sand for any cowrie which may be trying to hide behind a piece of seaweed or Coke bottle-top. Raised glances are reserved for me, an Umdloti newbie, and they wordlessly say: “Hey, out-of-towner, don’t tread on our turf. You’re welcome to surf or build sandcastles but we have sole mining rights for cowries on this beach so naff off.”
I pretend to stare out to sea, waving occasionally at a bloke in a microlight or at a container ship headed for the Far East, all the while poking a toe around in the sand for a shape resembling that of a cowrie shell. It’s not nice.
Now all those lucky enough to see me striding in stellar sartoriality around Umdloti will eagerly testify to my indisputable credentials as an arbiter on all things fashion. Should you need reminding of this, allow your eyeballs to caress this unspeakably stylish image of me in a previous post.
Right. Now, contrary to what Capetonians might think, I don’t enjoy pointing to the fact that they are insufferably smug about themselves and the city in which they wetly exist. Really. I don’t. I would rather ignore the pretentious poseurs in that pseudo-Mediterreanean territory down in the sodden south-east and get on with living in Africa. And keeping it real.
But then worrying little snippets sneak in through the back door of Hatman Mansions and it becomes beholden on me, as a SA-positive blogger, to fearlessly expose the Smother City citizens for the frauds they are.
Take fashion. Everybody knows that almost all of South Africa’s fashion designers worth their seams come out of Durban. We know who they are. Monk-Klijnstra, Kidger, Immerman, Bray, The Holmes Bros, the seamster in the backroom at Casanova, and so on. Enriched as we are by their know-no-bounds creativity, Durbanites sashay a lone furrow in pursuit of the Holy Grail of South African haute couture.
So, to tug ever so gently at the labelled lapel of the ginormous brouhaha created by the kind of uber-hype only Capetonians can invent over their fashion week, could I ask you to take a deep breath and witness this little gem…
Oh. MY. God. What did you make of that? Everybody head-to-toe in Mr Price. I know, I know. Agony.
How was the beauty therapist at the beginning banging on about how she is a one-woman celebration of colour and then looking like she was filmed in sepia? And Michaela, looking like she had hurtled out of her front door 10 minutes after her alarm went off? Wait. She admitted to it. Kept it fairly real. She might be from Durban. Mishkah is a bit of a honey and we Durbanites can relate to the dude with the surfing/skateboarding vibe, even if his hoody is a bit off. And Stefan! Isn’t he just divine. And soooo Cape Town. As were those faux accents. Sounding like that cheesey Top Billing oke, Michael Mols, but on low speed.
I think we have to blame that flat-topped hill for a great deal of Cape Town’s ills. That karma stuff they go on about. They just take it too seriously. And themselves. Too much of uptight. A little less organic everything and a bit of old-fashioned roughage in their diet might help to relax them.
Cape Town, I must beg you again to keep it real. I’m watching you. And my eyes are hurting.
It had to happen. I have the smouldering “don’t-come-near-me-unless-you’re-Genevieve-Morton” look. The “don’t-touch-or-you’ll-cut-your-fingers” sixpack. The way I run my fingers through my bald patch. The total “I-wish-people-would-stop-staring-at-my-physical-perfection-while-I’m-trying-to-nibble-on-my-rabbit-food-at-Caprice” vibe. My status as a male supermodel was inevitable.
All I needed were the shoes. You know. Very important if an oke wants to complete “The Look”. So they arrived in the post yesterday. From Bob’s for Good, that nice and very philanthropic campaign run by Bok legend Bob Skinstad. Where you buy a pair of stunningly cool Italian-style loafers and Bob hands over a pair of shoes to a child whose family can’t afford them. I wrote about it a few days ago and you can refresh your memory right here.
Cool. We’re all into social responsibility these days. And so we should be. Me? I’m, like, so totally into making my debut on the catwalks in Milan for Giorgio (no surname needed, hey?). And, you, my most stylish Hatpeople, get an exclusive peek at the first shoot to make it into my genuine crocskin portfolio (handmade by Os du Randt, hottest name in crocskin fashion products this season).
My agency (with a collective pout by Revlon) insisted that I am allowed to only release one picture before the shows start in Milan, so here it is, exclusively for your eyes only:
Go on. Gasp if you want to. Totally acceptable response.
Model: Fred Hatman for Machismo. Stylist: Coco du Mer-Champignon of Styllissimo. Photographer: Snotneus Piek. Location: Umdloti Sands Holiday and Spa Resort.
Shorts by Woolworths. Socks left at model’s home by unknown person. Incredibly stylish and much-sought-after Italian loafers by Bob\’s for Good.
Goodness gracious. How do you feel after that? Nice, hey? I thought so. Now you know that you want to look like me. Have shoes like mine. Of course you do. Perfectly understandable. So all you need to do is click here and order them! While stocks last.
Well, what are you waiting for? See you in Milan, bru.