Saturday, 16 November 2013

Goran and the blue square

This morning we went to watch Goran's first end-of-year concert, and I couldn't have been more proud! My little boy, who isn't even three yet, got up on that stage and gave it all he had... albeit completely off key, out of time, and in the opposite direction to everyone else, haha! (I have to admit, he gets those two left feet from me). Below are a handful of pics I snapped on my iPhone whilst ferrying him to and from rehearsals during the week, followed by a selection of my personal faves taken on my Cyber-shot today. Enjoy!



















Monday, 4 November 2013

Farewell to one of Durban's finest

Yesterday I awoke to some very sad news; Paul Botha, founder of and creative force behind the Durban-born-and-based fashion label Ruff Tung, passed away on Saturday night. 



I met Paul in 1995, when he was just breaking into the industry. In those days, Lee and I used to flit between 330 and The Station, between the ravers and the grunge kids. We jokingly referred to ourselves as gravers (goth ravers), and it was only the following year when we moved to London that we found our niche in the burgeoning cyber goth scene. When we returned to South Africa, we brought back with us a massive haul of CDs we'd accumulated during our two years abroad, and went to work introducing Durbanites to a whole new genre of dark dance music known as EBM, essentially a hybrid of the two polar opposite underground scenes with which we'd always affiliated.

Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself here. One evening at The Station, back in '95 (Lee and I had been an item for about 18 months at that stage), we were sitting at a table overlooking the 'second dancefloor' (where we goths used to hang out), and in walked Lee's mate Claudio with a new friend - a softly-spoken gentle giant who introduced himself to us as Paul. At some point during the evening I got up to go and dance, and Paul leaned over to Lee and said: "Your girlfriend is stunning." Upon seeing the thunder cloud that crossed Lee's face as he switched into protective boyfriend mode, Paul quickly qualified his statement with a nervous laugh and the non-threatening words: "Don't worry, I'm gay!"

Fast forward to 2009, and I was on the hunt for a new dress to wear to my cousin's wedding in Cullinan. I had reconnected with Paul on Facebook (on my original account, before it was so rudely deleted), and I stumbled across a dress in one of his Ruff Tung albums that I simply fell in love with. A phonecall and a few SMSs later, I went to my local PostNet to collect this exquisite frothy black frock. I sent him a thank you SMS and got this delightful reply:



One night in June the following year, after a night of crazy partying in that same dress...



...Goran was conceived ;-)

And five-and-a-half months later, I wore the same 'lucky dress' to Madame Zingara...



A year after that I got a message from Paul on Facebook with a link to an album titled Summer Look Book, showcasing his Ready-to-Wear 2011/2 collection. The very first frock I laid eyes on - a striking black-and-white shift, with concealed pockets - I just knew I had to have. Several emails and two hand-deliveries later, it arrived...



A month later my baby boy turned one, and I rocked my fab new frock to his birthday party...



Two years later, on Halloween last week (and just two nights before Paul died), I wore the same dress to my mate Gia's bachelorette party...



The last time I 'spoke' to Paul was exactly two weeks prior to his death. On the hunt for another dress - this time for my sister-in-law's Stellenbosch wedding in February - I had spied a gorgeous ombré shift in one of his albums, and after a bit of bantering (in which he reminded me of what I was wearing the night I got knocked up three years ago)...



...I told him I would be placing my order at the end of November, just after pay day...



... And now this horrible, horrible void.

It would've been his birthday on the 25th of this month. The eight-year anniversary of my friend Angela Wheal's death. This is a pic I took of her at the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens in April 2004, a year-and-a-half before she died...



What is it with November and loss!? Why do good people have to be taken from us so young?! Two beautiful souls, in the prime of their lives, with so much to offer the world, extinguished in the blink of an eye. 

I'm trying very hard to be strong right now. But my heart is aching. I wanted to write this post to pay tribute to one of the most talented designers I know...

The world is an emptier place without you, Paul "Ruff Tung" Botha. Thank you for making me look good, and more importantly, for making me feel beautiful. By the outpouring of love on your Facebook wall, you clearly touched many, many lives. Through your designs - now treasured keepsakes in hundreds, possibly thousands, of closets - your legacy lives on. Rest now, my sweet friend. You will never, never be forgotten.