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My hair is falling out. I look in the mirror more than I used to, and these days I see nothing but the peninsula of hair; the bays of newly exposed scalp. I found a photo of my mother’s father, whose follicular lot we are dealt. He’s 40 in the photo and didn’t even have a peninsula. There was only sea. In 10 years I’ll be a taller Joshua Doore.

Or maybe I won’t. In the good moments I don’t care. Nobody cares what Ghandi looked like; everyone cares what Angelina Jolie looks like. There’s revealing information in that truth, some find it easier to bear than the rest.

And so to a moment that explains a lot. At a coffee shop in Rosebank, I was reading the newspaper when two hairs fell like a soft rain and landed on the crossword, parallel to eight down. In the back of my mind, I could hear the haunting song about an uncle in the furniture business. I leant back and caught the end of a conversation behind me.

“She has the best boobs. The. Best. Boobs,” said the first lady. “I know. I know. I’d give a leg for her boobs,” said the other, perhaps not quite thinking her answer through. Perfect boobs and one leg, or average boobs and two? It’s not one to keep you up at night. I adjusted my frequency; there had to be other stations worth listening to. Nothing. Five minutes later, I returned to the ladies. They were still on boobs.

Are we a self-obsessed bunch of egomaniacs? Certainly never more so than in December, when, depending on how much gym time we’ve put in, we either rip, or nervously peel, our shirts off for general observation and scrutiny. While we’re on this, a warning: Anyone within ten metres of me when I bare my chest should take serious precautions. I’m so white I’m see-through. My whiteness will destroy your retina.

Who cares when we’re all on holiday? Let the gym bunnies flex and flaunt, let the bone-thin, bronzed bunnies bounce around in the breakers, let the tourists wear those small shorts, let the fashion police point and prosecute. Let the games begin. None of it matters anyway. You are not what you look like.

But first, read this, your last issue of Extra Virgin for 2008. It’s the jam in your doughnut, it’s the chocolate on your pillow, it’s…it’s when you’ve left your car keys in your car and don’t have a spare set and you have a meeting and it’s crucial and you freak out then work out how to get in through the boot using a toothpick and feel like McGuyver.

Matthew Freemantle
Editor

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Zeitgeist
It’s usually easy to shrug off conspiracy theory films as the warped creations of paranoid activists, the sort who spend all their monthly bandwidth watching fuzzy YouTube videos of “New UFO sightings” in San Diego. Not this one.

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Beach Bums
The beach is only about sand and sea for a small number of people. For the rest, it’s either a catwalk, or a meat market, or a voyeuristic peephole. It’s a place to see and be seen, where less is most definitely more. No matter which beach you’re on this summer, you will find at least one of the following characters.
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Kirstenbosch summer concerts
You’ve already missed the emo pop/rock of newcomers Zebra & Giraffe and the soulful diva Simphiwe Dana, but the Kirstenbosch Summer Concerts, extended into April 2009, has a mouth-watering line-up throughout the summer.
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Prince Albert
Being a part-time travel journalist, I can state with some authority that travel journalists are generally more trouble than they are worth. I visited Prince Albert last month. This is my non-review.
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Keeping cool at home
In the midst of summer, when no amount of ice tea seems to be cooling you down, there are other ways and means to reduce the temperature in your home. Janice Anderssen points a few out...
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Inheriting a recession
Barack Obama made history by becoming the first African American president of the USA. In doing so, he inherited perhaps history’s most appalling presidential legacy. But before Obama can even get his teeth into righting the wrongs of the Bush administration, he has a recession to stave off.
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Confessions of a Carbon Addict
You’ve worked hard this year, and you’ve earned your break. But getting from home to that seaside resort has never been more punishing on the environment, nor has the environment ever needed the extra carbon less. Leonie Joubert fesses up.
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