Events, Interviews

gareth pearson: co-organiser of first thursdays

Cameron McDonald


gareth pearson

I was born in Port Elizabeth and raised in Cape Town. My earliest memory of Cape Town is the view from Sir Lowry’s Pass when driving from PE. I found out about First Thursdays in London on the internet. Here, it’s a free cultural experience in Cape Town and Joburg in which art galleries and other cultural attractions stay open late on the first Thursday of every month. The biggest difference between the UK’s one and ours is that it stands out more here. Exploring the city’s streets by night is a far more novel experience in SA, whereas in London, First Thursdays is just another thing happening in the city. A successful First Thursdays, for my partner Michael Tymbios and me, has always been when people use it as a platform for new projects. We like to see pop-up exhibitions, discussions and performances in unconventional spaces. My best lunch spot in Cape Town is New York Bagels, and for drinks, I’ll always default to Clarke’s Bar & Dining Room. My go-to restaurants in Cape Town are Pesce Azzurro and Hallelujah, and Olympia Café in Kalk Bay. An ideal Saturday would include a surf, brunch, reading, a nap and then something with friends in the evening. My favourite city is New York – there’s something about its ‘cityness’ that I’m obsessed with. With such a lot of people from so many cultures in one place, it feels like you’re in the centre of the world. The best spots for inspiration are Joburg, for its creative energy, and the Karoo, for creative reflection. I always travel with good walking shoes. If money were no object I’d treat myself and my girlfriend to a trip to Japan. I like to wear plain T-shirts, but when I dress to impress, I don an old blazer that I’ve started wearing again. When it comes to local designers, the guys at Simon Deporres make incredible stuff. The last item I bought was a R10 copy of Ayn Rand’s Anthem (Createspace R224) in Prince Albert. I have a growing obsession with dystopian sci-fi novels. I’m currently listening to Mndsgn, Bokani Dyer and BadBadNotGood. Local artists I love at the moment are Jared Ginsburg, David Koloane and David Goldblatt. My most cherished items at home are two Mid-Century chairs that belonged to my grandfather. I hate it when people write ‘your’ instead of ‘you’re’. I’m at my most creative when I least expect it. In my next life I’d come back as a jazz musician, just to know what it feels like. I am definitely not moving to Australia. If I could change one thing about SA, it would be the form of our cities. The spatial inequality that apartheid created is the cause of many of SA’s problems. All I need to make me happy is a bicycle.

This story was originally featured in House and Leisure's April 2017 issue.