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Never a Dull Moment

Category Financial Mail

My dad was a Swiss art dealer who owned a gallery overlooking Zürich Lake, which from an early age informed my love for art and design. My wife Jodie, a former model turned stylist for the fashion and advertising industries, shares this passion so our leisure time often revolves around the local art, music and street culture scene.

We have an eclectic group of friends so weekends are never dull. If we're at home in Johannesburg on a Friday night we'll try out a new restaurant or a current favourite like The Good Luck Café, a Thai eatery in Corlett Drive, or we'll explore an alternative street market in town, or accept an invitation to a fashion show or art exhibition.

We are keen collectors of contemporary art like that of SA-born Andrew Hollis, now working out of London, and Zimbabwean-born Kudzi Chiurai. Saturday mornings we'll hop on my Harley, a Heritage Softtail Special I bought 16 years ago, for a slow cruise around the city. We often end up meeting friends for lunch - preferably off the beaten track.

We might squeeze in an art house movie in the late afternoon or evening. I like classical mainstream jazz and underground house music so on a Saturday night we could be at a live jazz show or clubbing to the tunes of DJs like Satoshi Tomiie and Steve Lawler.

We also like to have friends over. In 2008 we demolished an old house in Parkwood and built an airy, contemporary space ideal for entertaining.

Jodie and I don't have children - I was a cynical bachelor until the age of 46 - so we have the freedom to travel regularly, budget and work schedules allowing. A recent special memory was a trip to Playa Del Carmen, south of Cancún in Mexico, to celebrate the 50th birthday of US-based celebrity wedding planner and party organiser Colin Cowie. We became friends 30 years ago after I sold him a house while he lived in SA.

We try to go skiing once a year, usually Zermatt in Switzerland.

We also like travelling to places that aren't mainstream. For our next holiday we're joining friends on a sailing trip off the coast of Croatia and Turkey.

We go occasionally to Cape Town, where I've owned a lock-up-and-go townhouse in Greenpoint since 1992. It is as an ideal base to explore the city and the winelands. We spent an unforgettable weekend in Franschhoek at wine and fruit farm Babylonstoren recently to celebrate our ninth wedding anniversary.

I used to be an obsessive wine enthusiast. As a teacher in my 20s at St Martin's School in the south of Jo'burg, I often organised tastings to introduce my students to wine etiquette. But I became bored with the wine fraternity. I still enjoy collecting and drinking wine but I'm wary of conversations of so-called connoisseurs as they can be repetitive and pretentious.

I enjoy fly fishing and am part of a syndicate that co-owns a 500ha trout farm near Dullstroom. It's the perfect weekend bolthole, with no electricity or access to e-mails or the Internet.

Sunday nights we like to catch up on some reading. I enjoy the work of new-age thinkers like Malcolm Gladwell and thrillers like Stieg Larsson's Millenniumtrilogy.

Author: Joan Muller

Submitted 25 Apr 13 / Views 3650