Where the ‘hard­core’ hang out

Tat­too artist Derek Baker is a fam­ily man and he shares a few of his favourite places for fam­ily out­ings

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOOD SPACES -

AS YOU read this, thou­sands of peo­ple are flock­ing to the Cape Town In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion Cen­tre for SIX, or South­ern Ink Xposure, the largest tat­too con­ven­tion in the south­ern hemi­sphere.

Tra­di­tions of mark­ing the skin with ink are thou­sands of years old but as a con­tem­po­rary art form, tat­toos have never been more pop­u­lar. Tat­toos have in­fil­trated the main­stream through tele­vi­sion pro­grammes like Mi­ami Ink, and a global cal­en­dar of con­ven­tions. Tat­toos are here to stay.

Derek Baker, owner of Metal Ma­chine, one of Cape Town’s old­est and most well-re­spected stu­dios, has been tat­too­ing for al­most two decades, gath­er­ing nu­mer­ous awards along the way.

As a fam­ily man who doesn’t drink or smoke, Baker de­fies the stereotypes that might be ap­plied by those out­side the tat­too world who still think it is the realm of repro­bates. He is a fo­cused busi­ness­man, tal­ented artist and bril­liant tat­tooist. Okay granted, he does hurt his clients, but the re­sult is worth it.

Work­ing six days a week doesn’t leave much leisure time, but top­ping Baker’s list of favourite places is The Farm­yard just off the West Coast road.

“Al­though I some­times go off on my own and ride my bike out to Fran­schhoek, most of the time we look for places where we can go for a meal that are also kid-friendly,” says Baker, who has a four-year-old son, Kyle, with his wife Jody.

“The Farm­yard is great for Sun­day break­fast and you can have it in peace while the kids run around with the ducks and chick­ens. The en­vi­ron­ment is awe­some, and the food is good.”

Drift­wood Café in Park­lands also scores points for its chil­dren’s en­ter­tain­ment fac­tor, as does Mike’s Kitchen in Mil­ner­ton. “I don’t care what any­one says, Mike’s is great,” says Baker. “There’s a buf­fet ev­ery night and the por­tions are huge when you or­der off the menu. They’ve got Playsta­tion con­soles for the kids, a climb­ing wall and tram­po­lines so you can en­joy your meal while they play.”

On the evenings when Kyle stays home, the Bak­ers might head for On The Rocks for sun­down­ers and a ro­man­tic meal. “Onse Huise, which is up the road, is fan­tas­tic for drinks and pizza. It’s right on the beach so you can sit out­side,” he says.

A keen biker who used to race be­fore in­juries threat­ened his tat­too­ing ca­reer, Baker still likes to hang out at Kil­lar­ney. It might be a while be­fore that hap­pens again, what with Metal Ma­chine on the verge of mov­ing to big­ger premises across the road in Short­mar­ket Street.

“We’re all looking for­ward to the larger shop where we’ll have space for more artists and like-minded peo­ple who will in­spire us to greater tat­toos,” Baker says.

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