Man Corner

We here at DIY love I Heart Market, we really do, but as dudes, there’re only so many craft stalls we can endure. Matt Knight writes about the latest addition to the monthly market, Man Corner.

The first girlfriend I ever got was called Kerry. We started out being boyfriend and girlfriend because her friend came and told me that we were going out. If I remember it right, I was equal parts pure-stoke and confusion. We held hands and kissed, and it was lovely. The budding relationship ended the following Monday, when the same friend came to break the bad news. And thus began the long and winding road that is a young man trying to understand all his Kerry’s.
Not much has changed, and though, once grown up, more eloquent and battle hardened, most of us men still have the same confused yet excited reflexes towards all things feminine. 

One such Kerry that exists in our thriving metropolis of Durban is the I <3 Market, which is held at the DLI hall in the middle of Greyville racecourse on the on the first Saturday of every month. 

I go along each time, as do many of my man friends. The morning usually starts with us approaching confidently – jumping out our cars en masse in the car park, confidently striding with our man strength into the big white castle that lies before us. But quickly the battle begins, the troops are scattered, and we are outflanked on both sides. To our left, scores of Indie girls wielding second-hand shoes and jagged fringes. To our right, old hippies striding barefoot with their children Airthea and Starburst in hand. I duck right through the sluggish hippie defences, but am quickly caught again in between the homemade scones table, and the lady who has managed to make little heart shapes out of every substance available on the periodic table, as well as soapstone, gravel and Kiwi fruit.

And so we did what all boys do when they find themselves standing watching the girly thing from a distance. We built a fort.
We called it Mancorner.

Losing confidence I feign interest in the ‘hope faith love’ table. Where happy word shapes are made out of things you wouldn’t necessarily expect. I am feeling the creeping pangs of defeat and the urge to run, but still I press on – moving up and down the aisles determined to see every stall and peruse through this great market. On and on I go, knowing that with enough time and determination I will be victorious, I will buy something.
After 12 minutes I sound the call to retreat, and head for the coffee and falafel burger section. It is here I can spend the rest of the day nibbling on the delicious treats while watcing from a safe distance.

And that’s the strangest thing about this place. I absolutely love the market. I like being there, I love the cute unattainable artsy girls. I love the vibe, I love the sincerity of the people and the intelligent conversation, and I dig the playlists hard. I love the creativity that exists within our city ,the idea of one off creations instead of mass produced junk. The idea of real people making real things, artists that I can talk to about the things they have made. I love the connections I make and the common love people there have for their city.

It’s just hard being a young man there sometimes, standing on your proverbial playground watching from a distance and waiting for your girlfriends mate to come running up with bad news.

And so we did what all boys do when they find themselves standing watching the girly thing from a distance. We built a fort.
We called it Mancorner.

Imagine a place of safety, where men can sit on couches and camping chairs – smoking cigars and playing contra or FIFA as they have a laugh. Imagine a Den of adventure  – where backgammon or chess is free for dads to teach their sons, or mates to challenge each other. Where vinyl and comics and plaid shirts are for sale at an absolute steal. We have built a castle – a castle for men, but still well in view of the ladies, close enough for the brave amongst us to risk a journey into their territory when we feel the urge, but close enough to retreat to when the battlefield gets too much (usually 10 – 15 minutes)

So come visit us at Mancorner, and share in this awesome Durban experience, without getting your heart broken.

17 Responses to “Man Corner”
  1. DurbanIsMine says:

    Fucking funny article

  2. me says:

    I loved reading this but as a woman I have a problem. You’ve dumbed me down to a lady and to pretty heart shaped stuff. What if I want to play chess? 🙂

  3. Bear says:

    If this doesn’t stir the cockles of your heart, then you have no cockles, and no heart

  4. Nick says:

    I heart Market FIFA knockout tournaments. I’d get into that. Hard.

  5. anonymooose says:

    i love how the hippie kid’s name is ‘starburst’ like the candy – thats a pretty dope ass name.

    @me: you could say that the man corner has dumbed men down to video game playing, beer swilling, comic book nerds. not true. my lady kicks my ass at chess and would probably take anyone on at FIFA, girls wanna do boy stuff too and so they should. lets not play the stereotyping game.

    i applaud the man corner, we need a place to bounce to after we play with the heart shaped stuff. could i <3 market just not be so indie? lets not attach sub cultures to public events, they feel too exclusive, otherwise someone might start death metal bingo nights…which could actually be pretty rad.

  6. Bob says:

    I think Death Metal Bingo Nights is going to be our next event. It’s genius.

  7. matt_theknight says:

    Hear me out here: Drum and Bake night.

  8. Bob says:

    So we get stoned and start a drum circle?

  9. savage says:

    pastor matt, a fantastic article indeed!
    we love the fact that there is a big rippling lump of testosterone clad in plaid in the corner.
    all the cute boys congregated in one corner is just how we like it.
    but can’t these strapping lads also teach their girl children how to play chess too?
    @anonymoose as for the market being so indie – well, the whole point of the market is that it is not commercial and if that makes it indie then so be it. the commercial, mainstream market out there is so big, you have malls full of it and so a little niche market for the indie kids i don’t think is such a bad thing.
    that being said, have you seen the clientel? yes there are hipsters and gipsters but there is also a whole lot of grannies and just normal people who frequent it. so this ‘indie’ market is not just attracting indie kids.
    perhaps indie is becoming too mainstream?? (shockhorror)

    and as for death metal bingo nights – we are going to start that at the unit soon! an inspired idea! we’ll credit you.

  10. mat says:

    fifa – amped!

  11. Such a fun read! Glad you said that you can have intelligent chats with the artists! I love sharing my inspiration and ideas with anyone who will listen to my ramblings. I have lot’s of men buy my art and try really hard not to overdo the girlie girlie thing – not a girlie girlie girl anyway so you may find something you can live with! My hubby barely ventures out the car park if he can help it so maybe he may find the courage to come seek some “man-raderie”!

  12. luke says:




  13. Bob says:

    No, we don’t sit on babies.

  14. Matt_Theknight says:

    Mom I’d Like on Facebook?

  15. Barbie says:

    If you want to have a drum circle, let me know- I’m sure I can rustle up some of my djembe drum friends! Are girls allowed to play too?

  16. Julius says:

    i like em indie bitches

  17. me says:

    @anonymoose You’ve missed my point entirely. I was in fact discouraging the ‘stereotype game’ as you so eloquently call it. Yes, the article does dumb men down to exactly what you describe, but it written in such a way that elevates mentioned activities to a back-slapping chauvinistic pedestal, reducing what it labels as female-interest to flippant and inconsequential.

    I like the man-corner concept. It’s just for fun and we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously. However, I do have a problem with a society that propagates gender roles.

    But it’s OK. I’ll get over it and you can go back to playing with your… erm… Xbox.

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