What a strange evening Friday night turned out to be. Amped to watch Manouche and The Swing Collective, and keeping my beady eye on Facebook the whole week, I was anticipating an exciting performance and a full house. A full house it was, and (apparently) an exciting performance – which I missed in its entirety. Can’t even say I was dealing with problems, cos that would be lying. Not that there weren’t any problems. Our biggest problem was the kind of problem all venues love to have – the arrival of a crowd larger than our capacity. The joint was packed to the brim, our tender-hearted barmen overworked and not so tender-hearted, and our pizza chef looking even grimmer than normal. I have tried on several occasions to crack a joke with him, saying things like “Do you want to hear a pizza joke? Never mind, it’s too cheesy” and “How do you fix a broken pizza? – with tomato paste!”, him just standing there, looking at me deadpan. Yea, it’s not really funny, I know, but I’m the boss, for fucks sake. You could at least pull your mouth into an approximation of a grimace, and go ha-ha-ha. Nope. Sidelong glance. Deadpan. Best I see it as a challenge. Gonna have to come up with something that not only makes him smile, but laugh out loud. I’ll let you know….
So we are preparing for Service when an old friend from yester-fucking-year arrives, and since I haven’t seen him for 26 years, there’s a lot to catch up with. In his past life, he was impresario that started the Glass Theatre, but he’s been living in Chicago for yonks, divorced his first wife, married a second and has a 12 year old son that is wearing a Clash T-shirt. Heidi, ever the gallerista, is showing him her latest book-project called 120 Days of Sodom, when she realizes the 12-year old is suddenly very interested. “Why don’t you go and watch the sun setting”, she says, “I mean, how the band is setting up”, she corrects herself, and he disappears for a few minutes, but soon he’s back, smelling a rat hailing from Sodom or Gomorrah. His dad saying , “Don’t worry, I took him to see Iggy Pop the other day, and he took his shirt off”
“Your son?” I say, and then realize that of course it’s Iggy, who always takes his shirt off, even at 74, with sagging tattooed muscles an’ all. So my friend is OK with his son looking at drawings of young girls being tortured by dirty and very nasty old men, but his wife isn’t. She takes one look, and pulls the 12-year old very quickly out of the room. Neither return for quite a while, but that doesn’t bother anyone, cos we have a lot to catch up with.
Eventually my friend from Chicago has to leave, but no sooner had he gone when I hear “There’s that crazy Caz, but where’s his crazy Combi?” I turn around and it’s Marina, all the way from Brighton on her annual visit, her dark twin Jessica in tow. Now, I have to tell ya, I love these gals, I really do. I have spent (some, like my mother, RIP, would say misspent) a large part of my drug-fuelled youth with these two, had countless adventures, close calls, arrests and various encounters I refer to as Déjà vu’s because as they unfurled it felt like they had happened before, but under no circumstances could have cos they were so absolutely crazy.
It was with them that I dressed up in a skirt for the first time, complete with blond wig, eye-shadow and lipstick, marching through the streets of Cape Town shouting “bring out yer dead, bring out yer live, lets go dancing at Club 45”, having been asked to advertise a new niteclub. I was with them the night we got attacked by two knife-wielding Israeli’s at our commune fondly known as Sunday Bloody Sunday, one playing “good cop” the other “bad cop”, and saved a girls life, but then got arrested as the perp by the real cops because somehow the Israeli crazies looked normal to them. The first time I went overseas was with them. . The first time I went to an art gallery was with them. Met my first girlfriend for the first time with Jessica. Lots and lots of first times. You get the drift….special gals, indeed.
The last time they were at the Bar, a year ago, The Time Flies were playing (I’m the drummer, in case you don’t know) and Jessica, the dark twin, had just decided that she wanted to be a singer. The entire evening was spent by either by Jessica trying to get hold of the mic, or us trying to get the mic away from her. A sinner, yes, but a singer she ain’t.
Tonight she is wearing an outfit apparently made up of loose ends. Everybody keeps on getting hooked on her. Can’t help wondering if that’s the purpose. Once hooked, you get a kiss. Or in my case, a hiss. “Has the band started? I want to go and sing…”
“Oh no, here we go again”, I think, saying “Let me buy you a Vodka”. Thankfully there are enough male distractions buzzing around the bar, and Jessica keeps on forgetting that she’s on her way upstairs. Marina is engaging a journalist in very broken Afrikaans, while he is speaking to a pretty Dutchie in very broken Dutch. Someone behind me starts speaking French, another one starts reciting Dylan with an Irish accent. The courtyard becomes a veritable Babylon, everybody talking above, beyond and over each other. I get hooked on Jessica again, who says “gimme that goddamn microphone, I AM a singer”
“Gott im Himmel!”, someone shouts, maybe it’s me, cos I’m half-German, and my mouth is open, “Weg von fenster …”
Then the night is over, as suddenly as it started. And I’m left thinking, what on earth actually transpired tonight….