Gimme three steps to get away from this absurd situation we face
THE other day, at around 1.45 in the afternoon, I was driving into town to go to work. “So you want to be a rock ‘n’ roll star,” The Byrds were singing on the car CD. When I got to the top end of what must be Sisulu Street – by the sadly dilapidated and overgrown erstwhile Berea Park cricket ground – I was pulled over by a metro cop.
It was a regular roadblock, so it wasn’t as if I had been singled out. Straight away, as you do, I got out my wallet and started ferreting around for my driving licence as the guy came to my window.
He was rather pleasant and I gave him my usual “hey cool man, thanks for looking after us” opening line. “No, no, no,” he said, adding that he wasn’t interested in seeing my licence (a first in my experience of being pulled up by the cops).
He was keen to know about the liquid contents of the glass bottle standing in the compartment between the two front seats. Well, I was happy to disclose to him that the bottle contained 100% H2O – plain tap water, which had admittedly been filtered at home.
I had actually, at various times in the preceding 18 hours or so, indulged in both the fruit of the grain and grape, but I was as sober as a judge. Maybe these days, that statement should be qualified by an “erm”.
I proffered him the bottle and he had a good old sniff which must have satisfied him that I was not a felon and he waved me on. I drove off.
Talking of wanting to be a rock ‘n’ roll star, Berea Park was actually the venue where I came closest to achieving that lofty status. It was in December 1975 when a day-long rock festival was held on the grounds. The main act of the day was Hawk.
Earlier in the day, one of the support acts – I don’t remember the band’s name, but they were from Cape Town – did a storming version of Lynryd Skynryd’s Gimme Three Steps; real southern, swamp rock.
As one who used to feel the rhythm rather acutely – still do actually – I stepped up and started doing a spot of solo idiot dancing right in front of the stage.
You know, hair (lots of it at the time) flying all over the show, air guitar to the fore etc.
Well, such was the spectacle that I made of myself that a few days later, Pretoria News – no less – on one of its inside pages, published four or five pics of yours truly rocking out. With some witty captions and a bit of a story about the fest. Headline was “Rocking into the sunset”.
I always think of that day when I drive past the remnants of the once proud Berea Park edifice that has been allowed to deteriorate, shamefully so, to the extent that it has.
Talking about shame, I think the government’s stance in the whole Grace Mugabe affair has been nothing short of appalling and disgraceful. Allowing that brazen criminal to get off scot-free.
On the radio this week, some prof was explaining that, no, from a realpolitik point of view, granting her diplomatic immunity was the only position the South Africans could really take; SADC ties and all that.
What about old-fashioned justice, I thought to myself as I contemplated pictures of a head-tilting, napping Bob at the SADC shindig and the permanently scarred Gabriella Engels’ face.
But, then again, what to expect from a once-proud movement that now is home to people like Manana and his cheerleaders in the ANC Women’s League (nogal) singing his praises.
Ah well, I’m sure Not-Jimmy Manyi will be able to put a positive gloss on the shenanigans once he starts running ANN7 and New Age.
Hey, gimme three steps out of this theatre of the absurd, please.