Maritzburg and her MEMORIES
Looking at all the familiar faces in the crowd during an evening out in PMB reminds us why we love this place
WHILE pondering a topic for my column — these things don’t always come easy — it hit me in the middle of a seriously great show on Saturday night.
I was sitting in The Dive at the Hexagon watching a homegrown show in my home town and loving the hell out of it. This is not supposed to be a review of That’s all Folk. That task for this newspaper is left to the far more qualified Estelle Sinkins, who I am happy to say is helping us out again with entertainment coverage.
My ramblings and writings about this show are slightly different. We had seen the fun One Hit Wonderful with the fab five of Ryan and Tammy Calder, Sandra Styles, Daniel Rossouw and Katherine McClennand some time ago and when I saw That’s All Folk advertised I quickly messaged our buddies Jo and Steve and asked if I should book. They were keen to come and the stage was set for a great night out.
If you haven’t been to a picnic supper show at The Dive, you’re missing out on a wonderful experience that’s pure PMB. It is so great not to have to travel out of town and at a hundred bucks a shot, it’s affordable. Sitting next to Jo on Saturday night, as we mouthed along to the words of all our old favourites, I was suddenly awash with sentimental and emotional nostalgia, and just the pure pleasure of it all. The fun of it for me starts by seeing who is there. Isn’t that so Maritzburg?
Unbeknownst to me, Estelle and her husband Graden were also booked in and arrived at the same time we did. Hugs in the car park and a happy surprise to find we were seated at the same table. We hadn’t seen Graden since my birthday so it was lovely to catch up.
Then walking in, there were Gavin and Christine, a couple we have known for many years, albeit at a distance. Happy hellos were exchanged with Gavin.
Later, in walked Ian and his lovely wife Jen. Ian used to be HR manager at The
Witness and is now a familiar face at Chamber lunches — a nicer guy you really couldn’t hope to meet. So good to have a hug and a quick catch up.
Inevitably, during the show I always look around the room. In the background gloom with the stage alight it is possible to make out some faces. There was the mom of a child who was in the same class as our daughter in preprimary school. Damn, she really did make the best cupcakes. There was that cake sale where hers where classically elevated and rounded and perfectly iced. Mine were little flat miserable things. From that day hence, if I bake a cupcake I compare it to hers. I still aim for that perfection.
Then, my eyes fell on a man sitting near the front. But where do I know him from? Oh yes! He was that guy I remember nursing when I worked at Grey’s 100 years ago. I don’t remember his name alas, but he was the clown of one of the men’s wards during his stay and he had us green button nurses in stitches with his sometimes rather saucy jokes. He was debonair and charismatic, and his presence in his sick bed made our work great fun. But, we all knew not to joke with him when his stern wife came to visit because the transformation was dramatic. He became quiet, wellbehaved, meek and rather boring, as he sat listening to her prattle.
I smiled to myself at this memory, and relished the memory of who I was as a young, mostly exhausted, student nurse wearing stockings, a white dress and a nurse’s cap hairclipped over my bun.
I looked over to where Christine and Gavin were sitting, clearly thoroughly enjoying the show now, and drifted back in time to a party we had attended with them many moons back. The wine had flowed rather pleasingly and at one point in the evening Gavin cracked a joke which I still remember well, but had best not repeat. The way we all roared with laughter at the time made me grin. I remembered how Christine and I had to wipe the tears away that night and each time we stopped laughing, one of us would think of the funny bit again and we would start chuckling again. I giggled at this joke and later relayed it to my partner as we drove home, laughing out loud and reliving that fun moment together.
My thoughts then turned to my dear Ryan Calder himself. Many readers will know this talented chap was for some years the online editor at The Witness before he left to pursue another passion. I have missed Ryan’s calm presence and witty humour in the office, and I thought how bloody marvellous it is to see him and Tammy doing so well.
But all my internal musings were frequently interrupted by the songs sung so well by the five on stage. Just one melody and its lyrics have the power to time travel you back to a specific moment you have not thought about for years with such amazing clarity.
As I heard “I got a brand new pair of roller skates, you got a brand new key”, I was suddenly a very young child, looking up at my older sister in our house in Isabel Beardmore Drive. She’s jiving away to the song, probably playing on the record player from a Springbok Radio record.
Welldone to Peter Mitchell and The Hexagon for keeping us so wonderfully entertained. We really owe it to this proud venue to support the brilliant shows on offer. They are of great quality and well worth venturing out to.
It was excellent to hear Ryan say they had such a good run, to the extent that they plan on doing it all again.
Thanks to good old Maritzburg and her familiar faces for all the great memories. This is why I love living here. See you around!