Archive for November 21st, 2009


If you wanna run cool…

Overhead, the sky hangs thick and black with clouds and lashes the earth intermittently with rain.

Add the fact that for the last four days it’s been severely cold and you don’t exactly have the makings of the best week. Right from the day this dreary weather started I wrote that all I wanted to do was hide under the blankets until it passed and well, today is FINALLY that day.



And so I’m lying here right now in an old school rowing T-shirt from 2000, listening to Dire Straits while memories from last night bob to the surface of my mind.

I made a break from work at 4 with Nix and she dropped me back at my place because J-Rab had the car. I splashed through the deepening puddles, free for the next 48 hours and somehow the sky that had looked so miserable before changed, and took on a kind of silvery tone, became radiant, and made the afternoon ghostly and the evening full of promise.

Guitar Jon came around after work yesterday and we drank coffee and listened to the new Them Crooked Vultures albums which, as a musician, amateur producer and sound guru, Guitar Jon really liked.

We shot the breeze awhile until The Glaze rocked up in his customary sensible jersey and proceeded to join us for more coffee.



We rolled two games of Backgammon and I thrashed him like a pro in the first one, but got pipped at the post in the second, losing by two pieces.

I used to do this thing back at varsity where Graum and I would roll a few games of Backgammon before we went out on the town, to test our luck. The games were always fierce and quick and when either of us won, it was by the skin of our teeth.

And while we played, I’d think of the Radiohead song ‘Lucky” (off OK Computer) and the lyrics would echo in my head,

I’m on a roll
I’m on a roll
This time.
But I feel my luck could change.

Over the last two years that I studied in that batshit town, that song became more than a song for me, it became some kind of ancient incantation, something that has always existed through time in some form or another.

A luck song. ‘I feel my luck could change’ – it could get better, it could get worse and the singing of that song would bring about one or the other.

And so I would often belt out the chorous of that song, letting it ring in the empty spaces of the house we lived in, which was the biggest house I’ve ever lived in, our digs in our last year at Grahamstown.

We called it the Zombie Mansion. I was solid, about 150 years old, perfectly square, two huge storues, high ceilings, wooden floors, sort of Cape Dutch looking, but different.

We loved that digs. We partied so hard when we lived in that house, all of us, that we often came out the other side, squinting at the approaching dawn, drunk and happy.

So my two games last night told me 50/50. My luck wasn’t bad, but it sure wasn’t good either. It’s important to know.



The Glaze had to be somewhere else and left not long after our second game. Guitar and I moved onto cup no. 3 and talked about how he needs to get off his ass and record. For as long as he’s not doing that he’s not living, he’s just killing time and he knows it.

Jenni-fuh also came home and started showering and getting ready for her office year-end party, which was a… wait for it… Mexican theme! They did up a  marquee outside their offices, which Jenni-fuh was a little sceptical about, it sounded a little cheap, but apparently they did it up really, really well and were going to have pinyatas (spelling fail) and Petrone tequila, the whole deal.

J-Rab joined the party soon after, whirling through the door, cold from outside, but happy, with this beautiful smile on her face that lights up the world.

Our POA was to meet up with some friends of J-Rab’s she hasn’t seen in awhile and party somewhere. I called in some backup in the form of the best damn Greek connection I ever made, one of my oldest friends, Stikey, who came out with us, gun’s blazin’.

We met up at Molly Malone’s and I recognised J-Rab’s friends instantly which, in the case of the one, Soph, I wasn’t surprised, but the other, Lu, had a face I recognised, but didn’t. I asked J-Rab if Lu went to Rhodes, but she said no.

Turns out she did though and I instantly remembered where I knew her from. My memories are etched pretty clearly as a general rule, J-Rab is surprised all the time by how I remember things and M-Class, Graum’s girlfriend is too.

Introductions out of the way, we commenced the serious business of partying, celebrating being young and alive and laughing, always laughing.

Conversation was free and easy and it wasn’t long before we were having a killer time. At some stage a camera was produced, with sexy results.



About half-way through the night, Lu points out this guy and says, ‘Shit, don’t you know that guy, he went to Rhodes, Oliver Becker.’

I stared at Oliver Becker and something sparked off waaaayy at the back of my head.

Yeeaahh… I recognised Oliver Becker.

‘Fuck, his surname’s not ‘Becker’’, I said, watching him from our table.

‘Yes it is!’ said Lu.

‘No, I know that guy. We went to primary school together, I swear his name’s not ‘Becker’. At that Lu approached Oliver X and after a few minutes called me over.

I greeted X and asked him his surname straight up. It wasn’t Becker. Then the following conversation ensued, here’s the truncated version:

‘So, Oliver, your ex is doing really well,’ Lu started, not hiding her intentions whatsoever.

‘I heard,’ X replied.

‘Yeah, she’s looking really gorgeous, stunning, amazing, and she’s SO happy with her new guy, you know they’re getting married soon? Yeah, he’s gorgeous too, Spanish guy, really great guy, she’s really, really happy with him, it’s so exciting, the wedding’s in a month, I can’t wait!’

‘That’s nice,’ X replied, ‘I’m happy for her.’

‘So dude, how’ve you been, what’ve you been up to?’ I asked, trying to save the awkwardness of the conversation thus far.

‘I own a construction company and part of an advertising agency. I just bought a house in Camps Bay and I’m engaged, marrying a pilot, she’s great, I’ve also got my pilot’s license, but not for commercial, I fly helicopters.’

‘Huh,’ I replied. ‘You could set up a great drug cartel with a helicopter, provided you had a safe place to land it.’

‘Hahaha. Exactly. Well, I’ll probably buy my own helicopter soon, I –’

‘Ok, I’m gonna stop you right there and go back and sit down at my table. Good to see you.’




Turns out he used to rough up his ex, that’s why Lu was so openly hostile in a friendly way, which I guess was exactly how I was after finding out how loaded the guy is.

Money, to me, is something I spend to satiate my basic needs for shelter, food, transport and entertainment, beyond that I don’t place any belief in the idea that having a lot of it leads to happiness or superiority over other people.

Money proves nothing to me except that you have money. If you want to earn my respect show me honesty, integrity, humour, intelligence, don’t show me money.

Some of the very best of people I have met in this life are poor, or live modestly, but not extravagantly and are able to save very little.

We drank and partied until Molly Malone’s cleared out to the dregs and bar flies and this little blonde girl who flitted from one guy to the next, we counted four in total.

Funniest thing was at the end of the night we spotted Numbers One and Two having what looked like a little tiff between them, but really, both were of such an unremarkable appearance and manor, and so used to behaving meek and mild, the argument just turned into a chat after a few minutes and both went their separate ways.



We made an abortive attempt after Molly’s to go to Billy The Bums (I know, who names these places?!) but stayed for exactly as long as it took to drink a glass of water and left.

J-Rab and I drove back home, slowly through the soft rain and collapsed into bed together, happy and tired and curled up tight to keep warm.

We drifted off to sleep in minutes, unconcerned about the hangover to follow because of the Milk Thistle Liver tablets we swallowed before we passed out.

Dire Straits said it best, ‘If you wanna run cool, you gotta run on heavy fuel.’

If you party hard, eat too, give your body sustenance to help you deal with the booze, eat before you go to sleep, drink shitloads of water, take liver enzymes.

Don’t fuck out. Or else who’s gonna read my blog if not you crazy fuckers?

Hold that thought.