So i'm slightly re-orientated in this city, tour was a bit of a bender, mentally, physically, emotionally. A week living on peoples floors, with a general lack of transport and general tour madness took it's toll. Most of the band has been in hibernation this week recouping.
After a chaos night in Pretoria we hit the road to Grahamstown around one in the afternoon, with gentrification being the main discourse as we left Jozi; a twelve hour drive again of us. It turned into 17 or so. We had to stop over in Craddock, a ghost town, in a parking lot to catch a few hours of sleep or fear death via sleeping driver who had been tricked by the allure of a blink and never reopened his eyes. The sleep was tense. I constantly woke up to make sure we weren't on the verge of having our windows smashed in and our body's stabbed for the equipment we had in the van.
We arrived in Grahamstown early on Tuesday morning. Just in time to catch the sunrise. We made our way to our respective sleeping zones. four a four hour interim before meeting Strato, the drummer we had been recommended to use in Grahamstown. I had an hour nap, a shower. Tried to eat my left over hambrger from the night before. But the cream spinach had oozed into the bun and it was soggy and bitter, so I gave up and had a black coffee instead. All there was to eat in the house besides over ripe and slightly decrepid carrots.
By now it was close to two. With min sleep and no food since 7 the previous evening I was picked up by the rest of the band and Strato. Who drove like a maniac to his spot a few kilometres outside of Grahamstown. i was in front. And feared slightly for my life.
I didn't take much notice of the surroundings, other than the view and the green pool. My mind was in a state of fuzz by this point. The thought of band practice seemed daunting. Training up a new drummer two days before a gig is always a gamble of musical integrity.
We pulled through practice. Vocalless. We didn't have the right connection for the microphone, so Siay sat behind Strato most of the time acting out the vocals to the best of his ability. And then we heading to The Rat, which would become our local watering hole for the next few days. With a R97 beer tower special we couldn't resist. And pizza.. We lived and pizza.
After a good liquoring moods lightened and Zwash, Kush and I headed for a mission to the Botanical Gardens. Which were closed. Zwash went on a mission and Kusk and I found the bicycles and did some drunken theatrical advertising on passing students.
Grahamstown is a University town. With 8000 students packed into an area that one can walk from end to end in 40 minutes. It is also has, to some extent, consequentially become the South African town with the highest drinking rate per capita. Or so I've been told.
Wednesday started bright and early for me. my thesis is due in very fucking soon. So I headed to the University Campus with my high school mate Leigh (who graciously hosted me for the few days I was there. Fed me, and kept me generally warm and dry). She's currently doing her MA in something to do with Environmental Sciences. So a few hours of thesis slog and I made a mission to find the boys who were staying somehwere in the burbs at the top of Grahamstown.
Its strange coming back to a place that you visit frequently. (As I have done with Grahamstown over the last six years). It becomes familiar to some extent. My brain never really made the cross over of being in a new place. It made the whole trip feel quite surreal. I'd had a conversation with Siya earlier in the week about how we view the constraints of living in one city. His advice was that they needn't exist. And he's right. We don't have to think of ourselves as bound to one city, if you want to live as a transmigrant its just a matter of making it happen. Having lives to go back to all over the world. And I can see how that could work.
View from Leigh's gate
One of the many religious establishments that sprinkle Grahamstown
A private school in one of the more Lani areas, encountered on my walk to find the boys
I found the boys on Bowles Street, and as fate would have it just as someone was entering the house. At this point I was cellphone and shoeless, and not entirely in the mood for yelling out random names in the street to locate the right house. All my necessaries somehwere in the house I was about to enter. it had been a rush drop off when I had been left at Leigh's the previous day, the rented tour van having to go back to the dealer on a short deadline.
We got ready and headed off back into town to wait to get picked up for another practice. Which yet again ended up at The Rat where we got some epic news. Zwash's son had been born.
Zwash is learning how to play the flute
Im learning how to play with light and exopsure
Heading into town (Kush in advertising regalia)
Back to Strato, 6 people and a dog in the car (by this point we had started getting drunk on vodka after missioning around putting up postersfor the show at Slipstream the following night)
Kush getting out the boot
The beginnings of college funds
I headed home after The rat, thoughts of thesis waying down my brain. Ray, Zwash and Siya ended up playing an acoustic set at The Monastry in the wee hours of the morning.
Thursday was a chaos day. Starting with more thesis slog. The a mission to find Kush and Ray who had to find a charger for a Mac, with no luck, in order to edit footage. While they did that I headed off to make a flyer and get it printed. The rest of the day was spent running around getting masks for the gig, handing out flyers. Transporting all the equipment from Stratos ( amission in itself when the drum kit takes up the whole car and you still have to fit in a massive bass amp, a speaker, three guitars and two people, amongst various odds and ends.)
We had to have a practice before the show, but got waylayed by an interview, and the arrival of Heroes Wear Red who supposedly also had the venue booked for the night. After a brief confrontation. Though I'm not easy using that word because it wasn't all that confrontational, more civil. They chose not to play.
View from Slipstream's balcony
Entrance to Slipstream
Frantic fixing of guitar
And then the gig was upon us. Masks on, getting ready in the boys bathrooms, then strutting onto stage in my bra and shiny pink mime mask, Zwash in cow print pants top off, Ray in a devils mask, Strato playing Frankenstien and Siya the ever present Golden Man. A chaos gig insued. Guitars cutting out, coming back to life. Songs being reworked as we went, the fluid motion of our show being pushed to a whole new level. Siya controlling the band, cutting the rhythm section out. Zwash bringing it back in. Songs merging into jams, back into songs. And we are sweating on stage. A yell from the crowd "This is like the Doors!", we can't be doing all that bad. At least the crowd stayed to watch.
The night ended at The Monastry, dubstep drunken delux. And then back to Luke to crash in all sorts of ackward positions for a few hours before heading to Kenton on Sea.
The bathroom at The Monastry
The drunker I get the blurier pictures become
At Luke's place
That was still at The Monastry
As was that
Friday morning started early. Luke had to get to class and we still needed to find a means of transport to Kenton, and somehow get all our equipment, now stashed safely at various points throughout Grahamstwon, in the same place. This is tricky without transport. But we made it happen. After a few drinks at The Rat of course.
By this point a lot of people had made their way to Grahamstown for Carla and Ed's wedding. The next gig we were playing.
View from Luke around 7am on Friday
Worlds cutest kitten
View from Bowles Street
Another religious building