Closure not by the cops
THE St Clement's spring season of soirees had a rousing closure this week with a display of hysteria by female fans, reminiscent of the pop concerts of yesteryear.
It began quietly enough with the launch of Encounters, by Andrew Verster and Pieter Scholtz, a little book (Horus Publications) that celebrates Durban's Botanical Gardens, which are in their centenary year (though in fact they've been around quite a bit longer if you count their early days as an agricultural research institute).
Encounters features photographs by Pieter, notably of the sinuously grotesque Banyan tree the "walking fig" that is found in the gardens; appropriate bits of verse selected by Pieter, some written by himself; and intricate sketches by Andrew of paper flowers.
'Tis most pleasing that one of the photographs is of the "widdling angels" who once stood at the intersection of West Street and Point Road, in fact pouring water from bottles but in a posture that made them look like Durban's version of the famous Mannikin Pis in Brussels.
The angels disappeared from that spot some years ago and are now placed in the Botanical Gardens, just above Currie's Fountain, which is appropriate because they celebrate HW Currie's role in rescuing Durban from a serious water shortage in 1878.
Then there was a talk by Martin Clement, curator of the Botanical Gardens, who got across just what a gem of a green lung the Gardens are for Durban, with their more than 200 species of birds.
And then that finale, in which Pieter selected a passage in Encounters, taken from TS Eliot's Sweeney Agonistes. No he didn't just read it, he sang it.
Under the bamboo
Under the bamboo tree
Two live as one
One live as two
Under the bam
Under the boo
Under the bamboo tree.
The gals were getting into a frenzy. Then:
Tell me in what part of the wood
Do you want to flirt with me?
Under the breadfruit, banyan, palmleaf
Or under the bamboo tree?
At which point they lost all restraint and the place became a blizzard of flying knickers. It's just as well we're closing until next February. Much more of this and we'd get busted by the fuzz.
ODDLY enough, the St Clement's spirit translated itself also to Kingsmead the other evening It was at a gathering of the Natal Cricket Society, an organisation that is seriously dedicated to the game and usually invites along as guest speakers players, past and current, and others who are able to shed light on cricket's intricacies and mysteries.
This particular evening we had as guest speaker one Spyker Koekemoer (aka Pat Smythe) who is well known at St Clement's for his stories told in the idiom of Herman Charles Bosman.
Members listened in astonishment as Spyker regaled them with a letter to Oom Schalk Lourens describing an early exercise in tenderpreneurship in the Transkei it was the bantustan days when the road to Sulenkama, which had just been tarred, was washed away by a summer storm at the official opening, the contractor (until then a tea room proprietor) unfazed because he already had in his pocket a ticket to retirement overseas.
It went down well. "How much did we have to pay this fellow?" a member was heard to ask afterwards.
He didn't get it. Spyker speaks anyway. You only have to pay him to shut up.
WHOOPS a challenge from Kwambonambi! George Hutchison says yesterday's piece headed "Seeded from space", about strange bugs being picked up by a balloon launched 27km into the stratosphere, has the facts all wrong.
"The description of the microbes from space with proboscis and elongated snouts, plus also flabby, is not based on magnified pictures of bugs. These are in fact photographs of the members of the Kwambonambi Club arriving on Thursday nights for Happy Hour."
I stand corrected.
"I can't think of what to do for dinner tonight. Any ideas?"
"You must have heaps of leftovers from that big dinner you threw last night."
"My husband doesn't eat leftovers. Fat glutton he's never even heard of them."
Statistics: The only science that enables different experts using the same figures to draw different conclusions.