Thursday, March 26, 2009

Part Two

Divertimento – The Now

What fresh hell is this? There is nothing more gut wrenching than those first weeks off of smack, the pull of sheer habit, the boredom. Then sinks in the realization that you HAVE burnt all your bridges and you are going to have to build yourself up. Then comes the building up, the crappy jobs, the blows to your self esteem, these that you must endure, the fake promises, the constant smashing of hope. If you weren’t a Junkie before, the process of rebuilding your life after being one would turn you into one. People are only in it for themselves, no matter what they say, and they will protect their small castles with a vile vengeful self righteousness that shows that not only are people not will to teach a man to fish (or even to try grasp what that means) but unwilling to even let him see a fish.

There is nothing more gut wrenching, then the months of boredom that follows, the constant pushing that you must get real, get a real job, that you blew it and must give up on your dreams. Then why not be a junkie if I can’t have dreams. No wonder there are so many relapses. What I want is simple help. What I get is the constant pulling of being people’s plaything, that help comes with a condition. That, no, if you’re going to pay your rent late you can’t stay home and work on your book you must come out with me. Because I paid for your food this week, you cannot go to that shoot and earn money you must sit and listen to me complain about my girlfriend. It goes on. Help offered always comes with a price, the real help you need, no one will give it to you. You have to resort to Junkie tactics to get it, which brings you back into the Junkie mentality, which brings you closer to relapse. Which justifies everyone not helping you in the first place.

I am in a bar, filled with Characters out of the Simpsons’, girls with no chins, but not yellow, yellow boys with hair that’ll make a rehab counselor relapse. Do they know they’ve danced to the same song twice in the last half hour, do they know this track’s melodic structure is a rip off of an early nineties hit. Why must they tell me that they love Enrique Eglasias? A mixture of the very young and the very old all in common in their desperation, their manipulated tattiness. What ever it is you’re looking for it isn’t here.  Said more to myself than to anyone else. Something about the music’s bangin’ness is akin to listening to Brahms on a 70’s car radio. Every one of these stalking mask wearing freaks should be put out of their misery, starting with the D.J and his over enthusiastically dancing girlfriend. Including myself as I lean against the bar, interrupting the waitresses celebration of a big tip by asking her for similes of desperation.


Part the Second

13yrs to 17yrs > 1985 to 1989









Born June 11th, 1972, I am a solid Gemini, diagnosed Bi-polar countless times, told by my father, I could not write because I was missing bones, short of breath because I only had one lung (knew this to be untrue but convinced myself to prevent myself ever taking up the vile habit of smoking), I have always been aware of the dual nature of man. The truth and the Lies, the good and the evil, but now looking back, become who I have, I must confess this. Firstly that if something created us, it is greater than us and therefore pointless to contemplate, but surely beyond man’s petty good and evil, which means we must be capable of at least trying to be beyond that. I for one dwell in two worlds still and side by side, yet constantly striving. On one hand to be pure and innocent and on the other to be moral (by my own inner compass) and knowledgeable (for one can never strive toward wisdom, only earn it for oneself, it in itself being unteachble untransmutable), and to be these things innocent and trusting in my own compass, constantly every day, to never lose sight of the past but to never be bitter or regret, this is of course impossible, I am human, less than perfect, and somehow because so, am perfect. All our adolescences are the loss of innocence, some times I scream out across the void to my little unformed self, wishing I had the depth of experience to look after him better back then, but there is no reply, only constant echoes.



“Cant really remember anything more opinionated - we were all quite sweet really.


I have a couple of old photos of Roger, aged 15 or so, wearing a baby-blue cardigan and white, school regulation, PE shorts with a large VHS video tape stuffed in one of the pockets. I don't actually remember this dress sense - just that he was eccentric. Roger was Kevin's overly-enthusiastic friend next door, and the band's first unofficial manager.


It was during one of the strategy meetings over at his place that Roger blurted out the name 'Celtic Rumours'. We'd decided that 'Empire Rage' wasn't quite cool enough, and that The Cure's song 'Japanese Whispers', with its elusive romanticism, had what we were looking for.


 He also organised the band's launch party and first official gig on the veranda of his folk’s house for a bunch of our school friends. We felt like kings. Our dreams were big back then and Roger was right there with us.”                                                                                   


                                                Ross Campbell, Celtic Rumours Drummer #1 (or #2)



i don't remember our first meeting.

it must've been late '86. my parents were super strict and i wasn't allowed out, but eventually they let me go along to that church youth group with some girls from school. it was never about church, it was always about the unchaperoned time after our parents dropped us off, and before they picked us up. we made prank phone calls from the payphone downstairs, and learnt to smoke in a doorway round the corner.
somewhere along the way there was 'some guy' who knew and liked the same bands that i did.
the cure. the housemartins. the smiths. the the.
we'd mess about and talk during ...whatever youth group was supposed to be about. i thought you were funny and cool and creative.

at some point, you had to join the older kids in a different group and i didn't get to play with you any more. i stopped going apart from when they would have those discos.
at some point, you started phoning me.
i don't know which came first.

we used to spend hours on the phone. literally hours.
sometimes we'd meet when i got off the school bus near boys high.
sometimes your dad would bring you to my house.
but mostly we just talked on the phone.

we used to read smash hits for the retarded funny stuff, and every week there was part of a series of cut-out 'facts'. i thought you were hilarious because you actually saved them all and made the (tiny)book.

when did vern leave south africa? after you'd stopped talking about her, it was all about lauren. i fancied you by then, and was no longer friends with lauren so that was pretty annoying!

in may of 1987 my parents took me out of school for 2 months to go to england. you wrote to me while i was away, and you saved every copy of smash hits for me.

when i came home, you started coming round to the house more.
my parents used to tease me about "my boyfriend" and i was mortified because
we were just friends
i was at that age
i wasn't a "proper" girl
you were far too cool

some time later, there was a phone conversation.
something like; lauren had said that you should ask me out and what did i think?
i was furious that she was involved. i didn't know what you thought. were you actually asking me out? what did 'out' mean?
and so i said "no!"
and you said "thats what i thought"

and that was pretty much that.

over the next couple of years we saw each other out at gigs 'n things occasionally, but you were always really cold. i think i still fancied you despite the fact you were 'a trendy'.
the last mention of you in my diary is 30th november '88 ... last day of school, a concert at the exhibition centre in durban.
"saw roger! he is SO nice now" i dont know what that meant



                                                                                                            Fiona Thomson First Love #2







My sisters boyfriends. All had cool motorbikes that smelt like bees dripped in macho-ness. She rode on the back without helmet, came home late, wore black; saw her once from my window vomiting predawn on Dad’s pristine precious lawn. My ideas of love maybe formed through her, maybe through the books I was devouring, let me try lay it out for you. When you are that age love is like hunger. We are seldom hungry, actually hungry, but we always eat to prevent it, we say we are hungry but actually we just know intellectually that to prevent hunger we should eat. At 14 we know that we should be seeking love, we desire love, but do we actually feel love, I can deny my body food, and I have had to deny my soul of love, but unlike food, love has been around every corner, ready to strike. The pain of adolescent love is very similar to the physical experiences I had later of actual hunger, of starving when living on the streets, but I ramble. Let me lay it all out for you.



Somewhere I started to read, often, twice three times a week after school I would go to library and just read (if William came with we would play on the wooden faux bus outside). I would devour six books a week. I was in the adult section before I hit 15. In standard six, the first year of High school I still had a newspaper route. Saturday and Sunday before sunrise I would pedal my bike round neighborhoods delivering the Sunday paper. I used the money I made to buy records. There was a record shop in town called Moola’s Music. My tastes were embryonic based on my sisters. Duran, Depeche, so on. I started to amass a huge record collection. I fell for The Smiths only later, when my little heart had been broken. Through smash hits magazine and Barney Simon I began to branch out and order from Moola’s imports, stuff not freely available, not locally pressed, these imports R40 instead of R20, were impressive things, gatefold sleeves, glossy inners covered with lyrics, secret messages scratched by engineers into the vinyl, never lost my love for vinyl. And big to my little hands. I will never love like I loved analogue. Moola’s smelt of vinyl, the racks of records took up so much space, thin you had to page through them, every shelf was a book of desire. Soon after Moola’s I discovered Adams book store, huge two storied rambling place, with seemingly no order, strange books not available in the library were found in piles seemingly discarded, unvarnished wooden floors, serious people, a buzz of chatter, not like a library and too, I discovered that if you liked a book you could discover what other books the author had written and you could order them. There were books that published lists of books. I went through these catalogues manically ordering anything with titles that seemed outrageous, it did not take me long to discover Kesey and Hunter S. Let me tell you Hunter S. to a 15 year old mind in apartheid Durban was a very dangerous thing. Very dangerous, how my mind leapt at the idea of his writing, then Ginsberg, and later Phillip H. introduced me to Burroughs, but I leap ahead.



At that age, in standard six I was a chubby nerd. I was in the nerd class, my friends were nerds, we listened to Queen and liked computers, I had a computer, ZX spectrum, sometimes I would, pixel by pixel recreate movie posters in glorious 16 bit color. We used to go to movies on a Saturday afternoon. Our parents would drop us off. Listen it was so safe back then, eerily safe that by the age of 15 I was hitching into Durban on Saturdays to buy my books and records. Hitching, I had discovered through Kerouac, was sweet freedom. But I was still a nerd, the height of my social activity was going to Russell T’s house to listen to Queen and wander through his parents amazing aviary. Or Church youth group on a Friday night. Or talking to the librarians at Westville library. I had such a crush on Jo-Anne the junior librarian, whatever she told me to read I would love, she introduced me to science fiction, essentially opening up the path to discovering Philip K Dick, I don’t know who is more dangerous to an unformed mind, Phillip K Dick, Kerouac or Thompson. The girls who went to youth group were either nerds or naughty girls whose parents were trying to hold them in check. I was a nerd who was looking for company, my cousins were sent because Terence had found the Lord and intended to not only keep him but share him with his twin Trevor who saw it as an opportunity to meet girls. Back then I spent so much time with my cousins that essentially Trevor was my best friend. It was there in Standard Seven, that I met Vern.


Friday, March 20, 2009

End Part The First


it would seem now that one must retrace ones steps,
seeking out the small moments
in order to work out where it all went wrong

it doesn't happen as a rape, a violent break-up
it happens in small doses,
you lose your ability to connect.

doubt that you were able once to find
things valuable in others



There is always back aways I can go. I have forgotten to tell you about VHS and the Royal wedding.

As it is mostly, there are two sets of cousins, mothers and fathers. The Allens’ are my mothers brothers set. And with the total involvedness of my Mom’s parents in our lives, the Allens, at the same high school, were a total part of our lives. We used to play in the big pine tree in their garden, getting sap covered, their slippy slide, Auntie Hilary used to cut my hair, in afternoons in her cigarette haze filled kitchen, while I amazed at auntie Flo’s elephantitis like calves. And there was always VHS.

While my father still preferred to hire a 16mm projector and show us Bud Spencer and Terence Hill movies on a sheet, the Allens always had the latest British comedy on VHS, duplicated in some back room of the video shop they some how had ties to. When I say latest, I mean, Kenny Everret, Benny Hill, Carry on movies. And they had the biggest TV. Me and Trevor were more friends than cousins and I slept over often. It was a girl who effectively ended that friendship. But before her. My early teens are a mishmash of movies that they would get on tape before they hit the cinemas. And while I loved the whirr of the projector and couldn’t resist the cinema and popcorn with my A class friends at least twice a month, I was constantly in awe of the sheer volume of movies and TV shows that the Allens pulled out of their hats on a regular basis.

We watched Diana get married at the Allens, they let us out of school for that day. Those years Later, when the news of her death came through at midnight to 61 Somerset Rd and me and Paul in shock found ourselves crying, I remembered the Allens, how far ago that was. And recognized in Paul, in his admiration for her death something that I would only understand after his.

By Standard Seven I had learned to separate my groups of friends. There were my Street Gang at home, the art class, and then My A class friends and My D class friends, two groups at odds, the first loved cinema, computers and Queen. The second, Violence, nightclubs, Depeche Mode. And while they ignored each other I flitted between.

One incident stands out in my mind. We have just finished the last day of Standard Five, from next year we will be a t high school. This last day of senior primary was a civvies day and we are leaving the school in high spirits. As we walk down to meet someone’s parents who are taking us to see “A View to A Kill” in Pinetown, I am with my then embryonic A class group. We pass two boys seemingly our age, who we don’t know. One of them is wearing a t-shirt that says “Frankie say SPASTIC”, so I say Hey, are you Spastic. The retribution is swift, within seconds I am on the floor and being slapped and then he is off me. Andrew Guilfoyle, who will become one of my greatest friends, walks off with Warren Hickey, someone I will desperately, to the point to inflicting abuse on others, try to impress. Childhood has ended.


William, my chubby pal, his father was a ships captain in the merchant navy. He called himself a glorified trucker but no matter, the uniform was impressive. He was a slim bearded man and his wife large and ranging in muumuus and other flowing garments. She stayed home, made pottery and Batiks and macramé and other 80’s design inspirations. She painted a mean watercolor, as long as it was of the same stretch of beach at Arniston, somehow that spot was dug deep into her soul. Later her body would fascinate me as a teen, fueled adolescent fantasies by the token of her husband always being away.

One December, me and Will, get a ride on the ship down to East London to stay with family friends in a caravan park.

The ship ride is awesome, a huge container vessel, we have to walk up a gangplank to get on. By some accident of timing the trip is soured by the fact that she takes on her bilge water at the same time as the Durban abattoir is dumping its rotting meat into the harbor. The weekend trip is sea sickness coupled with the stench of rotting meat. The highlight discovering that there is a swimming pool on the back of the ship. I spend that Saturday, jumping off the diving board, trying to figure out why, if I’m in the air, the ship does not move from under me and leave me to fall into the propellers vast and churning. I will it. It does not happen.

In that strange rambling caravan park, with its permanent trailers, wheels removed, creepers growing up, I meet a girl that I literally abandon William to be with, she has an older brother but I ignore him, tho he comes with us everywhere. We spend the holiday in the rivers tidal pools sandy bottom catching shrimp and setting them free. I try explain that they are basically sea cockroaches but Lee Ann is fascinated with their dirty pink casings. On the last Sunday afternoon, in the fading light, as we are leaving to get a ride back to Durban, I steal my first real kiss, with tongue and everything. I am on my way back home, to face the responsibilities of high school and I am now no longer a child.

I wrote many letters to her, tried to phone, but I was a super excited 12 year old, I must have either bored her or the limits of her trailer park imagination constrained her real emotions. The truth hurts, so I avoided it.


According to my mother I once refused to leave a department store (John Orrs) in Durban at the age of six because my imaginary pet hedgehog escaped. It took the store manager an hour to find him. Once she heard that, William's mother started to call me hedgehog. And seeing as I had strange fantasies about her, I didn't mind when she ruffled my hair and said, "who's a little hedgehog then....."


Friday, March 13, 2009


A short indication of where we are going.


This is for if you were at that Pirates game, y’know the last one of the league and just to explain if you saw me coming out, like what I was doing, okay? So.

It’s normal. Long ago I’ve learnt to make a plan for the morning. I’ve got at least 10 hours to withdrawal, lucky I’m a smoker and not a spiker so, a plan for me is not trying to resist to leave over, but who I’m going to roll over, or plea to. Cause I got at least 5 hours before the sick sets in. So I step out into the hard afternoon Jozi sun and make my way to the bookstore. Step out of the old pool house in the abandoned garden of the condemned house in Rosebank near the mall. Climb the wall with all my stuff in one bag, never know, drop it at pick ‘n pay, must be back by seven, one walk through the mall, maybe I’ll see someone who I thinks I’m still who I used to be and get them to lend me some cash so I can leave out petty left for another day, whatever. 

That’s all background, I guess. I made it to the street, taking the middle west entrance, so’s I don’t have to go past Mike’s room, cause hw always takes whatever I’ve stolen with that fucking dirty knife of his, well lately it’s been the knife, which means he’s getting lazy or he’s lost the gun again, or whatever, but what pisses me is he always buys me enough out of my cash so that I don’t get too sick, but so’s I have to mission quickly so that hopefully I’ll be able to be robbed by him soonish again.

But no, I take the middle west entrance toward the sands passing the park junkies squabbling over some rich kid who’s stupidly asked for advice, Tom Dollar spots me and peels off because obviously he’s late in line for a hit and he’s offering me his pipe and I’m shrugging, no money, just here for yesterdays dash that I didn’t collect, this is code for fuck off and if he’s not sick he’ll go away, after trying the I’m sick please help about twice, anyway I’m striding past all of this toward my guy whose got brown, all the others have white which makes me jittery and obviously fucked even though I feel great.

And I need to look okay because I only managed a fifty out the mall, which is going to stop me getting sick but not fucked and if I want an easy mission this afternoon I’m going to spend a stone on James the rock head with no legs in the wheel chair, because then he’ll let me wheel him down to Park Station and spilt his sympathy earnings with me which normally means spending the night with him, and I won’t haul his wheelchair over the gate, so we have to sacrifice a hit each or a bag so we can book into a 40buck room, no blankets and how I hate that but he normally passes out so that I can escape around sunrise, and I always stash the extra I take from him so I can get a morning line of tee double you. 

So Nick spots me, about 2 weeks, he came out looking like a cop, fat, clean, in a puffy jersey by now already the jersey is sold, he’s sleeping in a fucked security hut and he’s back on, so he says he’s sick and he’s not but sometimes he runs a good mission and I wanna piggy back so we start scope-ing out where the dealers and runners are stashing, and we memorize the places, specifically Juniors cause his shit is real good, then we head down the road and argue over which cops to phone cause I got guys who are good and always find but don’t give so much to you because they gotta sell, Nick wants to go with guys he knows cause they do it for the arrest, not that they’ll get one, but Nick knows they generally give at least half the stash, maybe more and we gotta have some for his girlfriend, who is, guess what, sick, but anyway.

I’ve done this before on my own and with others, in fact while Nick was inside I did it a lot and was pulling in about R300 and a few bags a day, good living, but then the one guy ripped me off and the cop had marked the fucking note and then told the dealer and arrested him and I got fucked up, big time and had to fucking pay the boss about a grand before that weekend and those cops wouldn’t give, so I went to other cops, and then shopped those cops and it was all a mess but the dealer got paid and I got some cash and only a black eye, but anyway today I have a deal coming later where a friend said they’d give me some cash to buy a phone, which of course will be stolen from me that is, if you now what I never mind, y’know so we go with Nick’s guys because. And like I said it’s the day of the chief’s pirate’s league thing so we walk down to the stadium and mission some coins to phone and then we go wait in the spot for the officers.

The moment they arrive I sense trouble, they struggle to understand the directions to the spot and looking through the cardboard down onto the street we see them looking puzzled, risk # one I have to go down, risking being seen by users or dealer traveling up to the brow but so. I get them up. And we draw them the map. Usually it’s simple they know the area, but it doesn’t take long for me to realise I’m about to waste a lot of time and energy, they don’t even know the street names, or get this, what to be looking for, turns out after we watch the drive up the hill that Nick owes them a favour for when he was moffa touched they didn’t write up the smack he had on him, so anyway. What do you think? We sit and wait. For godamn nearly ten minutes like a fucking day, I tell you, we’ve given these guys maps, top sideways front, even a 3D interpretation (thanks to the excellent tutorage in technical drawing from a Mr. Bull, I think, or was that math?) then the little blue car pulls in and only the one gets out, the least intelligent, he’s wearing his blue search gloves and has now on his police jacket raincoat thing, and in bright daylight he’s walking up to where everybody knows is Nicks spot, cars are whizzing by, we are fucked, somebody is going to say something, no matter what this guy hands us we are fucked.

Did I say that this meant we were fucked, well, then he starts calling our names, like we must come out, is he serious?

I break open the cardboard and shout, there’s no one called that here, Nick says what if he’s… but I see nothing on him and he’s alone. Guys he shouts, will you come up with me, my partner has secured the area but we can’t find anything. We Run. 

Just like in the movies. 

Except we’re real junkies and there’s a chance he might just maybe have something, like y’know, I don’t know.

I go down, Nick thinks I’m stupid but way I see it these guys have fucked up any chance of us using my guys so maybe like we can play them, at least for maybe a twenny or fifty or maybe we do a quick entrapment over the other side, like near the Dorchester, where I don’t have to walk through on the way to the Sands and don’t need to go.

Anyway, what it is is that this cop is suddenly all eita! And sharp on us, I think cause Nicks like sort of black, but anyway, the fact that he speaks with an English accent is lost on them so, being 80’s cops but anyway he tells us straight, he shows us the bag, there must be I dunno, 20, 30 stone, can’t see any tee double you, but fuck we can trade or compromise, and then he says it, either you come up and point out the guy or I arrest you two for dealing.

I look at Nick, I think about it, Nick is like panicked, I say, and what else, like do I have to do it in court? No just show us the guy and we’ll take it from there, okay so it’s the bribe they want, a snap. I just pray that that little cunt Bonny is on the street cause he sold me shit last week and I said I get him and god knows everyone knows that I owe him it was all over the street and everyone knows if you’ve been munged, you do whatever to get out. 

Let me have a few hits, I’m gonna need them, he opens the bag, tosses them to me and we sit on the road, Nick takes out the pipe and we hit, we’re like zooming, and a call comes through on the radio, like we found a big one or we got one or whatever, so the cop says get in, I say no, not if you’re going to arrest someone, we’ll wait here, he thinks twice and then cuffs us to the fence pole next to the road, and then in a moment of compassion, tosses us a few more rocks, so then what I was saying was, if you were leaving the pirates league game in may, and you saw two guys handcuffed to a fence near the petrol station, and didn’t know what we were doing, we were smoking rocks and then we were zooming so hard we both broke our thumbs to get out of the handcuffs, which only hurt until we got back to the street and Junior told us that the cops had gone and got away with nothing, just a guy who wouldn’t say anything and was a local so legal, who they would pay some thing to when he got out, then he saw out thumbs and felt sorry for us and gave us each a bag of Thai so it wasn’t so bad in the end.



To the earliest time I can think of apartheid being something I was aware of.
We are on holiday, in the mountains at an old English leather, walking trails, oak tree kind of place, its late afternoon, “Doctor Snuggles” has just finished and the news comes on. South Africa will not be taking place in the Olympics.
“Why dad?”
“Because of Apartheid”
“What’s Apartheid?”
“I’ll tell you when you’re twenty one, now let’s go for that horse ride I promised”
And he shouts out the window in pidgin Zulu, for the boy to bring the horses round. The “Boy” is twice his age.

We are in the sky blue truck, I am a little person, we have to go past one of his building sites, when we get there all the people doing the actual building are black. There are a lot of them. When we leave, one of them has to come with us, and although there is plenty of space in the front, he sits on the back. Looking out the back window, it seems to me that he has sat on the back as a matter of choice because he seems to be enjoying the fresh air. At the next stop, I ask my dad if I can sit on the back too. He does not respond. But when we get back to the truck he opens my door for me and guides me in with the back of his hand.

Christmas shopping 1987, I have to take my Dad into town, to Grey Street, to show him the Jarmin Biggs suede shoes I want for Christmas. It is an Indian area, all the shops are run by Indians, as you pass from the parking garage to the arcades of Grey st, the racial mix changes drastically, My father is perceptibly made wary, “Is this safe?” he asks. I come here all the time. With the money from my newspaper route I buy all my clothes in the area (because by this stage I am a “trendy”), I buy all my records from Moola’s music; Dad has often warned me to be careful of the “Devious Choots”. As we are walking down the pavement, an old black woman and her middle aged daughter (I guess) shuffle toward us. I step off the pavement to let them pass, its good manners. My father gives me “A clip on the ear”; he smacks the back of my head. “Never get out of the way for them; they get out of the way for you. Especially now”. I have no idea what he is talking about, I am not yet 21, he has not explained apartheid to me. Nor has my history teacher, who has just quietly had me moved out of his class because I keep asking.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Part the First

12yrs to 14yrs > 1984 to 1986


you take your wisdom I'll take mine, I can impart only this. There are no lessons here. Anything worth knowing is not communicable in words, only in the unfolding of events within time.

I will list them, those who in a Nabakovian sense were my precursors.

Carol Anne 
and mostly Vern (still now I feel those tiny stabs of pain and satisfaction)

these girls set up a pattern that would follow me through all my loves'. Hunt, Catch, Release. Even in the telling I do not entirely know how.

Carol Anne, Kevin's younger sister was five years younger than me when I was twelve, as she grew, her beauty grew, I quietly watched her, reveled in her sweet company, somewhere in my head I thought when I am twenty six and you are twenty one I shall sweep you off your feet. When I left for film school age 17, she had faded into the distance as had my friendship with Kevin, as his band toured the country, I was still in school, after all the years of carrying drum kits, I was not even mentioned on the album sleeve notes.

But the shock that accompanied news of his death in my late twenties was that Carol-Anne had been in the car with him, that she was gone too, that I would never sweep her off her feet. Then, at 27, my hunting became more urgent.

Elizabeth lived up the road and around the corner, if you took a short cut through Kevin's back garden and then crossed the Dobe's property; you were five houses from hers. She taught me chess, she was never desirable. Our friendship trailed off. As I grew toward the pack of boy thugs, I was desperate to impress, she somehow slipped away. Later I caught a glimpse of her; she had become beautiful, in a totally strange Italian Vogue sense. Whatever happened to her?

Cindy was my best friend early, my next door neighbor, and only ever a buddy, she moved away, still in Westville my home town, but off the walk from school route and I would only visit when I had reason to. One reason was that her parents had an Apple Lisa, that I loved dearly, When my own parents bought me a ZX Spectrum 48K, with full color (the Lisa was only green), I had less reason to visit. For some reason I sense there was a mistake here.

Strange though that when they moved away, the people who moved in brought with them a boy, younger than me, but one who was too become my comfort in Kevin's later withdrawal into Pop Posing. He was younger than me, chubby, I thought I could push him around, that I was superior, but I was young I was foolish.

There was a Gang in my street that played together, the make up of this gang and the idea of a street to play in has followed me through my life, Rockey Street, Long Street, Seventh Avenue, O'Reilly St. The Gang was Kevin, Brandon, Me, William, to some extent Warren and partially P.J. Though they moved in and out of our street in moments. We played in rivers, through the nature reserve; we had wild treks, leaving early morning, coming home while the birds were quieting down, up the hill to Johnny's tea room and when they built it, around the walls of the prison. But the girls, I had secret friendships with the girls, as I did with P.J's sister K.

The room is golden afternoon light, the dapples from the plain trees bask it in innocence. This is not the first time we play out our game, not doctor doctor, but of marriage. The house is empty, Esme, the maid (in the parlance of the day) is in her khaya, in the back. We stand outside the door to my bedroom, with the door open the curtains drawn, the dapples yellow and shadowy against the powder blue curtains. The two single beds also blue. I have taken pillows and placed them under the one on the left, the one that receives the most light underneath. Turning on the bedroom light would spoil the magic, opening the curtains would expose us to any gang members popping over the garden fence to look in, see if they could listen to my records. But there is no music now, as we slowly peel off our school clothes, still patina'd with sweat from the walk from the bus stop home, we are careful to throw them in to my room, for soon we will close the door and a pile of clothes outside would surely arouse suspicion should my mother come home early. And then we are naked. I lift her into my arms and carry her over the threshold, to the bed, as she crawls under the bed; I go to close the door.

In the shadows and glinting light we examine each others bodies with only our eyes, there is a long period where I want desperately to hold her but we merely look, then on some signal from her, we embrace and fall into an ecstasy like daze, somewhere between sleep and floating. Normally we are shocked out of it by the sound of the Valiant returning. On this last day, I am woken by the sound of P.J'S voice. I have left the window open, his hand is inside and he about to climb through, "What are you doing under the bed?" as he heaves himself up, he sees his sister. He drops back runs off. "Did he see me?", "No." but we both know that I am lying.

It is from there that, somehow abstractly I know, my parents decide I must join the church youth group. Not Jesus, I thought, but I didn't get Jesus, My cousins Terry and Trevor also went, Terry played the gospel guitar. Trevor thought the world was going to end in a "The Day After" Kind of way and wanted to get his kicks in. It was there that I met Vern.

I was told years later that the reason K's family moved away was because her parents had split up, but when I met up with her and went roller skating at the Springs rink in JHB in 1991, her father was still around. I have always feared that I was somehow to blame, a terrible thing to be responsible, sending a family to Springs.

She's married now, someone else carried her over the threshold, we tried writing, but I had just discovered The Smiths and was quite enjoying my pain. Vern served only to intensify it.

Back back slipping back, I forget Francesca, I was much younger, young, ten, nine, she was Esme's child, about 2 or three, I was playing near the khaya (later to become my grandparents flat, so much fun fur), I heard her, I went in, I remember being dazed by this small child playing on the floor. (Note: I felt like it was my right just to walk into someone else's living space. I stood over her and remember having this distinct thought, "Little Girl, one day when you are old you will remember this moment, that some kind of prince stood over you, and should have rescued you". I don't know why, maybe it had something to do with the politics my father was teaching me but, there it is, I had that thought.

I used to believe that there was ONE for every one. As I grew I believed that there might be more than one One, perhaps three? Was my opinion by my twenties. After all love can't be true if you can feel it for too many people, right.

Then I started to fall in love with anyone, just in case, also not good.

Now I can be totally in love with anyone. I just have to still my mind and observe them, doing something or nothing, totally still my mind and allow myself to be totally aware of them, how they are, their movements or non and before long I can fall in love with them, for just who they are at that moment. Not in some kind of I wanna fuck way but totally in love with this amazing manifestation of God. But if I do it in a nightclub it usually leads to, I wanna fuck.