it’s saturday night and we’ve just braved one of johannesburg’s first thunderstorms of the season to catch a band i really like. they’re formerly known as “harris tweed“, now “dear reader” (huh?) after the harris tweed company in scotland decided they did not want to share their name. the band is playing at back to basix, fortunately only 5 minutes from my house. inside, after we’ve each been parted from 50 bucks, we find the place packed to the red rafters, noisy and smoky in a not very atmospheric way.
can i just say that after years of living in los angeles, i still can’t get over the way people here smoke everywhere, especially when their elbows are poking your ribs, trying to get intimately acquainted with your innards and you have no choice over the fact that they are now smoking with your lungs. ok, granted, i am an ex-smoker, but i at least had respect for the fact that not everyone wanted to inhale my nicotine as badly as i did! (ok, mini-rant over).
the only way i can see the band, which is barely visible above the crowd, is by annexing someone’s chair and standing on it (ok, i did ask first). from up there, the clanging of cutlery and glass and the general noise of everyone’s voices drowning out the band (go figure) seems to be even louder, amplified and rising up with the intolerable heat which is sending beads of sweat trickling down my back. there’s frequent annoying feedback from the crap sound system while the band bravely soldiers on – though when i can hear them, they sound pretty good. we stay till i just cannot take it anymore. we venture back out into the rain and listen to the last song at the open window, from where it sounds better than it did in the melee in the club.
inside the night is just getting started.
i turn to the s.o. and ask, “do you think we’re getting old?”. and i don’t know, but if not wanting to have my lungs polluted by other people’s smoke, if not wanting some stranger’s elbow in my belly-button, if actually wanting to hear the band, means i’m getting old, the answer to my rhetorical question might just be “maybe”.
and i’m okay with that.