Redemption for Rainbow Nation Apologistsby Roger Young / Images by Adam Kent Wiest / 16.08.2011
It’s a late Sunday afternoon, the weather unseasonably warm, the sun hanging over the Lion’s rump like some beer-sponsored siren. I’m walking down railway street in lower Woodstock; that it’s near the Biscuit Mill shoulda been some kind of sign. But there is the air of a festival about, the road is lined with cars, bruinou’s are car-barring and giving me shifty looks, a white chick dressed in an African head scarf and too many beads jumps out of a Sea Point Taxi, there is a group of post smarteez sneaker kids in front of me, waving a clinking brown paper bag, silhouetted beautiful in the sun. The deep wubwub in the bowels of the earth pulls me by the sternum. I can already feel the heat from the braais and the golden taste of cheap quarts. This is my first visit to my beloved Cold Turkey in its new venue. I cannot wait to bask in the warm glow of the Turks, to fold into the bosom of the bass heavy stoner ridiculousness.
Amadoda’s is one of those theme shebeens, you kinda go down to it off the road, down a small driveway like slope. There is a section in the parking lot, fenced off from the main jol that has orange beanbags and tables. Before I go down into the melée I see the Turks regulars milling about the entrance. I snake some beer, I’m hovering and savouring the greetings of long missed friends. I keep looking down into the orangeness of Amadoda’s; the phowmphyness of what, I guess, must have been Pure Solid’s set is enticing but, but, I don’t know. I don’t really want to go in there, I want to be on the beanbags in the sun drinking beer, shooting the shit.
I duck inside to get a quart. They’re R20. FFS. I go back outside. You’re not allowed to take your beer outside the fence. FFS. I go back inside. I’m torn. I want to be outside on the poofs, want to smell the braais and steal meat. It’s too early for the dancefloor; which is full and pumping. It’s now that I start to notice that there are substantially more people here than when Turks was at D6 and peeps are getting down! The jarring combo of the goodness of this and the shitness of that extra R4 for a quart is confusing. I find someone to help me sneak my quart through the fence. And then I discover that there are no braais, the meat is now pre-cooked, for sale, from a fucking kitchen in the back. I love Cold Turkey, I really do, but this just doesn’t feel like it. I don’t even see anywhere for weed smoking, maybe by the giant waste bins or down by the train tracks with the vagrants but there is a cop car parked outside, constantly. Also there are way too many white people here, I no longer feel like the token white guy. By the time I hit my second quart Amadoda’s has installed bouncers along the fence. So much for that.
I sit around and try not to bitch; the music is dope, fat and wobbly and kids are getting loose. It’s still a wondrous crowd with peeps from all sections of all the Cape Town scenes meeting and comparing notes on the weekend. And it’s still the only place to dance like this on a Sunday afternoon.
Big Space, that traitor to the mahala cause, argues with Magnum Hi-Fi about the difference between Minimal Tech and Minimal house or some shit. JR and I snigger about the Charro house Magnum played after the brief power cut. There is some guy pimped out like a cartoon version of a wise North-African complete with big stick, there are stone foxes running around with gravel laughter. It feels Cold Turkey-ish but not quite.
I decide that I’m out. I want cheap drinks, JR and me want to ghost but I lose him to some hot young bints. I go home and drink but get massive FOMO. I head back. It’s got hot and heavy inside, you can’t move for shit. JR approaches me out of the crowd, leering like some badly painted part of the horror tunnel at a broken funfair, howling, “I just paid twenty five rand for a sausage!” But I don’t really care, inside on the floor the mood is electric and the smiles are wide, even in the seated areas, people are grinding. It’s redemption for rainbow nation apologists.
Back on the beanbags the Turks massive are causing shit and speaking kak. It’s 11pm on a Sunday, if this had been old Turks we would be at someone’s spot by now chilling out, unceremoniously thrown out after the beers had run out, not still at Amadoda’s, not still bouncing and shooting the shit. Sure, Cold Turkey felt more mischievous at D6 and sure, I feel consoled by the fact that, if it keeps expanding at this rate, they’ll soon have to find a new venue. This version of Turks is maybe not better or worse, just different, good times are still to be had, change must be embraced and all that. And if you want cheap beer, you can amble up to the main road and get your quarts from Dreams, if you don’t mind the perils of a proper shebeen.
All images © Adam Kent Wiest.