Another Night in the Dog Boxby Nathan Zeno, images by Justin McGee / 25.01.2010
“Can I put my hand in your pants?” she said as I was moving like kelp in a storm through the foam. Being a little drunk and the unthinking fool that I am, I said, “yes”. She reached in and grabbed my balls so hard and started to scream at me, “Get your fucking photographer to erase the picture he took of my breasts or I’ll fucking rip your balls off!” I double over in pain shouting, “let go you bitch”, I retaliate the only way I know how, by grabbing her breasts and squeezing, “I feel no pain” she smirked and tightened her vice magazine like grip, it should be easy to get her off. I had no option, I grabbed her by the neck and pushed her down on the low bouncy castle type wall of the foam pit, she bounced off and knocked over a couple of people who looked shocked and horrified, I limp off through the mud and bubbles to, metaphorically, lick my wounds.
The amphetamine yellow road signs everywhere should have been warning enough that everything in Pretoria is just harder and more intense, but I am the kind of asshole who always ignores the warnings, so we went any way.
Sweat Face and I arrive at Dogbox and almost immediately bumped into Liam Lynch, Sweat Face, always eager to impress, introduces himself.
“I met you before” Lynch says. “You were on acid at 44 Stanley”.
“I don’t remember,” says Sweat Face.
“Jesus, McGee!” I say, “44 Stanley? For christsakes, what’s wrong with you?”
Like any good early nineties foam rave there is a husband and wife team manning the foam blower thing while looking disgruntled on the edge of the inflatable dance floor. I make my way to the bar to discover that there is no whiskey, only brandy and coke, black label and Po10cy, Jesus it’s going to be a long night. The place is packed; it’s an absolute pigfuck ( I mean that in the nicest way) to get drinks because everything moves at the pace of a good-natured Saint Bernard. It’s kinda fun waiting at the bar watching the first year students try look like they already fit in as wads of soap bubbles float blissfully into the Pretoria night. Dancing has broken out everywhere and not just in the pit, some people need solid ground to do the techno stomp and have taken over the area behind the DJ booth, some have taken to the mud like demented grape crushers.
Sweat Face is taking pictures for We-Are-Awesome and making people look like hipster douche bags when mostly they are not. This chick walks up to him, takes his camera, flips through some images and hands it back to him. “You’re nothing special” she says and walks off. It’s starting to get messy, the lawn around the dance floor foam pit is a swamp, I trudge though it passing a girl clearly on some powerful hallucinogen, ankle deep in mud and saying, “I am a statue, I was placed here”. McGee is loving the foam pit, watching him I say to Lynch, “We don’t pay him to take pictures.”
“What do you pay him for?”
“We pay him to forget.”
“Not much, he forgets on his own anyway”.
It’s like Flanders and Pretoria people behave like Durban people at the Winston, except more hardcore. I keep finding myself alternatively grinning or shouting at the bar staff. There is a giant red tub of ice I repeatedly am prevented from climbing into. Moe Joe comes on, or starts at some point, not entirely sure of the details but he plays a long and banging electro mayhem set that forces me into the foam. Soon I am soaking and slipping, it’s hard to dance when you’re a big man any way and the slippy-slide nature of the foam pit isn’t helping. This is where I encounter the ball grabber. To me it seems like it was an unfair move on her part, although I suppose me not thinking through that the chances of getting pleasured on a dance floor in full sight was probably really bad judgment.
There is something about electro that inspires a sort of euphoric mischief and the livers in Ptown allow for that mischief to carry on late, so late that the husband and wife team are packing up the pit while the dancing continues. Now bereft of the plastic dance floor and protective cuddly walls the lawn looks like a World War 1 battle field, mud, bodies exhausted and lying prone, a couple of soldiers licking their wounds while the mass fights on. I get lost in a haze of foam and brandy.
In the cold grey dawn it’s hard to sleep on the couch, so we limp to the car, McGee wondering whether his pants are wet from the foam or if he just got so drunk he pissed in them. My balls ache, my head hurts, my thighs feel like a distantly remembered aerobics class and my pants look like four days of festival. We leave Pretoria vacillating between defeat and elation.