Branded Sunsetsby Andrew Thompson / 24.11.2009
“Ja bru, let’s hit La Med for a few,” has pretty much been the staple, post-Clifton comment for the last 7 years. There was a stage when it barely needed to be said. You’d just scoop your frisbee out the warm white sand, sling your towel over your shoulder, and amble sedately up the stairs in the orange glow of the imminent sunset, towards the idyllically set bar.
There, you could sit in your soggy jocks, with sand in your hair and a cold beer in your hand, chowing a legendary La Med pizza, and gaze silently over the shimmering Atlantic, reflecting on all those foreign boobs you’d spied on 4th beach. Sure, even then there were annoyingly pretty people flitting around, prancing in their latest boardies and bikinis and Von Zipper shades and toit vests, and wanting to be noticed, like everywhere that side of Cape Town, but, most of us were just there to wind down another perfect day.
But now, gone are the slightly scraggy benches, the chilled laid-back vibes, the vaguely reasonably priced beers, and the great smattering of food. Now, La Med is nothing more than an alcohol branding overload; an exclusive beer and wine and cocktail flea market for the pretty boys and girls of Cape Town, who can sit on well-maintained bright blue benches, under an overwhelming awning of Two Oceans umbrellas, drinking that R18 Miller or sipping quietly on that R38 weak, over-iced, bottle-mix Mojito, while waiting nearly two hours for their undercooked, R70 pizza that still comes without half the ordered ingredients. Everywhere you look there’s an exclusive bar; one that only sells Miller, one that doesn’t serve spirits, one that’s got four fridges filled with Brutal Fruit, and only one that serves the lot – which also has a 30 minute waiting time.
Now that another summer has rolled into Cape Town, the beautiful people are coming out to play, and, if you go anywhere near the Atlantic seaboard, or dare lay your eyes on any local publication or website that’s in the business of rewording press releases in exchange for freebies, you’ll know one thing: “Bru, it’s Submerged Sundays. Goldfish are jamming at La Med like every Sunday this summer. Sick!”
Read any of the Goldfish or La Med marketing propaganda, and you’ll know that, unless you’re a cheap fucker like me who’d rather saunter in there a few minutes to four than pay the 50 buck cover charge, we’re all given the privilege of experiencing the ultimate pretty boys in 12 exclusive “sessions”.
Now, Goldfish aren’t half bad, and even the most cynical and grumpy among us can entertain the thought of sipping a R38, over-iced, bottle-mix Mojito while munching on a soggy Avo-less La Med pizza, under an overwhelming blue awning of Two Oceans umbrellas, among prissy teens and their Ed Hardy’d boyfs, if you place their “smooth grooves” in the background, and that shimmering ocean in the distance. But you’d be horribly misinformed.
Sometime after the Miller and Olmeca promo girls had done their hundredth circuit of the joint, a vague, faint beat picked up from the grimy depths of the restaurant, and people slowly started filtering towards the sound. There, not far from the bogs at the back, were South Africa’s global electronic music super stars. Two blokes poorly silhouetted against a few flashing flat screens. And while the moon was rising silently in the warm evening air, a hundred or so adoring fans turned their back on it to pack into the glorified garage, breath in the suffocating sweat fumes in the totally unventilated venue, and embrace the condensation dripping steadily off the ceiling above. From all the mouth trumpets being blasted in the audience, it seems they were having a pretty decent time; I couldn’t stand the sauna long enough to be sure.
It hurts me to say it, but don’t waste your time with La Med this summer. Don’t fall prey to their silly little marketing ploy, their overpriced booze, horribly average food, and pathetic service; don’t, like me, convince yourself that it’s the ideal place to wind down your day on the beach. Rather, make a plan to catch Goldfish at a proper venue, maybe even with another decent DJ or band, and spend your Sunday evening the proper way – with a few bottles of carefully concealed chilled wine drunk from sandy plastic cups, right down there on the beach.