There’s a rock at Schoenmakerskop where you can get tubed. On the far side of a rockpool that you can just about wade across if the tide’s right. If the wind’s a south-easter it’s blowing just about offshore at Schoenies. You park at the first parking area. The grassy patch near the houses. Apparently Athol Fugard stayed around there. I never knew anyone who could tell me which was his house, but they say he had a pozzie somewhere there.
The Tubing Rock is about a hundred metres off the rocky Schoenies beach. It’s best with a mate. You check the surf from the shore, then when you’ve seen a couple that pitch properly you talk each other into it and wade out in your Speedos. The tube results from a patch of deep water, over which swells surge into the angled rock face. The ocean is dammed up on the seaward side of the rock shelf. On the sets the waves will pour over the edge, creating a perfect facsimile of a three-foot tube ride. And you don’t even have to ride it. You just stand there on the rock shelf in your blue Speedo, hooting at Mouse as he lies there with his little waterproof camera shooting snaps of you. With his squint eyes, that summer when you were just out of school and it felt like life would last forever.
That summer when you’d yet to find your first girlfriend. But you were youthful enough to expect that there would be many. And there would be.
That summer when you’d yet to find a job more proper than shop assisting at Pop Shop in Westbourne Road. Showing moms the electric guitars so they could buy them for their sons’ birthdays. There would be a proper job some day. But no rush.
First there’d be college, good times, babes, piss for the party, zol for the jol. We’d be famous too. Somehow, for something, someday we’d be famous.
That summer at the Tubing Rock we knew we’d live forever.
But… But… Alas, the years made us wiser.
If the Scarab from old Fence days wasn’t going to live forever… If he could just take himself out like that. If Kent from Grahamstown days, the oke who discovered the internet! If that oke, if such a oke, a oke bursting with so much abrasive energy, could pull off the road to swop drivers and get wiped off the face of the earth by a passing truck like that… If those guys aren’t gonna last a lifetime, what price us okes? What are our chances of living as long as we were going to that summer at the Tubing Rock? Min, bru.
Those okes all had their summer at the Schoenmakerskop Tubing Rock. The Scarab; Kent; that girl with her dad’s gun; Simon’s boet, who got into the smack… they were all supposed to live forever. They were all supposed to be famous.
It’s enough to make you wonder…
Am I ever gonna be famous? Do I still want to be famous? Soon, or ever?
The Book launch is on Wednesday, 29 June, 17:30 for 18:00 at the GFI Art Gallery (formerly Ron Belling) 30 Park Drive Port Elizabeth RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org or 041 368 1425