Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Nightclub Years

Same crowd. We were friends, in as much as reeling around and back-slapping could be described as friendship. They were around the same age as me, maybe older, but that could have been the effects of years of what we called fun. She worked at the club with me. She was a celebrity- in the way that people aggregate around such larger-than-life personalities. We’d work all night, go out to breakfast, make space for the hotel buffets by vomiting in the gardens of the neat blocks of apartments in Sea Point.

Her cupboards? If you looked inside, they were a nightmare. Everything was black. All of it. So how she managed to select clothes is a bit of a mystery to me. We’d dance when we had a break, or once the bar was closed at the club. Sniff poppers and fall over each other, pissing ourselves laughing. Total freedom and debauchery, with no sense of a future beyond the sneaking suspicion that a hangover would have to be dealt with by drinking even more.

So flash-forward. I no longer worked in a club, and she vanished into a world of smoking-toe-injecting horror. She was maybe thirty when her heart gave out. I can still hear her laugh, almost sense her in the room.

The other guy? He was harder to relate to. I was friends with him, but never quite relaxed around him. Mainly because he was fucking insane. He hit me once, and I had my guard up after that. One night at the club, he fell down the stairs, and his shoe came off and broke.

I’ve lost my soul! He cried. I’ve lost my sole! And we laughed till the tears dripped off our faces.

Flash forward. He got into even heavier stuff, injecting shit, and contracted HIV. I bumped into his brother, and asked how he was doing. Dead.

And why did I not go that way? Why didn’t I also end up in a Dutch prison for drug smuggling, or with a small group of people wiping the tear-snot off their haggard faces onto the sleeves of their leather jackets at my funeral? I have no idea. But I am amazed that I got to be older. Not frozen in time. I have had children, known love. Incredible, and I don’t deserve it.


  1. wow. you hit home for me tonight. again. i had the same crowd. mad, crazy.

    the moment i fell pregnant, the ones who stayed shone through. the ones who carried on...well. i would've been one of them.

    i've often said that Cameron saved my life. she did. i know, in hindsight, that i was on a one way ticket (not drugs, just insanity and out every night and somehow pitching up at work every day...well. nearly every day).

    Cam saved my life. And sometimes I miss that life. But I know now that my life now, is the way it was meant to be, even though I still, sometimes get FOMO (fear of missing out)



  2. @cath And now we have other ways of coping, dealing with life. Wish this community had been around 20 years ago. It's good to remind ourselves, sometimes, but also to appreciate the amazing things we take for granted. Glad you got it, and that you, too, are a survivor.

  3. A bit harsh aint it. A bit judgemental too. More honesty less crass.

  4. @Anon Nope. People died. People with some good stuff going on. Maybe I didn't articulate it, but they were really incredible people- Me? Not so much. I don't judge them- I am just amazed that I am still here. I wish they were too. Selfish? Nope, just reflective. It's my perspective, so I reckon it's perfectly valid. The 'gun' could have gone off in my hands.

  5. We totally have to get together and swap stories one day. Seriously.
    I, too, have those moments when I miss those days, but mostly I'm also just really grateful I didn't end up staying there...

    And by the way, I believe that the fact that you did move on and have had children and have known love is an indication that you do, in fact, deserve it. But that's just my opinion.

  6. @MeeA: Some people never have a long dark night of the soul as teenagers- I hope my childfren don't!- but there's something that bonds those of us who have. I visit the place where it's kept, in my head, every now and then, but I don't live there... Yeah! #pinkdrinks and bravado! ftw.

  7. Aah, I remember those 2 only too well. Good post Scott. Lost my sole - hahahahahah! Forgot about that.
    @Cath - aah my soul sistah - u know that Rhi saved my life just as much!

  8. @Divinebee: You were there too, Dorothy! Got that T-shirt. Sorry if this exposed any nerves, and I hope it did justice to what happened to those two individuals..

  9. Clearly your heart knew, even then, that you were detined for greater things.


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