I got home to Alexa playing a 70’s R&B selection – someone probably asked for mellow mood music and there we were. Sorting out dinner, somewhere between the oven and the table, a memory ran through my head like a perfect short-reel film – here it is:
I’m walking home on an early summer evening – it’s around 6pm and I’ve chosen the road along the surf shops across from the beach. By the time I reach the corner at Yoffe’s Falafel I’m speeding up because (you know what it’s like) the wind is always playful and nippy on that stretch.
What I haven’t factored in is the group of three kids sitting around the corner under the first white arch of the Balmoral, just before you get to the doors of the Blonde and Beard. They aren’t lying in wait for me, they’re waiting on anyone and their modus operandi is breaking into song. What you may not know is that they pack some serious volume – crystalline and shrill, they can set off a car alarm. But I don’t know any of this yet. Two men are walking behind me – in their thirties, big gym-trim professionals, they’re local residents just out to grab a beer before the end of the day. As I round the corner the trio of songsters break out into a seriously amplified version of “Isn’t she lovely, isn’t she beautiful!!!!” (they have a playlist with songs for every mark) and my blood pressure shoots straight into the red.
What happens next is what makes this memorable: the two men round the corner a minute behind me and one of them barks:
“Why are you making such a noise?!” (Wat raas jy so?)
Then he says something that makes me realise that these kids are from his neighbourhood:
“Does your mother know where you are? Look at the time! Must I tell her? Go home!” (Weet jou ma waar jy is? Kyk die tyd! Moet ek haar se? Gaan huistoe!)
Just like that the tiny troubadours get up off the sidewalk and go capering home ahead of the two men.
And that’s what I think of when I hear 70’s R&B.
(pic from the typsy gypsy)