I’m not what you call a clubbing type. No, not seals on ice but nightclubs. I have no particular aversion to them, but neither have I ever had any particular attraction to them. I do regret not being in one in Elizabeth in 1980. Or was it Gawler? Fozzie leapt for the wagon wheel chandelier and brought the whole thing out of the ceiling onto the dance floor. Fortunately his leaping lunge at it meant he swung underneath the wheel and it landed behind him though legend has it Fozzie was still gripping the thing when the bouncers went to sort out the commotion. Fortunate, for surely the weight of the thing would have taken his life had it landed on him. And to this day those who were there wonder that there were no dancers killed. Doubly fortunate. The club was put off limits to all of us but I don’t think we were supposed to be off base at that stage anyway. But a good time was had by all who were there, though everyone agreed the clubs in that town were dangerous places. Best we not have access to them or one might end up hitched to a camp follower. In the minds of my boot camp colleagues that would have been far worse than death or injury from a falling wagon wheel.
The last time I was in a night club there was a very different danger. It was in Malaysia and the place was hot and steamy, the drinks badly diluted but still cheap and the place crowded. You know, the usual scene. At the stroke of midnight the place was instantly transformed at the flick of switch, from a place you wouldn’t mind taking your (deaf) mother, into a gang bangers den and the girls suddenly got fresh(er). They were crawling all over us and plying us with drink. Not even the bathrooms were safe from their prying attention. They weren’t the problem in and of themselves. It was the heroin they were trying to push onto us that had us flee. When we finally twigged to what they really had strapped around their hips under their short skirts (bumping hips was not part of a dance routine but their way of letting you know the drugs wrapped up under there were for sale and if you wanted some, the deal was done in the bathroom) we dropped cash for the drinks and made a bolt for it. Remember Barlow and Chambers? we said to each other on the pavement. Last thing we need is to be caught unwittingly with that stuff in our possession. Especially in this place. And you could never know if you were being set up.
That’s not quite truthful, now I have reflected thus far. The last time I was in a nightclub was last night. And the time before that a few nights earlier. Twice in a week! They are still dangerous places I have decided. Wagon wheels falling from ceilings. Heroin pushing. Gaylords. And Butterfaces. What? Let me explain. Having drinks with work colleagues at a rather cosmopolitan local nightclub I turned to discover I was sitting on my own. I knew I was in trouble when I looked around (never do that) to see where my colleagues had vanished and caught the eye of … let’s call them Bambi and Trixie. That will set the tone. I quickly turned away but it was too late. Dang, before I knew it there was one on each shoulder. And Trixie, bless her cotton socks (left at home in a draw somewhere) tries to tell me her favourite man was from New Zealand – even before I had opened my mouth to decline a drink offer. I need to check for tattoos on my forehead. I want to tell her she needs to see a good NZ dentist and I probably could have. Given the volume of the music, combined by my inability to discern a shrill Kenyan accent meant that if I could barely understand them chances are they couldn’t understand me. But she has let me off the hook slightly and I move into interrogation mode asking her about her NZ beau. It buys me time. More importantly it keeps Bambi away. I swear she is Grace Jones twin sister (but with black hair bleached orange) and I am frightened of her. Ever imagined Grace Jones getting coquettish? No, I didn’t think so and I hadn’t either. Well, I can now and it’s a nightmare vision. Bravo Trixie! From Auckland? Really. Where did he study? Study? she asks. Does he wear tribal tattoos then does he? Huh? Okay, sorry, he is a banker? A what? Trixie is struggling. Bambi dives in. You here with your girlfriend? Yes I am as a matter of fact. The timing is perfect as I tell the lie and turn around (in desperation) and discover my colleagues returning. You need to pretend you are my girlfriend I shout to my grinning colleague. She laughs and plays the part. Trixie and Bambi are not so easily deterred but they soon leave although they continue to track me even as we leave the club. The Kenyans hoot with laughter when the pair finally drag themselves away from our table. You pulled some Butterfaces I’m told. Some what? ‘Hot body, but her face!’ Butterfaces we call them. Call them whatever you like, they were scary. I think I’d prefer to be up against the GRU than contending with a broken toothed tiger and someone channeling Grace Jones.
Bambi and Trixie must have been home doing their nails the next night I was invited out. For which I am thankful. But my Kenyan friends are highly amused by the fact that it was a couple of lads wanting to muscle in the next time round. I guess that’s just another story for another time. Fozzie destroying the ceiling lighting feature and trying to kill himself at the same time now takes on a less dangerous nightclub hue than what I ran into downtown this week!