Monday, August 2, 2010

The Hobnob

In my previous posting I suggested that I had reached the end of my two years' military conscription (1979 till 1981) in so far as I had recorded events in my sketchbooks. I had not counted on Noddy's Drawing Bollocks. This notorious little junior drawing block, bought for 75c, followed me around for a while, judging by its contents, and one of the places it went was The Hobnob while on pass. This was the "ladies' bar" at the Bonza Bay Hotel. Sadly, this historic hotel was flattened in the 1990s, and with it a treasure trove of memories, and the heart of Bonza Bay as a little coastal hamlet nestling against towering, milkwood-covered sand dunes.

I doctored the drawing book's cover rather naughtily. The dates, 80/81, were added far later when I tried to pin down exactly when I worked in the book. The following are some of the drawings I found in it.

The Hobnob was the alternative option to the Bonza Bay pub, a men's only drinking hole where generations of Bonza Bay's finest whiled away the hours. For us, as young adults, the Hobnob was where you got to chat to the chicks. This looks a lot like my brother Alistair, or AB, and he seems to having some success with the lady.

Two more quick sketches, again in the somewhat too thick felt-tip pen, of AB, who died prematurely in 1996, aged 41.

Among the manne who frequented the Hobnob was Peter Thesen, who at the time was just launching his Numbers disco in East London. Today, 30 years on, it is a thriving business.

I've racked my brain, but can't remember Carl's surname. He went bald quite young, but was the last to let such a thing get him down. I last saw him playing for a band at Club Foot on the outskirts of Grahamstown about 25 years ago.

We must have taken a break from a Sunday lunchtime jol at the Hobnob and hit the strand, because this seems to be an elderly couple taking their pooch for a drag.

Another of the young set who frequented the Hobnob. I can't quite place him.

Definitely AB again. He used to think he resembled John Denver, with his large-framed glasses.

This is a view across the bar counter, it seems, of someone seated in one of the dozen or so cubicles that lined the perimeter of the venue. Down some stairs was a restaurant, the Family Tree, and outside in a passage was a large family tree of the Church family, who owned the hotel.

This seems to be a general view of people eating in the Family Tree.

I'm fairly sure this is a guy who arrived at the PE Tech art school soon after me, called Lyndsay van Blerk, also sketched at the Hobnob. My brother Ian bought some of his serigraphs which were powerful anti-apartheid statements, including images of the infamous BJ Vorster.

A few lines capture a few people around the Hobnob bar.

A right old toff, with his wife, at the pub.

Another mystery man sketched, no doubt, while I too got through several frosties.

Then, a sudden switch. We're back in Kimberley, at 1 Intelligence Unit, and this guy in our bungalow was, as the days got fewer, letting his true nature come out. Here he is applying makeup, while dressed in some tight-fitting stuff. I had forgotten about this rather amusing interlude. To the okes' credit, obviously gay members of the HQ company were accepted without any qualms.

The aforementioned guy, seen from the back, with some sort of slinky top. The one on the left is probably not too amused.

This, I suspect, includes the same dude and his pal. I have worked in some shading lines for fun.

This may not be related to the preceding drawings, but the ou on the left looks familiar.

Back to that gay performance, which I recall had us in stitches. It was just so incongruous having this effeminate oke acting out in a totally un-military way.

Same old place, familiar old pose. It seems I never tired of sketching people parking off.

That bold, black koki pen caught a few more okes in familiar pose.

Yet another oke wedged between steel "kaste".

Something different. Here a few lines caught this skinny oke (probably Mr Selkerk, mentioned earlier) leaning forward, possibly to check out something he was being shown.

The same "Bluebottle" legs - I've just been listening to the Goon Show - with more characters seen about the bungalow.

This disgruntled dude - note the little knee bumps - seems not too chuffed with life.

And finally, some black faces. At least that's what it looks like. I can't recall at all when these were done.

Another guy with a profile that does not seem Caucasian.

I rather enjoy the sense of space in this ephemeral drawing of okes outside.

Incredibly, having clearly spent some time doing this, I can't remember it either. May have been the entrance to the HQ.

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