Friday, October 15, 2010


I moved into a flat with a work colleague in Central, the historic heart of Port Elizabeth, after getting divorced. And increasingly, as the 1980s wore on, I found myself enjoying a new-found sense of liberty. Among places frequented was a jazz club in a building on one of the side streets between what was Main Street and Strand Street, not far from the City Hall. This was called Razzmatazz. Jazz was also frequently played at the Walmer Gardens Hotel, while there was also a Carling-sponsored jazz festival which came to the Feather Market Hall. Notable, as the decade drew to a close, was that the bands were increasingly racially mixed. People were flouting apartheid laws even before they were repealed.

I'm not sure where I did this and the following sketches, but I do know jazz musos are the perfect subjects for sketching - animated enough, but also they continue doing the same sort of thing all night.

A trombonist at work.

I think this would have been at Walmer Gardens, and that this guy is the son of a prominent PE guitarist and music teacher, but his name eludes me.

Another blast from that trombone.

And yes, black musicians played there too. One guy, Zim Ngqawana, was prominent at the time, playing, if I recall, flute and sax.

This guy I recall as being a guitarist, but who he is I can't say.

Could this be Darius Brubeck? The son of veteran American jazzman Dave Brubeck, he came out to South Africa in the mid- to late-1980s and established a jazz school in Durban. I do vaguely recall him playing at gigs in PE at the time. But you must remember I drank a bit.

Sadly, time has ravaged this picture of some of the patrons at that Sunday evening concert.

This oke clearly fascinated me. He must have also been at one of the many shows I attended. And how's that distorted, lumpy old wrist?

The same guy, with a maniacal, Charles Manson-type stare.

And again, this time perhaps not quite so frightening.

I know I attended a Jennifer Ferguson show, but can't be sure this is her, though there is a resemblance.

This was among the other jazz sketches, but it's on different paper. I like the sad look in her eyes.

Another patron in profile.

And another.

And another grinning soul.

I stand under correction, but this guy could well have been the master of ceremonies at one of those Carling jazz festival shows.

Different paper was used for this drawing of a guy on acoustic guitar, so I can't tell if he was at a jazz show, a folk show or just performing in some pub.

Port Elizabeth is a port city, though today one can't even get onto the quays anymore due to security concerns. Unfortunately, time is ravaging this drawing of a ship at the manganese ore berth, seen through the wires of a yacht's mast.

And if we're in the harbour, then this has to be a sailor.

And this a yacht on the open sea.

Back on shore, and right adjacent to the harbour is King's Beach.

Another gangly sun-worshiper.

A less-gangly one.

A black cleaning guy carrying a bag in which he shoved the rubbish he collected. A vigorous campaign was lodged in the late-1980s to scrap beach apartheid in PE. The Reservation of Separate Amenities Act was finally abolished by President FW de Klerk in November, 1989.

Again, time is hurting this work, which sums up my state of mind during much of the 1980s.

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