Monday, 13 July 2009

Home

My trip to Grahamstown was fun; meeting the other panelists was great, and I think I did okay at the discussion. I didn't drop the microphone, and I didn't say anything too dumb. Not sure if I said anything intelligent, but as I was mainly concerned with not shaking visibly, that was really outside the scope of what I expected to do.

Being back in a landscape that's as familiar as your own handwriting is exhilarating! I didn't dare take any photos of the landscape, I don't think I could do it justice. It begs to be drawn or painted - the textures are those of etching or charcoal scribbles, to me at least. You can see a smidge of the sparseness at the end of this road:

Instead of hills and aloes I took photos of some of the houses I've lived in. That was where I lived when I was a toddler, and this is where I lived when I shaved my head and wore steeltoed Docs:

No satellite dish or security gates when I lived there. I remember sitting in my room and seeing a hand come through the door to grab some clothes off the clothes rail. I was too surprised even to chase after the thief.

Very odd to see a gothy-looking person step out of this door just as I was about to take a picture. Some digs are just meant to be that way, right?

This house was an experience. We had rubber slip-slops to stand on for washing the dishes; otherwise, if you put your hands in the water, you'd get a small shock. When it rained, we used umbrellas to get from the living room to the kitchen. And the floor in one corner of my room dipped by about 10 cm if you were silly enough to stand there. But it was so close to the art school that I didn't mind walking home alone at 3am.

My school. I tried to find the Aspect Most Evil, and this view of the hockey field does cause a chill of despair to run down my spine.

Other things of interest to people who also went to university there: Bambi's, Naran's, Avalon's and Wellies are all gone. I can't imagine where the kids buy sweets when they're coming down on a Saturday afternoon now; standing in a cafe giggling tiredly was such a perfect end to a good Friday night. And the Vic is now a steakhouse, not a bad one, but the toilet floors are still sticky. They'll probably be that way forever.

You can only get bottled water if you eat at this steakhouse. Grahamstown bottled water. It tastes just like the stuff that comes out of the taps. For some reason, we thought this was hilarious.

11 comments:

strikk handknits said...

grahamstown bottled water! love it ;-)

L'Atelier said...

hahaha yeah it is funny!
thanks for the grahams town jezze tour, was really interessting :)
did you grow up there or only study there?

Sangeetha Narender said...

I enjoyed reading it.. :)

Sangy

ruby in the dust said...

well done, famous cartoonist! I just love that first house you lived in; it's everything I dream of when I think of good old platteland houses.

Jesse said...

Born there, school there, university there. And somehow, I want to go back!

Pinktulip said...

What a great trip down memory lane! I have only been to visit Grahamstown once on holiday so your view was refreshing. Sad how even small towns change over time. Nowadays less kids stay behind after school in their hometown and it starts becoming a retirement village! Well done on your conference!

ArtSparker said...

Those walls need murals all over em...a bit of color.

Mamagenerica said...

Ah, thanks for the nostalgia tour Jesse - can't believe Bambi's and Wellies are gone though, was thinking about the Bambi dagwood burgers just the other day. And I have such fond memories of playing video games in Wellies. But the houses, at least, haven't changed a bit.

kat said...

Glad your trip back was good. I haven't been to the Festival in years... I did from std.2 till matric at boarding school in that town so the loss of Bambis, Narans, etc seems unbelievable!

Phoenix said...

was passing through your blog and thought i'd update. i am a local born grimstonian too. cardies bit the dust not too long after this post and the fabulous old post office is missed by everyone. pj half burnt down last weekend. i work up the road from your run down gate digs and that gothy person, if she was wearing no shoes, is the main editor of a publishing house...

Jesse said...

Thanks for the update! Sorry to hear that the post office is no more - it always terrified me, but I'd miss it too. I'd expect nothing less from a gothy person; but are you sure about the bare feet? I've never known a goth to show toes.