Sea Point Main Road
Three weeks ago, I went to Corner Bar for the first time with two of my friends. Corner Bar and Slots is a dive – a strong contender for the diviest bar in Sea Point, and possibly the world. I hope it is clear that this is not a criticism. It is a proper, full-on dive, oddly located, with the most barren outside seating area, and box wine, and slot machines, and an extremely loyal clientele. You can smoke inside. You can hear two old guys having an intense conversation about the racing pages. You can, according to my friend R., sometimes see a bewildered Brazilian exchange student who has wandered in there by mistake. Shame. I‚Äôd walked past it many times before, and thought ‚ÄúWho would ever, ever come here?‚Äù Jokes on me, obviously, because Corner Bar is the best. My pals told me I would like it, and they were right.
So. The three of us are outside, in the post-nuclear seating area, when D. sees that a table has opened up inside, or at least most of a table. One person is still sitting there, smoking like crazy. She looks a little bit scary (actually a dead ringer for Brienne of Tarth), but we feel she won‚Äôt really mind if we just sat at one end of the large table. Well. We walk in, R. catches this woman‚Äôs eye, and says, in her nicest voice, ‚ÄúExcuse me, but would you mind if we just sat down at this end of the table?‚Äù Brienne of Tarth turns to us, sticks out her jaw, and says, ‚ÄúI would fucking hate it if you sat down here.‚Äù She looks as if she means it.
The three of us shrug, and sit down anyway. There seems no alternative. The woman ignores us, smokes three cigarettes, and walks out. The many old men who apparently live at Corner Bar look at us and roll their eyes in sympathy. We resume our conversation. Twenty minutes later, Brienne of Tarth comes back in and apologises. She says she‚Äôs been having a terrible day, and she is sorry. I saw her about a week later in the Spar, hand in hand with what looked like a very nice woman, laughing.
This, to me, is the quintessential Sea Point Main Road anecdote. Unexpected thing happens in unexpected place, everyone raises their eyebrows for two seconds, and then carries on as normal. Everyone ends up having a great time. These qualities make it an obvious choice for Crush of the Week.
************************CRUSH OF THE WEEK************************
Name: Sea Point Main Road
Family: Sea Point Main Road has a huge and confusing family. It is one of eight siblings, and both of its parents have been remarried several times to people from all over. No one has the same surname anymore. There have been a few arguments about gay marriage, but everyone is now on the same page, more or less. Family gatherings are a complete trip, because everyone is yelling at each other in different languages, and no one can decide what to eat, and there is a small group of old people constantly lamenting the family‚Äôs slide into chaos. They don‚Äôt really mind, though ‚Äì it‚Äôs just something to say. No one can imagine it being any other way, and that is fine by them.
Sea Point Main Road‚Äôs mom is globalisation. Its dad is the smell of the sea.
Star sign: Sagittarius. Sagittariuses are pretty much up for whatever, relentlessly enthusiastic and non-judgemental. You can tell a Sagittarius anything. They are not very reliable, but this is due to a general distractedness, as opposed to ill-intent. A Sagittarius means well, is very good at making friends, and is optimistic to the point of idiocy. Of course Sea Point Main Road is a Sagittarius. Constantly remaking itself, widening its circle of acquaintances, introducing different people to each other in the hope that they get along. They don‚Äôt, always, but Sea Point Main Road thinks that this will probably be okay.
Most things, honestly.
Just a wide cross-section of illegal activity.
Old people walking incredibly slowly
It‚Äôs fine, they are allowed to walk as slowly as they want. This is Sea Point Main Road, and the old people are a huge part of its appeal.
All kinds of religions, really.
Second-hand stuff, as opposed to ‚Äúvintage‚Äù stuff.
Oliver N‚ÄôGoma drifting out a flat window
All parties, though
Favourite Food: Tough one. Let‚Äôs just say that it will eat anything at any time. The only genre it has a slight aversion to is sad English food. It is mad for absolutely everything else.
Favourite Colour: Impossible to say.
Trivia: Sea Point Main Road has had a hangover for its entire life, but it has not let this slow it down at all. Sea Point wakes up after it has been drinking all night and smoking just the most terrible cigarettes, and it lies there for a few seconds, contemplating its mistakes. But no. It shakes its head, its splashes water on its interesting face, and drinks three cups of coffee in a row. It has a croissant. It puts on some make up. It smiles. You would never know that three hours earlier, it had been sitting on the edge of a steeply pitched roof, screaming out the words to Come On Eileen.
Favourite Movie: It cannot decide, but it has a real soft spot for Muriel‚Äôs Wedding. Every time it has tried to describe the scene where the mom gets arrested for shoplifting, it cries a tiny bit.
Smoking Y/N: Yes. Especially the following brands: Rothmans Red, Consulate, PACIFIC BLUE, Aspen, and Benson and Hedges Special Mild (for old ladies only).
Drinking Y/N: Of course yes.
Celebrity Crush: Please do not make Sea Point Main Road choose just one person to have a crush on, you freak. Sea Point Main Road would love to be able to make out with everyone in the world at least once.
Most Memorable Holiday: You can take Sea Point Main Road anywhere, and it will have an amazing time, so the answer to this is difficult. Sea Point Main Road will get back to you. Maybe a better question is which was its worst ever holiday? This one is easy. Sea Point Main Road went to Bath, one time, and hated it so badly. It hated the way everyone there was operating as if they were, right that minute, in an Austen novel. It hated how everything cost so much money, and how you couldn‚Äôt buy anything normal. It hated how there were so many posh, shouting people everywhere, and how everyone looked as if they were about to go fox-hunting. Worst.
Favourite Season: Summer. Like the rest of Sea Point, the main road is honestly one of the only places in Cape Town which is actually tolerable in the height of summer. There‚Äôs something almost eerie about it.
Favourite Book: I‚Äôm Okay You‚Äôre Okay
Perfect First Date: A party where absolutely all of its friends are in attendance. This is actually quite a big ask, because Sea Point Main Road has a million friends. Oh, and everyone has to dress up. And every possible dietary need has to be catered for. Good luck with that.
What is next for Sea Point Main Road: Sea Point Main Road is, I hope, immune to gentrification, or at least the particular bummer that is Cape Town gentrification. I hope. It is just not that sort of place. Fingers crossed it stays exactly as it is forever.
Rosa Lyster is a writer living in Cape Town. She writes an essay a week at¬†rosalyster.com.
Photography by¬†Matthew Muir.