There’s this little place in Pretoria, called ‘Detour’. Professing to be a ‘Bar & Lounge’, it caters to the LGBT community – or, at least, a predominantly teenybopper section of said community.
I’d heard ghastly things about it. Well, things that I consider to be ghastly. Maybe you like dark rooms, I don’t know (who am I to judge?)… The ghastly things I’d heard piqued my curiosity – it’s the same fascination that had me exploring the alleged meeting place of Satanists when I was about 16.
On Saturday night, I had the opportunity to go to Detour with a friend. Not being someone who makes up his mind on hearsay, I thought I’d give it a whirl. Besides, one never knows who one might meet when out on the town, and with Things being the Way They Are, I’m all for meeting new people – seeing as none of the people in my circle of friends are interested in me in That Way.
I was surprised, and pleasantly so, by the place itself. There’s an outside seating area, a very clean bar, a pool table, ample, comfortable seating, and a little dancefloor. I was impressed. I can offer no opinion regarding the bathrooms, as I didn’t go into them. But, by all accounts, there is a dark room somewhere in there.
It would’ve been a fine how-do-you-do if I’d gone a-wandering, stumbled into that little Gomorrah by accident, and ended up with a white stain on my black clothing, courtesy of people in the throes of passion. No, no, I stuck to what I knew, namely drinking, dancing, smoking, and Watching.
I learned some valuable lessons that night. Lessons I feel I need to share with you, dear reader. Take them to heart – you won’t hear these sage words on the Oprah Show.
Lessons Learned Through Observation:
* To Bartenders and Proprietors: If you wish to impress your clientele with regard to your establishment’s competitive prices, choose your words carefully.
I was at the bar, when a patron expressed surprise at how little he had to pay for the round of drinks he’d ordered. Quoth the barman, “We’re extremely cheap here!”
Speak for yourself, honeychild!
* When Dancing to a Song You KNOW Was Written Just For You: Just remember that not everyone shares that opinion.
On the dance floor was a man who is tanned, blonde, and obviously goes to gym. He was wearing a black vest, blue jeans, and flip flops… And he had this mane of golden hair that he had blow-
jobbeddried into a bouffant that would’ve reduced the cast and crew of Dynasty to tears.
David Guetta’s Sexy Bitch (yes, cupcakes, that IS the name of the track – it is not “Sexy Chick”) was played, and he danced. He danced like a man possessed. Like a man in love. With himself.
It was obvious that he believed, with the conviction of those American Christians who dance with snakes, that every word was written for him, and that every word was Gospel. Now, I’m the last person to criticise those with a healthy self-image… But, please, keep your hair and your self-image up out my face, honeychild.
* Obese People Who Like To Dance, Please Try to Avoid Injuring Innocent By-Standers: Read up on your physics notes.
There I was, shaking my groove thing, when suddenly I felt what I assume the Red Sea must’ve felt, all those centuries ago, when Moses and Co. rocked up. From behind, the crowd was parted by A Force. This Force (and let me tell you, it was one to be reckoned with) was a Very Large Girl. She wasn’t simply Overweight. The poor creature, at her young age, was obese. She could not have been older than 20. She had on a tight t-shirt, tight capri-style jeans, and Something Like Birkenstocks. She also had a very pronounced lisp, and was obviously making a bee-line for her group of friends.
There was something incredibly bitter-sweet about that moment, because I could understand her actions. I understood completely.
She was having a good time, and had obviously had a few. However, my appreciation turned to concern when she danced to a particularly upbeat song. I could’ve sworn I heard the poor girl’s spine crack. The spine belonging to the size zero girl with whom our ‘big-bottomed girl’ collided.
I harbour no animosity toward fat people. But, honeychild, there’s a reason that wrecking balls are big, large, hefty objects, and not tennis balls.
* Keep Flapping Queens Away From Electrical Equipment: If you’re going to sashay, shantay, please do it AWAY from the Boxes-with-Wires.
The DJ has a little sidekick up there at the decks. The sidekick was decidedly flappy (a most unattractive quality, but there you go), and somehow managed to flap the amp into silence. Cables, wires, etc do not mix well with rapidly vacillating body parts. In my world, there are mass graves for people like you.
* Owning a Box with Buttons and Switches Does Not One a DJ Make: Club Owners, Please Vet People You Hire as DJs.
This little rule requires a list of its own…
1) Mix, Mix, Mix. If you don’t know how to mix, you should not be deejaying. Go to DJ School. Learn. Practice. MIX. There is NO WAY on God’s green earth that one can go from euphoric trancey stuff to Afrikaans bubblegum pop (think Baby Tjoklits). It just cannot be done. Nope, no way.
2) Read your crowd. Respond to them. If the floor is packed when you play certain genres/tracks, but empties when you play a 20 minute set of the sort of shit one hears on the ‘Pick the mix’ on Jacaranda fm, then that’s OBVIOUSLY not what the crowd wants. For you to continue with pig-headed obstinacy shows nothing more than a total lack of regard for the people who are essentially paying you to play for them. In my view, that is tantamount to a crime against humanity, and offenders should be punished accordingly
3) Mix, Mix, Mix.
4) Know your music. You need to be familiar with the tracks you play. If I’m ever at a club and a DJ cuts to the next track halfway through Tiesto’s remix of Delerium’s Silence, I will kill you. KILL YOU.
5) Mix, Mix, Mix.
6) Try not look bored. It’s a mood-killer. Do you have any idea how much influence a DJ can have over a crowd? If not, you shouldn’t be deejaying.
7) Mix, Mix, Mix.
* Hey, Ma! I’m on TV!: If you can see other people in the club on the tv screen, chances are they’ll see you, too.
Behind the bar is a large, flat screen TV. You won’t find biased, censored American news or cricketrugbygolf on this TV, though. Detour has a camera trained on the centre of the dance floor. Of course, given the nature of said camera, it has to be light-sensitive (I really don’t know the technical terms for all these gadgety things)… As a result, everyone on screen looks like an extra from Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart music video – you know the one: where people turn around to reveal bizarre, glowing eyes. Yeah, that’s the one. Also, the angle of the camera creates a carnival mirror effect, so not only do people have Turn Around Bright Eyes, but they’re all short, round midgets with Turn Around Bright Eyes.
I took note of this, and made sure that when I was dancing, I was in the darkest corner, far away from that Evil Thing. Because I know that, if I were on camera, every now and then I’d fall apart.
Also, it really didn’t do the Obese Girl any favours…
* If You’re Trying to Pass as Straight, Do It Properly: You simply never know who’ll be watching.
There was someone who worked at the restaurant next to the bookshop I worked at, at the Irene Village Mall. We all Had