No place like home for good heavy rock

The Black Cat Bones
The Black Cat Bones

A personal journey of rock music starts with the first riffs and rhythms you listen to growing up. The stuff you raved about with friends. The subtle influences from rock you heard from friends who brought the records with them when their parents settled in the country, the radio charts and local bands.

The exciting part of the rock journey is that it seems to never end as you hear new rock music made here in South Africa by local bands. You can’t help tying up all the influences from that early rock you heard and the echoes in the new stuff of Jimi Hendrix, Deep Purple and King Crimson. Continue reading “No place like home for good heavy rock”

Fishy tales of snoek in False Bay

Recreational fishermen still catch snoek in the occasional run. Local Fish Hoek business person Alf Caplen looking happy after a morning catching snoek in the bay.
Recreational fishermen still catch snoek during the occasional run in the bay. Local Fish Hoek business owner Alf Caplen looking happy after a morning of catching snoek.

Lawrence Green, the gem of South African writers who loved the country so deeply, recalls meeting the old fishermen at Saldanha who talked of the days when one man could “haul in 200, even 300 snoek in a great day’s fishing.”

As Green says, “… the fishermen needed enormous catches when a snoek fetched only twopence on the wharf.”

I never caught much above 100 snoek in False Bay and the times that I did break through the hundred mark I could count on one hand.

Already in the mid-1970s commercial fishing was taking its toll on snoek fishing in False Bay. Even the professional fishermen from Kalk Bay did not often catch 100 each a day. Yet there was a legendary skipper nicknamed “Hondered Bedonderd” (Hundred Crazy”) who regularly reached his target. Continue reading “Fishy tales of snoek in False Bay”

The swimming pools at Kalk Bay that people lost

Kalk Bay poolsWhen I was about six years old I started swimming in the pool below our house called Wooley’s pool. I was embarrassed because I had to use water wings. The problem was that no one had taught me how to swim. I wasn’t a natural learner.

But all that changed when I went to primary school at Kalk Bay. I can’t remember the day but I think it was on Wednesday that we would go to the Kalk Bay swimming pools behind the railway station for swimming lessons. Continue reading “The swimming pools at Kalk Bay that people lost”

When last did you take time out to get perspective on your business?

IMG-20130825-00539I’ve just come off the beach and have ordered coffee and breakfast at this beach bistro. It is warm where I’m sitting in the sun but down on the beach it’s windy and cold from the last days of winter in the southern hemisphere. Seagulls screech overhead.

On the beach a group of four young men are exercising, doing on-the-spot running, press ups and hand strengthening, for martial arts. A few runners are sauntering past, heading towards a long stretch of wet beach shining in the early morning sun. About eight young lifesavers are kitted out in wet suits with one of them swimming out into the icy breakers – they’re doing some practice exercise. Continue reading “When last did you take time out to get perspective on your business?”

Tales of Tuna – lost but not forgotten

Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

I remember as a young boy being out on my father’s first ski boat in Fish Hoek Bay fishing for the giant Southern Bluefin Tuna. A long bamboo pole extended from one of the rod holders. To this pole the Dacron fishing line was tied with a piece of white cotton. The line extended just below the surface where the hook was attached to a large live squid with a hook lightly tucked into its back. The “live bait” stayed just below the surface, food for roaming and hungry Bluefin Tuna. Continue reading “Tales of Tuna – lost but not forgotten”

Big game fishing off Cape Point – the ones that got away

Credit:  U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Credit: U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

My first fishing experience goes so far back into my early childhood that most of it is like a blurry dream. Flashes of memory place me at a fishing spot behind Clovelly station off the rocks. My father had handed me the rod but I can’t remember pulling in the fish. My next image is seeing a large white Steenbras on a rock next to the water’s edge with white surf rushing in. I did not see the Steenbras escape but I know I lost it and I have always remembered the bad feeling I experienced afterwards.

Charles Horne recounts how on Wednesday, January 9, 1957 fisherman at Rooikrantz, near Cape Point, landed about 200 tunny weighing from 9 kg (20 lb) to about 20 kg (60 lb). He says in “Big Game Fishing in South Africa” that “no estimate will ever be made of the number of big fish that threw the hooks or broke away” and how many were lost on light or weak tackle. Continue reading “Big game fishing off Cape Point – the ones that got away”

Birdland, Take Five, Son of Mr Green Genes: Jazz lessons on improvisation for business

weather-report_heavy-weatherThursday evening I attended an awards function interspersed with the sounds of a jazz trio, the double bassist plucking notes that still reverberated in my head this morning.

A jazz band these days adds a touch of sophistication to an event. It’s not in-your-face music but rather brought out at the right times when the audience needs to be surprised, delighted… energised.

I am not the world’s great expert on jazz but I grew up with a jazz musician. My father was a double bass player in the 60s, playing in Johannesburg and Cape Town, while making his living as a journalist. Dave Brubeck, Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong and others filled our house in Kalk Bay with jazz sounds from a Yamaha record player. My father cut his own jazz record which I heard once and wished I still had a copy. Continue reading “Birdland, Take Five, Son of Mr Green Genes: Jazz lessons on improvisation for business”

Château plonk and other Cape vino adventures

Pouring_a_glass_of_red_wineMy early experience with wine wasn’t of the most genteel kind. Just straight Tassenberg poured down the throat at small pubs in Stellenbosch on Friday nights when visiting a friend studying forestry at the university.

In those days we weren’t so interested in the taste of wine as we were in the mind altering effect. Tassenberg or Tassies had one major enduring feature: it may have been rough on the palate but it was soft on the student pocket and a sailor’s wallet because I was polishing anchors in Simon’s Town in those days. Continue reading “Château plonk and other Cape vino adventures”

Winter snoek fishing from Hout Bay and mountain water

English: Hout Bay, South Africa
English: Hout Bay, South Africa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When you are young the places you experience and the people you meet seem so extraordinary that you promise yourself you’ll never forget those great days that seem to have come out of a dream.

Growing up we lived in Kalk Bay, which sits in the heart of False Bay, and did most of our fishing there in the summer and autumn months. But when the winter came with the cold and the rain and those strong North Easters we’d head out to Hout Bay, travelling across Chapman’s Peak towing the ski boat behind the Land Rover at four in the morning.

One morning when we got to the ski boat slipway at Hout Bay harbour the queue was long. It was so freezing cold that time of the morning that my friend Peter and me took an empty two-stroke oil can, filled it with sand and poured petrol into it. After a few attempts we lit the petrol and huddled around the lighted can to keep our hands warm. Continue reading “Winter snoek fishing from Hout Bay and mountain water”