Where the Girls Aren't, The Colony Arms
Part 1 in a series of 2. Thom goes looking for love at The Colony Arms' Karaoke night.
by Editor Posted: 2013/12/04
The Bottom Feeder's Guide to Finding Love in Jo'burg
I haven't seen anyone naked since lastMichaelmas. I don't remember much, except a tearful feeling ofgratitude at being there at the time. So, as a malnourished bottomfeeder of lurve, I've decided to trawl through the murkier waters of Jo'burg nightlife, and see what I can gill net. First stop in this series is The Colony Arms in Craighall Park.
The Colony Arms, or 'The Colonic" as it's known by to its denizens, is not high on atmosphere; it's in a shopping mall for God's sake. With its bland as tupperware interior, tiled floors and bare walls, the place gives you the impression it gets hosed down the morning after, not swept. The bar staff are friendly enough, and service is quick and attentive.
I haven't seen people get this drunk, this fast, en mass, since varsity. People don't walk, they lurch. By 10pm the crowd's a heaving mass, and the Karoake machine's overheating as the wannabes bawl out '80s Rock standards.
The house speciality drink is called the John Deere. Take a 2 litre bottle of Creme Soda, slice off the top, and pour in a heroic amount of cane. Classy as drinking out of a gumboot. These cost just R20 a pop, and half a bottle will get you so wankered you could date rape yourself. You just have to lash yourself to the mast, and ride it out.
The wildlife here is a strange mix of beauty product reps, preppies, and students. Single women prowl round in packs, with a 'no girl left behind' credo. The trick is to wait till someone sings "Piano Man" by Billy Joel; usually halfway into the evening. By that stage, everyone's stopped counting their drinks, and you can try to pick off the weaker members of the herd; well that's the plan, anyway.
Not a Porche Keyring
My initial gambit of sidling up to a paragon at the bar, suavely tossing a set of scuffed late-model Ford Fiesta keys on the bar counter and saying "You could be driving home in this tonight, babycakes" proved fruitless. I turned to Jameson whiskey for solace. A few doubles and I was feeling less Woody Allen, more Jude Law.
Turning away dejectedly from the bar, I was blindsided by a windmilling mass of arms and legs, as a totally blubbery mess of a man blundered into me. As I tried (and failed) to stop him falling, I collided with a woman who was clinging to his free arm. Down we three went, in a heap. "I'm so sorry, he's not normally like this" said the mystery woman, as she clambered to her feet. I brushed myself down and helped her lump her deadweight friend into a chair, at which he fell unconscious, head slumped back, mouth agape. Mystery woman laughed nervously, I said something conciliatory and funny (that for the life of me I can't remember now), she laughed and thawed. I pulled up two chairs.
We talked, I made her laugh, the whiskey flowed. The rest of the night was a blur, but I woke up with her number in my pocket. It's not exactly a snog, but it's a start.