Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Cleavage Party

Cleavage Party

The following is going out on the radio on a regular basis:

(Girl whispering seductively) Cleeeeavage parrrty..
(Thabiso) The Cleavage Party is Back!! And it’s going down at Cresta Botsalo Palapye this Saturday 1st December 2007. We’ve got DJ Sly, Colastraw, Tambai, O’Neal, Thabiso and UK Sam as your MCs for the night. 30 Pula gets you in before midnight, and 40 Pula thereafter. And if you’re showing your cleavage…
(Me)30 Bucks gets you in..
(Girl groaning) Allllll niiiight
(Thabiso) Woooooaahhhh, it’s the cleavage party baby. Palapye, it’s going down!

Today, I’m feeling a bit under the weather, I suspect Thabiso’s lifestyle is catching up with me. He’s picking me up at 1:30pm, except of course this is Nasha time! Madoda comes back from work, apparently it’s the usual thing in Botswana to finish early on a Friday. Not something I’d argue with! Whilst I wait, Suko feeds me, which is just as well, as she’s been stinking the house out with lovely smells all morning, getting my appetite fired. Finally we set off about 5pm, just round the corner first, where Thabiso picks up a cool box, a couple of bags of ice, which I take advantage of by filling with a few beers. We’ll add to these later as appropriate.

Driving along, without radio for once, we whizz past the typical Botswana Bush, which is orange dry soil with small trees and bushes, with reasonable spacing. Our intention is to make it past a long stretch of construction before dark. We’re half way through when we both hear a funny noise, and the engine goes very loud. We’d later discover that the exhaust pipe had snapped at the head, not that we knew this now. Thabiso wishes we had Herbert with us – the Zimbabweian education system is very good, including lots of practical teaching like how to fix a car. With the strange noise, we crawl along at 50km/hr.

Rolling rolling rolling…

Until we make it to Mahalapye where we should be able to find a mechanic. We end up in a dark dodgy workshop which is staffed by about a dozen guys, all Zimbabwean. Chatting with them, it’s clear that they love their country, and they want to go back as soon as the situation improves. They get Thabiso’s car up on metal ramps, and show me the problem – the exhaust is hanging lose, something they fix by resoldering it back on. Sounds much better, so we head off, Thabiso doing his best to make up time.

Not much further along, we hit Palapye. This is where the Cleavage Party will be held tomorrow evening, so we pop in to the Cresta hotel to have a look at the venue. It’s around the pool in the garden at the back of the hotel. One of the hotel managers is worried that there are no posters up – Thabiso reassures them that radio is far more powerful a medium than posters, hence why it costs an order of magnitude more. We grab some Nandos for dinner before carrying on.

This last leg found us both very very sleepy. It didn’t seem fair for me to sleep whilst Thabiso drove, which he confirmed by telling me if I dozed off, he’d slam the brakes on to make sure it didn’t happen again! Most kind! We arrived at about half past eleven, met a few others in reception, freshened up in our rooms then headed out to Francistown Club. It’s a short drive to the venue, which is a rugby club. The crowd spills out on to the actual pitch, a horrible concept if you consider how many broken bottles were being stamped into the grass. Will people be using this tomorrow?

There are a couple of hundred people milling about inside, and many outside too trying to get in. It does seem to be quite a chore to get in, as the gate is being badly managed, including allowing a truck to drive through the gate they’re admitting people through! Thabiso has difficulty persuading the bouncers to let him in, and eventually pulls me in with him. Inside, the crowd is spaced out a bit over the pitch, and the sound system is not great. This is the problem with a very open venue which is not filled – this space would be fine if the crowd were ten times larger, but for 2-300 people it’s too big.

Here though, I do get to see Thabiso-mania peaking. Unlike Gabs, where people are too cool to get excited, here people are all over him. There are also lots of blokes about, not the mix that Gabs has in its clubs. We have a few beers, and whilst Thabiso circles, I chat with Noreen, a slightly strange girl who comes back with us to our hotel when Colastraw, Thabiso and myself head back.

Get this girl some breakfast

The Afro grows stronger

Having checked out, we head out to pool bar for a drink. Drink?! Surely not?!

It’s heating up as we drive down to Palapye.

In business mode

DJ Colastraw (you put the stress where you wouldn’t expect it – it’s DJ Col – ast –raw) is from round here, but lives in Jo’berg these days. He’s come back for these two gigs.


We head down to Palaype. On the way, Thabiso calls the DJ on the radio at the moment and tells him that I’m a superstar DJ from Kiss FM in London. I’m starting to get nervous, I’m being talked up too much. Saying hello was one thing, being introduced like this is too much. And as Thabiso says, just wait until he gets hold of the microphone to introduce me. I can well imagine.

Aside: what do you make of this from the news: “Delegates in Bali for talks on climate. Thousands of government officials, industry lobbyists, environmental campaigners and observers have arrived on the Indonesian island of Bali for two weeks of talks starting Monday.” What a jolly – think of all that carbon – thousands flying in to Bali for a (cough) conference. I tell you, this is why all this green stuff is taking off, it’s because people can make money out of it and have holidays in Bali whilst pretending to care.

So, we turn up, and pacify the manager who is getting stressed that it’s now late afternoon and nothing is going on. We pick up some alcohol at the local liquor store so that we can offer shots for first 100 people who turn up, and get some food at Nandos. Herbert turns up, and he’s in a good mood having finally spoken with his woman, hurrah!


The walk in

The sound system is particularly late, and isn’t set up until after dark. The bouncers have been delayed too, broken down on the way up. Still, we prepare what we can, and when the sound has been set up, Thabiso kicks things off, DJing for a while. On his own. In the dark. Now let’s just hope some people show up!

Not too close to the pool

And now we wait

Herbs and I go to pick up the bouncers when they get to within 15km of Palapye. I realise when we get there how silly it was for me to come along – these are four big strapping lads, and we now only have the back seat of the car to house them. Imagine four six foot something bouncer build chaps squashed across a back seat. I don’t know how we closed the doors!

The heavy squad

People start to trickle in finally, initially sitting about on the chairs and having drinks.


I find in situations like this, it’s best to leave my camera with Herbert. A dodgy white guy walking around taking photos might arouse some some suspicions, but Herbs gets right in there!

When Herbs has the camera

The venue fills up a bit, but still nothing like what we were hoping for. Then again, it’s early – we’d expect most people to come around midnight – 1am. I can see Thabiso’s starting to relax a bit now, whether from alcohol or people actually arriving, or both.


We do have the slightly awkward situation that I’m sharing a room with Colastraw, whose girlfriend has come for the gig. I’ve told them to get the amorous stuff out of the way early on, but still have prepared ear-plugs in case they’re required.

Colastraw sends his lady to sleep early on

The pool looks very inviting, and it’s the general assumption that lots of people will end up in there towards the end of the night. In fact this doesn’t turn out to be the case, people mostly avoid the pool. One theory offered up is that most black people can’t swim, never having had access to swimming pools or the sea, so are quite nervous around water. I still remember that chic hotel Adrian and I stayed at in Playa del Carmen, with the pool as the focal point for the club in the evening, if only they could do something like that here.

That said, some people do make it in later, but for now it’s just practice time for those who have already had enough:

Who is swimming first

Some had to be kicked out by force

Happy people

The last event like this, Herbert ended up on the door taking money the whole night – I resolve to make sure this doesn’t happen, so take over for a couple of hours. It’s one boring job.

Door gets busy

Especially annoying are the irritating guys with attitude who think they should get a discount, and will stand there for hours arguing trying just to shave five or ten pula off the entry fee, pretending they don’t have money (then heading straight for the bar once they’re in). Not the kind of customer you need. And the girls never do this. I remind some of them that this isn’t a charity gig – this money is being used to pay everyone contributing to the night, myself excepted.

I’m glad to escape the door finally, and head back in. I still avoid the DJ area though, as it’s only a matter of time before Thabiso tries to drag me up to MC!

The most energetic dancer of the night must be Colastraw’s cousin, Rose:

I quickly get cut down when she asks me to dance, then tells me to dance to the music rather than just flail about randomly! After my redoubled efforts, she just looks disdainfully at me and asks “Is this how English people dance?”. I wouldn’t say I exactly represent the country!

Thabiso runs various well-received competitions to pick the best cleavage, and best dancers, with alcohol and cash prizes!

Another cousin of Colastraw’s takes it upon herself to launch into any photo she spots being taken.

The boys

Kay says she can’t dance. Makes two of us then!

It’s getting hot in here!

Spank me!

Bed time for Nashas

The tunes keep spinning

About to fall backwards perhaps

Where are these two off to?

Complex latin dance?

The party runs through the night, and before we know it…

Dawn Comes
And still people dance on..

Table action

Although the hour is beginning to take its toll on some..

Starting to flag

Boundless energy

It has to be home time, so Thabiso takes the mic and calls and end to the morning.

Thabiso wraps it up

Just don’t want to stop

And she thanks me for the shot!

The bunch who are left retire to the reception area. The plan is to wait the hour or so until breakfast starts.

Still not leaving

Though this is too long for some..


I walk Rose home, then come back for breakfast with Colastraw, who’s just got up and wants to know where I ended up sleeping. Well actually…!

We grab a couple of hours sleep in our room before it’s time to leave..

Let’s go

It's been a fun event. I'm glad I didn't have to MC. And the crowd was happy and good natured, if not as big as hoped for. The gig had the feel of a garden party at someone's house rather than a professional organised do. Roll on the next one!

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