Our plane lands at 8AM on Friday morning. I collect my baggage and Seafox without incident, ride the Gautrain to Sandton where Col picks me up. I'm pretty surprised to find a small dog sitting on the opposite end of the pool as we pull in. He looks like a kind of labrador with incredibly short legs. "What's up with this?" I ask, and as soon as the sentence leaves my lips the dog (as if he can hear me through the car) sits down and stares right at us. I get out the car and the dog excitedly jumps up and runs over to me, as if this has happened a hundred times before. Marc comes outside, welcomes me home. I ask him who this dog is. "That's Skeletor. Yesterday some lady showed up with him. Said she found him in the street and asked if she could leave him here. We're trying to find the owner." I pet this very cute temporary addition to the Lothbury family and then head inside.
Col and I hang out for a while. Col takes me to a new place that opened while I was out the country. Love and Revolution is a little cafe that serves really good sandwiches, sells a nice little selection of books and seems to have more than a bit of a major leaning toward punk rock politics. Oh yeah, and it's one the street I live on, three blocks down from my house. Needless to say, discovering that this place exists is a pretty nice little welcome home.
Eventually I find myself nodding off on one of Love and Revolution's couches, so I excuse myself, head home and climb into bed for a few hours. When I wake up, I wonder outside and find Shawn and our new dog swiming around the pol. Skeletor seems to be loving it.
After work Anja comes by. We spend the night eating the kind of healthy food I painfully missed in the US and watching Tina Feyface.
I wake up in the middle of the night with the worst stomach ache. I can't fall asleep again so i land up reading comics for hours. Finsh Kieron Gillen's SWORD, and put a major dent in my copy of Beasts of Burden.
By the time the sun comes up on Saturday morning I feel terrible. I'm guessing it's crossing through 8 times zones, spenind almost 3 full days in transit, playing 14 shows in 16 nights and eating tons of food that felt like it was 50% plastic. Whatever the reason, I feel like death warmed up. Very slightly warmed up. Stomach ache has now been joined by "every-inch-of-my-body" ache. I'm nauseous and faint and I can barely move.
Anja and I had planned to do a bunch of admin stuff today, so she heads out and does a bit of it alone. Returns home with energade and pain killers for me plus dog food, treats and toys for Skelly. While he's been softly chewing everything he can since I first set eyes on him, he doesn't seem too keen on the awesome little stingray Anja got him. Over the course of the day I hang out with the dog and watch TV and read some Invisibles.
At some point I convince myself I'm feeling well enough to take my tour's worth of dirty clothes to the laundormat. This ends with me throwing up in one of their pot plants and almost falling over outside. I start feeling realy concerned about whether I'm going to be able to play the Halloween party. After all, the whole reason I missed the last show of the US tour and made it home yesterday so was that I could kick out the jams with Eyes Like Mirrors and Kidofdoom.
By 7:30 I'm feeling a lot better. Given my state Patrick picks Anja and I up and we head through to the party together. By the time we get to the gig, Church Square is already teeming with freaks. We make our way through Doktrine's horror tunnel, fight through the crowd waiting to get into the party.
I hook up my system to the screens. Getting ready is filled with many problems, the likes of which I luckily never faced in The States. With a little help from my friends, I'm ready to go by the time the first notes of Jason's guitar ring out and from there it's all fun.
One cloudy winter morning when The Mirrors and I congregated in Matthew's lounge for our first practice together, I don't think any of us had an inkling that 6 months down the line we'd be doing this. Togther on a stage in a beautiful 80 year old theatre, a crowd of zombies, vampires and werewolves hanging off every note, the visuals beaming out of screens across the stage and peter Rhoda lighting us. Without a doubt this is the best show I've played since joining the band.
Everything goes down without a hitch. No broken strings, no weird feedback and the most perfect crowd we could ask for. But then, in the last minute of our last song the visuals go black. I reach for the lead of my wireless transmitter, thinking I've rocked it out of the keytar. This isn't the case, instead my transmitter is just dead - I've killed a pair of new batteries in just one set, a new personal record. I fall to my knees and trigger the last few images as best I can with mouse-clicks. I'd be pretty bummed about not getting to rock for the end of the set if I weren't about to play another one.
In October last year, when we were touring to launch the 2nd Kidofdoom album, none of us knew it, but we were busy going out with a bang.
It's not that the band broke up after those shows (personally I'm holding on to hope that at the very least 1 more album will come out this collective) but excluding living up to our comitment to play Ramfest, Kidofdoom hasn't done any shows this year.
But now here we are, dressed as death, an indian and ourselves, playing our favourite venue, in our hometown. The way things just fall into place as Joe starts banging out the first beats of our set, it doesn't feel like we haven't done this all year. But by the time we finish the first song and the crowd erupts it's clear Pretoria has really missed it's post-apocalyptic space-rock sons.
What follows is pure magic. The set is a near perfect combination of "new" and old songs. While the little stage is pretty cosy, the 5 of us are having the best time rocking out again. And the crowd is just a sea of electricity that splashes out onto us in awesome waves of "fuck yeahs". Amazing as our US tour was, the crowds we played to had nothing on this. Their screams are the warmest "welcome home" I can imagine, and the most perfect soundtrack to this doom reunion.
By the time it's over I feel like I've been charged up with so much energy from the crowd that I'm buzzing. Honestly I can't believe I made this after being so sick this morning and honestly I can't imagine these two sets having gone down better. But in the interest of playing it safe, Patrick, Anja and I head home. Rock a cup of tea in my lounge, play with Skeletor and then realise it's after 2AM and we really aren't getting such an early night after all.
By Sunday morning it seems the healing power of post rock has saved me; I'm feeling almost 100% fine. Anja and I spend the day watching stuff:
... and more constructively unpacking my tour stuff, then re-arranging my room to make space for all Anja's stuff as she's moving in with me for the month. There are many reason's why I envy Anja, one of them is her ability to almost instinctively create order out of chaos, and she does this with my disaster of a bedroom in only an hour or two. At some point I try packing a blanket on top of a bag in one of my cupboards and it just doesn't work. Anja tells me "jammer lief, maar jy kan nie tetris nie".
At some point between Tetris-ing my life into neat little blocks Shawn and Marc come in, asking if we've seen Skeletor. We say we haven't and join in the search for the dog, who seems to have evaporated through the walls. This results in Anja and I driving through the streets of Melville searching for the dog, but in the end it seems he's left our lives as mysteriously as he entered them. Everyone's pretty upset and we find ourselves sitting around a table speculating how he could have got out and where he might have run off to. The final conclusion we all come to is Skeletor was a ghost dog. He floats from family to family, always getting that best of that "new-dog love". Then as it starts fading he simply moves on to the next loving family and then the next and then the next.
We miss you Skele. Please come haunt us again sometime soon.