We slip down the street from The Gin Bar following the blips from our internal Bardar. Slim pickings it seems, I suppose it is a Tuesday night. We come across a row of bars ranging from dive to swank and meander over to see what we’re working with. A guy wearing a red track jacket comes right over to us with his partner in crime, and this does seem like crime. He’s asking if we want any coke, E or LSD. I scoff and wave him off, “Nah, man. Not interested.” He’s persistent and following a tad to close for my pickpocket-wary comfort. In an effort to ditch this prick and score a drink as a twofer we walk up to the next place and decide to go in. There’s live music, so it looks like this may be our best option anyways.
It’s an Irish pub called The Dubliner. The giant doorman instantly recognizes our predicament and comes onto the sidewalk to place himself between us and the drugdealer that’s harassing us. “You guys go in, I got this”, “Cheers man.” He straight arms the track suit mafia, “Fuck off, bro. Step the fuck off.” Yep, that’s one way to do it.
We go inside and there are just a handful of folks here. A couple solo girls at the bar that are most likely prostitutes, or at least want to look like prostitutes, a gaggle of drunk and obnoxious Scots, and a few people dancing in front of the live music. It isn’t a band. Well, it’s a one man band with a huge banner behind him, with him on it, that says Francois.
Francois is a cheesy one man army with questionable taste in music but clear talent. It’s the type of 80’s singalong stuff that nostalgic drunks can’t get enough of. He pulls up the backing tracks to songs on a little pad and then sings them karaoke style on a Britney Spears mic while playing them on guitar and adding a shredding 80’s solo to each one. At our level of gintoxication this equates to some decent entertainment.
Francois is on the floor now. He’s fully wireless and ripping it up in the middle of a throng of dancers. This guy’s a riot. We grab a few pints from the bar and post up. He calls over to us between songs and asks where we’re from, “Canada!”, “Ahh I got one for ya!” and he goes right into Summer of 69 by Bryan Adams. “Got my first real G-string, bought it at the fiiiiive and dime”, straight into the cheese and theeeeeen, yep, shredding solo. “Was that up to snuff boys?”, “Woot!” Hilarious.
Tracksuit Dracula is relentless at the window still trying to sell us drugs from afar. Not sure how he thinks we’re remotely interested after the stream of invalidation and getting told to fuck off by the door guy. But there he is in the window the whole time, flashing baggies of coke and raising his eyebrows.
It gets to the point where I don’t even want to look around the room as he’s tractor beaming me with eye contact every time I glance around. Hard to enjoy the magnificent Francois with this annoyance in the periphery, “You guys wanna take a seat upstairs?”, “Yeah, that fucking guy is brutal.” We take some steep steps up to a raised balcony and have a good view down on the bar and stage from here.
“Wait… is this…”, “Save Tonight?!”, “What the fuck, how is this happening?” Mark and I have agreed that Save Tonight by Eagle Eye Cherry may be the worst song from the nineties. We’ll put it on randomly to mess with the other one, but then it started coming on in bars and radios, the cosmos having a good laugh at us. Now Francois is playing an 80’s shred version of it.
In between sets, Francois comes up to talk to us. We fill him in on our trip details and explain that only two are Canadian, we got one American and a Brit too. He tells us to take a bus to a winery. Actually we were thinking about hitting Fairview winery on our way North out of here, “Ahh! Nice one.”
“We’ve got a request for you Francois, 4 Non Blondes”, he grabs his nuts, “And I say hey-yea-yea-yea, hey-yea-yea, I say hey!… don’t think so, guys. Too high. I’ve gotta sing Sweet Child of Mine an octave lower, you know. I could maybe do some Rush for you Canucks though”, I would actually love to see that, but, “It’s not a real crowd pleaser”, “True, I’ll come up with some songs for you though. Gotta get back to it.” Super nice dude, “Hey man, let’s get a pic!”, he pretends to give me a guitar pic, classic Francois
He gets back down to the stage and pumps the crowd up again. He fills his U.S. request for Mark with Basket Case by Green Day. This goes into Toto, Hold the Line somehow and then for Peter’s UK song Francois does Robin William’s, Angel.
We decide it’s about time to make our exit and find our way back to The Backpack. We give Francois a wave on the way out and he sings, “Later boys, it’s been fun.” We should probably get some late night dinner too. It’s late and everything is closed, but there is one thing that’s usually open.
There are armed guards at MacDonald’s and a police car outside. Ok, well I feel safe enough to slam a big mac.
We snake through the streets of Cape Town, return to The Backpack and have a night cap in the open air area. There is a young kid there who’s name is also Peter. He says he’s here for the World Choir Games. Wow, that’s interesting. I ask him the name of his choir. Then I ask him again because I have no idea how to pronounce it. Then he spells it out on his phone for me, Tu Wien Chor, Grobe chance der chore. They’re a world class choir group from just outside Linz, Austria here to compete in the World Choir Games. I ask him what kind of stuff they do and he says it’s a mix of classic and contemporary. They’re doing a medley of things that includes Ain’t no mountain high enough and Uptown Funk. Damn. I wish him good luck in the games (found a link to their set HERE) and we head off to our room.
We’ve got some time to kill before Agent Getz shows up tomorrow. A drive down the cape may be in order since we have the Polo for another day. Then we’ll meet up with my friend Karen and.. get back into the gin? Settled, nighty night. But I can’t sleep because I can’t get Uptown Funk out of my head.