Thursday, October 13, 2005

Andrup, Adams, Fugard and Frank

The reason I posted that particular letter is that it came back to me undelivered. My life-long teasing of Perseus comes from the fact that he is a hypochondriac, but of course the one thing that we all share with hypos is that while their ailments may be imagined it makes no difference as we will all go the same way one day. Hence the poem "Oh my God I'm Dying"; it is an ode to Perseus. He may indeed have passed on by now. His drug of choice has always been a cough mixture called "Collis Brown". Very much a William Burroughs character he suffers(erd) from paranoia and used to carry a gun called 'Rupert' which was to protect him from the right wing in South Africa. In the 60s he traveled through Africa down the Nile with the world famous playwright Athol Fugard and continually bitched at me (why me I'll never know) that Athol dumped Perseus somewhere in the heart of Africa (I think was Khartoum) to travel on alone. Most people would have dumped Perseus as early as Cairo, but Khartoum must have presented the first opportunity for Athol. Athol and his girlfriend (Yvonne Bryceland) went on to become very famous, writing probably the most well-known piece of theatre to come out of South Africa known as 'Bosman and Lena' - look it up on the net and you'll see all the other works of Athol. I think Athol spent time in Hollywood and is now back in South Africa. Yvonne played a nurse in the original Beverly Hills Cops. Athol, Yvonne and I would meet now and then at the Elizabeth Hotel on the beachfront in Sea Point, Cape Town and suck back a few beers.

Perseus matriculated (Grade 12) when he was 15. He had qualified as a teacher before he turned 20 and was a noted English Teacher in his early days. His Dad before him was a well-known school principal of (I believe) Wynberg Girls High School. My mother and lived in Wynberg and Perseus' ailing parents lived there too at the time. Wynberg village as a hotbed of poets, writers, playwrights, painters and sculptors in the 50s, 60s and 70s. My parents and I were deep in it. Many examples of the work to come out of the period are in my house, as you know.

Another aspiring artist who used to hang around Perseus was a fellow called Basil Frank - now and then I used to drugs from him in the 60s. He seemed to have an abundant supply of methamphetamines and a variety of other stimulants none of whose names (surprise, surprise) I can remember. Basil's dad was a doctor, so it did not take an lawful lot of imagination to know where the drugs came from. Sons and daughters of doctors and pharmacists were very popular with their contemporaries in the 60s. In poor Basil's case it made not an iota of difference to his popularity. He was never popular, no matter what. He did however find in Perseus another hypochondriac and paranoiac; and so began a lifelong relationship. Athol forever on the run from Perseus, Perseus forever on the run from Basil and me, well I guess I just saw it play out in front of me, joining in now and then, in the hope that I would get to bed Yvonne Bryceland, but alas, she was on the run from me.
So now we are all over the world; London, Israel, South Africa and Canada and Basil, it seems is now popular in the broader sense.