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Phew! Am I glad there was a power failure around these parts just as I was finishing my column last week and trying to forecast the closing moments of the Vodacom Durban July.
I had promised readers I would reveal the winner of the main race, but was thwarted as my computer went blank.
For I think no one in the world could have predicted the shock result of the main race, with some horse called Pomodoro and then the delightfully named Smanjemanje taking second place, with all the so-called favourites so far back. I am not even sure they were in the starting line-up!
In fact, I am looking right now at the official photograph of all the runners as the winner crossed the line, and Jackson is not even in the picture, as is the case with the three other horses.
As my dear friend and former racing editor of the Daily News Pat Aguilar (The Scout) used to say: “When last seen, my selection Plum Pudding had missed the turn at the false rail and was running up Sydenham Road!”
Yes, well, I think Jackson and my personal choice, Gorongosa, did the same thing around 4.35pm on Saturday and by now have probably reached Camperdown, or perhaps only Pinetown because of how slow they were going!
They have always told me racing is a mug’s game, and I can only imagine the bookmakers lining up outside a BMW, Mercedes-Benz or even a Ferrari franchise today and placing their orders, such is the money they must have just made on the July.
But no matter. As usual, your faithful scribe took it in his stride.
Some excellent pinotage and shiraz in the Sibaya marquee and meeting Miss SA certainly eased the pain, and I perhaps lost about R150 on the main race.
I even took a bet for my domestic worker and another friend, and I shall be calling them today to get back my hard-earned dosh.
As for the fashions, they were good, but not as spectacular as some I have seen in my 30-odd years of attending the race.
But some of the marquees in Tent Town did justice to the “Material World” theme and the importance of recycling.
In the Sibaya marquee, our chandeliers were made of empty wine bottles, and there must have been about 20 or so hanging from the ceiling.
In fact, at times I had to pinch myself because it resembled my lounge, where each week I put the empty bottles around the room just to make it cosy and, of course, not to clutter the garbage cans with glass bottles.
So another July comes and goes, and before we know it the 2013 event will be here.
Apart from attending the July, I was highly amused last week when I read that our esteemed president, JZ, has accused Durban or being “too sleepy” and missing out on punting tourism.
He came up with all sorts of ideas like running boat trips from Durban to Richards Bay and down the South Coast and all sorts of stuff about why our city seems to switch off the lights and is dead by about 10pm.
How rich calling Durbanites boring when just one minute of listening to him read a prepared speech is like watching paint dry – only more boring.
And as for his chirp about closing down early, perhaps he would like to talk to the eThekwini head honchos about the liquor laws and other regulations that are stifling our hospitality industry.
I was told several weeks ago that it is now illegal to have a drink on the pavement outside the many restaurants in Florida Road.
If this is still true, it is crazy. Florida Road is almost the centre of Durban’s nightlife, and seeing as Big Mike (remember him?) was always saying we should be like Europe and encourage pavement dining to take advantage of our glorious weather, I cannot understand why some, if not all, premises have been barred from serving drinks outside.
Of course, taxi drivers and truckers can do what they like on the roads, with speeding, jumping traffic lights and ignoring the law being commonplace every second of the day.
But instead of really going after the main culprits, the police and liquor squad worry about someone having a beer or a glass of wine outside a restaurant instead of inside.
It’s no wonder people have stopped going out and why some of our restaurants are battling to survive.
Get with it, Durban.