’Subversive’ tunes sure won the day with me ...

Time of article published Oct 23, 2020

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Joubert Malherbe

I REMEMBER that lovely old ballad by champion crooner Frank Sinatra, Somethin’ Stupid, well.

That song, along with Ole Blue Eyes’ other hit, Strangers In The Night, was one of the quieter numbers that made the former LM Radio hit parade when I was in my teens. It seemed a tad incongruous between records by people like The Beatles, Stones and, say, the 1910 Fruitgum Company.

I listened to the hit parade (on a Sunday night) with the transistor radio hidden beneath the pillow, so that I could enjoy the “subversive” music.

The moral guardians of the time were actually quite correct about rock’s “pernicious influence” on popkids, in my case for sure. I still buy into the peace, music and love ethos of those years.

As far as I’m concerned, the All You Need Is Love-thing is the golden thread that runs through the message of all major prophets of note. As that character in Life Of Brian says, “I should know; I’ve followed a few … ”

Anyway, I recalled the above ballad the other day while surveying the passing parade at Café Delisiozo at the mall in Doringkloof. It was pretty sweltering and the jar of amber nectar I was nursing went down a treat.

Somethin’ Stupid contains the classic line: “Afterwards we drop into a quiet little place/to have a drink or two … ”

Specifically, it had to do with the “quiet little place” reference, which, sadly doesn’t seem to exist any more. The ubiquitous presence of cellphones has put paid to that.

I mean, I deliberately sought out the quietest window table in the restaurant, since I wanted to indulge in my favourite pastime; reading newspapers. So, this couple come in and plonk themselves down at the table right behind me, order their drinks and within seconds, start yacking away on their cellphones, separately, to boot.

One cannot help by hearing the loud conversations – inane stuff usually. These days, I’ve taken to putting cotton wool balls in my ears when I go out so as to ameliorate the ubiquitous chatter.

Worst of it all is when the person says; “Wait, I’ve got another call coming in – I’ll be seeing you in half an hour, anyway … ” That’s when I mutter my excuses, sotto voce, pick up my stuff and repair to the furthest corner.

Anyway, I had a bit of a windfall moment at the weekend. As I walked past one of the ATM machines after just such a Delisiozo sojourn, I heard it belting out some jaunty carousel-like tune.

When I looked, I saw that a wad of notes was stuck in the cash-dispensing slot. Blimey, I figured, took the notes which, on closer inspection, turned out to be a whopping R300.

It wasn’t my cash, so I hung about for about three or four minutes, fully expecting some exasperated punter to come rushing back.

Well, to quote the Deep Purple song title, No One Came (off Fireball), and I was in a bit of a quandary about what to do. So, I figured that the best course of action would be to give to Delisiozo owner Hein as I figured that this would be the first place where said exasperated punter might go and enquire.

Most everyone I consulted was of the “finders’ keepers” persuasion. I eventually gave it to Hein so that he could hand it to someone who came up with a credible story about “missing ATM cash”.

A day or so later, it seemed that there had been no such approach. So, I told Hein he must divide the R300 by the number of waiters – and kitchen staff – and hand the spoils to them.

John Lennon’s Instant Karma might come into play at some point … “and we all shine on … ”

Hey, “subversion” rules, okay.

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