Friday, 29 November 2013

Drama on Long Street, Cape Town.

This has just come in from a friend and boat kit customer (cape cutter 19) Ian Allen who is in Picton South Island New Zealand.

A true story and Ian was not only there he is in the picture!

The year was 1977 and I note on the banner on the railing that Woody Allen was in town.

Now here is something interesting. In the late 70's I was in Cape Town city centre buying stuff for a boat building project from C D Fox. When I came out there was a very agitated bloke standing on a ledge several floors up shouting that he wanted to jump and a couple of folk in windows nearby were trying to calm him down. The spectacle had drawn a huge crowd and the absolutely sickening thing about it was that a large contingent of that crowd started baying for him to leap into the street below. I spied some coppers with a jump net, but it seemed to be manned by only a few people so I jumped in to help hold and position the trampoline because there seemed to be a lot of confusion as to where the poor guy might land if he sprang and these blokes were standing way too far out into the road I thought. Several other folk came to lend a hand shortly after we had found what we determined to be the right spot and very soon thereafter the man jumped, hit the balustrade on the way down, and landed square in the centre of the jump net. There was a doctor on hand and, what with the high drama of the moment, his hands were shaking and he found it tricky to insert an intravenous drip before the ambulance took him off. I went to Woodstock hospital a couple of days afterwards to see whether I could find out how the guy was and, though I couldn't see him, they said he had pulled through. I don't know what became of him later but I see there is a comment below the photo that says that he topped himself - not sure whether that was true.

   Every so often that incident has come to mind during the ensuing years but I never imagined there was any photographic record of it. The incredible thing is that recently at least three friends sent me a link to this Etienne Du Plessis photographic site which I have been going through, a page or so per day. Well blow me down if I don't get to page 5 and see this picture - and that's me  about fourth from the left on the opposite side of the net, beard, mouth open, and taking aim. Small old world 'ay?



Ian & Paula Allen
The Gables
Web Site
Tel / Fax 64 3 5736772

News just in from an ex employee of the shop in the picture!

Ian, Roy,

I was a bit amazed to see that pic too! I worked at CD Fox for a few months in 1981 I think it was, and this event was often spoken about. There was a similar pic – maybe the same one – framed in the shop at that time. CD Fox still exists I think, just around the corner from that site in Long Street – perhaps its Hout Street now – though I haven’t been there for years. I started selling Private Line and Marlow in those days, a whole lot cheaper than Central Boating just up the road. They had cool stuff like parachute cord, nylon webbing, great threads for sail-making, needles and thimbles for splicing etc etc. Next door was Gordon’s Power Tools and the Metropole Hotel, all institutions of those days. Across the road was an Importers Coffee Shop …

Can’t say I miss it though!


Note,, CD Fox have a rather large place in Paarden Eiland now.