After an upsetting week where questions about a volunteer’s place here were brought acutely into the limelight, I decided to let my hair down with a night of dancing at Tinkers. You might remember Tinkers from back in May – the carwash / nightclub that is as seedy as it is….(actually, that’s the only appropriate adjective I could think of). After the previous experience, I was assured by Swazis and Aussies, alike, that the nightclub is much better, and potentially even enjoyable, when there’s a crowd.
A performance from South Africa’s DJ Zinhle provided the perfect opportunity to experience Tinkers when it’s pumping, so I roped in those same Swazi and Aussie mates to make a night of it. Over 1,000 other people also had the same idea. When we rocked up at midnight, the queue was half a mile long and the bouncer was brandishing a stick from the nearby bush just to keep the mob at bay. Fortunately, Chris, one of our entourage knew the bouncer from the gym, so we got an express pass in. (You see people, it pays to be physically active!).
Once inside, I have to say Tinkers did hold a much better vibe than last time, at least to start with. The supporting DJ’s House music was trashy yet super dance-able, and there was a diverse crowd of punk, diva, R&B, transvestite and everything else you can imagine. I also couldn’t believe the number of teenagers, which made me inquire about the legal drinking age. “They removed the legal drinking age because they realised that the teenagers were the ones who spent the most money”. What’s that noise? Oh, it must the sound of all the Public Health professionals falling off their chairs.
After an hour, typical Tinkers started setting in. The music started sounding the same and the repetitive hit-ons from desperate, drunk boys became nauseating at best. Chris proved his ultra usefulness again when he took up the role of pseudo-bodyguard when things got too hairy. He wasn’t quick enough to prevent the “red-shirt guy” from making his fifth attempt to snare me by assaulting me with a kiss. That was the point at which I’d really had enough, so at 2:30am we left, still waiting for DJ Zinhle to make her appearance.
I heard later that DJ Zinhle didn’t actually make it to stage until after 4am. Unsurprisingly, the 8-10 hours of drinking preceding that led to a very drunk crowd and the inevitable brawl. After experiencing Tinkers when it’s dead, and when it’s at capacity, I can rest assured that I have given that place a solid chance to prove its worth, yet both times have ended up with the same conclusion: spectacularly seedy.