Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Rian Malan comes back from the dead

Many years ago I stood on the second-floor balcony of a poolroom in central Cape Town. I flicked my cigarette over the rail into the traffic below (because in those days you could do those things) and went inside to pay my bill.

While I was chatting to the barman someone sidled up to my left elbow. ‘Where are you going?’ he asked.

‘Home,’ I said.

‘I’ll follow you,’ he said.

I flicked my ponytail at him (because in those days you could do those things) and ran down the stairs. He did indeed follow and I let him.

I wasn’t completely winging it. I’d had a quick look at him and he was gorgeous.

And that was how I met Rian Malan.

I’m sure a myriad other women have far more interesting stories about how they met him. My defining moment with Rian came some months afterwards, however, when he didn’t turn up to take me out for dinner. I was miffed, obviously, but mollified the next day when he phoned from Heathrow airport to tell me that he’d had to hotfoot it abroad, the security police on his heels, with the only belongings he had in a black garbage bag.

‘I’ve never had anyone so keen to stand me up on a date that he actually left the country,’ I said.

Two years later, out of the blue, there was a knock on my door. It was Rian, back (temporarily) from a couple of years’ exile in the UK. ‘Hi,’ he said. ‘I know I’m late, but you still up for dinner?’

And he just keeps popping up in the most unexpected places. Here’s one of his more recent outings, as a zombie (check his Adam’s apple do the groove thing!) in Jack Parow’s totally fab ‘Blow Your Vuvuzela’.

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