Dear Charlie, can’t say I miss you

2010-03-15 10:34

 By Babalwa Shota

Cocaine might make you feel invincible, but it’s all a big lie.

The entertainment industry is not for sissies;

and while Egoliwood is relatively small and new to the scene, it certainly has

all the vices and elements that make up the ­business.

At any given CD launch, music tour, awards ceremony or movie

premiere there are bound to be little bags of white powder stashed in Gucci

purses and Carducci suit pockets. And the more alcohol that is consumed, the

more frequent the trips to the bathroom – not to pee, but to “powder the

nose”.

Cocaine is the drug of choice of many celebs in Jozi and Cape Town.

I know this first-hand because I’ve run with the pack and indulged in the group

“schnarfing” of many a line. There are many terms of endearment we gave to the

drug and while “Channel” was a favourite, my personal choice was “Charlie”.

Life was even better if there was an out-of-town trip – the Metro

FM Awards in Port Elizabeth, the jazz festival in Cape Town and, best of all,

the SA Music Awards at Sun City. Can you say “debauchery”?

So when the rumours and headlines mentioned Jub Jub and ­cocaine in

one sentence, I was not surprised.

“He’s still at it?” exclaimed one of the TV

presenters, actors and musicians I used to run with. “I thought he had stopped.

We’ve all stopped!”

The courts will decide his fate and whether or not cocaine played a

part in this week’s tragedy. But now that the can of worms has been blown open,

sundowner conversation has centred on how this young man who has made a music

career out of praising God has finally been “exposed”. Thinking about my short

stint as a wild child had me penning this letter to my old pal Charlie ...

Dear Charlie

Long time no see, but I can’t say I’ve missed you old friend.

The reason I’m getting in touch is that I’m so incredibly sad and

angry at you. You’ve been out of the spotlight for a while now; no headlines

since that fateful morning when singer TK was found dead in a hotel room. The

reports went that you’d been in an orgy with her and a few famous faces before

they left her unconscious in the room. But now you’ve reared your ugly head

again – somehow I knew you wouldn’t stay on the down low for long.

On Monday morning I sat in front of my TV, dripping tears into my

Jacobs decaf coffee. I was crying for the innocent teenaged school children who

were mowed down by a Mini Cooper whose driver is said to have been intimate with

you and your partner in crime, booze , before racing another car down a busy

street. People ask why these young men did that in the middle of the ­afternoon:

coke and booze? Who does that?

Well, they obviously don’t know you. They don’t know the illusion

of power you give to a man – or woman; they don’t know that you make people feel

as intelligent as rocket ­scientists, as invincible as Batman.

But I know you, old friend, and I know how the celebrities in this

tiny entertainment industry of ours ­depend on you to feel beautiful, confident

and untouchable.

I wonder if that is how Jub Jub feels right now after he and a

friend destroyed five families and wiped out those families’ dreams in the blink

of an eye.

It’s been five years since you and I parted ways, but I remember my

two years with you as if they were yesterday. You made a lonely girl from Cape

Town mingling with the stars in the big bad city of Jozi feel like she belonged.

I was part of the inner circle because of you. You made me brave, daring,

fearless, fearsome, loathed, loved and praised. You were great!

This week, as I looked at the death stares of those young boys in

pictures circulating on email, I found myself grateful that I no longer have a

relationship with you.

I also remembered the wild ride we’d had together, Charlie.

Remember the night this popular soapie ­actress and I cruised the dark streets

of Melville waiting for your delivery? That was cool. As soon as we had you in

our hands we attacked. Even in my not-so-sober state I was amazed at how this

­actress could multitask – how she could take her special spoon out of the glove

compartment and shovel you up her nostrils while she drove. Wow, talk about

impressive.

Your favourite playground is ­hotel rooms. Remember the SAMAs at

Sun City, when me and a bunch of actors, musicians and presenters congregated at

one of the resort’s plush hotels to worship at your ­altar? How one of the

starlets passed out on the bed and the rest of us whooped, knowing there would

be more for us?

No one bothered to check whether she had overdosed and needed

medical help. We were just happy that there was more to go around. Oh, and the

“breakfast line” – nothing could beat that.

I have many memories of and ­stories about you, old friend.

Thank goodness I got pregnant and kicked you to the kerb. You’re a

good friend, Charlie, but your friendship costs money and lives.

I thank God that you are no longer part of my life and I hope those

you still give a false sense of invincibility to come to their senses and learn

something from this week’s tragedy – that you are the friend of no one but the

devil himself.


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