Falling for Newtown (again)

2014-10-19 15:00

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I am no friend of shopping centres, with their fake lighting, path-blocking bratpacks and robo-fashion chain stores. But I felt something stirring when I parked at the new Newtown Junction.

The R1.3?billion development is chic and offers a quality space to the inner city. The outdoor food court links some beautiful existing buildings and is dotted with historical sculptures.

I was there to watch Pieter-Dirk Uys open Adapt Or Fly 30 years after he first performed at The Market theatre.

The worst bit? The opening in which Hitler appeared from hell to heap praise on Julius Malema. I was over that Juju Nazi thing before it even started.

The best bit? His reminiscence of the banned days, the danger of performing in the space with security police waiting in the wings – which is why he takes his props and costumes on to the stage with him in boxes.

He reminded me why I fell for The Market as a teenager.

Outside, the night was alive with bands rehearsing for the Vodacom In The City concert the next night.

I returned to Newtown to see it, enthralled by the crisp sound, the stage facing the highway, the buzz and the new murals.

Newtown – the one I remember from those early raves and art biennales – was tugging at my heartstrings again.

The best bit? Grinning and rocking to UK band Crystal Fighters and their pseudo-church, goofy, hippie one-love movement.

The worst bit? None except the overfried food-for-drunks that Newtown loves to slap on to plates. Get some decent restaurants and the cultural precinct will have my heart again. Big time.

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