George must be turning in his grave

2013-07-22 13:06

Sunday night. I’m stuck in Eshowe. I’m sober.

It’s my own fault. I’m nursemaiding this Aussie TV crew around Zululand.

A far cry from my standard Sunday evening football and beer ritual. Not bad work though.

Tour guide meets shepherd. It’s like herding cats. Or small children.

Without the cattle prod. Just when you’ve got everybody together, some muppet wanders off.

We land at the George Hotel. Our home for the night.

The George is this old school colonial country hotel. It’s named after one of those layabout English royals.

His name was George. The walls are covered with pictures of Zulus killed and enslaved by George’s henchmen.

The Brits had to offset the costs of colonising the planet somehow.

I wander off in search of the bar. I find it. Within seconds I’m belly up to the counter with a Zulu Blonde in my hand.

The Blonde is a goodie. It’s this slightly fruity beer brewed on the premises in a tiny brewhouse next to the hotel swimming pool.

The Blonde has been making a name for itself in the UK and elsewhere.

After the first two gulps I look up. I see this head that I recognise. Turns out it’s the legendary artist, photoshop god and general nutter Peter Engblom.

Engblom now runs the George and has set up gallery there. The bar’s covered in his work.

Pete has this thing where he creates worlds and history by using old pictures and artefacts and photoshopping his tales into them.

Pete’s a genius who lives his life between Goa and Eshowe. He’s crazy as a snake. He’s a bullshit artist and historian of note.

His great granddad used to forcibly baptise Zulus.

A good few Blondes later and Pete’s in full cry.

The Aussies are loving him. Pete’s loving having a non-agricultural audience for a change. He’s sparking.

Pete has his own private bar. It’s called the Pablo Escobar Bar. I kid you not.

The Escobar is Pete’s personal homage to Latin America’s finest – Che Guevara and Pablo Escobar.

It’s tiny. It’s a beautiful, insane space. Every inch is alive with images of the two and Pete’s interpretations of their role in history.

There’s a wire version of Che’s motorbike.

There’s irregular lights everywhere. There’s adverts for Fair Trade Cocaine.

Moving chandeliers cast light in circles catching the glint in Pablo’s eye.

George must be turning in his grave.

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