Golden boys: Rock ’n’ roll angels and the sex object of a...


Golden boys: Rock ’n’ roll angels and the sex object of a stir-crazy cougar

DEBORAH STEINMAIR remembers the Noughties in Cape Town — and a psychological thriller grabs her by the scruff of her neck.


THE band Die Heuwels Fantasties sing about pills for Christmas. My friend Louise Crouse, the manager of Fokofpolisiekar, among other bands, gave me this band's book of lyrics, FOKOFPOLISIEKAR {Words 2003-2023} for Christmas. The cover is black with the title in gold, like a secular hymn book. Austere, with gravity.

Could it be 20 years? I remember the early years of Fokof, who in those days were referred to on the radio as “Polisiekar". I was in my early 40s, they were in their early 20s. Well brought-up boys from Bellville. Francois van Coke's choirboy voice stirred me but it was especially the words I fell in love with. Hunter Kennedy's words, mostly.

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Hunter attended the writing class I presented in my flat — that's my claim to fame. He was an angelic boy with dreamy eyes and beautiful manners. Curly haired and not too skinny — he said a fan once referred to him as “the little fat one". Brimful of ideas and words. He once forgot his diary/notebook in my apartment. I returned it but only after peeking: all sorts of ideas, punchlines and metaphors that occurred to him.

Now I'm in my early 60s and they're in their early 40s. Francois, Hunter, Wynand, Johnny and Jaco survived sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, unlike the likes of Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse. They are upstanding family men but have not lost their edge. A few splinter groups have emerged from the original band. Music journalist Annie Klopper wrote their story: Biography of a Gang: Fokofpolisiekar.

Their words, Hunter's words, were the soundtrack to the Cape years that my eldest daughter calls my lost teenage years:

ek skyn
ek skynheilig
onder die straatlig
onder die maanlig
sê vir my as die rewolusie verby is


ek bly verveeld
en my bene is seer
ek staan voor jou deur
en my kop klop

Watch this about the book of lyrics.

FOKOFPOLISIEKAR {Woorde 2003-2023} was published by Fokofpolisiekar and costs R350 at their shows and at

When I ran out of books on holiday, I bought a domestic noir in the Spar to read on the plane back. This one caught me off guard. The paedophile — the confused, disturbed person who got stuck at an emotional age of 13, 14 — is a woman this time. She's in her 40s and lives in an old house on the banks of the Thames; the river is a character in the book, in all its filthy and angry grandeur.

She holds a boy of 15 captive to watch him and touch him when he sleeps. The whole city is looking for him. She drugs him, ties him up with silk scarves, glues his mouth shut and wants to keep him to herself, away from the world. She is disgusted with her husband and is aroused only by the boy, fresh as a dewdrop. She moulds his body in plaster and wants to preserve him like that forever, poised on the threshold of manhood. Her husband, who works elsewhere, and adult daughter are on their way home and she will have to find somewhere else to hide her hostage. She's falling apart spectacularly, losing her slippery grip on reality. Her prisoner, increasingly pale and skinny, is withering away.

It's like an accident you can't look away from. It unnerves and upsets.  I'm used to thrillers where men are the lowlifes and evildoers. This is too close to the skin. In one of life's casual jokes, as I read about the sweet boy who is the object of the narrator's desire, I am sitting in a plane next to a teenage boy with long, pale, unformed legs, acne and an unfortunate habit of snorting up mucus through his soft palate. Life does not always imitate art.

I believe one should read outside your comfort zone, walk in the shoes of people with whom you cannot identify. Broaden your horizons, be able to imagine anything on earth. But sometimes I squirm.

The author even manages to elicit in the reader sympathy for the lost woman's dangerous insanity and towering selfishness. We gradually learn more about her early teens and the boy she fixated on forever. Her pain, issues and baggage spill out like rubble on the banks of the Thames. She can barely remain upright.

It's a nightmare, the reader is helplessly at the mercy of the elements, like the trapped boy and the disturbed woman. I'm not going to give away anything more.

Perfect aeroplane reading that lingers and nags in your head for days.

I dreamt last night I was imprisoning young Hunter Kennedy in the Noughties in my Cape apartment and all he had to do was sing for me and write poetry.

druk jou ore toe
dieselfde ding al weer
permanente sirenes
die klankbaan van ons lewens
sit jou suurstofmasker aan
jou kop tussen jou bene

selde bevredig
maar dikwels tevrede
met die wonderlike walglikheid
van ons oorlewing

dit was die moeite werd

net om jou gesig te sien

Tideline by Penny Hancock was originally published by Plume as Kept in the Dark and costs $6.98 at Amazon.

What are we listening to?

Fokofpolisiekar sing Ek skyn (Heilig):

♦ VWB ♦

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