A Boeing Dreamliner thunders overhead, stirring up clods of rocks and rootlets, which spray around me like stinging nettles. Excited American and Euro-tourists gape and point at the harsh, rugged landscape, hardly noticing the lonesome climber a-cringe in the crevices.

A white rabbit, with more resources and middle class ingenuity, inches past me, on a crude pulley, gesturing and shouting 'ZeitGeist - conspiracies up ahead~' 


Alone, cold, mostly hungry, I struggle on, in an orbit of  my own, fingers split and bleeding. Stopping to look down, wary of the mess I'd leave behind, A royal entourage, followed closely by boistrous paparazzi, drifts past in a gold latex WWII Zeppelin, with a logo which reads 'Good Year'. The occupants, quaffing shooters and sporting state-of-the art movie cameras,  smile, point and wave benignly down at me, popping pictures. 


Unannounced, construction scavengers and earthmovers are fracking out great swathes of rock, hampering my progress, easier to see deeper down into the chasm  - Greatoothed goblins reach down with gnarled claws, grabbing menacingly at my ankles. A youth in a rickety wheelchair, labelled 'HIV rocks - MAKE WAY' inches past – looking steadfastly up ahead. Greedily, I eye the billycan of water nestling in his lap …. He doesn’t notice me. Jim Morisson straddles a ragged ravine, belting out 'riders on the storm'.


And so it is that this seemingly senseless journey continues – hard to go forward, impossible to go back.I gag on the aftertaste of my morning rations. It hard to swallow;  kidneys are stiff and throat rasps. 


Finally a modest ledge.. rest briefly  in the pale sunlight, squinting up at the blurred sky – spent, scorched. No summit in sight.  In the far distance I hear the plaintive cries of my children saying ‘mom, please, please come back down, we need, you =- we loooooove you’ . The wind rips their voices into helpless echoes.

There are fewer predatory eagles and raptors as I had anticipated high up here - vultures, however. circle and swoop and eye my flesh … I 'm beyond caring ….


Clearly this is potentially another landscape of broken dreams, cracked rocks, strained roots and crevices, through which I am going to have to fight my way – Strangely I feel a weird peace - the peace of the eye of the vortex. I find myself replenished, from nothing but will – feel I should get up,  scurry and scramble now, sweating, breathless,  knowing that at least here I cannot fall – and just maybe I could claw my way, not to the top, but to the other side!

Diaries of a Big Wall Dancer


February 2011 





Fingers negotiate .,. an unwieldy, callused rockface, final part-inch of a cliff summit - there appears to be a fleeting ledge ... somehow, at the slimy point-line of this dank perpetual precipice. It's been seemingly eons of slitheree, being,  now vs then ... painstaking, point-summitless ascent ... pauses sans applauses... pledge to the edge. ;. waiting, thinking (wtf), planning, brittle breathing, dying, crying ... clambering, aching ... echoes of exhalation ....  breaking...rethinking, repatterning, RE-ACTIONING .... re-cognising, organising, organicising, re-senting, re-solving ... unconTainable


The jagged cliff walls are damp, mossly-covered, gloomy gust b 'cold ... each strain'd breath signals the prescriptive advent of the end of an arduously impossibilised journey. Dogged by gremlins and goblins of the crevice world; the higher it gets, the more treacherous. Looking down into a disquieting vortex,  one wrong step could signal the end .... Way  up here, drops of cold, leaden water splatter a-face, dank, airless suffocating - the options are obfusely limiting. copious contours of contradiction. 'Lifestyle' as in Capetonian revolving-door cyclistas,  takes on grim new meaning - It's increasingly hard to breathe in this alien landscape, reserved for the quintessentially insane, the die'termined the ignominiously ambitious.


Over the years multitudes have clambered, swung, swept and slithered upwards past me; some in cabled cars - others drift by in bloated helium balloons, belabelled 'BEE - HAIL OUR STRUGGLE, SUPPORT OUR RACE AND WRITE A CHECK!'. Whirring helicopters wind me;  clacking, fast tracking themselves on a fundamentalised round trip to Nirvana. The rest in well-stocked 4x4’s - wholesome, happy families; picnicking, waving and leering down at the slow, painful progress of the crazed, flaked rake. None pause or turn back to offer a hand - wouldn’t have let them anyway. The stench of credit cards and diesel disarms and kilters me off balance. Falling, or letting go, however,  is not an option.

The journey is not eased by bible-punchers, do-gooders and sanskrit sellouts along the way. Often, it feels it would be easier,  tempting  even, to just let go and fall into the sweet warm honey arms of the abyss. Become the hearsay of hypocrites, purveyors and proponents of deception  …  'Come and do the 12 steps, you'll reach greater heights!' urge the narc junkies – snowed under by their day packs and ice picks, wrenched haphazardly into the rock -  Many of them have friends, family, neighbours and loved ones who have ceased their own journeys and are now camped in gay little communes around their ‘heroes',  fanatically punting their books, biographies, artworks; nibbling on buzzfeed laced with prozac. 


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