Jeffreys Bay was a different place in the 1980’s. There were no fast food shops or 24 hour convenience stores at petrol stations. If you missed Trawlers or the Continental or the Pink Café, well you just waited until the next day for whatever you wanted.
Beers cost 70 cents at the Beach Hotel and 80 cents at the Savoy, the only two drinking holes in town. That meant if you had R 10 in your pocket you were in for a big evening. Friday nights were the night in J’Bay in those days and you just knew it was going to be good. Due to the fact that the Beach Hotel was cheaper, everyone started the night out there, before moving up Da Gama Road to the Savoy.
The pool tables at the Beach Hotel saw brisk trade as the local surfers and others started the ball rolling. The jols in J’Bay were so famous that the PE people used to come and party here. One night a guy called Sticks from PE challenged Clive Barber aka Chemical and I to a game of doubles.
Clive and I won easily and Sticks asked for another game and this one for R 10. We agreed and soon discovered he wasn’t known as Sticks for nothing. We were a good few balls down when Clive sidled up to me and asked if I got R10. “Nah I don’t bru”, was my reply as I had already broken my R 10 for the evening.
With a steely glint in his eyes Clive took the cue from me and proceeded to sink the rest of the balls on the pool table, handing us victory and leaving Sticks looking a bit bewildered as he handed over his money.
Then it was off to the Savoy where Sam Mieny used to play most Friday nights in the old bar at the swimming pool. J’Bay locals didn’t worry about traffic cops in those days as most made the trek up Da Gama Road by bicycle or by foot and Chris the traffic cop was very lenient on Friday nights anyway.
Sam was a surf musician of note and would normally start the evening with a few tunes by Cat Stevens or CSNY while warming up. By the time Sam got to Jethro Tull’s Aqualung and the local favourite Surfing Jeffreys Bay the bar would be rocking.
It used to seem that everyone from J’Bay was at the Savoy as surfers mixed with builders, shapers with shoe makers and fishermen with financial advisers. Sam put everything into his performances and broken guitar strings were the norm. Every break Sam would rush off home with a few of his mates in his trusty old Kombi to get more guitar strings and come back all fired up for the next set.
The J Bay band would then join Sam “the Jam” on stage. Eric “the Red” Naude, Chris “the Axeman” Van As and Tony “Montana” Den Hoed playing guitar with Pete “the Beat” Olsen on bongo drums and The Doctor on harmonica.
Sometimes a roving musician like Steve Walsh would also join the band. None of the music would distract Spuismuis and the Arrow from their quest of spading the PE girls who used to come to J’ Bay for the night, much to the awe of the other locals.
The bars used to close at 11 pm which suited the surfers as you could party hard and still get enough sleep for the dawn patrol the next morning. That’s if you decided not to go to the customary after party at Andy and Liefde’s house at the corner of St Francis Street after which many used to stumble down to the beach at dawn, much to the amusement of those who made it home earlier and were able to paddle out and catch some waves.