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3. Scottburgh


Scottburgh Caravan Park was the site of the next, and most eventful gig. For reasons which I won't go into Linda MacGregor was bannished from the premises. In fact the whole gig was in jeopardy until the park manager was talked into believing that Linda wasn't really connected with either band..... Linda sings, plays lead guitar and composes for Leopard. Mind you, we'd had problems with that manager from the start, and more was yet to come. But in the meantime, the Corporals were faced with the problem of persuading Leopard to play without Linda, and after a great deal of persuasion, and a little Dutch courage, they decided to go for it.


With drummer Debbie Bell singing Linda's vocal parts, the girls played their best gig of the tour, with special praise due to Blanche O'Reilly, who played a delightful raunchy rythm guitar, and the rythm section of Debbie Bell and Sharlene Whitely.

By the time the Corporals got up for their second set, the crowd had shrunk to about twenty enthusiastic school kids. The Corporals were plaing an absolutely outrageous second set when our good friend the manager arrived again, this time with a not overly polite ultimatum to turn down the volume or stop. The Corporals stopped. The manager called the police.
The police arrived to find Leopard and The Corporals packing the equipment away whilst the manager ranted and raved. No sooner had they departed than they found themselves called back again.

By this time we had been given an hour to get off the premises, and as the original arrangement had been that the tour party could sleep in the hall, we felt that the ten rand deposit on the hall should be returned. Carl Raubenheimer went to discuss this point with the manager and received both the ten rand and a blow to the face.
So locked out of the park (the manager only returned the money when we were all off the premises), we all went off to sleep on the beach. We did this with permission from the Scottburgh police who seemed sympathetic towards us, and were always helpful and diplomatic.

4. Salt Rock

The next morning, shaking the sand from our shoes we headed north to Salt Rock. We arrived at Salt Rock Country Club, the venue for that evenings gig, to find a bowls tournament in progress. Here were two new wave bands about to play in one of those "last bastions of British colonialism" that are dotted around Natal. And at the annual Christmas fancy dress ball as well.

It was a brilliant gig for the Corporals. Because of the age and presumed inclinations of the audience, the Corporals decided to go easy on the volume and concentrate on playing a clean, tight set. Here was a chance to listen to the Corporals. The hall's acoustics were superb and the sound beautifully clear; I scrounged some beer money from the Leopard lasses and got into a somewhat less frenetic than usual Corporal Punishment.

They've got some great songs: 'Godess of Depression' is a sci-fi love song, 'Johnny's Conscience' tells of Johnny (natch) who murdered his wife, and 'Darkies' is an apocalyptic number that desperately warns of a black revolt. But not all the songs deal with such dark subject matter (oops - Herbie). 'In the night' is a look at nocturnal joys, and 'Rock 'n Rolls Royce' asks rock 'n roll where it's gone and implores it to come back. The Corporals were well received by the club members, a number of whom came up to the band and payed them genuine compliments, "but can't you play us a foxtrot?"

Leopard came on and played a set devoid of subtleties and finesse. They showed an inability to play at anything less than flat out, and were generally sloppy, noisy and disappointing in comparison to thier performances at Marina Beach and Scottburgh, those two gigs representing the peak of Leopard's performance on the tour.

Towards the end of the evening the older club members departed and the Corporals, left with a much younger crowd for the final set, decided to let their hair down a little and have some fun. The audience obviously thought this to be a splendid idea because they decided to cash in on the act and took the shine off the dance floor. So much fun was had, in fact, that the corporals had to play four encores. A fifth, though much in demand, was out of the question after a pint of draught was spilt over Mark's organ, causing it to produce noises that a whole battery of moogs and ARP's would struggle to reproduce.
The Organ was beyond immediate repair, and thus the Corporals were reduced to a four piece for the rest of the tour.

5. Richards Bay

Coincicidentally, Leopard were also reduced to a four piece for the gig at Richards Bay when Blanche O'Reilly, who was suffering from bronchitis, was unable to play, and Karen Peck drank herself into oblivion. This time round, Sharlene Whitely sang the the missing vocal part.
Generally speaking, it was a bum gig. Neither band played at their best, and the people of Richard's Bay weren't into paying for their live entertainment. Instead, they decided to watch through the halls large windows. When the windows were boarded up, they all decided to go home. So didwe, home in this case being a small holiday flat owned by Sharlene's father. We crammed twenty sleeping bodies into that flat. Is this a record? It felt like one.

6.Umhloti Beach

Umhloti Beach was much more fun. We arrived a day early and spent that day relaxing, swimming and lusting for a cold beer, which we didn't get till the next afternoon when the Corporals set up and the rest of us sunned ourselves around the Selection Hotel's pool. Many thanks for the beer Marion!

But what about the gig? Well the audience wasn't much better than at Richard's Bay, but they did at least pay and there were three guys in the crowd who were incredibly enthusiastic (and also in a state of altered consciousness). Both bands were rather loose, especially Leopard who were unable to play a second set due to the sudden unwillingness and subsequent departure of Linda MacGregor and Debbie Bell. The undoubted high point of the evening was the Corporal's last number, 'She's so Positive' which saw Mark Bennet taking the bass guitar over from Carl, who proceeded to front the band in a most dynamic fashion.

7 ,,,and finally Durban.

And so it was into Durban for the last gig of the tour. Swingles was where it all happened. And if the crowd was small, at least it was enthusiastic. A pleasant surprise was a jam by Dead Babies' Budgie, on bass and vocals, and Patrick Dilemma and Sydney Good of The Gents on guitar and drums. They only gave us three numbers, but if this is a taste of what The Gents are like, then give me more! Particularly noteworthy was Patrick's sparkling guitar work, which was amazing when you consider that his regular instrument is bass.

Leopard played a mediocre set, neither good nor bad, and seemed rather disinterested and tired of playing. However they received a lot of applause from the audience that consisted predominantly of Durban new wave fans, a bunch that I found just as plastic as the "disco bagels" that they run down. The difference between the disco and new wave fans in Durban seems to be that the disco fans dance from side to side, whilst their new wave counterparts move vertically.

The new wave contingent, quite predictably, went absolutely gaga for the Corporals. Admittedly they did play well, but I don't think our new wave friends know the difference between a bad and a good gig. This was "new wave", a rather nebulous categorisation anyway, so it had to be good. They even bayed like rabid dogs for 'Darkies', a song that a lot of them had never even heard and which had the whole damn club pogoing.


Question: Other than the aforementioned directional difference, what, if anything distinguishes the Pogo from the Spanish Hustle?
Personally, I couldn't find one. I thought the music was good, so I did my usual thing in my usual fashion.

And the Corporals? They just play the music and and don't sweat about the rest. And maybe that's what this thing called rock 'n roll is about. Play the music and don't sweat about the rest.
Corporal Punishment are a rock 'n roll band. And that's a good thing to be.

 

 

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