You wouldn’t believe how long it’s taking me to import blogs to this site from last year. And every now and again, I find a spot of text that deserves to blight the front page once more. This is from Christmas ’09 and celebrates the presence in my life of a certain South African:
Who better to conjure up a jolly yo ho ho, eh? Just the name “Namibian” connotes a jocular, doughy form brimming with platitudes, doesn’t it? A veritable, clownish Goliath of a man? A corpulent chap with a club foot? Dear old Namibian may be all of these things and more, but he never fails to bring a smile to one’s face. He lights up another’s countenance like no other, and asks nothing in return. Though lamentably incompetent, and as far from apple-cheeked as a human can be, he nevertheless possesses beguiling characteristics. Hang on, I’ll try and think of one…
Seriously, his cheerful spirit and ineffably entertaining quotes have becalmed many a fraught moment this year; in the face of adversity, he has diffused situations simply by saying something utterly absurd. Yes, I’ve led him around Europe, and bought him the occasional collectible thimble while he lies supine in his truck, but his generosity has remained boundless. Let’s doff our trilbys, and say Happy Christmas, to the man whose antics have provided us with so many guffaws this year. Let’s also celebrate Namibian’s birthday, by rewinding to July on the U2 tour 2009. And how convenient that he looks – with his gargantuan frame and preternaturally sunny disposition – like the quintessential Santa Claus. Yo ho ho. I, for one, love him to bits.
Be honest, you thought Namibian was in his sixties, didn’t you? No, no, no. You’re a rotten lot. Had you looked closely over the last couple of months, you would have noticed a dashing exuberance and purple fetlocks, surely indicators of ebullient youth. In fact he has only just turned fifty. Yes, Big Boy has reached the half-century and, by my calculations, has a good six years left before succumbing to the inevitable. As you know, there are only two certainties in life – and he’s already paying taxes. ‘You’ll be dead at forty,’ he snaps back, as though I’ve hit a nerve. Honestly, where this unwarranted vitriol comes from, I just can’t imagine.
We are celebrating his big day in a car park in Milan, sprawled in deckchairs beside fifty-four articulated trucks. ‘I’m Peter Pan,’ he gasps youthfully, through a fug of cigarette smoke. Really? I don’t remember “the boy that never grew up” having quite such an insatiable appetite for whisky – or even whiskey, come to think of it – and Cola. And I could have sworn Peter was slimmer, with hair less like a toilet brush. I’ll tell you what, though: Namibian really is losing weight now we’re into hot weather. As his shorts slide ever southwards, the rest of the U2 crew are submitted to a grotesque daily spectacle as he cycles past. On this score alone, he’s overqualified for a position in the construction industry.
Though he intends to be forty-nine for ever, and swears blind that he’s Peter Pan, any lingering misapprehensions as to his identity quickly evaporate: he pours another whisky – polluting it with a tin of pop – and swears colourfully. And if language and alcohol were not evidence enough, Namibian cannot fly – it’s simple physics. Even with the secret ingredient of a McDonald’s pizza (with chips on top) inside him, he remains on terra firma. Rather more firma than he’d intended, actually. Namibian is drunk; the bicycle is a stupid idea in his condition; a fellow trucker’s deckchair is crushed to a pulp.
Many Happy Returns, old pest..