In Billy Monk, Lin Sampson, Jac de Villiers and David Goldblatt tenderly tell the story of Billy Monk – a hard-living, diamond-diving, crayfish-poaching, safe-cracking, over-sexed bouncer who crammed a lot of living into a short life … and took extraordinary photographs in a nightclub (The Catacombs) in Cape Town during the ’60s.
Do you remember that feeling as a child when your parents had dinner parties? Hovering at the doorway trying to understand the grown-ups’ conversations, falling asleep with a longing, knowing you’d missed out on something glamorous?
Looking at Monk’s photographs that feeling came back to me, a longing for something unattainable. The feeling that I’d missed out on something, something tawdry, tatty, forbidden, but authentic. Here are photographs of men kissing tired women who wear shabby shoes.
A fat “broad” sitting on the lap of a sailor flaunts thick thighs, skin falling over a suspender belt, her eyes shut in bliss, as he smiles knowingly at the camera. A pretty girl wearing white underwear dances in a cage. Remember the Tom Waits song, ‘Looking for the Heart of a Saturday Night’? This is it, the heart of a Saturday night.
- Bubbles is published by Penguin Books SA