We sped along the highway with one goal—deliver the meat. Stephen and the Flat World Society (FWS) guys were recording at SABC Studios and Rodriguez was doing a live radio session next door. FWS had won Battle of the Bands and the prize was to record at SABC. It was a big deal.
The plan (my plan—the guys barely knew Rodriguez) was to get into the SABC (as band photographer, I had a pass) and sneak into the Rodriguez sesh. But I had to deliver the meat first.
A Spur in the West Rand had placed an order with my dad’s butchery in Edenglen. I blitzed. Pulling into the parking, the handbrake was barely up and I was out the door looking hurtling toward the entrance to the restaurant. I didn’t see Dave, which was weird because he was expecting us. I asked anyone I could find, “Where’s Dave, he needs to sign for the meat?” I was pointed to the restaurant floor, and Dave. The TVs were on—not sport or Isidingo but New York City; smoke, rubble, despair. I walked up to him, “Marcus.The world is ending. It’s World War 3.”
Dave signed for the meat, in a daze.
I listened to the radio the whole way to the SABC studio.
What was happening? The whole thing was insane—terrorists, people jumping, towers collapsing…
I made it to Rodriguez that day.
Like I said, it was no problem getting into the FWS recording studio. I asked the bosses if we could sneak in and take a peak at Rodriguez—I’d grown up with him in my head because my parents loved the guy. Even though we knew Darryl Torr, who was running the Rodriguez sesh, the SABC guys wouldn’t give us permission. But life is funny sometimes…
…so Paul (FWS drummer) is recording the drumming part and the band and girlfriends, plus me, are all jamming PlayStation, waiting for Paul to be done. There’s a knock on the door. We answer. Who’s standing there? Rodriguez. No joke. He asks us if we have wine. We don’t. But I mean…here’s Rodriguez (in South Africa, in a studio next door, at our door) so I ask him if we could come and watch his sesh—that my parents love him and it would be the coolest thing ever. Rodriguez says, “Sure, do they have wine?” Laughing, I say, “Uh—probably?” He says, “Let’s call them.”
I give Rodriguez my dad’s phone, which I have borrowed for the day—a green flip Sony Ericsson, and he calls my mom, “Hey beautiful…”—he gets as far as that and my mom just knows.
We shot the shit with Rodriguez that day—talked junk, took photos. A usual but not-usual day in Joburg…while half-way across the planet terror was changing the world. I’m a photographer – I was studying at the time – and all I had on me was an analogue camera (digital what?) and six photos left on it. I took one of us and the rest of him in sesh. They’re dark and moody. Perfect.
I’ve visited Ground Zero—the immensity of One World Trade Center and the all too familiar high rises of Lower Manhattan do not overwhelm the sad space of two empty squares. Water flows into two chasms, trickling beneath…filling the void.
As I look into the space that is and remember what was, I think about that day—delivering meat for my dad, and the names of the 2,977 immortalised on the footprint of catastrophe invade my memory. I barely notice the tears. They are peripheral.
It’s a strange thing for my mind to conjur Rodriguez at the door asking for wine and then calling my mom…and then this. Now.
Although I had my camera with me, I didn’t shoot any photos of the memorial itself. In fact, I’ve visited this memorial three times and never shot a photo—it seems transgressive and intuitively wrong. But I have pointed my camera to the sky; the perspective breaks my heart every time.
Storyteller: Marcus Maschwitz
Author: Andrea Zanin
Marcus Maschwitz lives in Hastings with his wife and daughter, shooting band photos and telling stories with his camera. He’s lived in the UK since 2009.