South Park Self

OK, that was funny

Does anyone remember the Peter Sellars movie The Party, which features him as a sweet but gormless Indian bit-part actor? The opening sequence involves him noticing his sandal has come undone and hopping across to a convenient spot on which to rest his foot, which turns out to be the T-piece plunger handle for the explosives which are about to completely destroy a huge Middle Eastern palace as a giant explosive set-piece in the film. They have, of course, one shot at it. He sets it off early, before the cameras are ready, and destroys the shot. High-jinks ensue.

So, Cape Town has just taken down the twin cooling towers for the Athlone power station, which have been a functionless landmark for as long as I can remember this city. There was a huge buzz about this. Everyone was planning picnics and parties and swopping good spots from which to go and watch the explosion. Rhodes Memorial and the UCT campus are undoubtedly crawling with people even as I speak. The zero-hour was 12 noon today, and the EL and I, in a vaguely interested but not particularly energetic sort of fashion, climbed up on the roof of the dining room, from which we can see the towers through the framework of a half-built parking garage (despite it being black with people, in retrospect it would have been the perfect vantage point), to watch. There was antici... pation as noon rolled around, despite the merry CT addition of a short, sharp shower of rain.

At about five to twelve there was a sort of minor distant rumble, and the towers, which I happened to be looking at at the time, quietly vanished, to be replaced with a cloud of dust. The EL happened to be looking elsewhere at that moment and missed it completely. It was absolutely the greatest anticlimax ever in the history of premature explosions: I swear, all over the city people must be cursing a blue streak because they didn't have their cameras running at the psychological moment. This is Cape Town, dammit. We're supposed to run late, not early.

Everyone now seems to be trooping sheepishly home. And I can't help feeling that somewhere there's a hapless minor functionary of the municipal explosives type who pressed the big red button in a frenzy of excitement five minutes early, and who is now chained upside-down in the scorpion pit while annoyed explosions rubberneckers pelt him with things.

I would imagine it'll be all over YouTube shortly, in much better views than I achieved. And probably accompanied by startled cursing. (Early one here, very shaky cam but up close, and a more professional one here, blindsided by the premature start so you only see the second tower coming down).
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Cape Town has just taken down the twin cooling towers for the Athlone power station

Ack!! I'll get lost between the airport and Rondebosch.

Where O where are the cooling towers of yesteryear?
I remember that film! It's the one where he talks to the parrot, saying "Birdie num-num". Not sure anything like that could be made today though.

The demolition of the cooling towers sounds like the "spectacular" meteor showers they occasionally predict, which turn out to be complete damp squibs. :)
You are absolutely right, both about the "birdy num num" and the fact that The Party and its Indian caricature is politically incorrect in the worst way. While the character is actually lovely and likeable and sweet, it's a howling stereotype in the best Goon Show tradition. Sigh. I always liked the bit with the elephant.
Bang on the money
You are absolutely correct on the cameras not running thing. Apparently the photo forums are filled with outraged messages about the premature bang :D.
Impressive that it was on youtube within 20 minutes of happening. Close to real-time, that.
Not quite within 20 mins, I came back and added the YouTube links about fifteen minutes after I actually posted. Still, within half an hour or so. As you say, impressive.
By my reckoning it was 35 minutes. I was refreshing every 30s or so, having chosen to watch online rather than from a rooftop.
and what's with a delay like that, anyway? I thought we were living in the future. Next time I demand online footage in less than 5 minutes.
The Party was a favourite for last-day-of-term when I was in school. I always felt a little sorry for the elephant, getting painted like that and paraded through a sea of chaos.

The early detonation was intentional. The demolition company had everything ready to go, a rain squall was heading their way, so they decided to blast early before it really did become a damp squib. Or so reports the Cape Times.
I suspect that's a cover-up for some inept official. Since the demolition took a whole 8 seconds to happen I really don't see what difference 4 minutes made. It only started actually raining about half an hour after the towers came down.
Re: Pff
Um, not as such. It was raining, off and on, at our place from about half an hour before the demolition; squalls kept on moving through. I think you're right, there wasn't one for a bit after noon, but they're incredibly difficult to predict.

I love the elephant bit in the The Party for the gentle rebuke offered by the Sellars character for precisely the reasons you state. Elephants have more dignity than that.
Re: Pff
When the engineering company engineering man came and gave a talk on campus the Thursday before, the following exchanges were heard (by me):
Q "What is the ideal weather for the demolition?"
A "The best weather would be a light drizzle as that would help settle the dust."
Q "Could you remind us of when the demolition will happen?"
A *leans in to micropone slightly dramatically* "12 sharp!"

I think there was a mess up and now everyone concerned is staunchly Sticking with the Story.
Remember The Party?
I (as Filmsoc president together with Winesoc) introduced "The Party" to UPE.
Hungover wols are extremely cute! although I can't help feeling the captions are a bit disrespectful.

I clearly have blog readers well trained to alert me to wollage opportunities - thank you.