I went comet spotting last night. So did half of Cape Town, apparently.
Few people can resist the pull of a free show, so I wasn’t entirely surprised to see the hordes of curious Capetonians lining the Armco barrier on Victoria Road above Oudekraal just after sunset.
I joined the throngs of stargazers all squinting hopefully towards the southwest horizon. As the colour slowly drained from a sky that remained obstinately comet-free, self-styled experts tried to out-do one another with stupid stories about the appearance of Halley’s comet in 1986. By the way, it’s pronounced HAL-ee, not fucking HAY-lee, okay? I know how easy it is to get Bill Haley confused with Edmond Halley – especially since rock ‘n’ roll and astronomy are virtually indistinguishable from one another, but if I can overcome that hurdle, then anyone can.
When comet McNaught eventually put in an appearance, I thought it was awesome – in the literal sense of the word. Sadly, some of my temporary companions were less impressed than I was. Mutterings like, “…is that all?” filled the air as they slouched off to their cars and headed home to watch DSTV.
How can something as naff as a comet possibly hope to compete with that?