Getting Kandie Caned!

The Lola Boys said farewell to Negombo with heavy hearts – and even heavier heads.  They had certainly made some new friends via Andy, an old mate who had once booked them for a few gigs in Gibraltar. 

He had got them acquainted to locals of every kind. 

Wineshops, women and song. 

A marvellous part of the delightful company to whom they’d been introduced was Jason – or rather, ‘Kandie’, Negombo’s resident drag queen.

Paul and Andrew were all too aware that fellow performers could sometimes be less than generous when it came to their fellow men – or ‘women’!  But Jason had been thrilled to meet ‘The Lola Boys’ and immediately invited them up to join his show at ‘Lords’, a rather trendy downtown nightspot, to do a couple of numbers.  Neither Andrew or Paul had any intention of hitting the stage whilst in Sri Lanka, unless it was one drawn by horses and heading West.  But they were easy to coach once the ‘Lion’ beer had done its  trick.  Paul only hoped that everyone else had been roaring drunk too and therefore had no memory of his rendition of ‘The Way We Were’! Or his partner’s take on ‘Sway’, which he’d obviously decided to sing in Swahili.  A language Paul had no idea Andrew was familiar with. Still, it had been diverting.  And the boys had, surprisingly, been offered a gig the following day performing for a Swedish couples’ wedding at one of the posher resorts in the resort.  

Something they chose not to resort to.  

Not yet.  

They were in ‘traveller’ mode after all and had both thrown lazy larynxes into their backpacks. But sometimes they just couldn’t resist a Mike when it was offered up and they were face down!

A couple of days later, as they walked along a languid lane of small guesthouses perspiring fiercely, they came across an ‘Ayurvedic’ centre.  Ayurveda being the traditional medicine of the island of Sri Lanka.

‘I could really do with a massage’, Andrew said on seeing the dubious signage.

‘What? Now?’ asked Paul,’ perspiring profusely, I thought we were heading to that coffee place for wifi and a waffle.’

‘No. Not now. I’m just gonna see,’ Andrew answered, whilst deviating from their chosen path and wandering onto the drive of the small and shabby looking house.

Before he had reached the entrance there was a horrific shriek which came from inside the establishment.  Andrew took no notice and maintained his snail’s pace towards the entrance.  Then it came again – a howl of agony that sounded much like a fox fornicating.

‘I wouldn’t touch that place with a bloody barge pole’,  Paul shouted to Andrew, ‘not if they’re gonna do that to you.’

With that note of wisdom he continued to stroll on not wanting to involve himself in his partner’s masochistic affairs.  If he wanted pain that was up to him.  There were times Paul understood that a little discomfort was rather pleasing – but he wasn’t gonna pay for it.  Besides the screams emanating from the massage parlour sounded more excruciating than exhilarating.

Suddenly there was another shout, only this time from Andrew.

‘Paul’, he yelled,  ‘ it’s Jason!’

Paul turned back towards the shaded compound and followed where Andrew had lead.  Once inside the venue he knew Andrew’s words to be true.  It was Kandie the cabaret queen who was giving the pained performance. A.K.A. Jason.  He was seated uncomfortably on a treatment table whilst an elderly but strong looking practitioner was attempting to manipulate his arm.  No wonder poor Jason was in agony.  Paul was no expert but it didn’t take a medic to see that one part of the poor guy’s arm was facing North and the other, due south.  It was quite clearly fractured. Hence Jason’s fractious tones as the healer attempted to put it back into place.

‘Ow, ow! Oh fuck!’ he screamed , ‘no I can’t let you do that.  You’re a lovely lady, but I think I need a hospital.’

The ‘doctor’ looked confused, and tried once again to see if there were a way she could make Jason’s torn limb look something like an arm again.

‘Fuck!’ Oh I’m so sorry,’ spat Jason, attempting politeness whilst clearly in agony, ‘I can’t let you do that. You are lovely though. You’re a lovely lady!’

He turned to Paul and Andrew for their advice.

‘I need a hospital don’t I?’

The boys couldn’t help but agree.  Kandie looked like she’d never lift a microphone again!

‘Yes. Definitely’ Paul assured him, ‘I think you’ll be in plaster later.’

With that he searched through his trusty traveller’s pharmacy of emergency medical supplies in an attempt find something to get Kandie plastered. 

She needed something for the pain. 

Eventually he found something to get Kandie caned and shoved them into her gob.  It was only a couple of strong aspirin and ten milligrams of valium that he had kicking about – but he thought it may stop her from doing the same.

‘Can you stick ‘em in me gob for me?’ Jason asked, he had no hands after all as he was using the one good one to hold the bad one  in place.

‘I need something.  I mean this is all ‘olistic innit?’ stated Jason in his best south London accent. ‘I need anaesthetic. I need to go to the hospital.’

Paul and Andrew both agreed with his diagnosis. 

Yet still the practitioner looked highly confused.  She took Paul’s arm and demonstrated what she had planned for Jason’s. It looked like a rather tortuous treatment. And somewhat experimental!

It was enough to convince the poor bugger that the emergency room was definitely the better option

Paul and Andrew’s last sight of Jason/Kandie was as he/she rattled off in a tuktuk to make make his /her bumpy and painful journey to the hospital.

The following day the boys left for Galle.  An old Dutch colonial settlement on Sri Lanka’s south coast which was famous for it’s historic fort and culture.  On arrival the only culture Paul had recognised was that in the yogurt ice cream! All flavours were available at the overpriced trendy parlours abutting the pretentious art galleries and spa shops!  The fortified old town was akin to Sri Disney. 

Fraudulent but effective. 

Crumbling colonial architecture serving crumble!

And pizza! 

T’was galling to say the least.  

European tourists traipsed around in silence and satin not a smile between them.  Paul thought it dry and archaeological. Nothing like the time they had spent with Kandie.

 It took a day or two for Paul to fall for Galle’s charms.  

Or rather, an early morning.  

He and Andrew had woken at 4am, a danger ever-present in the East when the sun rises with a vengeance , and walked her decrepit city walls.  As the Indian Ocean crashed noisily into the battlements and the solar orb decided to peak through the rude early morning cloud, Galles’s beauty was there to behold.

It was still lovely – despite the avocado smoothies.!

And still! 

Other than the odd Sri Lankan jogging by or doing press ups against a defunct Dutch canon. 

They were both mesmerised.

The real Galle, out side of the old city walls, was altogether quite different.

Paul and Andrew had left the safety of their fortress one morning and headed into the melee on the search for beer and flip flops.  They’d endured the asphyxiating heat, whilst suffocating in surgical masks, and negotiating proper south asian traffic. Mechanical and human.  It had been exhilarating. Less deathly than what lay inside the privileged walls in which they’d shacked up.

Eventually though, the torpidity got the better of them and they tuktuked it back to their digs amid the dig.  The air was more tolerable there even if the atmosphere was stuffy.

They ate ten dishes of curry for the price of a pilau rice in London, and jumped under their mosquito nets to sleep – unperturbed by not joining the melee of millennials enjoying their vegan falafel!

The next day Paul and Andrew  jumped into another three wheeler and headed further south.  They were to stay in the home of a family who resided in the less fashionable jungle just behind the the tourist resort of Unawatuna. A tropical paradise, apparently, which had been discovered yet retained an ‘appeal’.

As they trundled further inland, away from the main drag and over the railway tracks, they had no idea  just how much appeal.

Or the nature of it.

But they were about to find out.

And they had no idea they were going to fall in love with Sri Lanka.

Paul and Andrew were at the crossroads!

But they were both unsure of which side of the tracks they might choose?

They really had no idea!

But the candy was good.

And they were both like kids in a sweet shop!


  1. Nice one Paul & Andrew.
    My wife Helene and I loved Sri Lanka – she was on an Ayurveda retreat!
    I was mostly in a bar
    All the best and hope to see you both in Sotogrande this summer
    David x

    Liked by 1 person

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