Think small with a Big Bang
A stick of dynamite should be placed under the grandstand at Turffontein. I'd like to light the fuse.
Before you call the bomb squad or the man with a straitjacket, let me say I wish no ill to horse racing, or to the many excellent people who work at Joburg's venerable racecourse.
It's just that I want to see that goddamn awful building reduced to rubble.
The stand complex was built in the late-1970s when attendance at Saturday meetings was counted in the tens of thousands and feature days drew more than 50000.
A lot of concrete was poured to create a facility to accommodate the masses, with views of the action and places to eat, drink and, most importantly, bet.
Today attendances are much reduced, due to factors we won't go into here, but we are still saddled with a concrete monolith that looms over the few hardy souls that frequent Turffontein.
In the UK they'd call it "a brutalist architectural gem" and arty folk would come and marvel. But we don't have many of 'em here, my bro'.
Being part of a big crowd of excited, shouty people adds an extra dimension to one's sporting enjoyment - as I experienced last week at London's Boleyn Ground watching the footie team I'm fated to follow.
But a largely empty, echoing stadium can have the opposite effect and take away from the thrill of seeing, for example, thoroughbred horses in full flight.
I don't want to put people off going to watch racing at Turffontein. It's still a lovely day out, but it could be so much better with more intimate facilities better tuned to today's consumers.
Recent letters to racing paper Sporting Post have aired views on how to revitalise the game.
One contribution in particular, by Oscar Foulkes, a winemaker and marketer, is most eloquent.
Oscar makes the point that, while prize money for horse owners keeps racing galloping, every cent of it comes from betting turnover. Therefore, punters are the primary customers - and the ones that must be kept happy.
He also says the magnificence of the horse is the "soul" of the racing brand. That implies current and new customers must be enticed to watch live racing. The lure of a winning bet is part of the attraction, sure, but the spectacle of live racing is unique and can be its selling point.
With many other entertainment options available, the on-course experience must be at least up to the standards of the competition.
Making do with a relic of the past in the form of the old Turfies grandstand doesn't cut it.
I don't know what the aforementioned dynamite charge costs, but it's an expense that must be borne.
After the Big Bang, the rubble can be fashioned into embankments from which a young, cool, new breed of fans can enjoy the thrills.
Lawns, garden umbrellas and swizzle sticks also feature in my vision for the "new" Big T.
Turffontein, tomorrow: PA - 1 x 1,7 x 5,7 x 1,4,7 x 1 x 2 x 3,6,7,10 (R48)