So read the headline on the Daily Voice this morning. All in big capitals. Just like I did in the title there.

The story behind the headline is – perhaps unsurprisingly – nowhere near as catchy, concerning the death of a Paarl man after he (drank several litres of cheap wine and) ate an expired tin of pilchards.

The expiry date on the can clearly states the contents are not to be eaten after 2005. But Flip “Billy” Blou, 41, was too drunk to notice and ate his fill on Sunday.

Within hours he died a painful death, bleeding from the ears, mouth and nose.

His friend Henry Fransman also helped himself to the expired fish after drinking heavily with Flip. He is now recovering in hospital.


Drinking buddy Vuyani Goniwe, 36, said the day had started out pleasantly.

He told the Daily Voice they had each contributed R10 towards buying a R30, five-litre bottle of Cape Best wine and shared it at the Never-Never tavern.

“We were all very drunk that day but the two of them were worse, they could not even walk,” saidVuyani. “They were carried out in a wheelbarrow. We had been drinking together the whole day.”

“Cape Best Wine”? At R6 a litre? “Best”. Right.

Goniwe said he suspects the fish, and not the wine, caused his friends to get violently ill.

Ah – the old “dodgy kebab” excuse. Yeah. Been there, used that. Never after drinking 5 litres of wine and coming home in a wheelbarrow though. That’s something a little different. Nice twist.

From a microbiological point of view, I was interested. With bleeding from the ears, mouth and nose, one immediately suspects viral haemorrhagic fever, but that seems a little unlikely in Paarl. With canned food, one immediately suspects Clostridium perfringens, but the symptoms of that particular bug don’t usually even include vomiting, let alone vomiting blood.
Most of the symptoms here are far more consistent with severe alcohol poisoning, but who on earth could even consider that given the facts detailed above?

More concerning still is the final line of the story in which Minister Alan Winde states that:

the next step would be to wait for the results of the autopsy to establish exactly what had killed the two men.

only one of whom has actually died.

4 thoughts on “PILCHARDS OF DOOM

  1. Ha ha ha, very funny, you’ve a good turn of phrase and are surprisingly articulate (for a rooinek). More funny stories please, ESP about Von Ulmenstein, who I hear is looking for you as she would like to bite you on the penis.

  2. I should add, dear readers, that the death of this man, whether by piss or pilchard, is sad and unnecessary.

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