Saturday, 14 March 2015

Soul Journey

Christ what a day.

“Do you want some more cheese?” she asked.

“No”, I said. “I want Gillian Welch”.

I didn’t really say it, did I?

This was Birmingham. Well, not exactly Birmingham, but close enough. A local village where everyone wanted to talk about football. I ordered green tea in a pub, some faceless barman laughed at me, and I said I knew nothing about Birmingham FC. At that time I was learning “The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock” by heart and wanted to talk about Samuel Beckett. “Daunting”, they said. Fucking country folk.

Then we came to her place, and straight away I could see she was a Bruce Springsteen fan. “The Boss” was everywhere. On posters, on CDs, in her carefully chosen words. I didn’t care for Springsteen, nor for her dodgy record collection. Soul Journey by Gillian Welch caught my eye, and I tried to remember why. Album of the month in some centuries-old British rag? Could be. I recognised the cover.

She was fond of cheese. She knew everything about cheese, and she invited me to her kitchen where Cheddar and Brie and Camembert were all cut into small pieces and served on a number of plates, trays and bread-boards. We began eating and talking. Mostly talking. “Take one CD from my collection”, she said. “But just one”. Well, there was one. Also, I liked the idea.

“Do you want some more cheese?” she asked.

“Yes”, I said.

The cheese was good, though not nearly as good as Soul Journey by Gillian Welch whose “One Monkey” remained my favourite song in that long-gone August and many more years to come. 

That night, I lay in bed reading Wasteland. Thinking Christ what a day.