Swinging’ Safari on Spotify

The mountains are startling this morning. They are cut glass sharp. And they seem closer, as if inching up on one another in a duel, lances drawn.

I imagine, on days like this, that I can see climbers haul their weary way up Kili’s summit, Kibo, that I can see their dark shapes scale her Snow White head.

I imagine I can see right into Meru’s crater, it blew its top millennia again.

I imagine, as they near one another, that I’m judging this impossible face-off: which is the more beautiful?

I write listening go Swingin’ Safari, courtesy of Spotify. I can see the LPs cover in my mind’s eye. I can recall sliding the record from its sleeve, giving it a polish on my own to remove the dust and I remember putting in on the turntable and gently lowering the needle and waiting for the crackle over the scratches before Bert Kaempfert and his orchestra struck up.

And I see Dad twist his way into the room and I watch him pull mum to her feet and gather her up and together they dance – she laughs, ‘oh Jim, you are silly!’ and he smiles back at her and I am briefly, a child, embarrassed at a love which feels palpable and in that moment, exclusive.

And then, mum got sick, and the music stopped.

Then she got sick again. And again. And again. And her illness became like a record that goes round and round and because it’s been so badly scratched – because it hasn’t been kept carefully in its protective sleeve, because it’s old and tired, because it might have even been dropped – the needle jumps when it strikes a deep cut in the vinyl, there is a tortured screech and then, because the needle is trapped and can’t budge, the lyrics repeat themselves wearily, a tiresome whine. Depression is like that: a broken record; just as you get into the swing of things, just as the words and the melody are falling into place in your head, you are reminded that
things aren’t perfect after all.

And the thing about broken records is that they are impossible to fix.

You’d throw them out if you didn’t love the music so much.

A Swingin' Safari (Bert Kaempfert & His Orchestra) - GetSongBPM

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