domingo, 26 de abril de 2015

Caravan (12) Mid-June 1967

      I´ve surfaced from the basement and sat down on the steps of my caravan, trying to digest my experience of the last couple of hours. A huge, yellow moon rises over Overlook, making the mountain appear as an animal lying at its feet.

      My ears still ring with the chords of Waltzing with Sin: played half-way through the session, twice no pauses, and at times – I´m thinking now, didn´t really notice it then- the voice of Dylan had an almost outlandish aplomb for someone who has just turned twenty-six. My eyes have been etched with a series of images of men and instruments assembled in a camaraderie which blots out the outside world. The basement has become through their music a sonic submarine navigating the waters of joy. I´ve spent a couple of hypnotic hours there, and having just emerged – forgive myself my brimming with stressed words- and not having quite caught my breath, I hear Richard´s voice call out behind me.

      - Good evening, Nar. How was the trip today?
      - Hi Richard. It was fabulous. Sad you weren´t there....
     - Well, I stayed upstairs, sleeping, and then went out to the woods, you know, to think about my „Upstairs, Downstairs“ ...
      - Yeah, how are the lyrics coming on?
     - So so. It´s difficult to capture that nebulous image, I was telling you about the other day, in words, you know, Dylan going up and coming down and sometimes apparently suspended between two levels ... He has a way of floating the rest of us can only dream of doing … How about getting that guitar of yours out?
      - Alright. You want something to drink?
      - I´ll go. I´ll get us a bottle and some paper. Back soon.

     Somewhere between unsteady and nimble on his bare feet, he walks over to the house and returns with an amber coloured bottle with a pretty red sash.

     - Here´s the guitar, I say, handing it to him whilst he passes me the bottle.
      - Grand Marnier. You like it?
      - I don´t know, never tried it.
     - Well, from now on you´ll always be in my debt, you´ll see, he says with conviction and more than a little irony, whilst he starts strumming my guitar.

      I go into the caravan and bring out my two best glasses and some ice.

      - Serve it as is, it´s better without.

      So I do. He takes his glass, looks at it for a moment and then lifting it, proposes a toast.

      - To „Nar of the Caravan“, chance visitor to a surreal basement!

      We both laugh before our first sip, which delivers into my mouth the dense and bitter essence of oranges from another world.

      - Fuck, that´s good!, I exclaim in surprise.
     - Told you it would be, you´ll always thank me for it, he says draining his glass, with a smile. And now, listen: „Upstairs, Downstairs“, umpteenth version.

      The five chords of the song I heard a few days ago have been adorned with arpeggios and some changes of rhythm; the text is slowly shaping around a chorus which brings out the bluer shades of his voice. When he finishes, he keeps his eyes on the moon, which has left a narrow gap now over the mountain. I dare not break the silence but pour another drink and wait for him to return. When he does, he lights up a smoke. The flame of the match lights up his bottomless eyes. After a couple of tokes, avoiding comments on the song, he surprises me again with an unexpected turnaround.

      - That thing around your neck, Nar... You were right, it does look like mine, he says pouring himself another glass.

      I need a few seconds to come up with an unequivocal reply that does not sound too rude.

      - I am sorry, but this time it´s me who doesn´t want to talk about it. It´s not the right moment, you know?
      - That´s Ok. I understand. Better to share the good times, right?, he says offering me a light and another almost full glass of that orange and affable liqueur which – I somehow know- will always taste of longing for a night such as this.

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