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Many years ago, on Alleppey Express,
Unable to sleep, I stood at the door,
Looking at the stars, humming INXS,
And spied on the top berth, a lovely F24.

Last week I saw Dasvidaniya, the ten-things-to-do-before-I-die movie. At the end of the movie the cast talks about their bucket lists, and amongst the usual see-a-new-place, be-a-better-dad stuff Suchithra Pillai stood out, and I quote, “get together with all of my friends…whom I’ve been in touch with ever since I was a child…one big get-together before I go”. I couldn’t sleep, what an idea, a big bang before I conk, that would be something…I started calling, texting, mailing, scrapping, poking ‘all the girls I knew when I was single’

Do you remember an inn, (deleted),
Beside the sluggish Ouse,
The wide grey sky, and the pigeon-pie,
Two very old canoes
In a corrugated shed
Behind bamboos?
Do you remember the kisses,
The novels left unread,
The moorhens’ cry and the clouds piled high,
The home-made ginger bread?
And the abundant blisses
Of that brass bed?

Most of the replies were on the lines of…

Not the inn, nor the place,
Nor the dance, nor your face,
Nor the fleas. Will you please
Understand that I’m ageing, bourgeois, and am waging
A war to keep up
(On income diminished, I’m socially finished and lonely as hell);
That girl who went prancing and glancing and dancing
Through your fields of wild oats
Was not I.
I’m lined and refined and my husband is kind
But quite cold
A wife who has bedded on straw in the raw he’d abhor.
’Tis a lie, ’twasn’t I;
Ask no more.

The stuff in blue above is not mine (of course!). The verses are from one of my fav books, Peacocks & Commas, Spectator competition’s greatest hits collection, choke full of wit and verbal dexterity. Example: Hamlet summarised in three limericks, Kafka rewritten Wodehouse-style, poems in praise of the lavatory.

Peacocks & Commas was edited by Joanna Lumley. She was big in Britian in the ‘50s – model, actress, TV star, Bond babe. (Recently she was in the news again, celebrating some Gorkha immigration case verdict).

Thanks Joanna.

Credits: Do you remember an inn – Ginger Jeleneck, Not the inn, nor the place – Mrs. MG Lloyd.

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We grew up on a rich diet of diverse sounds – Bryan Adams, America, Beatles, Bread, Clapton, CCR, CSNY, Dire Straits, Purple, Doors, Dylan, Eagles, Elvis, Hendrix, Marley, Floyd, Queen, Santana, Simon & Garfunkel, Status Quo, Stones, Rod Stewart. Original cassettes were difficult to obtain and if you wanted to own a piece of music, you had to, um… pirate.

Stop, fast forward…I found a job, bought a lot of cassettes, happy…till the CDs came along. Then I started buying CDs, the usual suspects… Bryan Adams, America, Beatles, Bread, Clapton…there is a very fine line separating hobby and obsessive compulsive behaviour.

Last week I picked up Bob Marley Africa Unite Singles Collection. Started playing it and couldn’t stop grinning…lemme explain.

Many years ago, we were regulars at an LP-to-cassette joint on Broadway. Once, after getting Bob Marley Hits copied, I was noting down the song titles and I noticed the pretty shopgirl intently watching me write. Hmm…good…I wrote ‘Could You be Loved?’ and looked deep into her eyes…she blushed, and I bolted. But for many years after that, I could never walk down Broadway without humming, ‘could you be could you be could you be loved’.

Buffalo Soldier was another special track from the period and a concert staple, and it was Bobby who deciphered the song…

Buffalo Soldier uppu chaak uppu chaak
Dreadlock Rasta uppu chaak uppu chaak
There was a Buffalo Soldier uppu chaak uppu chaak,
in the heart of America uppu chaak uppu chaak

Serious! Listen here. The Sangham singing harmony…uppu chaak uppu chaak, now that is my fav concert memory.

Vaal kashnam: A Pullepady bhai sitting stoned on the rail track lost his legs to a train. Asked if he didn’t see/ hear the train coming, the loco drawled, “No, but loved the Rastaman Vibrations”. BHH.

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