Night of the swallow.

It’s strange how a record can take on a whole host of deep memories about a period in life, and throw them back when you least expect it. I’ve always been into music in a big way, with a wide range of tastes. When I was at sixth form I had a strong friendship with a girl who I had known since infant school. We shared a lot of interests, and seemed to gravitate towards the same new and old music together. We were also avid writers, and ultimatewly were engaged (though it was not to last). We remained very good friends for many years, until her suicide a couple of years ago.

Kate Bush was one of the artists we really adored together. I can remember going with her on Saturdays to a shop in Bolton called X-records. We got to know one of the sales staff very well, and he would let us browse the large stockrooms behind and above the shop that contained many more records than could evwer grace the shelves of the sales areas. It was there one day in January 1998 that I remember buying a huge amount of Kate Bush singles, EPs and LPs. One of these was an LP that we proceded to listen to a lot together. It’s called ‘The Dreaming’. It’s not one of the more well known ones, and I guess its quirkiness was why we liked it.

I leant her a turntable so we could listen to records in her bedroom. We had to balance it on top of the television and run wires across her windowsill to plug it to the amplifier, but it worked. Lying on the bed in each other’s arms we would listen to tracks for hours (we wore out at least one needle) and would order takeaway pizza from a shop called ‘Amigos’ in Bromley Cross. Always the same – a small Hawaiian pizza each. They were gorgeous. In between we probably smoked in the garden too.

‘All the love’ is a track that brings a tear to my eye. She used to love mimicing the answer machine messages that form part of the song. It’s got a fabulous dark and forboding feeling to the song, like saying goodbye to some-one dear to you for the last time. In some ways that feels quite apt now, though we weren’t to know then.

There were other albums we adored. Underworld’s ‘Second toughest in the infants’ was another LP we nearly wore out. I won’t tell you what we used to do whiclt the tracks on side two of LP1 played, but you can guess. That track (the inlay is quite vague as to what it is actually called, due to the difficulty in deducing where one track starts and another begins) still brings back powerful memories. Then there was ‘Hounds of love’, and in particular, side B of this LP with Under ice, Hello Earth and Waking the witch being particular favourites. We discovered Pink Floyd together along with Clannad (we managed to source most of the albums, some having to be got in South Africa by her Father before he passed away) and ‘Number of the Beast’ by Iron Maiden. I went with her to see Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith play acoustic in X-records one time, and she loved Hallowed be thy name.

Get out of my house spins patiently now. I remember her singing this over and over again, and us snorting the donkey guffaws at the end together in between fits of giggles. Even now, the sound of Kate Bush’s voice is exactly the same as Steffi’s singing voice – she adored KB and modelled herself for a time on her.

I guess I’ll never get over you.

“I’m the conciege,
Chez moi, honey.
Won’t let you in,
for love nor money.
My home, my joy,
I’m barred and bolted.
Get out of my house!”

One thought on “Night of the swallow.

  1. *hugs*

    So far, I haven’t had a close friend commit suicide, thankfully, but I had someone who I had *meant* to get to know better who did so, and I know from mutual friends how hard it’s been since then.

    I’m glad you have these memories to cherish, at least. <3

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