Drayton Nights – 6

Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water

The memory of ghosts and the ghost of memories.

When I first heard about the Record Player nights at the Tyneside Cinema I was taken back to my teenage years and to one Adrian Kermode.  Ada was school mate who I shared a lot of time and interests with, be it Dr Who, comics, role playing games or music.  He had a brilliant, sharp, insightful mind which left me trailing in his wake in most areas, but on the subject of music I could hold my own.  We would often sit in his bedroom, lights dimmed, and listen to a record in its entirety   No conversation, just listening.  We would then chat about the lyrics and the music.  Which guitar solo was better than the other, what lyric made us scratch our head.  But mostly we talked about the emotions a record would bring to the surface, how they made us feel.  Just like we do at Record Player.

Unfortunately our friendship didn’t last.  We were too alike I think.  We saw rivalry where there was once friendship but most of all we saw our own faults clearly reflected and I don’t think either of us particularly liked what we saw.  I would bump into Ada maybe once a year or so, usually in Forbidden Planet, and whilst we were cordial neither of us made any attempt to heal the rift.  In May of 2009 I got a message from a mutual friend to say that Ada had died the day before of a suspected heart attack. Bam!

There are certain pieces of music will be intrinsicly linked in my memory to Ada, Jethro Tull’s Broadsword and the Beast, Pat Benatar’s In the Heat of the Night and Martha and the Muffin’s first LP Metro Music.  However it was Simon & Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits which holds the strongest memories and ones shared with those of my dad.  In the early 70s my dad would play this LP relentlessly.  He would sit in the front room, lights out and eyes closed as the music washed over him.  My brother, sisters and I would poke our heads around the door, take in this peculiar behaviour, and laugh at him.  A few times he even tried to explain to us what it was he was doing and why.  We just laughed harder and longer.  I would have twatted us if it had been me.

So, back to the Record Player.  Last Thursday we were treat to some Simon & Garfunkel and whist this wasn’t the Greatest Hits LP it’s not far from it.  If I’d been thinking straight I would have dragged my dad along although I think even the minimal chit chat that goes on may have been too much for him.  He’s even grumpier than me at times.  

I get it now dad, I really do.  

Sitting in the Tyneside last Thursday with 30 other people I closed my eyes and they were all gone.  Instead I sat with the ghost of Ada and, with memories of my dad telling me to relax and feel the sound, we let the music wash over us.


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