Dream 1,823 (redux)
He woke up with the Spinners’ “I’ll Be Around” ear-wigging his head. He had this dream 1,822 times since seeing the performance one Saturday morning in 1973. The gold and ruddy light of it. The smoking jackets the group wore. The dancers—a sea roiling around them popping up sharp to the rhythm and then descending to the backbeat—in perfect rubbery syncopation. The beauty. The sheer joy of it. The possibilities. He never tired of this dream.
Feel good. Incendiary.
The sun was up like a burning bald head. The brightness insisted its way through the gap in the blinds and past the scrim of his eyelids. The Soul Train Spinners had been preceded by a nightmarish episode where he was caught out on the Ustyurt plateau during a violent electrical storm.
He was the only living thing standing for miles—the wind lashed down on him, lighting cracked the sky into splinters that imbedded themselves in the rain and came homing for him like a million tiny needles.
He feared not for himself but for the congealed beef plov—which was the consistency of dried cement—the individual pieces of mutton, carrots, and rice in the kazan frozen; he couldn’t get the spoon which was intractably stuck in the inert block of food to move. He was two weeks without food. An electrical charge exploded nearby sending a shock of existential angst he’d never felt before retuculating through his body. In that instant—in that howling and aggrieved hunger—he heard the mellifluous voice of Don Cornelius introducing the Spinners … a thunderous welcome …
The opening chords of the amber guitar and percussion faded up forcing the yowling plains of the Ustyurt into a pin prick spot of light that sparked momentarily in the “O” of the Soul Train neon sign above the Spinners as they grooved into their choreography—the clopping congas, violin glissandos and horns caught momentum—he felt sated. He was momentarily content for the 1,823rd time in his dreams.
Today would be one of the good days.
(press play above and watch The Spinners on Soul Train, 1973)
“All led to this, to this gloaming where a middleaged man sits masturbating his snout, waiting for the first dawn to break.”
— Samuel Beckett / Watt