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[color=darkblue]'... Just Direct Your Feet To The Sunny Side

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Jill Fenton

Inscrit le: 18 Mai 2006
Messages: 11

MessagePosté le: Samedi 13 Janvier 2007, 4:15    Sujet du message: [color=darkblue]'... Just Direct Your Feet To The Sunny Side Répondre en citant

While travelling on the RER rail line from Aéroport Ch de Gaulle to Gare du Nord, the appearance in my carriage of a lone musician, who revealed a mischievous and completely eccentric style of play, distracted my attention from the dreariness of the landscape my train was advancing through and an equivalent banality experienced in the train journey itself.

We were five in the carriage – two young couples and myself. We each seemed silently absorbed in our own space until the arrival of an eastern European musician who, with accordion, somewhat badly and hurriedly played his familiar repertoire of tunes supposedly intended to give us pleasure. He played, requested money, then fled into the next unfortunate carriage of travellers. Minutes passed during which time I stared from the window of the carriage into that of my memory of recent events in England that liberated me from the monotony of my final journey to Paris.

A second travelling musician entered the carriage, seated himself on the seat behind me and opened up a brown case containing his fiddle. In an effort to tune his instrument, he plucked at the strings and then began to play in such a bizarre manner that fellow passengers could not resist rapidly taking a glance at him. His head was bent down, eyes staring towards the space between his legs - he was completely preoccupied, oblivious to reality in any form. Unlike his predecessor, he possessed no repertoire – he played wildly all over the place, fusing twenties jazz with Irish fiddle music and classical. Remarkably, I became quickly used to this invasion - in timing with his completely passionate performance I began to feel and see his music in the fleeting landscape. Suburban banality, its familiar architectural dullness, seemed to me to be rudely awakened as scratchy jazz and beating Irish tempo first engaged the tapping of my feet and then my eyes as they moved up and down the roofs of passing buildings, along pylons and hoardings, between warehouse and huge tower blocks. This wild expression seemed to be defining the landscape, eroding its banality and evoking a dance between invisible chords and the movement of the train.

The crazy musician continued without retiring even for a second to get his breath or retune his instrument. In a flurry, Irish chords slipped from a sad reverie to the tune of a Louis Armstrong song that I knew well – I recall my father singing this song many times. As I listened and traced my eyes over the outline of the passing suburban landscape, I became aware that the words to this familiar song had landed on an advertising for Dubonnet so banal it seemed forgotten, and my eyes began to trace the words to the song through the outline of the word Dubonnet:

Grab your coat D
and grab your hat U
leave your worries B
on the doorstep O
just direct your feet N
to the sunny N
side E
of the street T

The musician repeated the tune while for a second time my mind’s eye brought together Dubonnet and the words of the song.

The train continued to rattle along its journey as the crazy musician’s blend of originality disrupted the dullness. Minutes before arriving at Gare du Nord, he neatly ended his performance, placed his fiddle carefully in its case, returned the pocket handkerchief that covered his shoulder to the breast pocket of his corduroy jacket, then waited for the train to halt. He made no demands for money, just quietly left the train and disappeared so rapidly it was almost as if he had never existed. I wonder now if he did or if my imagination had created this fantasy to overcome the banality of a long and tiring train journey.

Jill Fenton
January 2007
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