“Try to remember the kind of September
When you were a tender and callow fellow.
Try to remember, and if you remember,
El Gallo, The Fantastiks
I grew up without a TV, for many reasons primary school was a bitch because of this void but despite the crippling circumstances I did have something. That something wasn’t my contribution to a discerning discussion on who was cooler–Charmander or Pikachu; no, when it came to TV I was an outcast, or in Pokemon terms an N’s Pokemon. Due to an unexpected twist of fate our street was chosen for a reality TV series, so for a good 15 mins I was a reality TV star, who didn’t own a TV.
Instead of the ole box my parents owned a record player and I would spend hours scouring over the record covers; imagining stories for the scratchy symphonies that oozed out of the pirrouting pancake. The faces and figures that covered these record players were my gods, my high priestesses, my saints that lured me into other worlds. The other day, whilst, searching through an op-shop I happened upon a sublime dose of nostalgia-my fingers traced the cities, the sudden peaks and troughs of the purple lined title, the illustrated curves of the girl in a tangerine glow surrounded in a carnivalesque grasp by three men-one tall, her lover and two other farcical patriarchs.
It was The Fantastiks record that I had listened too, when I was a wee thing. I tried and remembered ‘a kind of September when life was slow and oh, so mellow’ ‘a forest where the woodchucks woo … and vines entwine like lovers’ of a boy, a girl, two fathers and a wall and how these people and places were a meditation away from melancholy. Too much nostalgia is toxic stagnation but a little bit now and then is pure medicine for the soul. Here are some record covers that take me to place behind the moon, beyond the rain to a strawberry somewhere.