Sunday, 6 March 2011

Minstrel of the Dawn

Sunday, 6 March

My Darling E

Watched a programme tonight, which I had recorded on BBC4 a couple of days ago.

It took me back all of 40 years or so.

Originally transmitted in 1972 it  featured a studio concert by Gordon Lightfoot.  

The slightly soft early-days colour images - no high-definition colour then - and the songs he sang made me think immediately of what was then our last year or so in Wilton Court.

Can't for the life me of the number of our flat there.  Was it 29? 

But I do remember that the early years weren't always easy for us as money was often tight. 

But we made it our home and we had such fun there is spite of that.

By 1970, things were a little more comfortable and my student days were over.  

I had graduated - helped in no small measure by your support and ruthlessness when it came to me revising - and had been able to cut myself a much better deal at work as a result.

So, after several years of sacrifice, we were able to begin to enjoying ourselves.

Gordon Lightfoot's 'Minstrel of the Dawn' album was released that year and I remember the LP was seldom of the turntable in the flat at weekends.  

For us it became a favourite LP and the soundtrack to a summer of fun, laughter and new-found freedom.

We never did get to see Gordon Lightfoot perform live, but he was introduced to the audience during a Rod McKuen concert we were at in the Albert Hall.

Even when we moved to Parkway, that LP still got a lot of plays.

Then,  when cassettes took over, our 'Minstrel of the Dawn' LP somehow got lost along the way.

Now, fast forward thirty-five years.

We were in Vancouver celebrating our fortieth wedding anniversary.

On our last full day of a wonderful and memorable holiday, we were walking up Robson Street heading back to the Pacific Palisades Hotel when we passed a large music store.

Inside we soon found the Gordon Lightfoot section and there it was - 'Minstrel of the Dawn'.

Only now titled 'If You Could Read My Mind' in recognition of the 'hit' single that Gordon Lightfoot had with that track from the album all those years ago.

Didn't have anything to play it on there in Vancouver. 

But as soon as we were home those old familiar favourite songs were filling the house.

Still do from time to time - as they are now as I write - even though you are no longer here to share them with me.

Or sing along together to ones like 'Me and Bobby McGee' just as we did way back then. 

Funny how a grainy, black and white programme from the archives - or snatches from a long-forgotten song - can bring so many memories flooding back.

And tear at your heart at the same time. 

But that's the way it is with so many of my memories now.

Miss you so much.

Will love you, forever.