South Park Self

more dearly than the spoken word can tell

Memory is a weird thing. I woke up this morning with a fragment of song on my mind, which, after mulling over it for a bit, I realised was Roger Whittaker's "The Last Farewell". After ten minutes I could, in fact, remember the entire tune. I got up and played it on the piano, more or less without hesitation. I don't think I've actually heard it for nearly thirty years. The mental images I associate with it are of Makoholi, which is the research station in Zimbabwe (near Masvingo) which we lived on until I was in Standard 3, making me nine or ten years old when I left. I mean, who listens to Roger Whittaker any more? He was one of those singers whose popularity is very much about a specific time. I don't even think my parents had any of his records, I must have heard the song on the radio, or (I vaguely think, the memory is very fragmented) at the house of one of my parents' friends.

I couldn't remember much of the lyrics, but enough (mostly the phrase in my subject line, for some reason) that I could identify the song to pull it up on YouTube and play it. It's making me cry. I have no idea what I'm associating it with - that much of memory doesn't survive, so I'm experiencing a sort of isolated gut-punch attached to nothing in particular. Of course, the time it's linked to in my memory is actually in the middle of the Rhodesian war, and has every reason to be a bit fraught. But it's so strange, that the actual event and emotion are lost, but the emblem endures with all its baggage. Music is very powerful.

So, apparently, am I. On an unrelated note, I spoke to a bunch of parents-of-students at parents' orientation yesterday, in a quick reassurance of we-are-looking-after-your-offsprings'-curriculum which seemed to go down very well (lots of laughter and nodding, always a good sign). One of the dads came up to me yesterday and showed me an SMS his daughter had sent him from the middle of orientation last week. "Am in orientation! its cool!!! Jessica is funny!" Given that my unenviable task is to make about four hours total of detailed curriculum overview somehow entertaining, it quite made my day.
  • Current Mood: calm relieved it's Sunday
I'm listening to it now on the interspotify. Very sad and schmaltzy. I'm sure wasn't into that kind of thing at the time.

According to his spotify bio, he was born in Nairobi and dropped out of 2nd year Med school at UCT. And is now singing a sad song about leaving home, to England. Hey, it's not my subconscious bringing it up.
(Anonymous)
You were also entertaining in the advisor training :)
That's the first subject line of yours I have ever recognized, and now the tune is looping in my head. Damn. My parents had a tape in the car and we listened to it about a bajillion times on roadtrips across the country. Bet you anything there'll be a nostalgic revival within six months. Zeitgeist.
Smell is also so powerful/evocative. When I was a young teen, my mom brought home some tuberoses. When the scent filled the house I felt hugely, inexplicably sad. Turns out they were in the house just after my stepdad died (I was about 7 at the time). Weird how memories can be jogged.