It was snowing softly again and my Citroen DS sped through the streets of Paris. I was riding extremely long and low, with the scent of champagne coloring my breath. I haven’t seen snow in Paris for 2 or 3 years, maybe more. Usually I winter elsewhere, and only fly in on the odd day.
But the mess in the Alps had me back down in the my Montmarte apartment, smoking Turkish joints, watching tennis on the television, and listening to Swedish pop. There was an occasional bottle of champagne, and a few young ladies came by. I was in a dour mood though, and they didn’t stay long.
My darling wife, Coverton, of whom we shall speak no more, was out of town and would be for quite some time. I missed her incredibly and almost called her.
On the Zenith was a classic Wimbledon match, 1976. Bjorn Borg, the mighty Swede versus one of my other favorite players, Ilie Nastase of Hungary. It was his first victory in the string of 5 during the 70’s and early 80’s. Tennis today just doesn’t do it for me, but the days of McEnroe, Nastase, Stan Smith…the style of the game was less Nike and more Fred Perry if you catch my drift.
On the hi-fi I was blasting Club 8, a Swedish pop group that I had been incredibly infatuated with lately. I first heard them in early 1998 on the This is Stereophonic Sunshine compilation and had been in love with them ever since. Their music is like a first crush– I didn’t know how long it would last but I hoped it would be forever…
It was cold outside and my apartment was ancient, colossal, and drafty. Luckily Club 8’s singer, Karolina, has a deliciously warm voice that goes perfectly with the soft keys, jazz guitar, pop rhythms, and aching lyrics.
I put Bjorn on pause and took the CD from the Bang and Olufson in mid-song. I needed to get out, to be with some people. On the way out the door, the cell rang. I checked the caller-ID: Ines calling again from Tokyo. I threw the phone on the bed and got into the elevator.
The city was cold and barren, but I felt nicely cocooned inside the DS. Club 8 helped as well. Tracks like “all I can do” and “tomorrow never comes” have almost tropical, Brazilian qualities to them. People have compared this band to Astrud and Joao Gilberto, but the band says they never listened to the bossa nova duo until after they started recording music.
Other songs, like “everlasting love” sparkle like little pop jewels, gorgeous and shiny. I sped through the city pretending I didn’t know where I wanted to go. Eventually I stopped lying to myself and turned onto her street.
She was the only woman to ever capture my heart completely, but it never worked out with us for more than a few days at a time. My interests were simply too broad and varied to be confined to one place and one woman, and eventually we’d both ended up resenting me and I would move on. But I always came back.
She came to the door wearing something made of silk and let me in without saying a word. I put the Club 8 on the hi-fi and opened a bottle of ’83 Chateau Margot I had found in the trunk of the Citroen.
We made love in her bed, underneath a giant skylight. In the darkness after she fell asleep I listened to more Club8, and stared up in the sky. And I was back, reborn to the world.
I lit a Silk Cut and grinned. I was again the champion of the world, at least in my own mind– the only place it really matters. In my center court, I had just won Wimbledon in front of thousands of twinkling stars. I was Bjorn Borg on her majesty’s grass raising the silver cup above my striped headband.
Of course it would not last, adulation never does. Eventually the stadium is empty, the cup returned behind its case. At least music remains…
USOUNDS || 2.29.9