Christmas ’73: Living in Dak’s Own Dream

Long before Hoth, crouching on the low wall in front of De Lane Lea Studios, he looked across Dean Street to the Sunset Strip, exhaling into the damp late afternoon air the last of the butt end of Black Robin’s herb. Alone now, picking a fret blister off the tip of his ring finger, he mused on a Sanborn solo, living in his own dream.

His little Bessie girl had returned to the States, abandoning him to the maze of Soho’s down and out, the seventies oil pan of London’s entertainment industry engine. Cocking his head down, hair shifting off his left shoulder, he gazed to the right, down toward Old Compton Street. Up the sidewalk strode Babs, the leggy and full-chested Jamaican stripper. She in her silky-wigged, long-eyelashed ebony beauty, high-heels and calf-length fur coat. Her slim, shapely legs evident to the knee in glimpses between the fold of her coat that she clutched tightly against the damp with her pocketed hands. She was striding to the Sunset for her 4:35 spot.

Everyday he grew blinder, down there, crouched on that low parapet supporting the black wrought-iron railing posts that guarded the dust bins and cardboard boxes outside the sound studios. They that housed their own discarded stories of the recent past, recordings, liaisons and the fag-end dreams of fame. That was all behind him.

Now upon him, Babs stopped, turned and faced him, towering not two feet from his eyes, as if she had so intended all along. He looked up, and she leaned forward, opening her coat to envelop him in fur and a wholly naked body, save her heavy gold choker and glittering ear rings, that he only knew from afar—from the other side of the footlights. From his lighting box, he lit her six times a day with primary reds and blues as she paraded on stage before the punters. Gently she pulled his face into her breast, into a timeless passage of lions, witches and wardrobes. After a wordless eternity, she released him from their private moment of sidewalk intimacy, crisply rewrapping as she withdrew. And on a dancer’s delicate turn, she then strode across Dean and entered the Sunset.

Thus did he apperceive: the strongest river can’t flow upstream to satisfy. And break over, thus did he slowly arise from his perch and follow her to return himself to his own labour beneath the wheel of life.

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