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Joe Goddard - "Apple Bobbing (Four Tet remix ft Cassie)". I like to tell people I grew up in a small town, but really it was a town that was sometimes small and sometimes very large. I liked it best when it was large. In June the bay filled with a hundred colours of boats, big & little & nimble & slow, and the boats had African masts and American sails and prows adorned with Italian lemons. It was the Malin Herring-Gutting Festival. Our town was called Malin. Visitors traveled miles and leagues to stay in town and watch the finest herring-gutters in the country. These competitors lined up on the pier and from dusk until dawn they gutted fish. Bent over the herring they made quick, precise gestures, careful as clockmakers, grasping and gutting and slipping the filleted fish into their allotted barrels. The boards were littered with silver fish-scale.
The audiences of Malin marveled at the herring-gutters. They hooted and hollered. They bought them pints of beer and drams of whiskey and new red apples. Vendors sold cotton-candy, sold peanuts. They strung paper lanterns across the streets and children scampered between the adults' legs and all of Malin smelled like mermaids' breath.
Every year, my mother transformed our home into an inn. Its rooms became other rooms. Instead of managing the books for Mr Lowry, she spent June making suppers and sweeping the floors. I slept with my mother in her bed. I helped her butter the toast and fold the sheets. She wore her hair in a bun and she was happier then than at any other time; for five weeks every summer the house seemed full. We fell asleep to snores and in the morning there were fishermen laughing, eating strips of bacon in two bites; in the evening there were barristers from Newcastle who passed their fingers through candle-flames; in the wee hours there were Norwegians who played card-games in their bedrooms, games with rules I did not know. I knew one June I would have my first kiss. I knew one June I would fall in love, one June I would run away, one June I would gut a herring and give my mother the trophy. I knew all these things would come one June. And so every January I lay in the cold, still house, in my lonely bed, and I remembered the taste of new apples.
(image by Jason Holley - source)Posted by Sean at January 10, 2011 12:41 AM
I really love the writing very much on this site, and have been inspired and moved by it for such a long time but this is the first time I've been moved to respond with my gratitude; which is not to say that the preceding piece is any better or worse than its predecessors per se it's just that it iced the proverbial cake. I don't know where Malin is or if it is but I thank you for bringing it to us here in this place in this way: the sea smell, the song the wonder and . . . thank you. GoodwinPosted by Goodwin Low at January 10, 2011 2:56 PM
This is awesome. Inspired by the songs to write?Posted by Kaci at January 30, 2011 11:40 PM