Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Stage Rage

by Paul Tristram

I sat cross-legged upon the rug
in front of the fire
while he sat in his chair next to it.
Drinking from a bottle of
‘Medium Old England Sherry.’
I can still hear the force of the pull
and smell the thick, sweet, heavy
scent of it, all of these years later.
He was only half-cut and coherent
on this occasion, for a change.
He was smoking a prison thin roll-up
and I could see my Mother’s name
Indian Inked upon the side of the palm
directly below the thumb of his left hand,
each time that he took a drag.
We were both nodding our heads
in time to the music from the LP
creaking and hissing
around and around
on a portable record player
upon the floor a few feet away.
We would both clumsily join in
with the chorus each time that it came
‘On a Carousel, On A Carousel.’
When the album had finished
he always said the same things.
That my Mother didn’t have a clue
because she thought that
The Beatles and The Rolling Stones
were the best bands of the 60’s
that she had even named me
after one of The Beatles
‘The daft looking one.’
But that this band we were listening to
were obviously better
besides they were his favourite after all.
I would always agree but add
that I did like some of the others songs
particularly ‘Baby, you can drive my car’
and ‘Street Fighting Man.’
He always reluctantly agreed
to the latter song
then he would explain
how his favourite band once played
The Roxy Dancehall in Skewen.
During the ‘Bus Stop’ song
him and his gang had leapt onto the stage
and he had rugby tackled
the ginger drummer to the floor.
I would always hold my hands
up in the air in disbelief
and ask why would he do that?
Especially to his favourite band?
He would chuckle mischievously
replying that it was only the drummer,
that they were ten a penny
and that it was a better story to tell
than just getting an autograph
on some paper like the women did.
Later as I walked home to me Mam’s
across The Tip and down Denever road
I would think aloud to myself
‘I’ll be a teenager in a couple of years,
I’ve already got a gang together
I wonder if the Sex Pistols
will ever come and play in Neath?
If they do, I’ll be up on that stage
I’m banging Johnny Rotten out cold.’
I’d smile to myself as I kicked open
the backdoor to the noisy racket inside
and ate up my Welsh corned beef supper.

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