I’m listening to Bolero again. It’s Christmas Day and I’ve stopped washing up to carve a bit more time out for the project. This is the lull. Children have gone to bed. The posh plates have been put back in the cupboard for another year. We hoovered as far up the stairs as we thought my Grandmother would walk and we were right. We cleaned the sink. Even behind the taps. Which is something we only do when our parents come. So for Christmas, at least, our house is tidy. And so now I type. The day is over but Bolero has begun. Starting its slow inexorable rise, from pianissimo to fortissimo. Unwinding. Uncoiling. Unfurling like a banner. I’ve decided to keep writing to the music as much as possible and if I don’t know what to write just to reflect on the fact that I am writing. Like this. I am writing. I am writing. And I am thinking about Ravel dying in December 1936 and Torvill and Dean practising for the Olympics in December 1983. What did they do for their last Christmas. Ravel in hospital. Hearing the bells ring at Midnight, perhaps a family member holding his hand, sitting next to the hospital bed, whispering ‘Bon Noel’ into his ear. Hoping he could hear them. A man who made music now dormant. Waiting to die. And Torvill and Dean, practising on the ice in Nottingham on Christmas Eve, on Christmas Day, on Boxing Day. No rest for the wicked. They are the first to arrive and the last to leave, maybe because the stadium was closed for Christmas they could have access for as much as they liked. There will come a time when I think I will have to ask Torvill and Dean themselves about it. To make contact. To see if they would be available to be interviewed for the project. Maybe I could interview them for 15 minutes to this music. I am writing. I am writing. You are reading. You are reading. The words snake from my fingertips. The rat a tat tat of typing syncopating to the rhythm of the music. Like gunfire at dawn. A deserter facing the end. Or the lone rebel fighter marched to the foot of the ski slope in Sarajevo and being asked if he has any last words. No. Rat a tat tat. He slumps to the ground and his blood colours the snow, the snow where the Olympic logo was painted only a few years earlier at a slanted angle to be read from the air by the TV Cameras not from the ground. I am writing. I am writing. And the music is louder now. More hypnotic. It is like boiling a frog. A sound that becomes louder without you really noticing. You drift off and when you come back it has risen in volume, in urgency, the brass section calling you as if to say ‘Don’t forget us’. The music, or the composer, becoming more determined, more persistent. Not wanting us to forget anything, to remember the music. To remember where we were when we first heard it. For me it was 1984. In Nottingham. Watching Torvill and Dean on the TV. Dancing in Sarajevo. At that time, I didn’t realise I was making a memory that I would return to now. The music started something then in me. The music snaked its way into my life. Into my ears. An ear worm. A german word for music you hear that becomes a subconscious sound you return to. And now it is my muse. For the length of the project. It is finishing now. Time to stop. Making memories.


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