The Gypsy

Written in April 2020,

I’m trying to recall the first time I heard Deep Purple. I rarely try to remember things from that long ago, but it was probably around grade 8 of primary school. My dad had brought home a whole bunch of vinyls and one of them, which had a deep blue cover, grabbed my attention straight away. It was a Russian issue of something like “The Best Of Deep Purple”. After the first crackle of the gramophone needle, the sound flowed. At that moment I experienced an overwhelming surplus of meaning, as though I was standing on the precipice of an exhilarating eternity. Being descriptive here does not do it justice. As Plato would say, I became possessed by a frenzy that opened up the gates to the temple of rock muses. I transcended my small doors of perception and on the other side reality felt infinite. The collection of records and, the then popular, tapes grew at an astounding rate. An expanse, starting with Led Zeppelin up until Aphrodite‘s Child, opened the door to an amazing hunger for experience. I listened with no respite, imagining that I was playing one of those bewitching instruments.  

Many years have passed since those purple events. Even more has musically transpired along the way. Whenever I hear those nostalgic sounds, I always recall that instance, when with clumsy hands I placed the black disc on the gramophone. It is one of those moments that stays with you forever.

Today I sit at home and fulfill my social obligations. I protect myself and others from the viral intruder. I do not allow myself to go crazy. My supply of pasta is only marginally larger than that I would normally have, although I have to admit that I have more rice, canned fish, ginger and garlic than usual but I’m ok with that and plan to maintain this state for now. I do not watch TV. A while ago I got rid of the device. The radio and internet give me a surreal view of what is going on far away outside my window. Doctors and all medical staff are very courageous people. Terrible times are upon us. However, I feel that in all of this chaos there is room for salvation. A morning cup of coffee, a conscious deep breath, a remote walk with my beloved dog. The feeling of delight at the slowly reawakening leaves. There are no people, I can hear the birds singing. Yesterday a stork flew somewhere above. I heard the trees creaking in the wind. My spirit is in good form and my body even better. Soon we will be able to live by the sun and feel by the moon. As always, I think a lot. Probably still too much. I like it. In the evenings I revive old memories – they drive my creativity and make me pick up my instrument. A special soul once told me: “that sounds nice on a mandolin”. I take down from the wall, the almost 100 year old Neapolitan sister of a mandora and try to once again dress in sounds the amazing piece “The Gypsy” by Deep Purple. It is so bloody hard to play anything on this museum exhibition piece…