Caught by the River

Jeb’s Jukebox

Jeb Loy Nichols | 7th March 2019

Since I Fell For You
Alton Ellis

Is there anything so beautiful as Alton Ellis’s voice?

The sun has been unexpectedly warm. I open the window and turn the record up.  On the hill twelve rabbits form an uneven group.  There’s nothing human about them.  They regard me with indifference, their minds full of rabbit thoughts.  Not a thought for the world of secondariness, of trifles, of baubles.  Passwords and Tescos and frosted corn flakes.  The rabbits are brownish grey with white bellies and dark feet.  They have long ears.  They have neither false motives or hopes.  They’re incredibly quick.  They eat grass and other green-leafed things.  They have extended families.  They sit up in the sun and sniff the breeze.  They multiply.  They hibernate.  They are without ambition.

I listen to Alton Ellis and share him with the rabbits.  An act for which I’m not thanked.  Alton Ellis, I tell them, is as close to perfection as we come.  I tell them that I bought this record thirty years ago, in a Brixton jumble sale, from a woman who said, Alton Ellis is just so beautiful it makes me sad.

I watch the rabbits and think about beauty and sadness and how intimately tangled they are.  I watch the rabbits do their rabbit business.  I think back twenty years ago, standing here watching the great-great-great-grandparents of these rabbits on this same hill.  Then I play the record again and listen to Alton as the day goes by and the rabbits scatter and shadows lengthen.


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