Caught by the River

Jeb’s Jukebox

Jeb Loy Nichols | 7th April 2022

This month’s 7″ selection helps Jeb Loy Nichols appreciate the little things.

Lavell Kamma
Little Things
Jewel Records

I spend the night in a storm of anxiety, listing my failures, envisioning new disasters.  I wait for morning.  The night offers me no choice.  Morning doesn’t come.  I watch a single crow land in the sycamore tree.  The crow is a scrap of darkness.  I imagine myself inside the bird, my bones suddenly light, my feet sharp.  My feathers ready.  I look around at my doings, my house, my muddy pond, my weed choked garden and fly away.

This week I’ve been listening to ‘Little Things’ by Lavell Kamma, an understated gem of a record.  Like ‘Memories Of Us’ by George Jones or ‘I Wish’ by Stevie Wonder, it’s a defence and celebration of Little Things.  As Lavell sings about broken toys and gravel roads, I look around my house; my favourite mug has a mended handle, my favourite teapot a chipped spout, my favourite jacket a torn pocket, my favourite chair a purple stain, my preferred pyjamas a hole in one elbow.  I need no permission to love these things.  My admiration is instinctual.  The items are fellow travellers, we have a history, we have a shared importance, a shared being.  I sit in my favourite chair, pulling thread through a pair of jeans, patching a torn knee.  There are rabbits near the wood store.  On the other side of the wood store is the willow.  The willow is near the pond.  The pond is at the edge of my garden.  The garden opens onto fields.  In the fields are more rabbits.  Rabbits and woodlice and black beetles and spiders.  Above them, in a nearly empty sky, a single dark cloud blows slowly eastward.

Some weeks town doesn’t exist.  Some weeks nothing exists.  Some weeks I don’t venture outside my house, my kitchen, my yard, my garden.  Some weeks I roam around in large uneven orbits, crossing the fields and streams, getting wet and muddy while doing those things that take the least energy.  I listen to the radio.  I organise my socks.  I clean behind and under the fridge.  I read.  Yesterday it was Another Country by James Hanley.  How many times have I read it?  Every year I visit Hanley’s grave, twenty miles away, in Llanfechain.  I take one of Hanley’s books and sit in the church yard, reading:  When he shut his eyes it was suddenly dark, and darker again, darker than that.  The wind was cold, it clawed at his hair.  He got up again and went on.  ‘I am walking out of my life,’ he thought.  ‘I am walking out of my life,’ he said.   

Little Things.  Little records.  Little thoughts.  Little moments of quiet.  Little successes.  Little failures.  Little things, as Lavell Kamma says, mean so much…


You can follow the Jeb’s Jukebox Spotify playlist here.