A perfect deluge blurs the edges of a Welsh hilltop as The Prisonaires, on Jeb Loy Nichols’ stereo, dream of rain.
Just Walking In The Rain
I’m watching as the rain hits the sycamores, the oaks, the ash, the hawthorn. What began slowly, a silver mist, turns into a deluge. All the hill awash. Edges disappear. A tree becomes a series of brushstrokes. The world melts, streaming down in uncertain sheets. There’s no up, no down, no sky, no clouds. How much water, I wonder, is there in the world? A part of me wants it to never end. I look forward to a world unsettled and fluid, submerged, a place of constant ebb and flow. I’d gladly sacrifice skin for scales, arms for fins, a nose for gills. I see myself diving into the unwritten depths, a naked manfish streaking through the muddy bottoms. I’ve no wish for clear skies; I put on a mac and walk up the lane. My boots are instantly soaked. Rain drips from my nose. I go as far as the oak tree near the stream and turn around. When I get home I pull off my wet clothes and throw another log on the fire. I put on dry clothes that look exactly like the wet ones and reach for some music. I know the song I want to hear. ‘Just Walking In The Rain’ by the Prisonaires.
What must the rain have meant to five prisoners in a Nashville prison? The song was written by Johnny Bragg, who had spent most of his life incarcerated. It was recorded behind bars and is a lament to lost things; the freedom to go out walking, to feel the rain on your face, to be part of your neighbourhood; to live in a constant state of remembrance. So today, this rain, this rain that blows across a Welsh hilltop, is for them, my lost Nashville brothers, the Prisonaires. Just walking in the rain, getting soaking wet, torturing my heart, trying to forget…
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