Monday, 11 October 2010

Last week a Rasta saved my life

Ok, that's not quite as cool a title as Last night a dj saved my life, but it's not bad. And it's true. I was on my way to meet friends at the Hootanany (sic) in Brixton, for their Rockoke night. (That's like karaoke but with a live band instead of a karaoke machine).

Anyhow, I was just about to cross a side road, when my attention was caught by a couple on the other side of the main road I was walking down, who seemed to be having a bit of a domestic. I should have paid more attention to where I was going, however, as at that moment, a BMW screeched around the corner and would have sent me flying, had not the Rastafarian standing next to me, also waiting to cross, grabbed my arm and pulled me back, saying "Careful sister, careful."

I didn't get chance to thank him as he legged after the BMW and jumped in. I wondered at first if he was actually some kind of guardian angel, but he turned up at the Hoot, working the door, and you don't get many angels moonlighting as security. Or maybe you do, who's to know? So I introduced myself, and bought him a drink (an orange juice, to my surprise, don't Rastas drink?) and went back to my friends. I did hesitate to go over, worried that he might have thought I was trying to chat him up, but felt that saying a simple thank you was the least I could do.

It was odd having my life saved by a complete stranger, I've only ever had my life saved by surgeons before, and it's kind of their job, so less surprising. There's an old, allegedly ancient Chinese proverb (I say allegedly as it's funny how often proverbs are claimed as ancient Chinese, I'm sure China can't have been the font of all folk wisdom). This proverb says if you save someone's life, you're responsible for them ever after. I don't know about that, but it did feel as if there's now a connection between me and this man. Spookily, when my train was cancelled and I went for the bus home, he was also standing at the bus stop, chatting with a friend, and even though it was dark and dodgy where I was waiting, I felt quite safe with him there.

And what of the Rockoke? Well, I didn't sing, as some of you will know I've been struggling with hoarseness due to my asthma inhalers, and I sound like Kermit the frog at the moment, only minus the American accent. But my friend Claire sang, and did a fine job with Valerie, despite the loudness of the backing band that made it very hard for her to hear herself. As for me, I just felt deeply envious that I couldn't get up and strut my stuff on the stage. Believe me, if/when I get my voice back, they'll know about it....

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