I was thinking upon the recent talk of Grace Jones. All things swilling around in my head. Jim mentioning her again in a recent post “You have to be a bastard to make it”, exampling a quote from her “Like a shark. I only move forward. Never backwards, darling!” And of the erroneous eBay listing of Real To Real Cacophony attributed to her and of Simple Minds songs one wished she’d have covered.
I couldn’t sleep last night. It was warm and I cannot sleep without some kind of cover on me. But my summer duvet was far too warm last night, so ensued an endless tussle of me covering myself and then flinging the duvet back off me 10 minutes later. And on and on it went into the wee hours.
In those wee hours I decided to reach for my iPod Touch and listen to some Grace. I listened to all of the Warm Leatherette album (having had Scar in my head and thinking on that JG Ballard connection I link is between the two songs), then selected tracks from Nightclubbing. Finally, I looked through her earlier catalogue and the tracklist of Fame, her second album and noticed Autumn Leaves on the tracklist. What? THE Autumn Leaves? The one that mum wanted played at her funeral? Aye, the very one.
I had to play it. And of course, Grace being Grace, she was true to the original, singing it in French (with just a line or two in English midway through). It was as beautiful as her rendition of La Vie En Rose is. I wish I had known of it years ago, around the time I’d listen to Island Life – borrowing it constantly on cassette tape from the local library, until I could afford to buy a copy of it myself. (Libraries were great for more than just books!) I played Island Life so much. And mum would love listening to it with me. I think had she’d known Grace recorded Autumn Leaves, she’d have loved her version as much as she loved Nat King Cole’s.
I try hard not to have regrets, or at least not dwell upon the endless, countless regrets I have. To paraphrase, “Regrets. I have a few. But then again…TOO MANY to mention!” One that looms large over me is not being in a clear state of mind to have remembered mum’s wish to have Autumn Leaves played at her funeral. The most painful aspect of it is remembering it just 24 hours after her funeral took place. I let her down, even in death. It’s a big cross to bear. I try to give myself a break by telling myself I had just lost my mum, in the middle of a house-move to the other end of the country, and try and give myself some slack. But I also think endlessly – “You had one job! And you couldn’t even get that right, you stupid cunt”.
I’d have played Grace’s version as well as Nat’s. I’m sure mum would have loved it.
Here’s to mum and to Grace…