• Kate Clarke

Sadness, Sinbad, Swiss Roll


The trick is, I suppose, not to attribute your sadness to the wrong thing.

I’m not sad because of you or us, or because of waiting, or distance, or the lack of Aladdin’s magic carpet. (Though thanks to the overwhelming dazzle of Patrick Wayne it will always be Sinbad’s magic carpet to me.)

I was born sad. And happy.

But happiness was an unexpected visitor who got the best china and the awkward reception, while sadness was always more of a friend.

I was fond of it it. I fed it on Charlie Rich songs and Grimm's Fairy Tales, like a pet mouse hiding under the table or up my sleeve.


I don’t think I wallow. Perhaps I do. "The cradle rocks above an abyss” etc.

But when I’m singing that Amen Corner song, or laughing at Vera’s shimmering bottom as she buzzes a cluster of scattering gulls, it is there, striking a single note in the chord.


I'm sad because I’m a creative who doesn’t do much creating.

You already know I'm sad for those dogs in Ukraine, I’m sad that Elvis, pretty songs and long-form writing are of the distant past. As are insects and Jack Lemmon. I’m sad because David Jason is getting old. I'm sad that Terry felt under-loved.

You know I'm sad about old ladies at bus-stops. Old ladies in Home Bargains can set me off for days because they remind me that one day I will have to give up sex and, instead, find my enjoyment in Viennese Whirls and Swiss Roll.

Good God.

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