Today Jimi Hendrix would be 71 if he was still alive. Well, I wish him happy birthday wherever he is, probably with a dozen of chicks, and a Fender Stratocaster.
I cannot say I’m a huge fan, my dad is the one who likes him a lot, but I dig some of his stuff, and I don’t mean just Fire, Hey Joe or Foxy Lady. It’s the typical artist from time to time I recover and listen nonstop for a week or two and then I forget for ages. Things go like that sometimes.
His anniversary has refreshed my dizzy memory and has brought me back an unforgettable experience which happened when I was living in London. It’s nothing amazing, I don’t want to raise your expectations, but I feel like talking about it because of some similarities in my current physical condition.
Mom, dad, don’t panic, I have a flu. I’m working in the mornings and vegetating in the evenings. That’s how I must roll these days, but everything’s under control, thus I haven’t phoned you.
It was January 1999. It was a super cold winter and my daily routine used to force me to expose to open air too much. It was a long way from Manor House to Ilford to take the train to Chadwell Heath (zone 6 in Essex, pure Cockney area) to work at the industrial laundry company Sunlight fuckin’ Services Group Ltd, and then the return. And then because the decks of the warehouse had to be open to load and unload trucks and lorries, that horrible place was freezing. Being hanging wet shirts and overalls wasn’t the most appropriate task to keep away from catching colds.
At that time my life in London was boring and frustrating. My relationship was falling to pieces, I completely lacked of social life, didn’t have many friends, wages were shit, and living and working so far away from downtown was killing all my illusion. I was actually depressed. Me? Can you imagine? I was 22 and felt down (thank God things changed a month later).
I think it was a mixture of being down plus all the physical issues at work which weakened my immune systems and my inner defenses were low, so much, I caught flu twice in 3 weeks, until I went back to my hometown for 10 days holidays and all the symptoms vanished immediately, hahaha! I was sick of not enjoying real party time!
Anyway, this first flu hit me very hard, and I didn’t have the right amount of antibiotics because I had given them to a flat mate who got really sick a month earlier. You must understand that national healthcare system differs a lot from one country to the other, and so do the prescriptions, so it was really difficult to access to antibiotics while we were living there, and they were generally sold in much less quantities than in Spain, thus while Brit people were taking 200mg of paracetamol, we were used to have 650mg, and ibuprofen was dispatched under prescription, but here it’s sold without it. These differences, as ridiculous as they might seem, can impact a lot in your recovery from illnesses.
I spent in bed 3 days, sleeping, having soup and orange juice, sweating, coughing and crying. I had no TV, internet didn’t exist, I was so weak and temperature was so high I could focus on reading or writing a letter…shit! I felt lonely and miserable. When Joe was finally back from work or his endless rehearsals we could chat a little, but I didn’t really have the energy for anything.
Because we were limited to our room, and I was sleeping most of time, Joe asked me if he could play some music in our small stereo with my CD player attached (resources were limited, but music was necessary) and because I didn’t give a shit I only asked him not to play very hard stuff.
In one of these eternal evenings I had a very pleasant dream. A strange journey through the universe, and I was floating. But I could hear the sea, and a sequence of beautiful images passed through my eyes (mind). I half opened the eyes and was seeing our bedroom, but then I closed them back and I was in the unknown. I’ve never had pure acid or LSD, but I’ve always thought that the trip should be close to my dream.
The following day, fever had gone, and I was feeling much better. I tried to make sense of my dream but I couldn’t remember any plot, just the images I’ve told you about. But I had this peace of mind and body I don’t even know how to describe. It was as if all the negative stuff had gone.
It took me some time to discover the song I had been listening in my dreams it was ‘Moon, Turn the Tides…Gently, Gently Away’, which belongs to the album Electric Ladyland, my favorite Hendrix’ album. I love it and always gives me good vibes, but I’ve never experienced such journey again, even though it’s perfect for it, so progressive, very evocative, and also increasing intensity in some parts.
So this is my tribute to one of my favorite left handed heroes, my own personal Jimi Hendrix Experience through a trippin’ song. Ha!