Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Epiphanies and other uplifting experiences

Jimi Hendrix first appeared to Dieter as he walked to work at the café opposite the Puppenhausmuseum in the centre of Basel. Hendrix was driving a crowded tram. The next day he flitted in front of Dieter in the main station chewing hurriedly at a hot dog and carrying a large leather valise. These were tantalising glimpses, as clouds might part in May for a momentary flash of radiant, warming sunshine.

However a few days later Hendrix sat down at Dieter’s Café, although not at one of Dieter’s tables and opened the Zeitung. Martina took his order for a coffee with none of the hysterics concomitant with cataclysmic moments in Rock History.

Dieter ignored a table of clamouring Japanese and edged closer to the Legend. His slight frame was enwrapped in a white linen shirt that spilled out from a tight snakeskin jacket. A black felt hat with an Indian band was jammed down on the famously teased hair. He lit up a Marlboro with a Zippo. It was Hendrix alright, right down to the wispy beard and the sad, reflective expression.

Throwing caution to the wind, Dieter leant to wipe Jimi’s table top and spoke out of the side of his mouth in his best approximation of American. “You’re back. That’s so cool.”

Hendrix stared fixedly at his paper and drew deeply on his Marlboro.

“What are you doing in Basel?” Dieter persisted, concerned

“Driving a tram,” replied Hendrix in fluent Swiss German, “where’s my coffee?”
Rejoicing in the confidence, Dieter winked at the megastar and went off to hustle Martina and his order

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