Swingin’ Safari

I was out doing grocery shopping today … a task I absolutely loathe.. and yes, yes, yes… I checked the fucking eggs with the same little disheartened sigh that I always do.  But I’m not bitching about checking the fucking eggs – for a change.

Today when I walked into the shopping centre I heard a very familiar tune playing on the PA system….

My Dad used to play Bert Kaempfert’s Swingin’ Safari when I was a kid.  Which on it’s own sounds like a fairly innocuous sort of statement but it masks a gross understatement.  My Dad played Bert Kaempfert’s Swingin’ Safari EVERY single time we had people over for dinner…  since time immemorial.  This album embodies all my most enduring social memories of my childhood… rabidly cleaning the house up before guests arrived, putting on our nicest dresses, running amok while the adults fixed dinner and sitting at a kids table in the lounge room.  Dad must have been playing that record from the early 70s – long before I was old enough to be allowed to touch the record turntable and we were throwing it back at him right up until he passed away.  I can still hear him telling us not to jump or dance on the (timber) floor because the record player was on and he didn’t want the needle to skip.

Over time it became the quintessential Cross Family Dinner Music and would be faithfully trundled out not only every time we had company for dinner but eventually for family dinner gatherings too.  I remember hunting down the album on CD in the mid 90s at some point and I can still recall the curious and incredulous looks from the HMV staff when I ordered in 5 import copies of a dodgy old fashioned album they’d never heard of …..one for me, one for BigSal, one for Edouardo, one for Equinom and one for Dad of course.

I remember too giving the CD to the DJ at my little sister’s wedding and insisting he play the album during dinner… which as it turned out was all together too complicated for the idiot DJ and when the silly guy changed to something else after only the first song  Edouardo had to go over ‘sort him out’ until he understood that he had to play it right through with nothing else.  We also played the album at my wedding and at BigSal’s wedding too (DJ’s properly briefed this time so Edouardo didn’t have to play music Nazi).

It reminds me so much of my Dad that I only just realized that we haven’t really listened to it since he passed away and I was quite taken aback to hear it at the shops this morning.  It was quite unsettling actually.

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