Islands in the Stream

We have a new routine. Every night, at sunset, we play a selection of songs. Really loud. We bought a new outdoor sound system in Martinique – replacing Quest’s broken car stereo in the cockpit. Full disclosure – I was a bit pursey-lipped about it at the time. All that money?

I take it all back. We start with the same song, turned up to anchorage-listening potential. It is… drum roll… Islands in the Stream. Hehe. So cheesy. Bless you Kenny Rogers. Rest in Peace. And of course, Dolly Parton, you sweet spitfire queen.

It has become the song of our lockdown. And funny, cause we like it for different reasons. I mean firstly, who even says fine-tooth comb?

I used to have it on cassette. It was one of the few mix-tapes I carried around in my first car. A 1981 red Mini Metro. I played the tapes at night time, usually driving through London. I didn’t even know who sang Islands in the Stream. It just used to take me somewhere. It was transformational. And of course a guilty pleasure. Even then.

The girls know it from somewhere else. Gavin and Stacey. Sung by Nessa and Bryn at Gwen’s birthday barn dance. ‘What the hell is Jean doing here?’

If anyone is looking for something to watch and has access to Gavin and Stacey – please watch this for us. It’s the best.

Nessa sings Kenny’s part and Bryn sings Dolly’s. We all croon to it at the top of our lungs. For the girls it’s become the Welsh anthem. For me, I still remember it as the anthem of escape. And we are also in the Islands in the Stream, so it turns out to be the anthem of where we are. It even says ‘sail’ in it. That’ll do.

We play other stuff next. Happily, Quest’s crew got into The Beatles after watching the recent Richard Curtis movie, Yesterday. The girls are liking The Beatles’ early, boppy numbers like I Want to Hold Your Hand. I prefer the later, stranger stuff like Rocky Raccoon. We meet it the middle with Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.

I’m grateful the girls have tapped into this pop genre that they might have missed. We cannot for example, listen to Hey Jude without giggling. Ed Sheeran sent himself up in the film – particularly when he thought Hey Jude should be called Hey Dude. And his ringtone – of his own music. Is that real life?

The sun has almost set. The girls get in a Lizzo song. She’s so good. Delph always wants James Blunt’s Goodbye My Lover too (‘He has a cracking voice, Gwen.’) We’ll play it for a few moments – before groaning. Then they tend to lose attention and shuffle off, finished. I wait till they leave – and put on a sneaky sad song. The sun has gone.

Peace on Earth. Fine-Tooth Comb. Rely on Each Other. Aha.