Sunday, May 27, 2012

More Inverness Than Ipanema

Some things are timeless.

Tall and tanned and young and lovely

The floor is cold beneath my bare feet as I enter the airport, humming. The air conditioning hits me, a merciful icy blast after the midday furnace outside.

A woman in business dress - her long blonde hair in flight - pushes past me, singing a familiar tune.

The girl from Ipanema goes walking

The Girl from Ipanema? How odd; I was just thinking about that song. I turn to watch her retreating, determined gait and wonder if she’s singing along to something? But I see no earphones on her, and there’s no piped music in the air. I guess she must like singing in public?

Something touches my bare leg, and I glance down and find a five-year-old boy tugging at my knee. He looks up at me enquiringly, perhaps lost, his wide blue eyes twinkling under a mop-top haircut.

And unexpectedly, he begins to sing.

And when she passes each man she passes goes A-a-h!

The statement is clear, his young voice steady and in key. And it’s the next line of the song. Weird. His mother bustles over and tugs him away by the hand, throwing me an apologetic glance. She chastises the boy as they hurry away, and her sharp-but-musical words find my ears.

When she moves it's like a samba

They move away and out of earshot. I turn slowly, bewildered, to find a group of nuns in my path. One carries a guitar - this is an airport I suppose - and they all carry a tune. As the penguined choir divides and sweeps past on either side of me, the Ipanema refrain continues in three-part harmony.

That swings so cool and sways so gently
That when she passes
Each man she passes goes A-a-h!

There’s a particular delight in the delivery of that last line. My jaw drops. Cheeky nuns? Well, I’d always suspected, to be honest. Good grief, another sane day in Camp Roth. *

[ * Camp Roth is a location, not a rumour. ]

The air is cold on my shoulders as I start to walk forward again; I really should have brought something warmer for this place. Still, onwards.

Now, where was it I was going? As I ponder this, my mind a blank, an old man in a short-trousered military uniform and beret is wheeled towards me in a bathchair. Medals gleam on his chest, but despite the rakish moustache, his eyes are inert and introspective. Behind him, a helper - perhaps a granddaughter - in sensible sandals and a long flowing summer dress, continues the verse while surveying a shop window.

Oh - but he watches so sadly

As I approach, the head of the old man raises and turns my way. His eyes have found a shine to match the medals. He sweetly croons his life story.

How can he tell her he loves her
He would just give his heart gladly

They pass from view, and again I focus ahead, my feet squeaking on the polished marble. Was it Arrivals I wanted? Departures?

The thought goes from my head as a beautiful redhead in a dark blue dress strolls my way. Her smiling eyes are upward, her face enjoying the play of sun as she passes beneath the indoors palms of the airport. Her voice fills the air, sultry yet elusive.

But each day when she walks to the sea
She looks straight ahead not at he

Well, isn’t that the truth.

Still, she looks Scottish and not Brazilian. Yes, definitely more Inverness than Ipanema. Do I recognise her? She looks like someone I saw on TV, maybe? As if she senses my scrutiny, she turns to look me in the eye. There’s a smile on her lips, but it erupts into laughter as she glances down at my attire.

Waitaminute, what is it I'm wearing exactly?

I look down and realise I’m naked. Well, apart from the Union Jack gathered about my shoulders.

Indigo Roth's Naked Flag In An Airport
I bend further down and hope it’s long enough. I sigh. It’s not.

The dreamy lady continues to laugh at me. I think it’s at this moment, with those exact words, that I realise I’m dreaming. Yes, it all makes sense; I’m naked in a public place, wrapped in a flag, and the woman of my dreams is laughing at me.

Not for the first time, I curse my subconscious.

It’s definitely out to get me.

I feel the imposing grasp of security guards on my arms. I don’t resist. I could spread my wings and fly out of this place, or sublime into smoke, or open my eyes and find myself in my bed.

But the lilting tune on the lips of the redhead holds my gaze as they drag me away to the cells. As she waves her delicate fingers and blows kisses to the guards, I feel the flag slip from my shoulders.

The tune may be timeless, but the experience is not.

Tall and tanned and young and lovely
The girl from Ipanema goes walking
And when she passes he smiles
But she doesn't see
No she doesn't see...


This blog entry (not the YouTube) is protected by copyright © Indigo Roth, 2012. With thanks to Karen Gillan. Not that she knew.


  1. Hahah! Oh dear Indigo! That would be quite embarrassing wouldn't it? Such an imagination on you.

    Who's showing too much skin now, hmmm???? :P

    1. Hey Kato! Well, now you mention it, it IS rather a curious coincidence that we're both semi-nekkid today. I've always felt that us Brits have so much in common with you Canucks. Pass the sun cream, won't you please? Thanks, Indigo x

  2. dreams are tricky things, but no doubt you've started an airport fashion trend. ;)

    1. Hey Eolist? Trendsetter? Me? Well, it's fair to say I'm rarely in fashion, so the only logical conclusion is that I'm ahead of it. Erm. Indigo x

  3. Oh dear. Still at least you'd packed your flag yourself. Always a help at check in. Are nuts allowed in hand luggage?
    I know they're allowed in first class. Mind you they were salted. Yours may be dry roasted.

    Cheeky nuns have never {yet} appeared in any of my dreams though songs often do and admittedly I've had the naked-in-public one a few times too. {Why is the dream girl often there and never interested?} Never been able to work out if its pride or insecurity to the fore in that dream scenario either. Maybe like you I'm just a bit bonkers matey!

    Still - we'll never be lonely. Just without the girl of our dreams I s'pose

    Nice one

    1. Hey Alistair! Oh, I always carry a flag with me; a man must show his colours. Tho, as in this case, he doesn't have to wear them. Indigo

  4. Tall and tanned and young and lovely.

    I'm just 'and'

    1. Oh, psht, Lass! Your stature are heritage may change the line somewhat, but there's no shame in it

      Short and heeled and Scots and lovely...

      Better yet, remember yer a REEEEDHEEEEAD! Indigo x

  5. Do what I do. Get a prescription from the doctors and Prozac that subconscious to death. It's nasty and deserves it.

    1. Good plan matey! I'll boil up one of those prozac/lucozade/porkscratching cocktails... mmm, dreamy, sugary hog lumps. Roth

  6. How do you come up with this stuff? I want to do a Vulcan mind meld with you -- not on the first date of course.

    This is so quirky, funny and about as charming as anything I've ever read. And, of course, I'm flattered that once again, the lady of your dreams is a redhead. :)

    1. Hey Jayne! I aim for quirky, but my rear brain does most of the heavy lifting. As for being a ravishing redhead, you get my vote x Indigo

  7. I love that song...timeless.
    As is your imagination!

    1. Hey Nancy! I've been humming the damned thing at the office all week; they probably think I'm a swinger. Erm... And thank you! Indigo x

  8. I hope you got the Union Jack off.

    1. Hey Murr! It was ALMOST off; it got caught at crotch height, and was at half mast for most of the day. Indigo x

  9. I always dream of airport and being naked but usually not at the same time. LOVE this song! Now I'll be humming it while I try to go to bed.

    1. Hey Chrissy! Lovely to see you here! I'm always dreaming about the airport; I'll keep an eye out for you next time. Oooh, will you be in cabin uniform? =D Indigo x