Sunday, 17 February 2013

LA LUNA by Seb Eckstein

LA LUNA by Seb Eckstein

Sometime in 2012, I was approached by Sue Eckstein who was a lecturer in Clinical and Biomedical Ethics at Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) asking if I might like to give a talk on my project at the BSMS in Falmer near the University. I met Sue and her colleague, Bobbie Farsides, and we arranged for the talk to go ahead in December of that year. As usual, I got a bit carried away with the whole thing and, at one point, suggested to Sue that, in addition to everything else, we played "La Luna" by Madness at the end and invite everyone to dance. Sue was horrified by this and so was I when I was informed subsequently that she had had part of her left leg amputated in 2010 as a result of bone cancer. Up to that point I had no idea that she had a false leg - typically, she had never mentioned it. I forgot about the song until, at the end of the talk as we all began to file out of the lecture hall, the dramatic opening bars of the song rang out. I looked across at Sue who flashed her beautiful smile at me. 

Sadly, Sue died of the cancer which had returned with a vengeance (she would like that cliche) in November 2013. She was the loveliest of people; very intelligent and articulate but extremely easy going and warm and that smile.........

In the meantime, after my talk, she introduced me to her equally lovely son, Sebastian, of whom clearly she was very proud and explained that he was a photographer. I cannot remember exactly what happened next but he agreed to photograph me. My daughter was just about to move into a flat in Brighton and she allowed us to shoot there. We tried various ideas centred around me dancing to the music we played and this is one of Seb's great shots. I cannot dance as well as I used to but for these, I really went for it and thought again of my mother, who was a dancer in the 1940s, as I struck various poses for Seb. I understand that these shots were part of a school project which was very received quite favourably by his tutors. Unfortunately, Sue became very ill and this meant that Seb had other things on his mind than producing anything for me to look at. We tried to meet a few times but things kept getting in the way. So, it was not until quite recently that we met to look at the pictures taken on that day. I loved them and realised why Sue had been so proud of her young son. 

Before writing this, I began to think of a title. It didn't take me long. It had to be La Luna.


Oh the places I remember from the moment I was born
From Battersea to Birmingham, memories forlorn
Just faint wafts of nostalgia blowing gently on the breeze
I sit among the evergreen, of all I have received

Estrellas y la luna, the rays are breaking through
Out come the twinkling stars shining down on you

Well, I'm in and out the window, my mind a wandering star
So many clear cut chances, I put right over the bar

Easy in the kitchen making daily bread
Wormwood in your soul, a time bomb in your head
You've packed your things, you're leaving, this time you know where
But the places you remember will always still be there
Will always still be there

Estrellas y la luna, the rays are breaking through
Out come the twinkling stars shining down on you

Look, children singing raucous out in the street below
Squeezing the last drops of fading light before it's their time to go

Easy in the kitchen making daily bread
Wormwood in your soul, a time bomb in your head
You've packed your things, you're leaving, this time you know where
But the places you remember will always still be there
Will always still be there

Estrellas y la luna, the rays are breaking through
Out come the twinkling stars shining down on you

Estrellas y la luna, the rays are breaking through
Out come the twinkling stars shining apart for you


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