“We saw war­ring warthogs...”

Q (UK) - - Frightened Rabbit -

Q asked the poet Michael Ped­er­sen to tell us a story about his close friend Scott Hutchi­son. He re­sponded with this anec­dote from their re­cent tour of South Africa, pro­mot­ing Ped­er­sen’s book Oys­ter.

There are some things that be­long only to us – in this case, four doz­ing lions and a bull ele­phant on the ram­page. “In be­tween shows in Jo­han­nes­burg and Cape Town we sneaked off on an an­i­mal sa­fari. Here we dis­cov­ered an en­chantress of a wine called M’hudi that made us giddy, gave a smooch wi’ each sip. We be­came comets cruis­ing ether, bumper cars aroond stars. At the end of this trip you said to me: ‘Well, we know one thing now. We’re fan­tas­tic at a hol­i­day.’ We toasted to more of them and mooted spots all over the globe. But back to the sa­fari – an in­au­gu­ral fur us both. “We saw war­ring warthogs, myr­iad wilde­beest and im­pala, a gen­er­ous batch of hippo, lions, gi­raffe, chee­tah, ele­phant, ze­bra, rhino, an African wild dog (which caused a right stir)… the list goes on. Our Park Ranger’s name es­capes me and I can’t text you to ask again, which is a real c**t. Any­how, there was this un­writ­ten code that sa­fari go-ers (that’s us) would no­tify the group of sig­nif­i­cant spots so as the jeep could be swung around and all eyes could slurp up nature’s won­der. Lions, ele­phants and chee­tahs were the paragon sight­ings and hours had drifted by since any had sur­faced. The day was near done, so the jeep purred off back towards Shep­herds Tree Lodge, still thirsty for more. “There was a point at which the sky at­tached its gaze to us, some­thing in the shift­ing shad­ows said so. It was then that you tapped me on the shoul­der silently and ges­tured up a steep gra­di­ent to a grassy plateau, where two li­onesses lay with two cubs sprawled out in a cir­cle, lolling in the sun. We mar­velled a mo­ment, mar­velled all over them, took them in with supreme sight­lines and a dream-like still­ness. Whilst the oth­ers nat­tered on, gar­ru­lous and boozy from a well-oiled rest break, we basked in the com­pany of lions. “A minute or two down the road you tapped me once again and mouthed slowly: ‘Fuck ’em. That was just for us’. And so it was, and is, and for­ever will be. “I know what you’re think­ing: what about that ram­pag­ing bull ele­phant? To which I say, fuck ye, that’s just for us.”

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