“Oh no, not I! I will survive!
Oh, as long as I know how to love
I know I’ll stay alive!
And I’ve got all my life to live.
And I’ve got all my love to give.
And I’ll survive. I will survive! I will survive!
July and just like that it’s here again. Summer has returned to the city: packed terraces, bikes dodging passers-by the length and breadth of the Paseo de La Concha, couples leaning with their backs to the railing taking selfies with the bay in the background, the masses armed with towels and children with wafers making their way down the ramp towards the beach… those wafer triangles inevitably, subliminally, guide me towards Calle Garibay.
You’ll already be familiar with La Veneziana and its amazing assortment of artisanal ice cream. I turn the corner off the Boulevard and run into a never-ending queue which spills out of the place and takes over the pavement. Too hot. And disheartened, I turn on my heels. It’s at that moment I gaze upwards to see Gloria Gaynor bringing yet more light to this summer morning from the top of a poster. Beneath her picture, the advert for the Jazzaldia festival and that same confident message: “I will survive!”
“May God hear you!”, I manage to mumble after colliding with a group of tourists racing towards the now blocked entrance to La Veneziana.
Don’t get me wrong. I love summer in my city, I can assure you. Among other things because July coincides with the Jazzaldia festival, an event which this year rounds a half century. We’re stepping into the 51st edition, practically the same number of years which have passed since Gloria Gaynor launched her musical career with that small Chicago label and the single She’ll Be Sorry/Let Me Go Baby. We’ll have an opportunity to listen to her outstanding voice and witness her presence on the stage erected every year on Zurriola beach. That same stage where, in previous years, we were able to enjoy Bob Dylan, B. B. King, Patti Smith, and Bobby McFerrin.
“I will survive!”, yelled Gloria Gaynor to the world that summer of ’79. A song about acknowledging and trusting in our own strength, and a cry to personal freedom, which became an anthem for more than one generation.
That golden era of disco music and its coloured queens is now long gone, but I make a mental note of the date, July 21st, breathe deeply and get my pace back with renewed confidence: I will get one of those damned ice creams!
“And I’ll survive
I will survive!”