- Vol. 05
- Chapter 08
Long Gone Bye
There's a story I heard that "I Melt With You" was based on an actual incident that took place in the Karakan Pine Forest in the dead of winter of 1933 — the coldest ever recorded.
I am told that two peasants collecting woods found themselves freezing to death despite being dressed in layers of sheepskin kozhukhs and woolen papakha hats. To survive they raided a hut filled with hundreds of wax candles and set them on every tree in the forest all of them straight and tall like soldiers. The men lit the candles and were briefly warm.
Long Gone Bye
But they did not know that the hut belonged to a witch and were made from tallow taken from unbaptized infants which is hard to acquire. When the witch saw what they had done she shrieked and made a spell that heated up the entire forest.
At first it was tolerable, like a Turkish bath, and then it became uncomfortable but bracing like a Russian bath and then it got hotter.
The two men watched each other as their skin bubbled and dripped and eventually they just melted away like the candles they stole.
To this day if you go to the Karakan Pine Forest the trees are bent like drunks, like dancers, and it is said this is why.
I later found out that this was not the story that inspired the song by Modern English but instead it was inspired by singer Robbie Grey's fear of nuclear bombs, but I guess we all fear that something will come screaming out of the east and twist our forests and we will be helpless as skin loosens and drips and we at last are reduced to higher alkanes and lipids, now liquid and hissing
on the ground.