Friday, 23 September 2011

23rd September 2011

Picture the scene, if you will: It's Sunday, 6.45am, and I've just arrived in a European city by train. I've been travelling by train for 19 hours and have had little sleep. I'm by myself in a foreign country and exit the station as dawn is just waking up.

As I leave the beautiful station, I set out for a walk with a rucksack on my back. The first thing that hits me is how warm it is - a pharmacy sign reveals it is already 24degrees. The next thing I notice is that the youth of the city are just leaving the bars. People stagger around with glazed expressions.

I venture into the mammoth square in the centre of the city. There's just me stood in the middle of it as I gaze around. Then, a street sweeping van does balletic movements around where I am.

This happened to me in Toulouse the other Sunday morning. It gave me a beautiful feeling of serenity and set my holiday off to a great start.

What also helped was, as I had left the train, Alone in Kyoto by Air had come on my mp3 player. Not only was I in their country, but I was immediately reminded of a scene from a movie which featured the song.

Unfortunately, I can't embed the video, but please click the link to see Scarlett Johansson milling round Kyoto in Lost in Translation. It's a beautiful scene and very expressive of how I felt that early morning in Toulouse.

Alone in Kyoto

Friday, 9 September 2011

9th September 2011

I knew this would happen this week. For the past nine months, I've been arranging to go on holiday to a small village near Toulouse, France. The name of the village, Escoussens, lends itself perfectly to a certain song. Add to that the fact I'll be spending 19hours on trains to get there, and it couldn't get any more appropriate.

Thankfully it's a song I like. It could have been much worse: I could have been going somewhere that only me and you know...somewhere "bedshaped". Ugh, perish the thought.

So, from the abomination known as Keane to the Shamen. Seamless.

Yes, LSI, Move Any Mountain and Ebeneezer Goode were...erm...good, but neither of those is my favourite. Destination Eschaton is. You see where I'm coming from now, don't you? Eschaton/Escoussens, they sound similar, no?

Thankfully though, I'll be heading to Escoussens - rather than the end of the known world - and, like it has been for the past week, this song will be my travelling companion.

As they say in la France, amusez-vous.

Friday, 2 September 2011

2nd September 2011

Many earworms have come and gone this week. Some thankfully, others I have enjoyed. I didn't particularly like This Ole House by Shakin' Stevens, especially when my mind was bastardising the lyrics.

Where there should have been "Ain't got time to fix the shingles, Ain't a-got time to fix the floor, Ain't got time to oil the hinges, Nor to mend no windowpane," I had various other household chores. Ain't got time to sweep the chimney, ain't got time to brush my hair, ain't got time to brush the hedges, nor to reupholster the chair. That kind of stuff. And it went on for a couple of days.

Thankfully it stopped, but one song remained constant.

It all started last week when I was writing a little piece about Toots and the Maytals. During that I was dragged back to last summer. After the now infamous 27-hour road trip to Budapest, me and a friend set up camp for Sziget festival - exhausted and a bit dazed. After a night getting accidentally drunk, it was time for the first day of the festival - a reggae/ska day. Perfect. Acts included the Wailers, Toots and the Maytals and, unfortunately, UB40.

The Wailers came, went and were replaced by Toots. On a gloriously sunny Budapest evening with sand underfoot, it was perfect music. During Bam Bam, I remember looking round me. The sun was just high enough above the trees to add to the serenity afforded by the music.

Awaking from my reverie, I saw Toots were playing Leeds on Fri 2 Sep, and that's where I'm going right now.

Close your eyes while watching the video below and you could be there in the hazy sunshine. Enjoy Bam Bam, I know I will - despite the view in Leeds Academy not being quite as beautiful as that evening in Budapest.