28 December 2007

Day for night

These refurbished coaches, as well as their high-density, high-backed seating, have windows so heavily tinted that they make better mirrors. At this time of year there's precious little daylight to enjoy during the daily commute without the "day for night" effect of dark glass, my reflection in which serves only to remind me of how doing this journey every day has aged me.
On the other hand, rediscovering music that has been dormant in my memory for decades is a constant joy, as is discover stuff I'd never heard before. I copied a random and eclectic selection to my Creative Zen V Plus on Christmas day: two Audience albums, as I have already mentioned, and a Howard Werth solo (when are they going to play live again? There's been nothing this year apart from a few dates in Canada!); John Coltrane; Stackridge, live at Huntingdon Hall earlier this year; the Four Last Songs (useful to listen to when I've caught my reflection in the train window); a BBC radio podcast about Syd Barrett; Turangalila; "Decameron", from the first Fairport Convention album ...
It might mean giving up travelling in Coach A, but finally being able to carry around a wide and large selection of music, and to be able to navigate through it, might be a life-changing experience. My old MP3 player was hard to see, let alone navigate, and its habit of switching language mode to its native Mandarin (in which it's tricky to find the command to switch back), while endearing, did not make for an enjoyable listening experience.
Yesterday, on the final leg of the commute from hell, I walked across Westminster Bridge and through St James's Park on a typically grey London winter morning, the leafless trees against the leaden sky bringing to mind a French movie I saw on the television thirty or so years ago (what on earth was it? Set in Paris during the Nazi occupation, the title being just the name of a main character). I listened, not deliberately, to You're Not Smiling and then I Had a Dream, and they perfectly complemented the weather, the scenery, the general ambience of a nearly-deserted Westminster on a late December morning.

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