Music Challenge Day 6 – A Song That Reminds You Of Somewhere

I could write a dissertation on this one.  One of my favourite things EVER is road trips with appropriate soundtracks.  I always seem to come home with some new, permanent meta-link in my brain between music and location.  I could hit “random” on my iPod and come up with many relationships.  Just for example:

Chemical Brothers – “Out of Control” – driving the Bow Valley Parkway between Lake Louise and Banff, Alberta at ‘entertaining’ speeds (but not technically ‘out of control’)…

Supergrass – “Sun Hits The Sky” – riding the trains & buses around Cardiff in 2001, checking out Caerphilly Castle in the back yard of my ancestors…

Spinal Tap – “Big Bottom” – stuck in traffic with my buddy somewhere in the BC interior on a road trip to Vancouver and Seattle to see the Manic Street Preachers do a North American club tour…

Matthew Sweet – “Girlfriend” – en route to an airshow in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba with my high school friends circa 1991 (if I recall correctly, none of us had girlfriends at the time, but we all loved the song)…

Guster – “Architects and Engineers” – on a bumpy early-morning flight to Calgary on company business last month, thinking about the day of engineering meetings ahead of me and the steady progression of ranches and farmyards appearing and disappearing below my shuddering window…

Radiohead – “How To Disappear Completely” – watching one of the best performances I’ve ever seen, Radiohead at the Gorge Amphitheatre in Washington state, USA, on the Amnesiac tour, from a grassy hillside as the sun set behind the stage and then a full moon appeared above the horizon behind us…

Paul Simon – “America” live from Central Park – as I flew over the Verrazano Narrows bridge and Liberty Island on approach to LaGuardia airport in New York City at night for the first time in 1996…

The Autumn Defense – “Spend Your Life” – hiking at Elk Island National Park one beautiful autumn day, and seeing a bull plains bison slowly negotiating his way through the trees off to my right…

Pink Floyd – “High Hopes” – punting on the River Cam in Cambridge, England with my friends, back in David and Roger and Syd’s old stomping grounds on a sunny summer afternoon…

I could go on for hours.  And over the next few months, expect me to revisit this theme.

But the classic example of music being forever linked with a location in my mind is when I flew home from London, UK to western Canada in August 2001.  The great circle route between Heathrow and Calgary takes you pretty much over Iceland and the southern tip of Greenland.  I had a window trip for the journey (I always book a window seat – how often do you get to see the world unimpeded from 40,000 feet?).  As we flew over Greenland, we were lucky enough to witness icebergs calving off of the glaciers into the North Atlantic, pockmarking the water like an armada of brilliant white ocean liners on an azure sea.  Meanwhile, in the earbuds of my Discman (hey, it was 2001!), I had the whole of the Agaetis Byrjun record by Icelandic band Sigur Ros providing the soundtrack.

It was a perfectly clear day, I had the Atlantic Ocean at my feet, and I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck standing up from the synchronicity of time & place & music.  The music, like the scenery, was out of this world.  Pure magic.

I can’t wait to go on my next road trip to make some more musical associations.


3 thoughts on “Music Challenge Day 6 – A Song That Reminds You Of Somewhere

  1. It is time for another pond-spanning trip, eh 🙂

    My song would be Waiting for the Sun by Powderfinger. Standing in the English summer rain in 2001 and having them bust it out as the low racing clouds finally cleared was truly special.

    The crowd got it, the band brought it, and I will never forget it.

    “There’s a place for us sitting here waiting for the sun…”

    • My best memory from the same day at V2001 was watching Neil Finn singing “Weather With You” and “Four Seasons In One Day” whilst staring up at those same low-racing crowds.

  2. Pingback: Go Places | Craven Hermit

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