Friday, 19 June 2009

Angles of Incidence and Reflection

It's often said that our sense of smell is the strongest of the senses, but I find music can be an extremely potent stimulus to memory. Do you ever find yourself driving past a particular spot and suddenly remember what you were listening to on a previous occasion?

In 1972 I had just moved up to this part of the world from London and travelled around in my first vehicle which was a Ford Anglia Van (I'd heard it flooded up here!). It was pretty much state-of-the-art as I had fitted a Halfords windscreen washer kit and a cassette player with a big old Radio speaker in the back. As I drove through Thetford Forest the other day I recalled driving past the same spot 36 years previously in the Ford Anglia playing "Harvest" Album from Neil Young and suddenly the thumping bass rift intro to "Heart of Gold" flooded back into my consciousness.

I remember it was a pretty miserable time as I had no friends up here and would often just drive around pretty aimlessly at the weekend listening to Mr Young singing "Just a lonely boy, out on the weekend". Another of the tracks which was constantly buzzing in my mind was "Old Man" with the line "twenty four and there's so much more" having particular resonance for me at the time.

Well there certainly was a lot more, but suddenly I'm looking back from the perspective of the "Old Man". It must feel a bit odd for Neil Young to be still banging out the tune, and the same thought occurred to me the other day when I watched Cat "Yussuf" Stevens singing "Father & Son" from a very different vantage point.

As for myself I've actually found that Heart of Gold, but I'm still driving around Thetford Forest in a bloody van!


zIggI said...

you are like a hurricane - old grey whistle test Xmas 1978 - this post has taken me straight back there!

It was snowing and I had a Triumph Spitfire :)

... I haven't progressed much either

Rog said...

A Triumph Spitfire Top-trumps an Anglia Van (but not a Fiat Multipla I'm afraid).

It's nice to be home on a Friday isn't it?

Geoff said...

Heart Of Gold was one of the songs I learnt on guitar as a teenager. I could never get Neil's nasal whine.

My car songs are groovy instrumental tracks from the 90s. Unless you count Calvin Harris as we got stuck in bloody Exeter a couple of years ago.

First car - my dad's old Vauxhall Viva which I scraped against the wall the first time I drove it into our drive.

Richard said...

It didn't sound as if you were particularly ready for the country.

Christopher Campbell-Howes said...

First car! - 1953 Ford Popular, reg. JST 271, with 3 forward gears, starting handle, erectile finger direction indicators, single servo-operated windscreen wiper. If you wanted music you had to whistle. Top trumps everything else in slowness, discomfort, insecurity, tendency to roll and extreme agility requirement for back-seat rumpy-pumpy (or so they told me).

Vicus Scurra said...

Perhaps you had no friends because you played Neil Young. He must be bad because there is a hint that Geoff likes him.
It's the nasal whine that gets me, sounds like David Frost suffering from PMT.
I bought my first car 3 weeks ago. That must make me the youngest person here.

Dave said...

Have you got any friends yet?

Perhaps Vicus could be your friend - I understand he hasn't got any either.

First car: Ford Capri. Silver.

Still driving a silver Ford.

Am just now hearing the music of my youth for the first time, thanks to Mr Spotify (my car only had a radio, and it was tuned to the Home Service).

Liz said...

Places don't remind me of songs, it tends to be the other way around - there are several songs that remind me of driving to particular places.

My first car was a 1978 Ford Fiesta with a 975 engine. It was such a basic model that it had no radio and bare metal inside the doors. My dad fitted a radio cassette player to it for me.

I can remember driving a later car (a Vauxhall Astra) up to Lincolnshire to visit my parents when the tape player wasn't working, so I had a portable tape player on the passenger seat with the seat belt over it to stop it sliding about.

KAZ said...

Was it a Ford East Anglia van?
I learned to drive in a Ford Anglia.

john.g. said...

First car was a Hillman Minx! Now driving a wheelchair! LMAO!

Roses said...

My first car was a Fiat Panda.

Basic? OMG, it went forever on a tea-cup full of petrol, I could drive it when it was windy, and the only time it ever saw 60 was when I broke down next to the speed limit sign.

I agree with you about the music thing though. Some pieces of music are The Moment.

Rog said...

Geoff: His voice is difficult to acquire - it's like fine whine. I bet you didn't have the harmonica holder like me.

Richard: I think I'll pack it in and buy a pick up.

Christopher: Yes the Ford Popular was an early Oxymoron.

Vicus: Hello, good evening and, ...oh, I can't go through with this...

Dave: If Facebook had been around I'd have had 62 friends like you. The home service had "Letter from America" before the Scottish Twins.

Liz: You're right. "Get Off My Cloud" reminds me of being castigated half way up Ben Nevis for playing my Philips Cassette player. The trouble with driving into rural Lincolnshire is people pointing.

Kaz: Do keep up Kaz! The "Ford" and "Anglia" referred to the local flooding. I dreampt of a Capri like Dave - he must have been a babe magent in those days.

John: Just try not to LMAOW OK!

Rog said...

Roses: I had a Panda for several years commuting to North Norfolk. That's probably why I was Billy No-Mates (a reference to Pandas and Mating!)

Sarah said...

Blimey I'm not sure I want to be taken that far back! Harvest was the first album I ever bought.....and my first mode of transport was a clapped out old V dub comby..and I'm not telling you what went on in the back of that...!