Sunday, 6 January 2008

Transports of delight




Ticket to Ride : Music to listen to on the Bus


I’ve just finished Friday’s paper part of my post Xmas economy drive to not buy a new one until I’ve read the last. Laura Barton’s article was good this week. I’ve never fully taken to her writing it all seems a bit lifestyletastic, she once gave the astonishing insight that Van Morrison makes ideal “Sunday morning music”.

Anyway this week she wrote about music to listen to on the bus. Seeing as I’m Mr public transport, I listen to music on bus/train all the time; in fact it’s a treat to listen out loud to stuff in a car. Occasionally you do get the perfect combination of place and tune.


Here’s a few that spring to mind.

When Portishead’s Dummy album first came out, I was on a stopped train on the bridge over the Thames, just outside Victoria. It was a grey misty day and sitting in a near empty carriage with Portshead’s noir inspired paranoia slipping out was just perfect. We all fancy being a spy from time to time don’t we?
It’s hard to remember how new and strange they seemed at the time.

"Subway she is a porno"

On a similar note when Interpol first lp appeared I had to regularly change lines at Canary Wharf and I had a startling moment travelling up the vast escalator, the ‘pols never bettered NYC (New York Kiss) swirling around it was dare I say a “cathedral of sound”!

My latest was when I was up in Barnsley; I was on the bus bumping along on one of South Yorkshire’s spectacularly bad roads. The top deck was deserted except for a young lad opposite, he had a biblical shiner and had his face resting on the condensation frosted window, he was close to tears so I tried not to look. Just then Fake Empire by the National came on and for three and half minutes I was taken away; past “town’s” last pit, past curiously grand war memorials, tiny stand alone chippies, grim looking estate pubs, corner shops that are now Sainsbury locals, the insistent drumming and swelling guitars quite moving and then the bit when the chattering jittery trumpets come in, just perfect; it never seems long enough.

I took my phones out when it finished, almost as if to catch my breath. Just then two girls got on and stomped up the stairs, laughing. The first was spotty and puppyish, her friend however was so strikingly beautiful I was taken aback, they where both laughing in the way teenage girls do, slightly harder/longer than is entirely necessary. Of course the karmic balance of the universe was instantly returned as they pulled opened the window and all over the world Dockers and old Etonians blushed and covered their ears, as a stream of cursing of the foulest kind sprung forth. The target of their abuse a grinning youth left sitting on the wall next to the bus stop. They then abruptly took their seats and proceeded to get their phones out.


One thing you can say for public transport, you rarely have such intriguing involving 5 mins sat in a ford focus.


Anyone else have any good ones?

I am always slightly stifled in my public transport music reveries, by being reminded of an early Charlie Brooker Nathan Barley piece in which Nathan fantasises on the tube escalator whilst listening to his walkman. Barley imagines machine gunning half the tube whilst being fellated by a hot TV presenter, all to the tune of some hip hop. A necessary correction to the whole soundtrack to our lives thing I think.

Ps the photo at the top is negative shot I took with my phone, I'm taken with the effect.

1 comment:

Planet Mondo said...

I've never had any magic music moments on public transport, but was driving around Dorset listening to XTC's 'Skylarking'

Just as we hit the peak of a hill and the new landscape rolled into view, a low summer evening sun came out from behind a cloud and turned the countryside golden, while at the same time Summers Cauldron changed into Grass on the car stereo - truly magical and never forgotten.