Thursday, 10 October 2013

By the way, which one is Pink?

In 1975 I worked for a couple of years in a small Herefordshire town called Ledbury. It's grown since then but it's remarkably unchanged. I shared digs during the week with two other guys in an old farmhouse run by a bemused and ageing widow. There was hardly any heating (read non) and the wind fairly blew through windows supposedly closed. Jeans left overnight on winter mornings could stand freely without support. At the weekends, being only 24 and constantly broke, required a 250 mile trip back to free food and lodging at my parents house. 

Sunday night was the long return drive to work and I usually timed it to arrive back at the farmhouse digs around 1am. Road traffic was sparse back then and in the early hours in that part of the country almost none-existent after 11pm. Once I had wound my way off the motorway, through Worcester and over the Severn River, my favourite cassette tape was loaded and the volume cranked to max. 

From that point on, I would drive through sleeping cosy Great Malvern and up, higher into the dark Malvern Hills, leaving a wave of muffled music trailing in my wake,  causing I'm sure, many of the solid citizens of Great Malvern much angst and outrage. 

As I passed out of the town and higher into the hills, the road became a dark tunnel, headlights searching out the road ahead while casting shadows into the surrounding forest. I always drove as fast as I dared which, of course, was much too fast. Layered over this darkness, trees flashing past my windscreen as I swerved around tightening bends, would be my voice bellowing out the lyrics in accompaniment to Wish You Were Here by the Floyd. 

For the first time in my life I had a decent ICE system in a car which was a rather quick if old Mk II Cortina 1600E. The car and the music simply flew. The only way to listen to this album even now is with the lights turned down, alone and late at night. Magical.

So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell, blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?

Did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
Did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?

How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have we found?
The same old fears.
Wish you were here.

A 1600E almost mine to a T. 

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