My son is blessed with a prodigious memory. As we turned into Leicester Forest East services this afternoon, he piped up and declared: 'This is where we were when you found out that man had died'.
His memory is much better on places and moments than names, you understand. But yes, four years and a day earlier it was at this service station that we found out that Benazir Bhutto had been killed. As I queued up there today at Starbucks I recalled that it was in that same queue four Christmases previously that, prompted by a text message my wife had got, I rang my news desk, so nicely gumming up the works as they were getting word on air that Benazir was dead.
I was reflecting on all this while sipping my skinny capo today when I was drawn to the Starbucks background music. Not muzak at all but, I am fairly sure, the Grateful Dead. Acoustic, aethereal, not on 'Workingman's Dead' or 'American Beauty', so at a guess a very early and rather beautiful piece of the Dead's back catalogue.
How remarkable, I mused, that a song from forty years ago sounded so fresh. Could I ever imagine music from the 1930s playing when I was young and sounding contemporary? That's when my daughter made an off-tone comment about the old fashioned music that was playing. I suppose it was a bit at variance with the Tinie Tempah CD which had helped time pass earlier on our journey south.
After the Dead, another very old, mystical, whimsical song - I realised I was listening to the Incredible String Band. Haven't heard them for decades! So, please tell me, is there a CD out there that segues from the Dead to the ISB. Let me know the details - and I'll put it on my 2012 Christmas list.
Andrew Whitehead's blog
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