Summer is definitely here. I know this because I drove to Aberdeen and perpetrated mass bug genocide with my windscreen. Several weeks later, my windscreen still remains a memorial to the fallen bugs of Fife, Angus and Aberdeenshire.
It appears that the Eyjafjallajökull (yes, I copied and pasted that) volcano has stopped erupting. Hurrah. Perhaps they have blocked it up with shredded tyres and golf balls. Just in time for my flight down south to London. With BA. Although their strikes haven’t been affecting London City. Double hurrah.
I am listening to Spotify right now, as I write. And, marvellous though it is, I have discovered a second reason to dislike it. As they are wont to do to us free subscribers, they interrupted my listening pleasure with an annoying advert. “Ha!” I thought. “I’ll fox them.” I muted my speakers and switched them back on after a minute or so. The advert was still running. I muted my speakers again. After another minute or so I switched back on. The same advert was still playing. In fact, it seemed to take up exactly from where I muted it. They can tell when I mute my computer speakers and pause the advert until I put them back on. The cads. Whatever next?
The first reason to dislike it, of course, is that guests in your house can put on whatever music they like when your back is turned. This is an embarrassingly obvious example of music snobbery on my part, but honestly, when someone hijacks your computer, in your own home no less, and forces everyone present to listen to irritating teen-pop, I am liable to splutter something I shouldn’t.
Having left my entire music collection in the seat pocket of an aircraft, I do hope the nice steward or stewardess who trousered it is enjoying my carefully crafted playlists and smart albums. I’m not, obviously, and have had to resort to old-school listening techniques in the car, such as putting on a CD. Due to a rediscovery of the joy of listening to a good album over and over, along with general inertia, I have become very closely acquainted with Steve Earle’s Transcendental Blues. What an album this is. Edgy country, bluegrass and an awesome ballad to finish. I met Steve Earle once, just before Christmas in 2004. He was playing a show with the Dukes at the Usher Hall, and they needed ear impressions taken to have new in-ear-monitors made. I shuffled up the road to the Usher Hall on the day of the gig, and took impressions for Earle and his band in a very dimly lit Green Room. I have no idea how the impressions turned out, my hands were shaking a fair bit. I hoped the inadequate lighting would mask my obvious nervousness. I chatted with him a little, asked him if he was looking forward to getting home for Christmas. He wasn’t, really. Loved it on the road, he said. He went on to explain that his band (The Dukes) lived all over the place. The bass player, Kelly Looney (real name, I believe. Well, you probably wouldn’t choose it) lives in Paris, for example.
I have subsequently become very familiar with, and very fond of, a Steve Earle song called Ft. Worth Blues. Wiseman will testify, wearily, to this. It names a number of cities and places in the world – Amsterdam, London, Paris, with a recurring phrase: “It never really was your kinda town.” And so at this point, if, as the man himself said on another occasion, I knew what I know now then, since Paris had obligingly popped up in the conversation, I might have casually suggested that it never really was his kinda town. Many, many times since, in my imagination, I have relived this moment, and delivered this show-stoppingly dramatic line. In my imagination, Steve Earle is impressed with my knowledge of his lyrics. In reality, he might have thought I was taking the mick, and this could have been a dangerous thing given that he’s spent time in jail on a firearms charge. Perhaps it’s better that I didn’t know the song, really.