Tuesday, 18 November 2014

We Used To Think The Motorway Looked Like A River...

I’ve been using the camera on my phone a bit like a sketchbook lately. I love the spontaneity it offers and it’s ease of ability to capture something seen more by chance. I’m finding it a great way of generating ideas as I travel through the landscape.  It seems to take quite a good picture at night, but the imperfections of it and the weird lighting effects it seems to sometime capture interest me too. Here are some recent ones looking down on the M5, and of some factories passed and motorway service stations stopped at, the parked lorries catching my attention. 
  The title of this post is adapted from an album title, ‘We Used To Think The Freeway Looked Like A River’, by Richmond Fontaine, which seemed to fit that image. It’s a pretty good record, not great, but the lyrics are really interesting. I recently read ‘The Motel Life’ by Willy Vlautin, the band’s songwriter and lyricist. This was a terrific tale of two brothers trying to escape their shared past. The prose style was incredibly engaging: very spare yet packed with observation and detail. Just up my street, and often very sad and moving at times. I’d really recommend it. Not so the record…

Author/songwriter Willy Vlautin, 'The Motel Life' 

In recent months I’ve also loved reading ‘How I Killed Margaret Thatcher’ by Dudley born, Anthony Cartwright. This is his third book after ‘The Afterglow’ and ‘Heartland’ set in the Black Country, and I’ve enjoyed all three. This one tells its story through the eyes of a nine-year old boy, who, as the narrator, bears witness to the devastating policies of Thatcher in the 1980’s on his hometown of Dudley and the surrounding factories, and the impact this has on his own family. It’s a both sad and angry book, and made me feel both sad and angry too. Finishing the book and then stepping back out it made me reflect on the world around me as it is now and see how much has been lost in our communities and society thanks to that woman’s policies.  The current coalition government are doing a devastatingly good job of hammering the last nails in the coffin. 
  Anyway, on a last, and less bitter note, other records I have enjoyed in recent months, include London Grammar’s debut  ‘If You Wait’, from last year, which is a wonderful warm, late-night listen. It’s been a record to get lost to to in the studio.

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