Wednesday, May 30, 2007

*Earworms and guilty pleasures and country roads

For the last three days I have driven J mad, by being obsessed with John Denver's Take Me Home Country Roads. I walk about the house singing it. I belt out it when I am in the shower in a semi-blue grass yowl, I sing it under my breath a third above or below, harmonising in my head. I play all sorts of different versions when I am working, and sing along to it. I have no idea what has come over me; it is slightly bizarre. But I am loving it at the moment.

In my dreams now, I keep returning to the landscapes, the country roads and the secret tracks of my childhood; riding again on the cycling adventures when I would set off with a Mars bar and an apple, then dump the bike in a ditch, crashing through cow parsley with muddy knees on 'Indian' hunts with my friends, or crouch to make witches' potions and ladies' perfumes, out of crushed flower petals that stained my fingers, and blackberries that darkened my mouth.

Night after night, I find myself dreaming that I am wide-eyed and wandering on Swardeston Common, looking for the tracks of foxes and badgers, feet crushing vetch, and eyebright and red clover. I stroke the soft noses of Bramble and Bracken, the cobby, good-natured riding school ponies, as they graze in their paddock, on whose back I would vault bareback and steal a bridle-less ride, twenty seven years ago. I run again beneath the big Norfolk skies that I never noticed back in those days, because my eyes were always looking at the detail at my feet; the flowers, the toadstools, the bugs, the bees; looking for places to hide with a book, near enough to hear people, quiet and hidden enough to not be found.

I only noticed the skies at night, when the stars were so bright, so obvious, that every child in my class could show you Orion, Pegasus, Perseus, Andromeda, and the Milky Way which splashed a broad ribbon of brilliants too close together to pick apart after moon rise; on some nights you could almost read road signs by starlight. That was when we would look out for asteroids. If you saw one, you had to hold your breath and make a wish. If you wished without holding your breath, your enemy would use your wish against you.

The John Denver song is about West Virginia, not Norfolk. But country music is huge in Norfolk. I hated it when I was a teenager, sulking under the restrictions of life in a small village, pining to run away to London, to wear lace leggings, kohl my eyes, and backcomb my hair like the girls in Just Seventeen. But now I wake up singing Take me Home, Country Roads.

What songs are your guilty pleasures?

*an earworm is a song that burrows into your head and won't leave you be.



Blogger Bibil said...

My earworm is Regina Spektor,Fidelity... Her voice just stays in my head for days!

May 31, 2007 8:37 am  
Blogger Ally said...

Oddly, Take Me Home Country Roads is one of mine. And Midnight Train to Georgia by Gladys Knight and the Pips.

*shuffles off, embarrassed*

May 31, 2007 9:12 am  
Blogger AmyTree said...

Hi Rachel! If you haven't, you should hear Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's version of Country Road on the album Facing Future - it's been rewritten to be about Hawaii and it's glorious!! (And it's an earworm variation if you're tired of the original.) I get stuck with Bon Jovi - It's My Life quite a lot!

May 31, 2007 9:49 am  
Blogger Jessica said...

All my life I've been a huge John Denver fan and when I hear "Country Roads" I just tune everything else out but the song itself, then I want to cry. It's such a wonderful song. His songs bring out the free spirit in us, don't you think?

Besides that song, I really love "Georgia on my mind" by Ray Charles, and just like Ally above, I love "Midnight Train to Georgia". I also like "Wildfire" by Michael Martin Murphy and also LOVE "Sister Goldenhair" by America.

:) I'm enjoying your blog!!


May 31, 2007 12:19 pm  
Blogger Glamourpuss said...

Lovely writing. Reminds me of my own childhood in the depths of Cornwall. Lying on my back ina field of horses listening to the song of a skylark. Bliss.

Thanks for sharing.


May 31, 2007 12:59 pm  
Blogger Jauhara said...

All the Eva Cassidy songs I can think of!

May 31, 2007 1:27 pm  
Blogger Azimov said...

Look on the bright side of life by Eric Idle (Monty Python)

That's my earworm...

(Andy Ramblings)

May 31, 2007 3:01 pm  
Blogger Emma said...

I think mine would be Trouble and Hold You in My Arms by Ray Lamontagne. I am now addicted.

May 31, 2007 4:26 pm  
Blogger kobwebby said...

"Witches' potions and ladies' perfumes".

You have sooo many talents Rachel.

May 31, 2007 4:50 pm  
Blogger Henry North London said...

You will not believe this but I also love take me home country roads, and still do.. Especially the Olivia Newton John version... Anytime you want to borrow it do let me know...

May 31, 2007 5:43 pm  
Blogger Beattie said...

King of The Road by, I think, Roger Miller.
I love it, and I think I sing it exceptionally well. Especially when I'm on my own.
Who was it sang 'Wichita Lineman'? Wa s that also John Denver?

I like'Country Roads' too. I'm going to have to dig some tapes out now, and have a good sing.

May 31, 2007 11:25 pm  
Blogger SusannahS said...

Ooo, Country Roads brings back memories of high school when we thought we were being ironically retro (it was the early '90s and we were stupid!)as we drove down the backroads of South Arkansas in our Hondas and Rayban sunglasses.

My earworm song is "Escape" (aka The Pina Colada song) by Rupert Holmes.

I've just started reading your blog and you are obviously an incredible, strong, fabulous person. Good luck with everything!

June 01, 2007 2:41 am  
Blogger Beattie said...

Oh, The Pina Colada Song...another earworm re-lodged!

June 01, 2007 8:59 am  
Blogger JonnyB said...

Beattie: Wichita Lineman was Glen Campbell.

Er - mine is that 'What's that coming over the hill is it a monster?' song. Which is also big in Norfolk. For some reason.

June 01, 2007 9:03 am  
Blogger Seeker said...

I love Country Roads too, because it reminds me of the 1973 film Sunshine (based on a true story about a young woman who died of cancer). I also love the song Sunshine on My Shoulders' from the same movie.

As for naff songs that I like, these are far too many to mention! Perhaps Cliff Richards 'Summer Holiday' will do? I like it because I was only 12 when the movie came out in 1963 and had only recently moved down to the south coast. Life was just one big summer holiday in those days! (Oh to have those carefree days back again!)

June 01, 2007 12:07 pm  
Blogger Jim said...

Lovely writing, Rachel. As someone who grew up in North London but now lives in West Virginia, this made me smile. If you ever feel the urge to come to the region that inspired the song I'd be happy to recommend some places for you to visit.

June 04, 2007 1:52 am  
Blogger Randall said...

Oh, I think it just has to be "What are you doing the rest of your life" by Dusty Springfield.

June 08, 2007 4:54 pm  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home