*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.
Labels: light relief