In which a song reminds me of Scotland
Published at 4:30 pm on October 7th, 2006
Filed under: Dear Diary, Media Addict.
…is one of my favourite cosy, romantic songs. It’s by The Clientele, and it goes something like:
The taxi lights were in your eyes
So warm again, St Mary’s spires
The carnival was over in the rain
And on and on, through Vincent St
The evening hanging like a dream
I touched your faith*
And saw the night again
When I lived in Edinburgh, I thought it was a song about the city. After all, the Clientele did record one song almost definitely set in Edinburgh,** and it has both a St Mary’s Cathedral (with distinctive spires)*** and a Saint Vincent St. Glasgow, though, has both too.
And in your arms, I watch the stars
Ascend, and sleep
The loneliness away for a while
Your fingers wide and locked in mine
I kiss your face, I kiss your eyes
Until they turn to me and softly smile
Edinburgh or Glasgow, I wish I was up in Scotland this weekend. I’m sure I will be again soon.
* Until writing this post, I thought it said “I touched your face”. Listening very carefully just now, for the first time I realised it’s actually “faith”.
** A B-side called “6am, Morningside”
*** Actually, it has two St Mary’s Cathedrals, just to confuse people. One of them, the Episcopalian one, has three distinctive spires that are a major city landmark, especially when you look down the length of Princes St. The Catholic one, on the other hand, is tucked away inconspicuously behind a shopping centre.
Keyword noise: Edinburgh, Glasgow, indie, lyrics, Morningside, music, romantic, Scotland, The Clientele.
I was a little doubtful when I saw, on the front page of Friday’s Guardian, the tagline “Steam trains – the great aphrodisiac”. I do like trains, but I wouldn’t say that about them.
It turned out to be subeditor’s hyperbolae. The article, by a former director of British Rail, turned out to be about the radical romanticism of the steam engine. Eroticism was only briefly mentioned. I’m rather glad, to be honest. Train-into-tunnel might be a classic visual metaphor, but I don’t think very many people would say that the train itself is what gets them going. There are people out there who haven’t just had sex on the train, but can remember the numbers of the trains they’ve had sex on – but I somehow don’t think it was the train itself that was turning them on.*
What I do like about trains is what that article calls “the rigmarole of trains”. The ritual surrounding the railway. The little bits of peculiar terminology that you don’t get anywhere else.** The natural romanticism of rail travel, and the community feeling that can spring up around the line.
* but if it was – on balance, I think I’d rather not know!
** phrases like “not to be used outside possessions”, or “not to be loose or hump shunted”.
Keyword noise: culture, locomotive, railway, ritual, romantic, steam engine, steam train, The Guardian, Simon Jenkins, trains.