These are lonesome days. The world has now packed into our living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens and toilets. It’s seen out the window and through the screens, and now, where it was on our doorsteps a week ago, it now seems lightyears away. Stuck in a place and time we still remember.
Travel was a true luxury – something we took when we could, played with when we couldn’t, and bitched about on the commute to the office. Now that we’re being urged to stay put even that office would be a relief. AA Gill wondered, in Here and There, why do people travel. And the reason he came up with was it “gives you interesting blisters.”
Travelling is the long and slow process of gathering stories. We travel to have something to tell, over pints or the phone, or in the office. There are inner and outer destinations, but they all come laden with stories.
As Joan Didion noted “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.”
These songs gather stories from all over: Mali, Vermont, Dublin, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Brazil and Spain and “The Center of the Mind.” They are celebrations of places and travel, of the moving and moments that shape stories.
They begin, with Albert Niland, a Galway native, on the River Rhine. They end with the Amboy Dukes’ tunnelling into your brain. In between is the world.