I had not realised, until I acquired my mp3 player*, how noisy the trains on the Underground are. The wheels squeal and scrape over the main points, the engines roar, especially in the tunnels, and the “helpful” announcements about minding the gaps drown out everything else. Last night I was listening to Caravan’s If I could do it all over again, I’d do it all over you whilst the Central Line did its best to drown it out. Why the Central you ask? “Severe delays on the Piccadilly” due a security alert at 11:43. Yes you heard me right. Seven hours later, and the line was still screwed up. Actually by the time I got to Shepherd’s Bush at about 6:30pm they had downgraded it to “minor delays” but that was no good to me. I had even taken the trouble to phone LU enquiries at around 6:00pm and they said the delays were indeed severe. Which is why I set out for the ‘Bush rather than go to my normal Barons Court.
Anyway, this particular album has a special place in my heart. I fell in love with Caravan at first hearing (on a BBC TV programme in 1969) and bought If I could as soon as it was released. I first heard it in the music room at the Cambridge Union in 1970, having no decent stereo record player of my own at the time. Now it is in high quality mp3 format and I can play it whenever I like. How’s that for progress? Well, if the trains were a bit quieter it would be nice for a start. This album has many extremely quiet passages (as well as the stonking riffs at full volume) and I could barely make them out.
*Yes, the Creative Zen Sleek I have been going on about. Not such a good battery life as I had expected but otherwise brilliant.