I heard this on the cover CD I got with an issue of the much missed Word Magazine. I think it’s one of my favourite things Lou Reed did. It is from an album called ‘Recitement’ by Stephen Emmer, a Dutch composer, with a different speaker on each track.
I thought it was maybe a poem that Reed was reciting, so I was slightly surprised when I googled some of the phrases to find that it was prose, and from a book that I had read (although nearly 20 years ago). It was from the introduction to Paul Theroux’s ‘The Great railway Bazaar’, which is a marvellous book.
This started me reading Theroux again, in some cases re-reading books of his I read years ago. My current copy of ‘The Great Railway Bazaar’ I got from the Red Cross charity shop in Aberaeron. I’ve no idea what happened to my original copy.
The Independent newspaper recently featured the whole of the first chapter in their travel supplement – read it here.
I don’t do camping as a rule. Every time I have been camping (except for the holiday in France when I was 10) it had rained. Not just a bit of rain, the full-on deluge kind of rain. Once was at a music festival in Fishguard, and it was beyond horrendous. And that was just the endless techno-dub that thudthudthuded constantly while I was there. Good double set from Dodgy, though.
Anyway, these experiences have kept me from getting under canvas for years and years. But now, my circle of friends are all seriously into their camping, so it was more or less inevitable.
I was given a tent, and this made it harder to please ‘lack of tent, can’t go’.
This was last year. The weather wasn’t great, but I didn’t get rained on. So when the subject of camping came up this year, I said yes. The gang went to Aberaeron, the weather was really quite nice (if not very sunny) and we only got a torrential downpour on the last day when it came to packing up our tents.
And a few weeks later, I was persuaded to go to the Workhouse Festival where I rather enjoyed myself, despite the rain. When I got back I got a new, improved tent (Millets summer sale, reduced form £59 to £15, bargain), so I’m ready for anything. Even the rain.