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’ve really let things slide this past couple of years. I used to read loads, at least a book a week. I used to play my guitar and write a song or two every week. I now read a book once a month, on average, and write a song about once a month too. I’m not sure if these two things are connected, whether the imagination required to read a book spills over into songwriting too.*
Last week I start to change things: I set myself the challenge to write a song a day, every day for that week (I was off work that week, handily). I might post some of those songs later this week if you don’t behave yourselves. And I have decided to continue into this week, and possibly forever. Every day I will do something creative.
Also, I am going to spend an hour a day reading a book. I have a backlog of 40 books, so I should really get a move on, in case Santa decides to bring me even more, which has been known to happen.
*This time coincides with me getting a decent-ish internet connection, and spending lots of time sat in front of this infernal machine clicking on things. Not the most creative activity, really.