I was just listening to my iPod at work, drowning out the cries, you know, when three shuffled tracks came on in a row which gave huge me waves of nostalgia. All three tracks had a very strong connection to a place, a group of people or a person. I felt I had to tell you.
Title: David’s Last Summer
Album: His ‘n’ Hers
Nostalgia Location: A reasonably spacious room in a student house in Gordon Road, High Wycombe, early 1995
Feeling Inspired: I had returned from Germany. I had been living in an utter shitehole elsewhere in High Wycombe, with crap people and a criminal landlord. But now I was in a nice room, in a, well, still crap house, but with great people. My social life was blossoming, and things were going well. It wasn’t to last, of course. I had to graduate and leave, and sadly didn’t manage to keep in touch with everyone I now wish I had, but there you go.
Title: Madrugada Eterna
Album: Chill Out
Nostalgia Location: A pokey room in a student house in Henrietta Street, Manchester, late 1990 – early 1991
Feeling Inspired: In my first year of college, aged 18, I lived in a room which was one half of an attic in a large house in Manchester. I wasn’t ready to fend for myself and study at the same time, as my results showed. I spent a lot of time in my room, worried about the course, about some essay or program I had to write, and that I felt (correctly as it turned out) unable to do. And to try and calm down, I listened to this album a lot, along with its companion piece, Space, while looking out of the window at the common opposite. And so, it is now associated with stucco-effect plasterboard walls, and (ironically) a mild sense of panic.
Title: Small Town
Artist: Lou Reed and John Cale
Album: Songs for Drella
Nostalgia Location: The kitchen of a small apartment in Am Burgfried, Flensburg, Germany, early 1994
Feeling inspired: As part of the course in High Wycombe, I got to spend a semester studying in Germany. I arrived in Flensburg in early 1994, stayed in the YHA hostel for the first night, and then managed to track down a room in an apartment with another guy, Gerhard, who was the Social Sec of the Student’s Union. The first week I was there, Gerhard was away, and the course hadn’t started yet, and the other English students hadn’t arrived yet. So, I was a bit stranded, and I have to say I felt a bit overwhelmed. It was all fine within a fortnight, as everything got moving, but that first week was scary. Gerhard had a tiny cassette recorder, and few tapes, including some great old ska from The Busters, and Lou Reed, including this album he did with John Cale to apologise to the late Andy Warhol for being rotten to him. Some great songs, but this opening track always makes me think of pottering around a tiny kitchen, figuring out what the hell I’ve got myself into.