Day 6 – A song that reminds you of somewhere
My Hometown – Bruce Springsteen
With most of these categories, I have given plenty of thought to my choice, rather than just picking the first thing that leapt to mind. But this one is slightly different. I am blessed with an almost photographic memory, and an ability to recall obscure facts and remember very trivial details about events. We could go through my record collection and I would say that for about 75% of the music I could tell you where I bought it from, some details about the day, what other albums I bought at the same time etc. And for literally hundreds of songs, I could name a place I remember hearing it, normally for the first time, but sometimes a particularly special association. I can name the albums I listened to on my walkman while travelling on holiday on a particular occasion 20 years ago. So linking songs to places is just something my brain does on its own, and I could come up with a very long list of possible selections if I had the time.
So I will go with literally the first one that came into my head. When you see the choice you may think “Oh no, not Springsteen again” but I’m not apologising, his music has been the soundtrack to a major chunk of my life and the various experiences, emotions and changes that have occurred so hardly surprising it comes up several times in this list. You may also assume that the song reminds me of my actual hometown, Nottingham. But you would be way off the mark! The place it reminds me of is Zimbabwe, where I spent a couple of months backpacking in 1995. One night during my “safari” stay in Hwange National Park, I was sat around a fire outside the camp bar, chatting to fellow travellers, National Park rangers and camp staff, and a singalong broke out. Some of the rangers mentioned this song, known to them from Bruce’s much-publicised appearance in their country as part of an Amnesty International Human Rights tour. They didn’t know all the words, but of course I did, so I sang lead vocal, with them joining in with the bits they knew and providing a beautiful (much more so than my own singing efforts) African accompaniment to the rest. It was an absolutely magical experience in a fantastic country. I think often of the tremendous people I met there, and the terrible things that have been done to them and their land by the brutal Mugabe regime. And that makes this song’s associations even more poignant, with its theme of the never-ending pull of where you are from.