Paul Jackson Music

Paul Jackson Music

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

#3: Car Journey Soundtracks

This month marks ten years since I passed my driving test. I'm not a huge lover of driving cars or being amongst them in traffic, but one thing I do like is playing music in the car. Obviously you have to compromise on music selection and volume level when you're car sharing but if I have to nip out somewhere on my own, I like to pick a CD from my collection for a soundtrack to the journey ahead. A trip to the recycling tip, supermarket or elsewhere is greatly enhanced when you have one of your favourite albums pouring out of the speakers.

It has also been a good way for me to hear new music when I've been a passenger with a like-minded music fan and there are a few moments I remember fondly. There was the time when  my friend Chris and I drove to the 1998 Reading festival  and stopped off at Oxford for lunch and a trip to HMV where he purchased some new singles including “Honey” by Moby. That became the soundtrack for the rest of the journey and whenever I hear it I still have visions of a sunny drive into  Berkshire.

When I was eighteen I attended an outdoor Jazz festival headlined by Courtney Pine in the outskirts of Huddersfield. After failing to get a taxi from a desolate spot in Grange Moor well after midnight, I decided to start walking in the direction of Huddersfield town centre and for the first and, so far, only time in my life I stuck out my thumb and hitched a lift. The driver was interested to hear of the gig I'd been to and we chatted about music. Michael Jackson's “Dangerous” album had recently been released and he was keen to play me his favourite tracks from it on cassette.

However, the most notable occasion was when I spent my 27th birthday in Scotland with my cousin, Colin. He was working and living in Inverurie and we were to travel by car to Inverness for a night out and a stay-over. Because of the sudden heavy snowfall by the time we reached there, it was decided we would drive around Loch Ness and then back out of Inverness again without stopping and onto Elgin which became our destination for a great birthday trip. But prior to all that, we had a lengthy journey up and across the country and on setting off Colin announced we would need a suitable soundtrack. Now I was never a massive fan of heavy rock music so much. There were a few records I liked but generally I could take or leave it. 

But something about it being cranked up in the car while travelling through a deserted wintry landscape was just perfect and sounded great. We pulled up outside a record shop in Aberdeen. Colin jumped out and said “I'll be back in a minute”. He very soon emerged from the shop with a pile of CDs. The first four albums by AC/DC and the debut album by Van Halen. They were fed into the car stereo, the volume was turned up, the handbrake was released and we were off. 

Twelve years on and I haven't heard the albums since, but they still all sound great in my head. I have doubts as to whether the Young brothers or Eddie had images of the Scottish Highlands covered in snow when they first started writing and recording but the music and imagery fused together very well for me and remains a great memory.