Samuel Johnson – a man who probably displayed more wry and sophisticated intelligence in a single fart than I will in an entire lifetime – once said, “music is the only sensual pleasure without vice,” and if you can find a wiser, more succinct description of music’s thrilling qualities, you’re a liar; or then at least you’re less of a devout, conservative Anglican like Johnson.
It’s reasonable to extrapolate this a little further to include listening to music. Fair enough – the act of listening is usually accompanied by at least one vice, like drinking, taking drugs, indulging in meaningless sex – or in the case of a Motley Crue gig, all three at once, probably with Tommy Lee – but you can see what I’m driving at.
…And speaking of both driving and the guilt-free pleasure that music brings – today I fulfilled a long-held ambition, which was probably brought about by too many teenage viewings of Vanishing Point. It was this simple: to drive a long distance in a 60’s muscle car through a barren, desert-like landscape at life-threatening speeds, carelessly imbibing tons of amphetamines, and all to a great hard rock soundtrack.
In reality there were a few discrepancies from my dream. The car I drove was a baby blue Nissan Micra, not a Dodge Charger, and amphetamines were replaced with antihistamines, but the dry, lifeless scrubland (Andalucia in Spain) and the rock soundtrack (AC/DC, Motorhead) remained, and it was wonderful.
Even though the heat (40 celcius!) melted my senses to the point that conversation, movement and breathing become complicated tasks, I wound down the windows and drank in every minute, and the moment when the manic bass-chunter of Ace Of Spades began was at the very apex of the heat, the hill and at the most remote point of the journey. Perfect.
So: you knew that music was the best thing in your life anyway (or else you wouldn’t be reading/subscribing to a slightly rambling music blog) but every once in a while, that kernel of knowledge is reconfirmed, in the most life-affirming, pulsating way possible. And if anyone driving on the Caceres-Cordoba road yesterday saw someone flash past in a Micra, drumming the steering wheel and wearing a rictus grin, it was me. No apologies.