Wednesday, September 25, 2013

From Franz Kafka... Petula Clark is quite a jump.

When I was a youngster, I would listen to the AM radio. When the song "Downtown" would come on, I would be pleased.

Only in the vaguest sense did I imagine London during the song. For me, it evoked a more general urban ambiance and fantasy. And I always pictured late November or early December for some weird reason. Maybe in Shreveport (where I'd been to) or Minneapolis (where I'd never been to).

Late fall and drizzling rain in some faraway city of streetlights and shop windows.

I wonder: do folks who hadn't been born when this song was on the air also get some kind of evocative impression from it? I would assume not. For them, it's probably a quaint and dated curiosity. Because if they did think it's extremely swell, this song would still be in constant rotation, still be the latest marvelous thing.

I guess I'm just nostalgic for how I was nostalgic as a youngster about some city impression I'd never actually experienced in person. Fantasy is a powerful aspect of human consciousness.


I also liked her song "I Know a Place." It's got a killer refrain. They just don't make songs like they used to. Since back then, it's all about being self-conscious and cool than about being naive, impressionable, and prone to pure wonder.


  1. When I was small (young is the wrong word--sometimes I have had the suspicion that I was never young, except perhaps during those moments that I regress, like now), I had an obsession with my mother's Joni Mitchell album, Miles of Aisles. It was discarded in a grand gesture when my stepfather declared all popular music null and void in the house. I used to stare at the censored record collection and imagine the album cover back again, Joni Mitchell's toenails painted green, hanging over an imaginary auditorium, her strumming a grand teal and silver guitar to match her peacock voice and the seasons and the painted ponies...well. You get the idea. I think certain of us human beans are capable of cultivating nostalgia for nostalgia for nostalgia. Sincerely, a very odd flower child.

  2. PS Petula's voice is as clean and clear as a bright calendula.