Having no music to listen to on a four-hour train journey is a terrible tragedy. But this time I was travelling on the right side of the afternoon; and because my train was going up and down the Midlands, as some trains tend to do these days, I was looking at familiar fields and forgotten railway stations getting showered with the disappearing sunshine, that last bit of bright light before it all reluctantly fades away in that slow autumn way, and darkness only really fell just after Bedford, like it always does.
I had 'Rescue Us' by My Favorite going in my mental jukebox the whole time. It's sweetly and almost obsessively familiar so for a few hours it didn't feel like I needed to hear it properly. But it was making me want to bury my head in my hands and it was threatening to kill the gracefulness of what I could see out of my train window. It's a song with key changes that amount to emotional blackmail and it even has one of those galling yet incredible voice-breaking moments.
And the book in my hands was Rabbit, Run by John Updike, whom I'd completely missed out on reading before, and it's a very uncomfortable read: at first cruelly misogynistic, then equally misandristic, hollow in feeling, sexy as hell, urgent, hopeless, incredibly beautifully written.
Those were the four shortest hours of my life but by the time I got home I was feeling ten years older, ten years younger and like I should be burning everything down to start all over again. So I had a bath and went to bed.
My Favorite, 'Rescue Us' (mp3)
The left's ideas
22 hours ago