Monday, 22 December 2008

Sheep Music: Border crossings circa 1978.

Seen near here - mad cyclists, woolly creatures, ramblers and certifiable families out for a drive in the country.

'Happy when it rains', or equally as groovy, 'Nine million rainy days'! Any other suggestions for the perfect sheep music playlist?

Beyond Kielder Forest, where the nitro-arable greens slide up the hunched muscle of the borderlands, where the buzzards circle over cloud shadows, the motorway gives way to 'A' road and everything gets a little 'outback'. A feeling of disquiet creeps up on driver and passengers alike. If you you break down here? Oh my! A bronte nightmare of menacing fat bellied clouds, curtains of rain, nagging winds, evil goats with twisted horns, bruised heathers, dry stone walls and hundreds of sheep, peopling the landscape. It's actually quite beautiful. The border between England and Scotland is marked by a simple slab of stone on the side of the road, which apparently still reminds travelers in several different languages that in England we drive on the left. A Scots hawking spit away is a village that goes by the name of 'Deadwater', famous for being the birthplace of the river Tyne, ie it's a wee bit squelchy underfoot, as it is anywhere around here within say 200 miles!
It's also an amusing place name which conjours up dust devils swirling in the heat, outlaws, bounty hunters, gunslingers and plinky plonky pianos in wild west saloons. A far cry from this grey and woolly borderland. I remember going on car journeys with my parents from Newcastle to Edinburgh, cocooned in the back seat with a window out onto this dramatic landscape. My dad would have his classical music on, I'm not one for classical, but somehow it was the perfect soundtrack as I looked out upon the vacant faces of the craggy bottomed sheep, chewing, chewing! I followed the pit of my stomach that lurched from throat to pelvis on the rolling big dippers, the broken white lines on the road would suddenly disappear in the rise and fall or round snaking hairpin bends. Watching sheep, listening to symphonies, smelling leather upholstery, exhaust fumes and feeling car sick. Always feeling car sick! And then it rains, it always rained! If sheep listened to music what would they choose? I think it might just be The Jesus and Mary Chain.

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