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  • Train I ride sixteen coaches long
    Train I ride sixteen coaches long
    Well, that long black train carries my baby home
  • Funny how certain events drop in and out of memory. Reappearing with all the force of fresh event. Sometimes I find myself writing a story here only to realize, after checking, that I am repeating something I wrote before. Even though I could swear I never broached the subject before.

    For some reason, I feel I have covered what I am about to write about here before. But I cannot remember whether here, on some other older blog, or in my personal writings.

    And does it matter even if I did?

    For what I write today is based on today, based on what filters into my mind and what is excluded. This is going to be a different mix from before, most likely a diminished mix but quite possibly one with added extras that have only surfaced later in my life. Are these additions real or imaginings?
  • Waterloo Station, May 1975, Saturday morning 2 a.m.

    I was trying to sleep on a hard wooden bench using my rolled up jacket as a pillow. At least it was relatively warm.

    I wasn't alone. A handful of other concert goers sat cross-legged or sprawled, backs against the station wall. Dozing, smoking, or sipping beer. Intermingled with the homeless, less well-dressed but more accustomed to the circumstance.

    A British Rail employee would walk from office to train or back again, completely indifferent to those of us who had missed the last run of the day to our varying south-of-England destinations.

    It was quiet. With no trains arriving or leaving, the public address loudspeakers were silent and the only loud noise was the occasional hiss as a stopped locomotive released air from its brakes. Not dark though, although not glaringly lit by the underpowered tungsten floodlights.

    Quiet. Apart from the ringing in my ears from three hours of extremely amplified live Led Zeppelin, a ringing that was diminishing too slowly for my liking.

    We had two and a half hours to wait. Only then would the pre-dawn milk train leave for Guildford. Not really a milk train though, just an early morning run to move rolling stock south, but it felt warmer and more comfortable to describe it as such.

    I gave up trying to sleep and contented myself with watching pigeons peck at discarded food. My two friends had dropped off, dozing against the wall.

    The ringing began to fade.

    At the time my mind was filled with the show, the songs, the fact that the bass guitar had dropped out of 'Rock and Roll' for thirty seconds while a frantic roadie tweaked a speaker stack, the spectacle and the massive crowd. A crowd that had begun to compress on the District Line well before we reached Earls Court and remained compressed exiting through the corridors, onto the street, into the entrance and in the stadium itself. A compression that matched that of the air as the thousands of watts of energy transformed the motions of Page, Plant, Jones & Bonham into the over-exaggerated vibration of my ear drums.

    Fading now. And fading then perhaps. I have much clearer recollections of Waterloo Station, that peaceful oasis between wheels, than I do of the concert itself, blended as it has with hundreds of concerts that followed, all much the same in look and sound.

    When the wheels finally began turning and we pulled out of the station into the glimmer of the earliest light of the day, I felt as if I had left something behind. A small interlude of peace and unconcern. Unexpected, initially unwelcome, but finally transcendent in a strange restrained southern English sort of way.

    That is what I remember.
  • Lyric quote 'Mystery Train" as performed by Elvis Presley.
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