One of the many positive aspects associated with my new job is the commute. I spent five years approaching the same spot in the centre of London (Fetter Lane, just off Fleet Street) from different boroughs, using different tube and bus lines and cycling combis, and can’t say I ever really enjoyed it, a year and a bit of giggling on the District Line with J aside. All things considered, a 20-minute drive through Yorkshire is quite an improvement.

(This is all relative to ‘not having to commute at all’, of course, but we’ll gloss on over that, as well as the fact that the A1079 is not the winding up and down glee suggested in the opening credits of ‘All Creatures Great And Small’ but a frustrating not enough dual carriageway split into speed-restricted sections to avoid the massive pile-ups when cars stop to take sharp rights down Storking Lane to Fangfoss or whatever. Without wishing to get all Jeremy Clarkson about it, there can be too much prescription. In the last few days I seem to keep getting stuck behind the driver who has misinterpreted the national speed limit on A roads (60mph) as being ‘about 48mph’, which makes sense seeing as they think ’40mph’ means ’32mph’, and given that they just left a 40mph zone and there’s a 50mph zone coming up in 100 yards and 48 is the mean of these… My apologies to Europeans for the imperial measurements, and mathematicians for a possibly erroneous use of ‘mean’ and the other numeracy issues.)

Among the great thingery of this commute is the actually having to have a car, something it has taken me 19 years of being able to drive to arrive at. Even then I swithered. One doesn’t need a car in central London, where we was, not really. York is pretty notorious for the snarl-ups on its inner ring road. If school were nearer, in the same city, I’d get the bus, or walk. However, for where I work, walking would be a step too far. A bus ride would mean being up, out of the house and on the bus at 06.37 to get to work for 7.10 (simply, no), or getting to work at 08.45 (a capital ‘L’, underlined three times, in the register). There is no train – up yours, Dr Beeching! – so car it is.

The car is not just a necessary evil for commuting, of course. A comment J and I have made frequently in the short while since we got it is the classic new car owner observation that while it was not something we had particularly missed having previously, now we’ve got it… why, its a whole new world! A hundred thousand things to see. Etc.

Brimham Rocks, for example

Another great thing about the vehicle is the capacity to listen to CDs, which never seemed to get played in the house any more. Last year, or jings, it might have been the year before, anyway, recentlyish, some friends and I did a compilation club, where themed CDs were lovingly put together, covers made, distribution to contributors, lovely lovely lovely. I’ve been enjoying those immensely, driving along at 44mph, periodically flicking on the wipers and generally mulling whatever morning mull issues, to a diverse and occasionally deranged set of sets.

Today I re-found a completely classic City Slang promo compilation, a freebie picked up in a record shop in 1995. I’ll scan the cover, which has the band names transliterated into Cyrillic. This reminds me of being about 11 and making a sign for my bedroom door reading ‘No entry!’ in six languages, including a heroic and entirely nonsensical HO EиTPY. The sign must have lasted at least five minutes ’til my dad took it down for my cheek, as well as the inaccurate Russian. I think I’d just seen a documentary about Berlin or something.

Anyway, this CD was a great drive home tonight, so hurrah for City Slang. In the spirit of sharing, and there only being seven tracks, here is that 50 Years City Slang Tuesday night play list for your edification and entertainment:

Built to Spill – Reasons

I think always preferred the track ‘Girl’, and ‘Car’ would of course be appropriate, but this is good Spillage,, with a single still image ‘video’ that just made me start giggling.

Superchunk – Hyper Enough

YASSSSS! Su-per-chunk! Su-per-chunk!

Seam – Tuff Luck

It’s not much of a vid on the ViewTube, a mellow tune though, which does call to mind slippers and sheep, now I come to think of it.

Guided by Voices – Motor Away

QUADRUPLE YASSSS! One of my actual all time top ten desert island back of neck tingling life changers. A nice video tribute here too.

Freakwater – White Rose

Simply cannot find this anywhere, so here’s ‘Drunk Friend’ instead. Let me know if there’s a vid I’ve missed…

Lambchop – The man who loved beer

Drily heart-breaking sentiments, only to be improved by getting full of beer.

Tortoise – Along the banks of rivers

A lovely tune to close. Particularly effective at 44mph with the windscreen wipers on, evening sun trying to get out over recently-ploughed fields, seagulls rising and falling.

Ladies and gentlemen: цитъi cланг!

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