17/09/2010

The Airport Song


In 2009 the author and philosopher Alain de Botton spent some time at Terminal 5 of Heathrow Airport as writer-in-residence capturing the poetry of aviation and the romance of air travel. His account was written up in A Week at the Airport; a Heathrow Diary. It talked of the dreams of travel -" it's easy to fall into daydreams at the airport and remember the good and the bad trips and where you are in life's journey”. For those whose view of airports is lost luggage, queues for security checks, queues for a lift, queues for passport control, expensive coffee, exhorbitant parking charges, terminals as shopping malls and waiting, waiting, waiting, such a soliloquy might not come so easy.

Airports have always seemed not quite part of the real world, a kind of no-man’s land between journeys with its own boundaries and ways of behaving. Back in 1978 Brian Eno recognised the potentially tense atmosphere of an airport terminal with his ambient Music for Airports, designed to defuse and relax and actually installed at some airports for a while, including La Guardia. There have not, however, been a huge number of songs about airports (as opposed to flying, of which there are plenty) and even less about particular airports like Heathrow. Somehow they haven’t quite played the role in songs that railway stations have. There was L.A International Airport (where the big jet engines roar) by Susan Raye; Luton Airport by Cats UK, jumping on a passing Lorraine Chase Campari advert bandwagon; Airport by The Motors; The Byrds’ Airport Song, also written about Los Angeles International Airport.

The song here by Magna Carta has the same title, The Airport Song but was supposedly inspired by a wait at Heathrow Airport. Magna Carta were a British folk-rock group perhaps remembered now, if at all, for the fact that Davey Johnstone, guitarist with the Elton John Band in the 70’s, passed through its ranks. The song is reminiscent of Simon and Garfunkel put to a summer bossa-nova rhythm and, in many ways, is Homeward Bound transposed from Widnes Station to Heathrow Airport: guitar and suitcase and a photograph to remember.

The song is interesting for two reasons. There is an obvious mismatch between the picture of the airport drawn by the song and the reality that most people experience, partly because of the age of the song :it came out in 1970 and reflects a different world of air travel. To quote from one account of flying in the mid-sixties: "...boarding a plane was such an event that stewardesses took souvenir Polaroids of passengers as if they were sailing on an ocean liner or catching a dinner show. Once, there were planes with piano lounges. Once, a first-class meal might have included turtle soup served from a tureen, Chateaubriand carved seatside, and cherries jubilee. Steaks would be cooked to order -- eggs, too, on breakfast flights." The song’s narrator is sitting in the departure lounge not just with a coffee but a cigarette and news about the weather is given by ‘the girl in information turning with a smile to break the news..the fog is on its way’. At Heathrow?? Flying then was still a novelty for most people. I had an aunt who around the time of the quote given above went on an aeroplane for the first time, determined not to look out of the window. After what appeared to her a lengthy period she did take a glance out and to her relief saw they were on land -- the flight must have been so smooth it had passed unnoticed. The plane, was of course, still manoeuvring towards take-off.

The second reason, however, is that the mood of the song does also capture the romance and excitement of being at an airport ,waiting to set off somewhere, that De Botton described and which travellers still hope to capture, despite it all. The memories and nostalgia for other trips and times; the destination boards with names of cities you have barely heard of and the realisation that you could just go and buy a ticket to fly there. I'll be leaving in the morning on a plane bound for the sun.

Reality, of course, can still fall short. The narrator is waiting for a flight to Singapore-what could sound more romantically exotic? I did go on a flight from Heathrow to Singapore a few years ago, en route to Brisbane. The night flight was overbooked, a mother spent much of the time chasing her toddler up and down the aisle to tire him out and during one of the flight meals the seat in front suddenly reclined so much the tray went flying. However, even a fog-bound delay in Heathrow’s departure lounge can sound an almost pastoral experience if you try hard enough.

Link to song

61 comments:

  1. I have never heard this song before! Thanks Geoff. I clicked on the link with some trepidation (thinking - how great can a song be about an airport!), but it's actually a good tune!

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  2. If only Tom Hanks's film The Terminal had used this as part of the soundtrack!!!

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  3. Geoff, I'm not sure if you watch the show Mad Men (set in the 1960s), but this song is exactly like that in how it represents air travel - the characters are always jumping on planes, lighting up cigarettes and ordering martinis on that show!:)

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  4. This is one of those great songs where the choice of instruments seems to match the theme: all those flutes and maracas evoke something exotic, the strings section is the pastoral, romantic part. Maybe lots of songs are like this - probably that's the whole point! - but I only started thinking about it when I listened to this and read your column.

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  5. This song actually really spoke to me: I love airports, I love having a glass of wine in a bar and thinking about all the places up on the departures board, what it would be like to go there. I don't fly very often - can't afford fancy foreign holidays - so at least once a year I'll jump on the bus to Heathrow, and just hang out there for the day, having a glass of wine, some coffee, looking in the shops, watching the people greeting one another in the arrivals lounge, watching them saying goodbye at the security point, feeling the bustle and excitement and possibility of it all. This probably sounds a bit mad. But I love it.

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  6. Geoff - your last paragraph made me laugh out loud - the image of the toddler, the meal flying off the table..... And to top it all off, the promised land to which you were headed was... Brisbane! One of the worst places on earth. I apologise if you loved it. But really, I think you probably should have jumped ship in Singapore and caught your return flight on its way back through to London.... slipped Australia altogether! Here is how Brisbane seemed to me when I was forced to go there for a family wedding: http://cache.virtualtourist.com/1324123-The_brisbane_CBD_skyline-Brisbane.jpg (I didn't take this photo but the banal scenery is very familiar). And yet allegedly Brisbane looks like this: http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/01/0c/11/0a/brisbane-and-the-river.jpg - which I just don't remember!

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  7. Geoff, I know this isn't a column about Brisbane but I just wanted to say something brief about it - which is that I don't recommend it. Maybe you do, but we'd have to agree to disagree! We do go to Roma street gardens, some ok semi tropical gardens in the inner city area. We also walked around the city, but it was very crowded and there wasn't much of interest. We were there in the summer, and the weather was very humid and sticky. I wouldn't want to live there.

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  8. Chris, I completely agree with you! Back when I was in high school, circa the early nineties, I liked to visit the airport just for fun. This was before the days of heightened security, so any person could choose to pass through the metal detectors and hang out. At the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport, there were multiple opportunities for food and window shopping, but that wasn’t my main focus. I just liked to watch the people who were there to travel.

    Last weekend, I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time in a few airports. On Thursday, I traveled to Charlotte, NC for a conference, passing through Minneapolis/St. Paul and O’Hare, before arriving at Charlotte-Douglas. I spent about an hour and a half at MSP, another two hours at ORD, and an hour at CTL, waiting for a colleague to arrive.

    Yesterday, my colleague and I arrived at CTL in the late afternoon, about two hours prior to our flight so that we could eat dinner before our flight. We knew that we had a very tight layover at ORD, so we came prepared. However, at the ticket counter we discovered that our flight to ORD would be delayed by three hours, due to rain. Our potential connection to MSP from ORD was ruined and all subsequent flights out of ORD were full. Our choice was to either try to remain on our delayed flight, with the hope that we could fly standby on a full flight to MSP or to take the 10:10 PM flight from CTL to MSP. We chose the 6 hour wait at CTL.

    At first, I was disappointed. I couldn’t fathom how to spend 6 hours at a relatively small airport.

    So how did we spend six hours? We had a three course meal, at three different restaurants. We ate a “cheese” plate with Laughing Cow cheeses at one store, tacos at a Mexican restaurant, and ridiculously good gelato for dessert. We visited almost every shop on the concourse, from a creepy toy store to the two different cap stores. (We wondered why a small airport needs two separate ball cap stores, as well as two Cinnabons.) We read and walked.

    We also people watched and made up stories about the people we saw. We tried to see if we could identify the other Minnesotans from the crowd. We watched the bathroom attendant sing on her break. We watched people run from one side of the concourse to the other, either to catch a connection or to just waste time.

    I also took pictures, of all the weird things that you can find in the Charlotte Douglas airport. I snapped pictures of snow globes, gelato and waffle cones, a Captain Morgan statue, a miniature astronaut suit for children, and the white rocking chairs that were available in the main atrium of the airport.

    I learned last night that I was lucky to be stranded in Charlotte. I’m lucky because my colleague is a good traveler, a fellow writer and reader, and a generally even-keeled person. She was happy to let me snap pictures of everything I saw and she was also happy to read and write for part of our time. I’m also lucky that I had this time to people watch, take pictures, and generally blow time.

    Suffice to say, I had a great time, savoring food, reading a new book, and taking pictures. I was happy to get home, at 1 AM no less, but I think I made the most of a strange, long day.

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  9. When I was in law school, one of the law students' favorite bars was the one in the airport. I think the bustle of the site brought some weight to our conversations...connected them to the world, so to speak. Everything felt like Casablanca. Conversations in the front...ongoing action in the background. We loved it.

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  10. I wanted it to be me. When I heard the call announcing the departure of any gigantic Boeing 747, I wanted more than anything to be the one roused to action, the one who made his way nonchalantly towards departure gate such-and-such, at last to experience the thrill of distant lands. I was a child standing under the arrivals and departures board at the then Jan Smuts International Airport. All about me were people bound for distant climes, all moving with deft purpose for some part of the airport and with a particular destination.

    Perhaps they were heading for some of the exotic locales that I sounded under my breath: Rio de Janeiro, Stockholm, New York, Tokyo, Geneva or Mombasa. The places were all but impossible for me to comprehend but an airport visit would keep my imagination fired for weeks on end. And so my love affair with airports began. Whatever the reason, a journey to the airport was an intensely personal and rousing experience. Indeed, I travelled for many years in my mind before ever setting foot on an plane. More than a decade later I again stand beneath the departures board as an adult in the now Johannesburg International Airport. I am still engaged by the enchanting seduction game that foreign places play with me. I have experienced directly what John Steinbeck in his book Travels with Charley describes as "the ancient shudder, the dry mouth and the vacant eye, the hot palms and the churn of the stomach high up under the rib cage".

    Airports are places for reflection before a journey is undertaken. I find that in a no-man's-land of time I am able to give myself up to the romance of travel and wait in deliciously delayed suspense for my boarding call. Strangers in a crowd become intimates because they, like me, are going somewhere. Airports seethe with life and activity. There seems to be no conception of time. People sleep in the day, have breakfast at night and chat and laugh readily. The atmosphere is like that of a cathedral, sanctified for those bound for distant climes. The cult is of globalisation and the prayer offered up is in a proliferation of foreign languages coming together in communion. An airport's transit lounge is in some way much like life, that is, our transit lounge between birth and death. Some of my truest insights and profoundest ponderings have occurred in airports. They are a catalyst for the self-reflective journey of travel.

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  11. (continued).
    Travellers appear to be more interesting and compelling in their mannerisms and foibles. I love the fact that airports worldwide aspire to an unspoken accord of architectural unity; they are lofty, ethereal spaces with glass and concrete façades. Yet airports are pleasant and see to all one's needs, with the notable exception of comfortable sleeping places. Airports have made me a contortionist to get a snatch of sleep. I have tried several times to festoon myself over impossibly decorative chairs and benches to catch some shut-eye. I have woken in the early hours of the morning with inquisitive travellers looming over me.

    I remember stepping off a plane in Bombay and then being escorted through the labyrinth of the airport's underbelly in search of my misplaced luggage. The air was impossibly thick and it carried with it the pungency of strong spices. As I stepped out of Delhi airport, I was alarmed to see row upon row of sleeping beggars. It looked as if they had all been mowed down in a macabre execution.

    There is nothing that affirms my faith in humanity more than an idle afternoon spent on an international airport bench. One of my favourite activities is to let my imagination loose on unsuspecting travellers. I try to piece together what I can from their dress and manners and envisage lives of glamour and glitz. I also assign a fair amount of time to size up the talent. Another favourite airport activity involves attempting to decode foreign language magazines and newspapers that I pick from newsstands. This can be an entertaining activity when one gives a foreign language all manner of meanings. In transit, I try to extrapolate from the airport staff, the unusual bathrooms, the food served at the restaurants and the people whom I see a sense of the country that lies beyond the airport.This takes on an all the more urgent and illicit air when I have no visa to leave the airport building. I imagine making a break for it, charging through the airport doors and being dramatically gunned down for flouting the law. And so everything around me gives me clues to the world "out there". When I arrived in France for the first time, I scrutinised the tiny figure directing the plane into its bay for a beret perched on his head, a bottle of red wine or baguette tucked away somewhere on him, or at the very least a name-tag proudly announcing that he was, in fact, Jean Paul. Today, I realise that I travel to question such stereotypes and to come to terms with my own reality. As Marcel Proust said: "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."

    Thanks for your inspirational blog, Geoff!

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  12. What a brilliantly evocative comment on airports-thank you!
    No, I didnt really think much of Brisbane either, I am afraid, Laura.I was only there 3 days and as Andre says there are some nice semi-tropical gardens but unfortunately it has been my only experience of Australia.
    I did see a few of the first series of Mad Men, Camille-you are right, the song does call that whole atmosphere to mind somehow.

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  13. I really love the sleeve for this album:
    http://www.progarchives.com/progressive_rock_discography_covers/2757/cover_52281828122009.jpg

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  14. Thanks so much for this on Magna Carta, I'm just beginning to discover them.

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  15. First time on your blog. Nice job! Been looking for something about this song for quite a while. Used to hear "Seasons" infrequently back in the day, and never forgot it -- or found much about it, for that matter. Thanks!

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  16. Geoff, if you haven't had a listen, I'd recommend their album In Concert. It was recorded live in Amsterdam in 1971, and remains one of the most atmospheric concert recordings of its age. A wonderful venue (the Concertgebouw), an appreciative audience, and a genuinely intimate selection of songs result in performances that cannot even be compared to their studio counterparts. They're not better, they're not worse, they're just delightfully different, spun with a spontaneity and warmth that truly place the listener stage center. "Airport Song" opens the proceedings. The newly arrived Davey Johnstone, making his recorded debut with the band, shines so brightly that it's hard to believe he was still unknown at the time.

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  17. I can't believe I haven't heard of this band. I just did some googling and apparently they have toured 64 countries, recorded 30 albums and sold 8,000,000 albums world-wide. Amazing.

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  18. I heard them in South Africa last September. The concert was completely sold out. And then they celebrated 40 years on the world stage at the famous Royal Theatre Carré, Amsterdam. Honestly they took us, the audience, on a musical journey beyond compare. To see them live is never to forget them as they, seemingly effortlessly, play across a whole range of emotions. We heard influences that might have made some people think ‘oh, they sound like…’ But they would be wrong. Nobody in the world sounds like Magna Carta.

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  19. Wow, I didn't know they were still touring - doesn't that make them one of the longest running acoustic acts in the world?

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  20. Magna Carta! Oh yes, I remember them playing the folk clubs and pubs of Yorkshire, way back in the seventies, their songs travelled with me to faraway places, I found your blog whilst musing about them.

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  21. The constant member in them has been Chris Simpson, who wrote the song here

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  22. Yes, I saw them in South Africa too, live right in my home city of Port Elizabeth. They were billed as Magna Carta, and the duo performed at a small venue, Toni’s Place in Newton Park, comprised of Chris Simpson and Tom Hoy. I knew I had to see Simpson this time, since I missed a previous visit he made to these shores a few years ago. Remember that evocative black-and-white photograph of Simpson, Lyell Tranter and Glen Stuart on the inside cover of Seasons? These were young men, with thick locks and dressed in paisley shirts. There were in the prime of their lives. They were idols at a time when we could not get enough of them. How would 40-odd years have affected Chris Simpson? I had seen a photo of the now-bespectacled performer and Tom Hoy in a press preview which alerted me to the event in the first place, so knew what to expect. More concerning was would he still be able to play and sing as well as he did all those years ago? I confess I lost all track of the trio after those aforementioned albums, but clearly a career in popular music means you have to keep on keeping on. Once a performer, always a performer. Especially, I suspect, if you’ve tasted the sort of success Simpson did with Lord of the Ages.

    So it was a middle-aged crowd of about 120 people who trundled in to Toni’s for the 6pm show (another would follow at 9pm) on a cold Friday evening, September 18. The venue was ideal – laid-back and intimate.

    There are some larger than life characters among the British rock legends, and Simpson is one of them. Indeed, when he started playing I was struck by the fact that he looks and even sounds, at times, like another of those great performers from the British and Irish Isles, Irishman Christy Moore, of Planxty, who I had seen perform on a BBC documentary video, made in about 1990, called Bringing It All Back Home.

    Simpson opened the show, after a bit of banter in which he revealed he was recovering from a bout of laryngitis (not a good omen), with a Dylan song – if I recall correctly, Tangled Up In Blue. Anyway, it was off Blood on the Tracks. But, while pleasant, we had come to hear Magna Carta… When Tom Hoy joined him on the “stage” – in fact the performers are on the same level as the audience, which sits at tables in a rustic, café-style set-up – there was an instant chemistry between the two which continued throughout the roughly two-hour gig, which was split by about 20 minutes for supper.

    The show had a huge emotional impact on me. Not only did I become acutely aware of how old we are all getting, but I also realised that with age indeed comes some wisdom. Simpson’s world view is that of an elder statesman. And many of his more recent compositions performed that night, reflect his incredible ability to translate experience and insight into art.

    Hoy, who intimated during the show that he was part of a 1970s Magna C line-up, is a delightful Scot with an impish sense of humour. Indeed, at one point Simpson, a Yorkshireman, noted that a Yorkshireman is “a Scot without the generosity”, or words to that effect.

    Why the Yorkshire connection affected me was that I spent some time with relatives of my wife in Leeds during the early 1990s, during which we got to visit the Dales and became acquainted with their great scenic beauty. We also visited a town called Knaresborough, and another called Grassington, where I recall tasting my first pint of Theakstone Old Peculiar, a particularly pleasant Yorkshire bitter.

    And on Friday night Chris Simpson and Tom Hoy referred to both places. Hoy, it seems, now lives in Knaresborough, and of course when the pair played the song, The Bridge At Knaresborough Town, it proved a great hit with the appreciative audience.

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  23. CONTINUED:
    And despite his throat problems, Chris Simpson sang superbly. His distinctive voice is coarser, rougher, but if anything this makes it sound even more like the Simpson of the early 1970s. The pair played several classics from that period, including Airport Song and Lord of the Ages (for which Hoy did the Tranter narration part). But they also bowled us over with a clutch of new songs I had not heard before – which is not surprising given that 35-odd year gap. The titles eluded me, but Hoy’s song about Amsterdam was beautifully sung, while a Simpson piece about a young girl’s dream – “pictures in my pillow” – was particularly impressive.

    Ever one for creating works of lasting impact, Simpson again employed a (recorded) narration as part of a powerful song about the Green Fields of Eden. In this work he laments the way Britain’s involvement in the EU is resulting in the loss of small farms, particularly in the Dales, where for centuries fathers passed their farms on to their sons.

    Another aspect about the Simpson genius which struck home was his wonderful ability as a guitarist. This was an entirely acoustic set, with just the two guitars and at one point Simpson playing harmonica. But it is the consummate ease with which he appears to play those superb melodies – such as on Lord of the Ages – which astounded me. He is a large man with big, broad fingers, yet it seems to me this is often the case with folk-style musicians. Indeed, I wondered how a guy his age has come through a lifetime of performing without picking up the sort of wrist hassles I have. Tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome are the bane of most people who do repetitive-action things like playing guitars.

    What really hit home for me was that in Chris Simpson we really do have one of the great survivors of that period, around 1970, when the world’s music flowered more prolifically than it has probably ever done before or since. He peppered his songs with wonderful anecdotes – like how he wrote Lord of the Ages on the back of cigarette boxes while on a train, and then put it to music while visiting a friend who happened to “live next door to John Lennon”. He told how producer Gus Dudgeon summarily dropped Magna Carta when he discovered that another of his performers, whom Simpson jokingly called “Fat Reg” – was headed for a stellar career. Reginald Dwight, alias Elton John, would become one of the world’s all-time rock legends. He spoke fondly of his old friend Rick Wakeman, of brilliant guitarist Davy Johnstone. He might also have mentioned bassist Tony Vistonti, Tony Carr, Tim Renwick.

    What all this says to me is that I was incredibly fortunate to enjoy hearing, even 40 years on, one of the great performers of an era which will never see an equal.

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  24. I haven't read the book you mention, Geoff, A Week at the Airport; a Heathrow Diary, but it sounds fascinating - I'm going to get it on Amazon right now! Thank you!

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  25. Wow, it's definitely impressive to make a fog bound delay sound positively desirable! I never would have imagined a song about an airport delay with this kind of pleasant orchestration, lyrics and light melody!

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  26. I feel like this is blasphemy (like Geoff's experience with liking the Kinks more than the Velvet Underground, from a previous column!), but I sort of hate this music and band. It seems like pretty ordinary, mild pop-influenced early-'70s British folk-rock. It's so previous. It's got a jolly good-time vibe, along with pastoral harmonizing and twee fairytale-like narration (not just this song but the whole album). It's almost too-cheerful pop-folk bounce, with soft rock orchestration and harmonies that make it vaguely reminiscent of American sunshine pop at points. Simon & Garfunkel are an obvious influence - and the Simon & Garfunkel influence in the vocal harmonies is nearly overwhelming in "Airport Song".

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  27. I also love their song “Winter song”, which is gentle acoustic as well, with wonderful vocal harmonies, seductively accompanied by acoustic guitar.

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  28. I'd also recommend the track Highway to Spain - maybe to add to your list of songs about places Geoff! - from the album "Midnight Blue" from 1982.

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  29. Love the bossa nova beat and easy listening arrangement!

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  30. I agree with Maggie! Let's be blasphemers together! This feels like a pretty undistinguished pop-folk-rock effort. VERY much enjoyed the column though Geoff - only you could write about airports!!!

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  31. I hadn't heard this song but just downloaded it for my Ipod, because I'm heading to Heathrow tomorrow and want to listen to it in the terminal. It's a magical work, spellbinding in its unique beauty.

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  32. I dont think its blasphemy, Maggie! - though I've been surprised of the awareness of the group. I suspect they are more well-known in some parts of the world than Britain.

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  33. While I would endlessly defend the right to musical-opinion blasphemy, I want to at least defend the band's courage: they are unafraid to make the type of highly melodic music, which is reminiscent to me of early moody blues & other folk/pop psych of the day.

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  34. There's definitely a question about uniqueness here, I think. Maybe we could at least agree that their roots are very much in the same folk rock territory as bands such as FAIRPORT CONVENTION and THE STRAWBS. I definitely see the SIMON AND GARFUNKEL comparison too (Glen Stuart's voice is similar to Art's). In their early days however, they signed to the Vertigo (swirl) label for their second album, finding themselves alongside such bands as BEGGAR'S OPERA, BLACK SABBATH, and COLLOSEUM, which is interesting.

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  35. I hear Sydney is wonderful though - I intend to head there if I'm ever back in Australia. Although I have to say I'm in now hurry - I feel like there are a lot of other countries I'm more desperate to visit first! Including several you have blogged about, BECAUSE you have blogged about them. Like Cuba.

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  36. I would definitely recommend you get to Cuba-not just Havana but the countryside,as round Soroa to the west.

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  37. If you have time, I'd recommend returning to Mad Men - it really picks up in Season 2, when it reaches the 60s. Right now I'm watching Season 4, and we're in the mid 60s. Amazing.

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  38. Wonderful! I've been wanting to go for years, and will certainly take your advice and spread out beyond Havana. Thank you!

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  39. Thanks Geoff:) Yes, it seems like they are big in South Africa, from the comments on your column! It also seems like lots of people hadn't heard of them though. I hadn't until your column, and then I went and listened to a few songs. (Which is pretty much what happens every time you post the column - it's like a free degree in music history!):)

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  40. Thank you! They also seem to have always been popular in Holland-where the Airport Song has got into the charts there 4 times over the years

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  41. Geoff, you inspired me to go in search of other songs about airports. And I found "The Airport Song," apparently inspired by Los Angeles International Airport, also written back in the day when air travel was known to be charming. It is a David Crosby and Jim McGuinn collaboration, and is on collection of early Byrds recordings called Preflyte. That's all I found so far!

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  42. They later did, of course, 8 Miles High-which may have had a double meaning but was partly based on a flight from the USA to London.

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  43. Love this blog entry Geoff - genius!

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  44. A recent survey found that frequent travelers voted London Heathrow as the worst airport in the entire world. CGD in Paris is the second worst, while Hong Kong's main airport came in first at the right end.

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  45. There is also "LA International Airport" song which is country, can be found on iTunes under artist Susan Raye, total one-hit wonder, and is the official song of LAX. Also my dad sings this to me everytime I fly back to LA:)

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  46. There is Jimmy Eat World's "Goodbye Sky Harbor."

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  47. There is my song (Loney, Dear) “The City, The Airport”, from my 2006 album Sologne: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RVl7TDz0hc

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  48. Another example that I love is The One AM Radio's "The Echoing Airports." The music itself will remind you of a mix between The Postal Service and Iron & Wine (sort of). It's mellow but it's got just enough beats/samples to remind you of Ben Gibbard's electronic foray. The song is Hrishikesh Hirway's (the singer) reflection of past relationships and all that encompasses that word. The emotions, the fights, the makeups, and all that goes into making a relationship just that:

    I go to airports wait by the gates for arriving flights,
    I go to airports to see the lovers reunite...

    He obviously regrets the love he's let pass through his hands and so sits at airports and hopes for a reunion some time in the future. Every aspect of the song is perfect, as far as I'm concerned, and I can't help but listen to it over and over.

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  49. I’ve spent hundreds of hours of my life in airports.

    And I still contend there is something magical about them.

    They sweep us up and out of ourselves; a moment of complete suspension, between one reality and another. And we see more reflected in the windows than the neon lights dangling above the sunrise. We see snapshots of life played out in the full spectrum of human emotions. Shades of love, sorrow, and reunion that sinew around the heart and squeeze the breath out of lungs no matter how many times the scenes have played out before. Every time they unfold it’s like the first time. Because for someone it is. And for someone else it still feels as vivid as the first time, even when it’s the hundredth.

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  50. There's The Mutton Birds's song Ngaire from the album Salty, too.

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  51. Thanks for the mention of The Echoing Airports, Hilde. I hadnt heard it before-its great.

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  52. There's also a song called Airport Song by a band named Guster. Their (live) version is on the Woodstock 1999 2cd. Don't know which airport it is about though

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  53. More information on Magna Carta can be found on www.magnac.com
    The South African tour by Chris Simpson and Nick Hall starts on September 22nd. All details on the website!

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  54. For anyone interested in the beautiful music of Magna Carta, please check:
    - www.magnac.com (their official homepage)
    - www.magna-carta.info (discography, with fragments of their songs)

    For 'Magna Carta starters', listen to these albums (personal taste, of course):
    - Seasons, probably their most sold album
    - Lord of the Ages
    - Songs from Wasties Orchard
    - In Tomorrow (2cd + dvd)
    - Tomorrow Never Comes (2cd, career highlights)

    But they made so much more...

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  55. The song is interesting for two reasons. There is a clear discrepancy between the image of the airport, the sign of the song and the fact that the experience of most people, especially because of the age of the song

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  56. I sort of stumbled into this weblog, which touches two of my life's passions: my love for Magna Carta's music started in 1970, around the time when I first graduated as an air traffic controller at the Amsterdam Schiphol airport. Now, after thirtysix years 'on the job' in ATC I have been retired since 2003 and I am in the fortunate position that I posess most of the music that Chris Simpson has written in the forty years that Magna Carta existed. They did their farewell concert in the Amsterdam Royal Carré Theatre on May 11th 2009, with a line-up of most of the musicians that for some period of their career toured the globe as a member of Magna Carta.
    Chris is now on tour in South Africa once again, together with Nick Hall. And in spite of the plans in 2009, they still perform as 'Magna Carta'. Chris started the band in 1969 and he owns the brand, that's why.
    Finally: next to being a gifted poet and composer Chris Simpson is a writer as well. In the year 2000 Beaumont Quality Publications (Alphen a/d Rijn NL) published his novel The Visitor, a precious story about a tragedy on a Yorkshire Dales farm.

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  57. "The second reason, however, is that the mood of the song does also capture the romance and excitement of being at an airport."

    While this can be seen as true or extreme sarcasm, I personally pick the latter. Airports are stressful environments. This is likely due to the fact that you are on a strict time constraint. However, that's just my opinion.

    I have NEVER seen anything romantic about an airport. I don't even see romantic elements present. Unless, of course, it's Christmas time. Home Alone made the airport look a tad bit romantic, so... I'll give you that.

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