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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Catching up on growing up

Peter Pears & Benjamin Britten discuss "Die Winterreise"


As I was lying low on the verandah and listening to Andrew Ford's "The Music Show" on Radio National, the name Bruce Springsteen sprung up. I kid you not but I had never heard of Bruce Springsteen and even less of his 'Born to Run'.

Which is, of course, what happens when one spends what are often called one's formative years tucked away in some of the most remote and inaccessible corners of the world: South West Africa, New Guinea, Burma, Iran, Saudi Arabia. While some of these countries didn't even have a decent radio reception let alone television, others had the technology but censored or even banned it for political reasons.

My musical 'wallpaper' on the edge of the Namib Desert was Marianne Faithfull's "As Tears Go By", relentlessly played by my flatmate Karl-Heinz Herzberg, which was followed on Bougainville Island by Neil Diamond's "Hot August Night", while the sound of Lobo's "Me and You and a Dog Named Boo" filled the rooms of my graciously colonial-style house in Rangoon. Mind you, Saudi Arabia's five-times-a-day rendition of "Allahu Akbar" never quite made the charts with me.

Well, Andrew Ford has since moved on to Schubert's "Die Winterreise" which I feel much more comfortable with, especially at 40 degrees in the shade. Thanks, Andrew!