For the family it’s time to go home. For me it’s time to do 8 hours on the motorway to a gite in a village not far from Dole. I’ll be meeting up with the BMW mate I met in Dover in 1988 and an old friend from my time in Worcester. We’ve been meeting up in France nearly every year since 1989. We used to spend the days riding the bikes and the evenings eating and drinking. Now we tend to sit around with a bottle of wine or two telling each other the same stories we tell every year in the hope the others have forgotten them. This year though I have at least one trip on the bike planned. I’ll be visiting a French musician mate who lives only 30 miles from our gite.
Dropping my wife at the airport it only takes a few minutes before I’m on the motorway heading towards Aix.
I bought a Liber-t tag last year for the car and although I’ve not used the motorway much since I’ve been away it’s proved very useful in being able to avoid many of the queues at toll booths and I sail past the queues in a dedicated lane. Smug git…
I’m only about half an hour into the ride and a melody pops into my head. I find being alone on a bike is sometimes conducive to creativity. Melodies and lyrics come and go and I try to grab anything that feels like it might work.
Normally it’s just scraps that I’ll work on later but Knocker Boys arrived fully formed. The opening riff was written by Mark Knight (the violinist from Tricks Upon Travellers) and I’d been struggling for some time to build a song around it. Somewhere on a motorway in France ideas started to come and I eventually pulled into a service area and sang the song into a little cassette recorder I had (it was a long time ago) with the only thing to do when I got back was to work out the chords.
Anyway, this melody pops up and after singing nonsense lyrics for a while some words start to form.
A hundred miles down the road and I’m getting harmonies and arrangements. I think about stopping and singing it into my phone but it’s so strong I’m not going to forget it.
I have to concentrate as I approach a peage as cars are swinging from side to side to get to the toll booths with the smallest queue and I’m distracted.
I pick it up after the toll but it’s different and the melody is not quite so catchy. Things happen in front of me that need my attention and it’s only many miles further on that I try to pick it up yet again and there’s nothing there.
How can I have forgotten it so quickly? I rationalise that perhaps it was actually pretty crap.
Now that story is over I’m struggling to find much else to say about a hot, boring motorway trip when I didn’t even have the luxury of shouting at the Zumo to keep me entertained.
Ah well, another week and a half to go…..