The first album by Dire Straits is one of my favorites. I can put it on and feel as though I’ve been transported just like I was the first time I heard it. There’s a ton of twangy, fast, exotic guitar on the album and I love it.
But I remember back in 1989 when I was living in Calgary and putting it on the stereo and asking myself, “Has it been ten years since this came out?” the idea that so much time could pass in a relative blink of an eye was astounding to me then.
Well, I heard it again just the other day and found myself asking “Has it been thirty years two since this came out?” It has and I find myself in my mid 50s, blinking rapidly, dumbfounded at the ability of time to sweep by.
1979. I was twenty four. I wore size 32 waist jeans, medium shirts and large jackets only because I liked the feel of their drape over my shoulders. I had a lot of hair on my head and none in my nose or ears. I was a new journalist instead of a jaded one and the idea of publishing books was a vague dream.
When I put that old album on now I remember time. I recall the sound if driving through the dark of a prairie night with the woman who would become my first wife. We drove a 1974 MGB convertible and with the roof down the stars in that wide purple prairie sky were incredible.
I listened to it in a bush camp in 1986 and in a hotel room in Montreal when I won a major journalism award in 1991. Every time I moved into a new place I played it along with Bruce Springsteen’sThunder Road. As it turned out, I played it an awful lot through the 90s and the early years of his new century.
Yes, time passes. When Dire Straits appeared we still had vinyl records, the Red Sox hadn’t won a World Series in sixty years, twitter was what birds did and the words log on, instant message and Global Positioning System hadn’t been invented yet.
I’m 55 now. I’ve been listening to certain music for a handful of decades. But I can look back and agree with the Grateful Dead – what a long, strange trip it’s been. Strange but beautiful and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.