He got game, and the Spanish hills


A song for Friday.

You see, it doesn’t matter what a song is about or what they put in a video. A song ties itself up in your head with memories because of when you first hear it, or a particular concert, or a certain trip when it was on heavy rotation. And boy, for three weeks in the summer of 2001 did we hear this song a lot. I travelled to Spain will fellow members of the Grey Sky Appreciation Society Tom and Jasmine Salmon, and our navigator supreme Nev. We had rented a car in Barcelona and were going to aim it north, for the Pyrenees, west, for the Basque coast and the Picos de Europa, and then south, across the dusty plain to Madrid. We had brought piles of CDs , confident that with the new millennium all rental vehicles would be supplied with something to play them on. Unfortunately there was some kind of misunderstanding at the rental agency, and they had to dig a battered and bruised old jalopy out from a garage down a side-alley. It was nice and spacious but only had a tape player.

And we only had one tape.

Despite the fact that this mixtape (remember them, eh kids?) took us over winding mountain passes (slowly up because our loveable old car had no – and this is the technical term – Ooomph), provided the soundtrack for barbecues on the cliffs above Basque fishing towns and campsites beneath dramatic peaks, and should have imprinted the tracklisting on my subconscious for ever more, it is only Public Enemy that I can remember. We flew home from Madrid and I think my companions were so sick of the selection that no-one wanted to take it home with them, so it ended up in my backpack.

A few months later I began a trip around Europe which I guess has never really ended, and the tape went with me, a reminder of that journey through Spain with my best friends, that was quite a comfort when I was on a train alone, heading from one hostel to another, unsure of what was going to happen not so much on that particular trip, but in general.

I lost the tape down the back of a bunkbed at the youth hostel in Lake Bled, that had all kinds of wooden partitions and was screwed to the wall. There was no way to get it back. Still, is was a nice a picturesque resting place for the mixtape, and with the wonders of iTunes or whatever it would be incredibly easy to recreate it, if only I could remember what else was on there. Tom, Jas, Nev? Any ideas?

Words: Paul Scraton

5 thoughts on “He got game, and the Spanish hills

  1. James Nevill

    Great memories, although mine tend to centre around ‘angry camping neighbours, hangovers, appreciating just how important a chair was, basque poetry & my adventurous partner.’

    Anyway, I remember a couple of other entries on the tape:

    3 is the magic number
    Loaded by primal scream (great for driving) even in that car! And they accused us of causing the damage in Madrid!
    Black Gold of the sun
    Mr wendall, which has the best opening words of any song, I think it goes ‘aaarrrggghhhhaaahh’.

    Any the rest, is lost in that hostel!!

  2. Jasmine Salmon (well, actually Jasmine Stephens on that trip)

    Good old Che – totally incapable of overtaking unless we were going downhill…

    Mas que nada (no idea on spelling)
    and some song by Chris’ friend Kirsty’s band Descarga…

  3. Nev

    I keep remembering stuff now:

    Be yourself by morcheeba

    And the German lady said ” stop stop, you are talking in really loud voices!”

    And the poetry went something like: “take this down Malds: mama eerr, err, we’re in Euskadi, I’ve got such a cold’ I can’t taste my tea!”. And to think it was the most amazing BBQ ever!!!

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