With one giant step from Maleny to Lausanne on the Lake Geneva shoreline, my view of life was changed forever.
Most of the important lessons that I learned came via my asylum seeker family at EVAM Crissier.
Now, sitting back in the land of plenty, it is time to put into practice what I have learned.
Waterloo sunset ... I am in paradise
Waterloo Sunset, a song made famous by The Kinks back in 1967, was always one of my thousands of sixties pop/rock faves. Quirky lyrics, a rumbling bass run, a lead riff that imitated the lyrics, hear it in the morning and it would stick in your head all day. ‘Dirty old river’.... ‘Terry meets Julie at Waterloo Station every Friday night’ .... ‘Every day I look at the world from my window’ .... ‘People so busy they make me feel dizzy’ ... ‘Chilly chilly is the evening time on Waterloo sunset’.
They don’t write songs like that any more and I will never understand why. London was an imaginary world for me as a teenager, brought to life by songs like this. It was a happening place full of happening things (yes I know that is a song line from an Executives song), with the best music, the grooviest gear and the spunkiest women. And there I was living in Murwillumbah, meeting girls at the local swimming pool, buying my white Aywon thoroughbred flares from Raywards and Jays , listening to friend’s 45’s, including Waterloo Sunset and filling in my Saturdays watching the pop world so far away on ABC - TV via Happening ’67.
B Palace - read the sticker
Last Saturday afternoon Jo and I were on our way from Green Park station to the London Bridge underground. I saw Waterloo Station on the wall map of the tube train and I convinced Jo we had to jump off there and do a short pilgrimage. Now Waterloo Station is a bit like Mecca. There are a million people going in all directions, over, under, sideways, down (Jeff Beck and The Yardbirds). Mostly people looking for the bridge and and the sunset that Ray Davies penned in that song forty three years ago. We came up from the tube and headed left for the river. The sun was setting but still a bit too bright for my imaginings of the song lyrics. So we made our way to the base of the bridge on the north side and got onto The Queens Walk. There was a humongous book sale going on right under one of the bridge arches which we partook in for a while. I even found a mad book about songs for my mate Pete right in the centre of a scene from my song quest. As I wandered away from the bridge, looking at the river, I felt this sudden urge to turn around slowly and look back. And it was there that I found what Ray Davies was singing about (see photo above). Dreams come true and so do songs. Songwriters and musicians capture ideas that don’t fade away (No, that is not a Stones line. There’s was ‘Not fade away’). Feelings and images are perennial and patient. They lie in wait for the true believers and the lyrics never set us free.
Jo and I followed the history book trail back along the Thames to London Bridge. All around us were pictures I’d seen in text books at school. Big Ben, the Tower Bridge, Westminster Abbey and The Globe Theatre, filled with hundreds of years of of joy and drama and the memories of people I will never meet. And here on The Queen’s Walk there were thousands of pilgrims walking both ways, in the evening sunshine, looking for that magical place that The Kinks sang about in 1967. Waterloo sunset .... they are in paradise.