David Worboys – Travel and music

Every Christmas, this record of Freddy Quinn transports me to idyllic Wengen, where I learned to ski in 1966.

Two of my great pleasures have been travel and music. It is even better when they are combined by association. For example, I have only once been to Greece (to Kavalla and Thasos). Every time I hear bouzouki music, I am transported back to that enjoyable 1978 holiday and the blue Aegean Sea.

Maybe it’s not always appropriate for music to be the stimulant of reflections of places visited. It could be incidents which occurred while there; it may be recollections repeated with friends who were there; it might be photographs taken at the time. And, in any case, it may not be a particularly favourite piece of music that connects with the most beautiful places or circumstances. And vice-versa.

In 1977, I moved to live in Frankfurt. On the radio, as I drove into the city each morning to work, Glen Campbell would be singing “Southern Nights”. Not one of my favourites (I prefer “Rhinestone Cowboy”), but I still associate it with the feeling of freedom as I began a new phase of my life in  continental Germany.

Back in 1963, I became engaged to a Spanish radio newscaster and dietician. She gave me a record of Los Machucambos featuring “Pepito”. Thus I became fascinated with Spain. With the engagement long annulled, I started discovering Spain in 1968, for many years haunted by the strains of “Pepito”.

In the summer of 1964, I was in Guernsey, where the Rolling Stones appeared for a concert which I attended. They featured their recently released “It’s all over now” with its electrifying guitar solo by Keith Richards. Today I can listen to it and look back on those days of carefree youth with so much of life ahead.

In 1965 there was an open air concert in a courtyard in Florence, featuring Beethoven. There, below the stars, the beautifully moving largo (in e-major) of the third piano concerto seemed the perfect accompaniment to the setting. Back home I purchased the LP of Klemperer conducting Claudio Arrau’s sublime interpretation and, every time I heard it, I could sense passing images of that summer night in the Florentine courtyard.

Living and working in Zurich in 1966, I enjoyed my first Christmas skiing. This was in Wengen, still the most scenic winter resort I know. At the time I had a new German girlfriend and among the Christmas music we enjoyed together was Freddy Quinn’s album “Weihnachten auf hoher See”, especially “Weihnacht im Schnee” and “Leise rieselt der Schnee”. Almost 60 years later, it represents to me the traditional spirit of Christmas.

I took a holiday in 1967 in the idyllic Positano on the Gulf of Sorrento. This was then the most dramatically beautiful place I had seen, with its white and pastel tinted houses cascading down to the sea. In the evenings, Fred Buscaglione was singing “Kriminal Tango”. His voice remains one of many endearing (and enduring) images of Italy.

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Written by

David Worboys

Offering a unique insight into everything from politics to food to sport, David is one of the Euro Weekly News´ most popular columnists.