Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Every city's just the same

A musical touch on travel today, especially for Australian music fans: over the weekend, the fantastic Triple J radio station (stream it here if you're outside Oz) organised two Paul Kelly Tribute concert nights, not because the afore-mentioned singer-songwriter Paul Kelly has passed on and needs a tribute, but because he's still alive, is an absolute legend, and therefore needs a tribute! If you haven't heard of him, grab some of his music and you'll know what Australian poetry is all about.

In any case, one of Paul Kelly's lighter songs is a classic tale of young Australians going backpacking in Europe. The long-ish tour of Europe (usually by Eurrail although budget airlines also get a look in these days) is a bit of a rite of passage for young Australians, although I never did it in the classic sense. And when I listen to this particular song of Paul Kelly's, Every F***ing City, I'm glad I didn't. The song follows a backpacker criss-crossing across Europe, hitting the typical destinations like Amsterdam, Paris, Madrid and Dublin but even making it as far as Helsinki. Classic "such a typical tourist" moments mentioned in the song include:
Now I'm in a restaurant in Stockholm
And the waiter here wants me to know his name
And I can order sandwiches in seven different languages
But every f***ing city tastes the same
Actually, I'm not sure if every Aussie backpacker ends up being able to order sandwiches in seven different languages, but they can probably order a beer in a dozen different tongues. In any case, a big thanks to Paul Kelly for writing a great song and for commiserating on the way we Aussies (and the rest of the world, too) sometimes travel a little blindly.

Thanks to Roland via Flickr/CC for the pic

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