Songs For a Chocolate Brown 1985 Westfalia As Heard Through an iPal Speaker
Posted December 18th, 2008 by Kingpin
For no good reason we recently bought a chocolate brown 1985 Westfalia. The purchase fell squarely into the category of vanity. This was before the gas spike this Summer and the financial meltdown of the Fall. In other words, simpler times.
The question on everyone’s lips is: What constitutes the perfect road mix for this vehicle of leisure? Have a listen.
The song cycle begins and ends with the plaintive call of a boy to a girl. The opening two tracks I associate with morning and the architecture of idealism. The first is “Thirteen” by Black Star and the second “Oh You Pretty Things” by David Bowie. Utopian design was both imagined by us and alien when brought to life. In the early twentieth century HG Wells popularized the scientific romance and in mid-century Buckminster Fuller introduced the geodesic dome. In 1951 a contractor located in the Westphalia region of Germany began converting Volkswagon vans into campers. Our model has the pop top, refrigerator, stove, swivel table, swivel passenger front seat, and sleeps four on two beds comfortably. When western society began mass marketing idealism we couldn’t know whether we were undertaking a paradigm shift or a passing novelty. Now we sit in our VW camper and laugh at the too small compartments and the full size pull-out beds and marvel that anyone ever thought of this New York studio apartment on wheels. In truth, the van steps in and out of time effortlessly like the most sublime pop song. Like Alex Chilton asking the girl to be the outlaw for his love and Bowie narrating from the future or the distant past or a far off planet. Our chosen songs say:
We want sex
We want the darkness
Our youth is our validation
We are innocent until we fail
“Lisa Says” and then “Memo From Turner” are the bridge. I first came across the latter when I was a child and among my mother’s LPs I found Jagger on the cover of “Performance” in makeup and pouty, full lips.
As the song rumbles along on a filthy lick and tells the cautionary tale of “a faggy little leather boy with a smaller piece of stick,” let us rumble along listening on our iPal speaker propped up in the passenger side glove box assured that for once everything is right and better than we imagined.