Reise nach Afrika - Journey to Africa. This song takes me back to my childhood days. Rolling around the Vienna of the 70s as a kid. My pops with flared pants, patched in whack places because we were broke and he always rode bike and mom always patched our pants. My mom with short hair and flowery hippy dresses. They would take my brother and I to these hippy commune houses. Big ol' central European apartment buildings, 4 stories high, lives living in the memory of thick brick walls. Walls that keep you warm when its cold out and cool when its hot. Summer concerts in square, jungle green court yards with hippy bands singing meaningful songs against nuclear power and for love. You'd have to be a monster to disagree with that sort of sentiment, no?
There are not many things that I bring along from my past. I have a beany my mom made me 25 years ago. I still have a belt I bought in 1992, because I like it. These childhood memories, these pasts, live in our minds. I pay as little attention to them as possible though so that I may be present. Maybe that is why I carry little. An attempt to match the mind to earthly possessions. Or vice versa.
But music stays with us. And few songs stay with me as the ones about traveling and freedom. Arik Brauer is a distinguished constant in Austrian post World War 2 art. I can only think of one thing more important than his work in painting, writing and music; his sweet, harsh tongue lashings for the fat cat in all of us. The envious, stingy and arrogant self. The one that we hopefully battle every day. Do you stick your head in the sand? I know I have to pull it out frequently.
Yet Reise nach Afrika is apolitical and sweetly politically incorrect. And when I find open road this past in a song rings out in joy. I want to sit my butt on a bike and start riding without turning around. I want to keep seeing what is beyond the next turn I want to drink from all the rivers of this earth. That's what the song is about. Riding a bicycle to Afrika, past the Bedouins, through that dark, mysterious continent, riding so far that only the dirt keeps us corporeal. An escapist dream.
The song went on autorepeat in my music players after I sent my application letter to Mestre. It stayed there. On the prettiest B2B downhill joyrides it bursts out of me. When I leave good new friends behind these words comfort me. Straight ahead is the road. It is today. It is now.