For the next few years, until my mom gave me a plastic blue record player for Christmas of 1982, which she followed with a gray portable radio/cassette player for my 15th birthday in 1984 (which I followed with a boombox nearly three times its size that flashed bright multi-colored lights to the beat of the music and took me right through to the CD age), my little black transistor radio with the tinny, static-soaked sound was my constant companion.
I went to sleep every night with my ear on top of the speaker and dreamed about the country and pop songs whose lyrics I didn't always fully grasp. I woke up on Saturday morning and listened to Bob Kingsley's American Country Countdown (a Top 40 that kicked off my ongoing obsession with lists -- I can still hear the theme music in my head). About six months after I won the radio, the week that Billy Joel "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" replaced Paul McCartney's "Coming Up" at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100, I added Casey Kasem's Sunday-morning Top 40 countdown to my must-listen-to radio schedule.
I've long since given up on radio -- I can't remember the last time I owned one, or even turned one on -- but music remains central to my life. I won't pretend to understand people who aren't into music, or casual listeners who don't care enough about it to choose favorites. I mean, what goes through their heads all day?
Today as Joy Division's "Warsaw" was going through my head while I was also contemplating the upcoming stops on my 2013 world tour, I realized that I might be subconsciously working music into my travel plans. Until I switch hemispheres and flip seasons once again and head to Cape Town around mid-October, with the exception of Milan and Pompeii, all of the cities on my planned Summer and Early Autumn of 2013 Travel Itinerary are represented by songs that I love.
Someone once told me that every day should have a soundtrack. So should ever travel itinerary. Here's mine.
"No More Words" Berlin
"Hamburg Song" Keane
"Venice Drowning" Duran Duran
"Rome Wasn't Built in a Day" Morcheeba
"Tel Aviv" Duran Duran
"Jerusalem" Sinead O'Connor
"Fire in Cairo" The Cure
"Egypt Egypt" The Egyptian Lover (for Giza)
"The Lebanon" The Human League