Wednesday, September 25, 2002


Dire Straits. What happened to us? Did we all have a collective seizure? For a while there, just about the time I moved to Inverness in 1985, it seemed that every third album sold in the UK was a Dire Straits recording. I mean, it was perfectly respectable music and all, even a few tunes which I might remember with fondness were it not for the over-familiarity which can kill all but the most perfect pieces of music. Just for the record, I don't own a Dire Straits CD, which probably disbars me from turning 40.

But I did own some Dire Straits vinyl. What I remember is the advertising in 'Sounds' - "Anyone can get into Dire Straits", next to a line drawing of a burning aircraft. Mmm, tasteful, I probably didn't think. Then without warning, 'Sultans of Swing' was everywhere. And, damn it, it's good. Catchy; interesting lyrics, the kind of thing I might be persuaded to buy. So, of course I do - I pick the album up one day in The Other Record Shop of blessed memory, and stare at it for several minutes, in that way I do. Well, I'm sure it'll be fine; and I buy it, and it is fine. And before I know it, it's April 1979, and I'm studying for my Highers - sitting at home all day, surrounded by books and notepads (jotters!) and snackfoods. 'Dire Straits' becomes my regulator - If I put it on and start to work on something, by the time it needs to be turned over (don't worry, kids - your parents will explain) it's time for a break anyway; by the time we get to 'Wild West End', I need to stop and change the subject. 'Wild West End' is, naturally, my favourite memory of the album... But really - 25 million people own 'Brothers in Arms'? Is that really necessary?

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