The street-sweepers descended on our village last Monday - the surest sign of spring. The month of April was such a dustbowl desolation, I'm amazed the women of town didn't line the streets and greet the cavalcade of Road Maintenace Vehicles with a shower of flowers and kisses, heralding them as the liberating force they were. Heck, I nearly grabbed something from my wife's side of the closet, just to give those poor, hungover lads a thrill (the tighter the better, I say)!
No such treatment for the Sweepies. Instead, we scuttled to the Post Office and traded wry quips about their late appearance. Then we went back home and got on with the dusting, to the upbeat music of choice.
My spring soundtrack consists of one album - Rush: Permanent Waves. Alex Lifeson's cascading guitar riff for The Spirit of Radio is, to my ears, the sound of spring. It instantly summons the orange shag rug carpeting of the rec-room that belonged to my friend Craig. In the spring of 1980 Supertramp's Breakfast In America was inescapable, and Pink Floyd's The Wall was rising high, but somehow Craig had cottoned on to this weird trio from Our Home and Native Land, and that's what we listened to every afternoon when school was out. Retrieving our Sekine 10-speeds from the bike rack, pedalling furiously, deliberately spinning-out on the still-sandy corners, making like we were "Bandit" Burt Reynolds. Downstairs, into the rec-room, closing the door, turning up the cheap Philips stereo, and spinning the turntable. Giving the album cover our closest scrutiny, until the image became more indelible and sexually alluring than anything from Craig's stash of girlie magazines (a remarkable contrast to the album's asexual lyrical content - it really is music for geeks!).
Rec-Room Rock & Roll, for Rec-Room Rockers. The recent remaster is an aural delight, but I daresay it would be improved by playing it through a cheap Philips system. Hisses and pops, high trebles, non-existent bass, esoteric lyrics about commercial radio and nerdy philosophical dilemmas - that's the sound of spring, which transforms even a mundane task like dusting into a pleasure!