Why ‘Carnforth Station’?
November 26, 2014. No comments.
It started with a song. No, that’s not true, it started when I saw some photographs of the disused railway carriages at Carnforth Station – and found out that this was the place where David Lean’s ‘Brief Encounter’ was filmed.
I don’t really remember the process of writing the song. Maybe I was feeling a little sad (and getting immersed in writing a song always helps with that), so that day, or maybe it was a few days later, the song had begun to take shape in my mind and I picked up the harp, and before long it was written.
In rehearsal some months later I mentioned I had a new song to try. It worked well with the accordion and we played it live and people liked it. Then some friends of mine invited me to sing it at a ‘Brief Encounter’ evening in Bath. Dressed up in 1940’s costumes, writers gathered to perform stories inspired by the film, and then we all sat down to watch…
I cried. I laughed. (I didn’t expect to laugh so much). I didn’t know it was in black and white, or indeed written by the brilliant Noel Coward. It wasn’t what I expected, and yet what I imagined when I wrote the song was the essence of the story anyway.
My brain seemed to have tuned in to anything railway related – bumping into programmes on BBC 4 about the age of steam, a friend who offered me a ride on a steam train, paintings or photographs of old train tracks….so by the time we were recording the album I had experienced so many of these subconscious ‘clues’ that I had already chosen the title of the album. And I had a collection of songs that spoke of being ‘in between’ places, being on a journey and moving forward even whilst looking back.
I have met a lot of railway enthusiasts since we have been touring this album. The song has been played on radio shows based on the theme of rail travel, and the CD has been selling well in the gift shop at Carnforth Station Heritage Centre.
This weekend we are playing a special concert there.
On Saturday night when I sing the second verse which begins “I’ve never been down to Carnforth Station…” it will no longer be true. Such is life. Always moving on. Taking us to new destinations. Songs and stories are like photographs, where everything stays exactly as it was, and yet they can also be the very things that propel us into a different tomorrow.