Night Driving

It’s fifteen years ago and I’m watching the Champions League Final between Liverpool and AC Milan in a rowdy Ealing pub.

Naturally, the football is taking precedence – but during the halftime break, something very unexpected comes on the big screen.

It’s a car advert, featuring a man driving aimlessly around a deserted city in the dead of night.

But it’s not just an advert – it’s a poem, a soundtrack and a dream sequence, all rolled into one 90 second plug for a mundane mid-range car.

Amongst all the football chatter, it seized my attention for one very simple reason.

Richard Burton was reading “Under Milk Wood“.

In a car advert.

That was unexpected.

Even in 2005, adverts were beginning to be easy to avoid, but I now started to seek out opportunities to revel in this rare treat once again – recording all sorts of things on ITV and Channel 4 in the hope of hearing Burton’s dulcet tones lilting their way over Dylan’s wonderful words once again.

Eventually, persistence paid off and I was even able to discover who was responsible for the perfectly matched music too – it was an excerpt from the “Solaris” soundtrack by Cliff Martinez.

The mixture of Burton’s atmospheric voiceover and the mesmerising music in an otherwise wordless film combined to deliver a promise of the liberation of the soul that might come from driving at night.

I think I was driving a VW Sharan at the time and Ealing was a poor subsititute for the streets of Los Angeles.

But I got the message.

Published by johnelsewhere1968

Thoughtful wanderer in search of virtual meaning

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