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.