It’s been a busy week backwards and forwards into the Great Rift Valley. The road climbs out of Nairobi until the plateau opens out on the left hand side and then swoops down towards the lakeside town of Naivasha. In places zebra grazed at the edge of the Tarmac. And all the way we passed cattle trucks coming in the opposite direction, crammed with bedframes, bikes and sacks of clothes, their owners perched precariously on top. In Londiani we found thousands of people camped out in a churchyard being cared for by three ageing, but entirely unfazed, Irish priests. In Nakuru, gangs of Kikuyu youths – armed with pangas, clubs and iron bars – ruled the streets.
Muindi, my driver, would have preferred a spot of R&B but I think even he was eventually coming around to my way of thinking that rock is called for on African roadtrips. These songs are going on to my Safari Soundtrack:
The Bear, My Morning Jacket – the bass drum managed to make the whole car (a big one) reverberate even as we completed the rough road which serves as a diversion on the last stretch into Nakuru (with thanks to bloomlikeflowers)
- Gypsy Biker, Bruce Springsteen – this came on as we began crunching over the shattered glass of windscreen after windscreen signalling we were close to Nakuru. The right mix of melancholy and grandeur
- Sunday, Sonic Youth – the only band for post-Apocolyptic noise-scapes. Streets empty but for armed gangs. Smoke spiralling in the sky. That sort of thing
- Bye Bye Baby, Ronnie Spector and Joey Ramone – In my view there’s only one way to improve on a Phil Spector original… and that’s to have Joey Ramone singing on it
For now, I’m revisiting my not-so misspent youth with a bit of twee pop in the form of Talulah Gosh, which I suspect may not be quite the thing for roadtrips. Any suggestions always welcome…