November 27, 2007
“Sunflower” by Paul Weller.
I was in my freshman year at Boston’s Northeastern University in 1994. I had been to Scotland for the first time the previous summer and couldn’t quite adjust to being home. And, well, Boston wasn’t home anyway.
I had met this German guy in Edinburgh on my first night there. He had just come back from a three day music festival, had long hair and rode a motorcycle. To a 17-year old Karol, he was heaven. (Of course, when he told me he was 23, I lied about my age and said I was 20. Years later I would stun him with the truth). My boyfriend back home, whom I had been beyond crazy about, just couldn’t compare to this guy who would, the following summer, hitchhike from Germany to Scotland to meet me. We spent two amazing days walking around the most beautiful city I’d ever been to. And then my Contiki tour bus had to leave. He said I should stay with him. I was thinking my parents probably wouldn’t take that very well.
The German boy and I stayed in touch, we’re in touch even today (he’s married and lives in England). He wasn’t good at letters but he’d call me often when he’d get home from being out. It would be 6am his time, 1am mine, and I’d sit on my fire escape talking to him until the sun came up over Boston.
The one time he ever sent me anything, it was a mix-tape that I played so much it eventually cracked in half. It was my first introduction to Velvet Underground (“Venus in Furs”) and also the first time I realized I could enjoy music in other languages (like Die Toten Hosen’s “Hier Kommt Alex”.) My favorite song on it, though, was “Sunflower” by Paul Weller. “We have no future, we have no past” seemed to sum up our thing fairly well and “on winding streets, we walked hand in hand” would always remind me of Victoria Street and that first summer in my beautiful city.