Great Cities inspire great songs. I just have to hear Frank Sinatra launch into “Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today” to make me want to pack my case and head off to “New York, New York” a city which sadly I have never visited, unlike my better half who enjoyed a wonderful few days there in her time as a travel agent and my eldest grandson who went on a school trip. Changed days. In my time it was a day in Edinburgh with visits to the Castle and the Zoo. Nor did I have the opportunity to leave my heart in San Francisco and I have to take Sinatra’s word for it that Chicago is a wonderful town. So much for the U.S.A. I guess that more songs have been written about Paris than any other city. My first visit during “April in Paris”, or was it May? To see Scotland beat France one-nil in a friendly match at the Colombes Stadium. Hardly romantic but I do have memories of strolling “Under the Bridges of Paris” on a later visit. Another lyric goes “The last time I saw Paris my heart was young and gay” Not really with a wife and three children in tow and the prospect of the long drive back to our caravan in Normandy ahead of us. My failure to toss a coin or three into the Trevi Fountain on my one and only visit to the Eternal City meant that as I sadly said “Arrivederci Roma” I would not be returning much to my regret. A day trip from the Costa del Sol ensured that “Granada” had me under it’s spell! A visit to the Generalife gardens had me thinking for a moment that I had stumbled on the Spanish branch of the insurance company where I started my working career. It was sad to say “Goodnight Vienna” where we went to celebrate our Silver Wedding but we enjoyed a sail on “The beautiful Blue Danube”. Not that it is very blue, more a muddy grey. We did return on a day trip when holidaying in the Salskammergut where we enjoyed “The Sound of Music”. A couple of brief visits convinced us that Copenhagen is indeed Wonderful. Back in my bachelor days I sadly failed to break the bank at Monte Carlo although I did try. A fool and his money arre easily parted!! London, where we went to celebrate our Golden Wedding probably holds most memories, for myself in particular. Back in the late 1940s when the smog descended I can recall many “ A Foggy Day in London Town, had me low, had me down” but for the songwriter an encounter with the girl of his dreams “and through foggy London town the sun was shining everywhere”. I may not be a Londoner but I do love London Town. My favourite lyric is “That certain night, the night we met,
there was magic abroad in the air, there were angels dining at the Ritz and a Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square I may be right, I may be wrong, but I’m perfectly willing to swear, that when you turned and smiled at me a nightingale sang in Berkeley Square” I couldn’t afford to dine at the Ritz, Lyons Corner House was more my style. Nearer to home I spent many a happy hour-and-a-half basking in the “Sunshine on Leith”, long before the Proclaimers first saw the light of day, watching Hibs Famous Five weave their magic on the hallowed turf at Easter Road Stadium. In conclusion despite all the gloom and doom that we hear on the daily news, in the words of one of my all-time favourites, Louis Armstrong “It’s a Wonderful World”.