With apologies to Van Morrison

Written by

Andrew Millar


May 20, 2011

Some time ago a song by Van Morrison drifted into my consciousness.

No one said “Hey listen to this. It’s called ‘Coney Island’ and man, you’ll love it.”

It was just playing somewhere and I heard it out of the corner of my ear. Not because of it’s musicality… it’s orchestration or majestic anthemic presence. It has none of this. It’s a very simple monologue that describes a road trip up the coast of Ireland to Coney Island.

What grabbed me at the time was the palpable feeling of relaxation and the fellowship of a shared journey it conjures up.

And then I forgot about it for 20 years until one Sunday we took the grey car for a drive… just because we could… and driving back down the freeway the feeling of this song hijacked my body and I recalled ‘Coney Island’…

So, to see if I can do it, I wanted to describe my road trip and see if I can set that feeling in words… now, with apologies to Van the Man here goes…

Left in the morning and climbed our way to Norton Summit in clouds the colour of the car.

Then wound our way through the quiet hills back roads past Ashton, Summerton and Piccadilly. Each crossroad presented a choice, the answer to which presented no consequences at all.

Crossed the freeway heading for Bridgewater where we dropped out of the clouds and into a bright day.

We had no desire for traffic so we took the Mylor Road to Echunga to the tune of a classical guitar and peppermints to keep us until lunch.

Macclesfield to Strathalbyn is a waltz of corners that the car loved… steady speed to the rhythm of the music while we watch the farming plains and Lake Alexandrina roll out ahead of us.

Stopped in Strathalbyn to eat chicken pies I had made the night before. We were in no hurry so we explored the shops that over look the green lawns.

We drove towards the church spire but became diverted by the Langhorne Creek Road where, just for a time, we gave the car it’s head and let it run towards the Wellington Ferry.

We crossed the river late in the day and enjoyed the watery sunshine that played white of the clay river.

Stopped for coffee at Talem Bend at a service station and the young girl who made it brought it out to us in the carpark just so she could enjoy a few minutes of fresh air. The greasy old river slid past under the cliffs. And the sun moved closer to the horizon.

Made our way through to Murray Bridge and crossed using the old highway with the roof and windows fully open. Fresh and cold. We finished our coffee at the waters edge and watched an endless freight train creep towards Adelaide.

Late in the day we turned onto the freeway back to the city, talked about hot chips and ginger beer and drove headlong into a ‘Turner’ sunset while the radio plays an exiting conclusion to a football game.

On our way to Coney Island.

I look at the side of your face as the sunlight comes
Streaming through the window in the autumn sunshine
And all the time going to Coney Island I’m thinking,
Wouldn’t it be great if it was like this all the time?