Dire Straits (or should I say dIRE sTRAITS) were the first band I really got into. My best friend from the age of 7 was/is a guy called Andreas, and I have a hunch his older sister listened to them, and he picked them up from her, and I picked them up from him. For my 10th birthday my parents got me a cassette of their Money for Nothing album (wow… that starts to show my age), and almost every song on the album remains consistently towards the top of my favourite music throughout the years. Twenty years on (eep) and when I listen to the tracks I still know every pluck of Mark Knopfler’s legendary strings.
One of their most epic performances is the 14+ minute live version of the song Telegraph Road, which plots the foundation, growth and collapse of the American city of Detroit, allegedly inspired by a bus-trip down a section of a major road in the metropolitan area called ‘Telegraph Road’. It may sound like an odd and somewhat boring premise for a song, but in fact it remains (in my ever so humble opinion) one of the classics of its time, with a melancholic undertone that changes pace as the song progresses and simple but beautifully evocative lyrics. I never get tired of listening to it.
While someday I probably ought to make a pilgrimage to the real Telegraph Road, I snapped the above shot driving down to Mono Lake (below), where the afternoon sunlight was bathing this telegraph pole in warmth and the blue sky behind was deliciously rich and blue. The western United States still carry a certain wildness about them that feels closer to those old days of frontier and settlement, a bit like watching an old John Wayne cowyboy movie as the grand landscape unravels around you. I’m sure there are many better telegraph roads to photograph out there, but so far this has been one of my favourites. It captured a little something of what I imagine some of those old roads must have looked like, carrying the telegraph lines across that vast old countryside.
I’m still searching…