100 for 2000 – #65. Darren Hanlon – Fingertips and Mountaintops

To end another wonderful decade of great music, I’m going to write about ten albums from each of the last ten years, that are either great, or hold some sort of personal significance. A musical kiss off to 00s.

2006 – #5. Darren Hanlon – Fingertips and Mountaintops
(Candle)

I left Australia, with one bag, one iPod, and started again, in many ways. When I got to London, this great city of music, a whole new batch of records entered my life. Those records make up the rest of the 2006 list. But there is one album in the middle, one that I listened to when I was wondering around Europe, with no one I knew knowing where I was. It was one of the very last albums I bought in Australia – Darren Hanlon‘s Fingertips And Mountaintops.

I had heard some of these songs live, but I barely had time with the album. On planes, trains, buses and just walking, I listened to this album. Wandering around Madrid, or Vienna, or Copenhagen, listening to Darren Hanlon. It became my little bible.

The jokey-est song is Couch Surfing – an acoustic surf rock song about ‘dossing’ (a word I only learnt when I got to London). It’s clever and witty, but the lines about the weightlessness the philosopher’s teach – just a back pack and the open road – captured the romance.

It helps that this record is so soothing. Hold On, this non-descript expression of support, guided me through many strange streets. The low level bitterness of the mindless People Who Wave At Trains was amplified at every platform I travelled on. My encounter with Mischa Barton in a Spanish bar was captured quite well by the song Elbows.

There was one other song recorded in these sessions that never made the record (it came out on a Candle compilation) – My Life A Blur. For me, it lives well with this album, and it’s all about travel. The carriages that rocked me into slumber. Of all of Hanlon’s songs that I love, it’s this one that hits home for me the most.

I clung onto the lyrical advice on this record for dear life. I drank up it’s stories. There is something quite zen about this record. The title track is named after a brilliant image;

If you put one finger in front of your face
And close one eye
You can block out a mountain

It doesn’t mean anything, and yet everything.

Hanlon has come such a long way from that guy I saw at the Lansdowne Hotel, playing two songs between a mate’s set. He’s been with me this entire decade. It’s now been four years since his last proper album. When that next album comes out, I’m sure it will help me deal with what life brings me.

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