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Song 01

I'm starting a new project! It will be called 42 Songs, and is what it sounds like - I will share my favorite songs with little anecdotes, why I like them, what they mean and have meant to me, and of course, photographs. Please leave heaps of comments and tell me about your songs too. The world can always do with more music.

Billy Joel
The Stranger

You know when someone asks you what your song is? This is mine. When I listen to it, I feel as though it was meant for me, meant to be sung to me, to tell me all these amazing things that I often forget. 

Slow down, you crazy child
You're so ambitious for a juvenile
But then if you're so smart, tell me why are you still so afraid? 

To me, it is a song about time. About how we get caught up in this fast life and it's hard to brake, and when things do slow down, we become impatient or feel like a failure. I always have trouble with this, because I'm always trying to do too much and be too much, and I always have to remind myself that it's important to appreciate the present and everything will come in its own time.

But you know that when the truth is told
You can get what you want or you can just get old

But that doesn't mean complacency, and it doesn't mean settling. It means doing the best you can, and chasing your dreams, and going fast at times - but also slowing down, sitting back, connecting with yourself. And realising that sometimes, time is on your side.

Slow down, you're doing fine
You can't be everything you wanna be before your time

I first heard this song years ago on the soundtrack of the film 13 Going on 30, which I think is weird because we actually had a cassette of this album for a long time. My mum loves one of the songs on it ("Just the Way You Are"), which we'd therefore heard repeatedly but I think the other songs got unwittingly fast-forwarded (irony, irony). I dug up the cassette and listened to "Vienna" on repeat until I had it memorized.


Slow down, you crazy child
Take the phone off the hook and disappear for a while

I also love the idea of going to a quiet place, in the world, in your mind. I do this sometimes, I like to cut myself off and sort out my thoughts, and not socialise or talk. Not everyone gets it, but some people recognise how important this can be.

You got your passion, you got your pride
But don't you know that only fools are satisfied?
Dream on, but don't imagine they'll all come true

Here's a really beautiful video of this song, shot in India.

Vienna waits for you.


Vienna in this song is a metaphor for peace, tranquillity, freedom, time - the rest of your life.

Why Vienna? Here's where Joel tells us how it symbolised a crossroads, a mingling of cultures.

Photos taken at Heidelberg, London, Delhi, Herne Bay and Vienna.