Blade Runner and London

One good thing about the pandemic lock down is having the time to catch up on my outstanding entertainment list. Listening to the Art of the Score podcast on Vangelis’ score to Blade Runner I am remembering my own connection to the movie’s music.

Back in July 2009 I was on my first solo overseas trip, to London for a week to attend a workshop. My wife and baby son were at home while I stayed at a pokey London hotel in Earls Court without summer air-conditioning. I existed in an almost time free zone, attending the workshop or exploring London during the day, sleeping when I got back to the hotel, waking in the middle of the night to video chat with B and Alex before returning to bed.

Early in my stay I popped into the Virgin Megastore and purchased a couple of soundtracks: Jack Nitzsche’s Starman and the three disc Blade Runner set.

London isn’t really a city that you would associate with the imagery of the dark 2019 Los Angeles portrayed in Blade Runner, one of my favourite movies. Yet it worked very well as a soundtrack for this trip.

It’s fortunate that I had purchased a DVD burner in Singapore during my stopover, as I was otherwise reliant on my Walkman phone and Samsung MP3 player for music. I hooked the burner, bought for backup purposes, and ripped the music to my very recently purchased and very slim Sony VAIO P laptop and plugged in the also slim TDK flat travel speakers, the VAIO P speakers being tiny and poor.

I love to fall asleep to music, but B doesn’t share my tastes, so I took this opportunity to do so. So every night I would drift off to the hypnotic tones of Blade Runner and Starman. And this tiny room, warm with summer heat, would be transformed into an exotically dreamy Middle Eastern locale with Tales of the Future or Damask Rose.

My flight home was via Hong Kong, the city that apparently inspired Blade Runner’s canyons of neon. I arrived in Hong Kong early in the morning, exhausted and needing a sleep. The hotel desk at the airport recommended the Novotel CityGate nearby.

The filtered golden brown light of Hong Kong’s dusky air recalled the first meeting of Deckard and Rachel at the Tyrell Corporation. Too exhausted to do anything more, I opened my laptop on the table, lay down on the pristine bed, and fell into the most delicious of sleeps to the music of Blade Runner.

Later on, before I almost missed my final flight home, I walked the streets of Mong Kok under those neon lights of Los Angeles 2019.

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