Saturday, April 7, 2012

Blue Train

South Africa's original Blue Train

Off an on over the years I have tried to find a song I knew from the '80's. It wasn't a big deal, but I was curious. I had downloaded it years ago from Napster and lost it in a computer restore. (I have an external hard drive now) 

The user who uploaded it to Napster incorrectly tagged it as being by Midnight Oil which unfortunately tied into my idea that it was Australian and in my discovery today I am relieved I'm not the only one who remembers it as Australian-ish. I posted a question about the song on yahoo answers four years ago. I got the same answers google had been giving me which basically indicated that the only "Blue Train" worth my time was a 1957 recording by John Coltrane. Not saying it isn't worthy, I haven't listened to it, but it's not my song. (update: I listened to it. John Coltrane was a sax player and the song is pure jazz saxophone) 

It turns out my song is by Idle Eyes (Tokyo Rose) and they're Canadian. Which explains why members of the general population I have asked haven't heard of the song.  

Now it's just called Much

Blue Train, the video, was played on MuchMusic, our version of MTV. Today I thought to google "Australian videos 1980" and there it was.  What's with the Australian connection?! Once I found the song I looked up the significance of Blue Train. Wiki says:
The Blue Train travels approximately 1,600-kilometer (990 mi) journey in South Africa between Pretoria and Cape Town. It is one of the most luxurious train journeys in the world. It boasts butler service, two lounge cars (smoking and non-smoking), an observation car, and carriages with gold-tinted picture windows, in soundproofed, fully carpeted compartments, each featuring its own en-suite (many of which are equipped with a full-sized bathtub).[1] The service is promoted as a "magnificent moving five-star hotel" by its operators, who note that kings and presidents have travelled on it.
I've always wanted to travel by train because it is an excellent way to see a country. Don't think I could afford this.






I bet the food is amazing.

The Blue Train's origins date back to the Union Limited and Union Express trains which began in 1923, taking passengers from Johannesburg to the ships departing from Cape Town to England. The Union Express introduced luxury features such as a dining saloon in 1933 and air-conditioned carriages in 1939.

After a break in service in World War II the service returned in 1946. With the reintroduction of the train, the colloquial "blue train" moniker, a reference to the blue-painted steel carriages introduced in 1937, was formally adopted as the new name.

In 1997 it was refurbished and relaunched.





Here is Idle Eyes - Blue Train




With that I lay that frustrating, years long question to rest. I can't believe the places this song has taken me today and all of it pretty cool even if the song is kinda weird and the vocalist felt the need to play sexeh, sultry, guy in the middle.  Seriously, who thinks that's attractive?

Update: Here's a video of the Blue Train.  It's a bit over eight minutes of promo footage.




Goodbye Blue Train

6 comments:

A-Gran said...

I want to ride that train. Oh yes.

Anonymous said...

A little research please. How much would this train ride cost?

Ann

ps. the song is awesome, but of course I would know it.

Frimmy said...

OK, I checked rates for highest priced package during the peak season at the Blue Train web site. I should have included a link in the post, I wasn't thinking!

20215.00 South African Rand per person

This converts to $2551.96 CAD ($2558.24 USD) and includes all meals, high tea, drinks (hard and soft) and off train excursions. It does not include French champagne, caviar and telephone calls. Rates are one way only.

I put a video of the actual Blue Train in an update in the main post.

Frimmy said...

Re: Blue Train the song. It's weird, I can't find lyrics anywhere and the video is kind of silly in parts but I loved it and that's why I never stopped searching.

I've been asking people over the years also. Yesterday I decided to risk certain humiliation by asking a person who was probably the best source for obscure music information and he never heard of it. I was starting to think I dreamed the whole thing. As luck would have it, I found the song later that day. If only fate had been half a day earlier! I don't know why it occurred to me to google "Australian videos" and I don't know why THAT choice of words got my hit. Oh well.

Frimmy said...

*love it = loved the song, I meant.

Anonymous said...

That price does not seem as expensive as I was expecting it to be. Seems so exotic and lavish, doesn't it? Bet you could not ride a train cross country in Canada for that price.

Ann