The new edition of Land of Hope and Dreams is now complete. It is packed with more photos than we imagined we could get into an e-book. Plus the new Wrecking Ball chapters feature almost 24,000 words, bringing the book to a barn-storming 112,000 words. We've met so many people who have asked us to update the book. It feels great to have finally been able to do it. It will be available on Amazon from May 16.
There is a DJ on a small
regional radio station in Wales
who owes me thousands of pounds. And I owe him my undying gratitude.
Why? Because this man – I don’t
even know his name – introduced me to the music of Bruce Springsteen.
And over the years I’ve
bought every record Bruce has made, bought every magazine and newspaper he has
appeared in, travelled to a couple of dozen concerts, even driven to Rotterdam
to join a special get-together of Springsteen fans.
Hence, the DJ’s debt to me.
But following Springsteen,
living through his songs, understanding the many messages of his music, and enjoying
his companionship, has changed my life.
So, my debt to the DJ by far
outweighs any material debt I may claim from him.
Every morning during my
childhood this man played “The River”. And at just about the same time: ten
minutes before I headed out to school.
The song mesmerised me. The
tune was moving, mournful. But it was the lyrics that drew me in.
This wasn’t just a song. It
was a short story. Even as a young teenager – living thousands of miles from Johnstown, wherever that
may be – I got it. I identified immediately with the two lives at the heart of
And wondered about the writer
too. Who was this man who put words like “construction” and “economy” into a
love song? This was unlike any love song I had heard. It was real.
These two people must exist
A friend was also getting
into Springsteen, through an older brother. I quizzed about him about Bruce.
So far, I’d read one bit of
information – from a dubious source.
Smash Hits –
yes, I know – had described Springsteen as a kind of “American Shakin’ Stevens”.
Sitting in the science lab at
school, ignoring the physics teacher, I repeated this to my friend.
My friend’s face went red.
The heat rose through his cheeks. I was afraid his rage would cause the Bunsen
burner on the desk in front of us to ignite.
“They don’t know anything,”
he shouted, almost falling off the uncomfortable wooden stool they sat us on to
keep us awake.
I never bought Smash Hits again.
Born in the USA
came out and I bought all the previous albums at the same time. I fell in love
with them all, and with The Wild, The
Innocent and the E Street Shuffle in particular. I still feel that if I
were marooned on a desert island it is the album I would clutch to my chest.
Despite the massive media interest
in Springsteen at the time, liking him wasn’t cool. I quickly became known as the Springsteen fan in my school year.
The only one.
There was no internet then.
No Bruce Buds. Springsteen’s life seemed a world away from mine. I got my
gossip from Dan French’s fanzine, Point
It’s more than thirty years
now since I first got into Bruce. He’s my oldest friend.
And every time I hear “The
River” it is still as magical, still as affecting, still as powerful.
It’s wonderful how a song can
make such a connection… down through the years… across thousands of miles… and
into the hearts of so many.
Thanks to everyone who has sent us contributions for the upcoming e-book version of LAND OF HOPE AND DREAMS.
So sorry we haven't been able to reply to everybody. There is still time to send us stories - until the end of March. We are hoping to edit the new version during April and May for release towards the end of May - ahead of the June Slane +30 anniversary. Get in touch - wherever you are, as long as it is somewhere in BossLand!
Quick update following previous post. We've had lots of questions about the word count for submissions. We want as many people to be included as we can, so we are looking at 1,000 words for an absolute maximum. Please try not to write more than is necessary. Short stories of a few paragraphs will be just as welcome as ones of 400 or 500 words. As always, we have to reserve the right to cut for editorial purposes. All stories will be professionally proofed, so don't worry if you are concerned about grammar, spelling, etc. A reminder: here's the email address for stories email@example.com Thanks!