It's Radio 4 or Radio 3 for me on long car journeys - which are quite rare when I'm driving alone. Usually if I'm driving for a few hours I've got the family with me and we're all fighting over the CD player. Thank goodness for i-pods. They keep the kids quiet.
On those rare occasions where I have the CD player all to myself I try to match the sounds to the mood. When I drove up to Manchester for a job interview recently I bobbed on a U2 CD, assuming it'd put me in an upbeat frame of mind. I didn't get the job but the CD did the trick.
Heading down through the Midlands today to see a client about some freelance work (how pretentious does that sound, 'client'?), I played Jacques Brel's Quand on n'a que l'amour. There's nothing like some Belgian/Gallic melodrama to brighten up the M6. Why doesn't someone do something about that? If this was France they'd have some sculptures along the crash-barriers, or at least painted screens so we don't actually have to see Birmingham ...
For some brain-food when I wasn't thinking about the meeting ahead, I played a CD I'd borrowed of George Szirtes reading his poems. Now I like listening to poetry in the car. I got through the whole of Paradise Lost on a series of trips to South Wales.
Coming back, it was chill-out time, so I unwound with The Unthanks - suicides, press-gangs and fatal fishing boat accidents have never sounded so harmonious.
I don't often drive down that spur of the M6. So I hadn't realised they'd turned Fort Dunlop into a Travelodge. What the ..?!
They've bolted a big blue hotel onto the back of it. At least the original building's still there, though. I always look out for it. That and the whopping big empty gasometers. I suppose those are the closest we'll get to sculpture along there.
But who cares when it's sing-a-long Jacques Brel? Well, if I knew the words I would ...
What're your driving tunes?
Or do you travel everywhere by train?