Getting ready to walk back down Memory Lane

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It’s Autumn here, going on November
I view the leaves in all their splendour
Is it déjà vu, I just can’t remember
I stop a while and take in the scene

I stop a while and ask a stranger
Is this the place that was once called Memory Lane
I don’t know where I am or what I’m after
I’m stuck here again back on Memory Lane

Now the leaves are falling and it’s coming on to Winter
Nights keep getting shorter and shorter every day
One sign up ahead says ‘DANGER’
Another one says ‘STOP’
One says ‘YIELD THIS WAY’ – Van Morrison, Memory Lane

Of all the great ‘Van the man’ songs, I think I like this one the best (click here to listen). And at this time of the year as the leaves turn brilliant shades of red, gold, magenta and even (in my garden at least) purple, there is none more appropriate. I love Autumn and the way the trees dress up in their most dazzling finery before casting aside their clothes and hunkering down through the winter chill.

There’s something implicitly nostalgic about the season. As a young man I studied American poetry at university and much admired the writings of the great experimental poet e.e. cummings. Today, anything but a young man, I find his words on Autumn not only convey the poignancy of the changing of the season but the process of aging.

A wind has blown the rain away and blown the sky away and all the leaves away, and the trees stand. I think, I too, have known autumn too long. 

Why all the self-reflection? Well, the next four weeks – non-stop on the road from London to Bangkok to Melbourne to the US West Coast to London to the Middle East – will take me down my own memory lane. Next week, Autumn, going on November, I, along with my team and over 37o travel retail industry executives will descend on Bangkok for the annual Trinity Forum.

It’s the second time we’ve held the event in the Thai capital, the last being in 2011. I remember that event well, albeit for all the wrong reasons.

In those days we held the event in February and on that occasion I was about four weeks out of chemotherapy after my prolonged 2010 dance with that unwelcome suitor, cancer. I lasted through the Opening Cocktail and the first morning session. The rest of the event, and the whole next week, I spent at what I dubbed the Bangkok Hilton – Bumrungrad Hospital – due to post-surgical complications.

The Moodie Davitt Report Interim Bangkok Bureau, February 2011

They were among the lowest moments of my life, as I missed most of the event I had created and which I had also targeted as my comeback to the industry after a long illness. After I was allowed out, I stayed on in Bangkok at the Pullman Bangkok King Power for another week to recover. I was treated with love and compassion, like family, something I will never forget. I finally got home to London, lasted a day or so, then succumbed to the same problems and had to be operated on at the Royal Marsden Hospital.

So you will forgive my nostalgia as I prepare a second comeback in Bangkok. This time I intend to hang around (the Forum not the Bangkok Hilton) for a little longer. I’m ready now to take a walk down Memory Lane. It’s Autumn but this time I’m not headed for a fall.

And it swerves and moves around the corners
And there’s flashing lights up ahead ’round the bend
The road curves and twists and turns
And twists and turns and wanders
‘Til you get, ‘ til you get to the very end

Now I’m back here again with more questions than answers
And I’m standing in the pouring rain
There’s something moving, moving in the shadows
And it’s getting dark now, up on Memory Lane

I stop a while and ask some strangers
Is this the place that was once called Memory Lane
I don’t know where I am, don’t know what I’m after
I’m stuck here back on Memory Lane

I stop a while and ask some strangers
Is this the place that was once called Memory Lane
Don’t know where I am right now or what I’m after
I’m stuck here up, just up on Memory Lane