Why Paul Simon wished he was homeward bound to Brentwood
As a teenager I’d heard a rumour that Paul Simon wrote his classic song Homeward Bound while sitting at Brentwood Station in the 1960s. Back then it was easy to imagine him in the moribund waiting room writing lines about shades of mediocrity.
But in the internet age it’s possible to verify such assertions, and the truth is that Simon penned Homeward Bound in either Ditton or Halebank stations in Widnes, while waiting for a train back to Brentwood, where he was living with his girlfriend. Blimey. Yes, it was Brentwood that made Simon and Garfunkel get all poetic.
SITTING IN THE RAILWAY STATION
He made his UK debut at the Railway Inn Folk Club in Brentwood in 1964 and met Kathy Chitty there, the inspiration for Kathy’s Song and America. She was a 17-year-old Essex girl on the door selling tickets to bearded men in cord jackets. They dated for two years until Paul returned to the US. Kathy now lives in Wales and maintains a diplomatic sound of silence on all Simon-related subjects. Although I can picture her as a slightly folksier version of Celebrity Big Brother’s uber-Essex babe Chantelle.
These days if Simon was homeward bound to Brentwood, he’d walk out of the station, trudge 100 metres up King’s Road and come to the Amstrad headquarters. You wonder what Sir Alan Sugar would make of the wandering folk troubadour:
“Paul, shut up a minute will yer, you’re doing my head in! You took a bloody trip to Widnes to play a gig and all you could do is whinge about yer bleeding girlfriend Kaffy. No sales figures, just lyrics scrawled on a British Rail timetable. I’m not having that. Shut up, I am talking! OK, you can knock out a decent tune, but you ain’t doing it for me. If I asked you to build me a swimming pool you’d be knocking off every time you saw some leaves that are green turn to brown. With regret, Paul, you’re fired!”