Published: 06:00, 27 July 2020
| Updated: 09:13, 27 July 2020
How will this summer be remembered by the class of 2020? With months of missed school, cancelled exams and postponed proms, it won't be a normal summer to remember for thousands of teenagers across the county.
For one former Medway man, the thought of young people being robbed of a summer filled with memories of football, first kisses and more was too much.
Now living in Kåsmo, up in the Arctic Circle, Hempstead-born Chris Winfield was inspired by the words from, of all people, Norwegian Health Minister Bent Høie, to pen a song which he believes sums up what they have missed - and he's even thrown in the 132 bus to Hempstead Valley Drive.
When lockdown came to his adopted home country of Norway in March, Chris and band mates Dan Hesketh and Joachim Røsvik were in the middle of a tour with their band, Casa Murilo, started 10 years ago when he moved to the country from Medway.
The trio, who had released three albums, been featured on primetime Norwegian TV and have more than 5 million Spotify streams to their name, were preparing to head into the studio to record their fourth record after their tour.
But when lockdown came, plans had to change.
In the 10 weeks that followed, the three instead recorded a 10-track concept album over the internet called Summer 1998.
Chris, who lives on a farm with his wife and children and went to Hempstead Infant and Juniors, followed by Chatham Grammar, said: "Everyone has that summer - the one when the sun was always shining, you had your first kiss, your first drink, the one you came of age. For us it was the idyllic, iconic summer of 1998.
"The greatest summer that ever was, set to a soundtrack of Britpop’s finest - Pulp, Oasis, Blur, Suede, Supergrass, The Divine Comedy, Cast, The Lightning Seeds, Shed Seven... A summer full of promise, of hope, of romance and of friendship. The one where Norway beat Brazil. And the one when England should have won the World Cup...
"But summer 2020 is a very different proposition for today’s generation. With social distancing measures in place, restrictions on gatherings and the future precarious, this will be a lost summer for many. "
“Summer 1998 is dedicated to the young people who will never know what they lost. "
"It's all about the summers of our youth. The ones where you got drunk for the first time on booze you nicked from your parents. The ones where you fell in and out of love on a daily basis - all that good stuff."
What Norwegian Minister of Health Bent Høie said so eloquently on April 27 was this: “Next summer doesn’t exist when you’re young… you only care about what is going to happen today and tomorrow. You dream of what will happen this summer… You dream of the football cup where you’ll score goals the like of which no one has ever seen. You dream of the class trip where you’ll pluck up the courage to flirt with the cutest boy in the class. You dream of the school ball where you’ll dance all night in that expensive dress you had to beg for all year to get.
“I would like to say to you young people that everything will soon be the same. But I can't. This summer will be different. This year will be different. You are the young people who have to do things differently."
The first release from the album is a single, titled The 132 to Hempstead Valley Drive, a wistful tale of teenage romance set against a soundscape of purest Britpop.
"I'm claiming it as the first song to ever feature either the 132 bus or Hempstead in the title," said Chris.
Of the sound they produced, they call it Lockdown Lofi - no expensive equipment, no fancy studios, just laptops, USB microphones and three guys seeking solace in happy memories of a world that may well be lost forever.
The three were all in their respective homes and recorded their parts, with the final mixing done by Nick Terry, another fellow Brit living in Oslo, who has worked with Ian Brown and Suede and was a technician on The Liberines' first album.
Listen to The 132 to Hempstead Valley Drive by clicking here.
More by this authorAngela Cole
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