My Desert Island Discs

My Desert Island Discs

I’d heard of Desert Island Discs before, but the most recent episode of No Such Thing As A Fish piqued my interest. Not so much about the programme, but about what eight tracks I would choose to bring along to my unplanned deserted island getaway. And what would be the ONE track I would bring.

I would need a belter. Something to really throw my everything into.

Something metal, to keep the evil spirits company. I was going to have a second mind-melting time signature category, but I think that can be combined with the metal.

Something sexy, to keep the evil spirits company.

Something gentle, but interesting. This will complement the sexy quite well.

A silly skatepunk song to goof around to. This will be a good one to double up for a teenage nostalgia song, too.

Now it’s starting to get difficult. Something grungy would be good, but…Ten or Siamese Dream?

Tom Waits gets his own category, but…what song? That’s tricky.

And for the final song, it has to be something folky. Something with a story. And I’m going to cheat a bit and pick three songs as one.

I am, of course, having second thoughts now that I’ve picked my songs, but this is where I landed this time. If I were to do this again at another time, with a different day behind me, I suspect I would end up with a different list.

The list ended up thusly:

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Fortunate Son
Meshuggah – Combustion (mind-melting and heavy as)
Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros – Mondo Bongo
Portishead – Wandering Star (there’s a little half-second piano solo around the 2-minute mark that makes this song incredibly special for me. I don’t know why it’s so special, but that little repeated chord is something else.)
Blink 182 – M+M’s
The Smashing Pumpkins – Mayonaise
Tom Waits – Tango Till They’re Sore
The Decemberists – Crane Wife 1, 2, and 3.

I regret not including The Cranberries, but I don’t know what I’d take out. Knee-jerk reaction is to remove Blink 182 because they’re not a “good” band, but there’s an energy to the music that I wouldn’t want to part with. I think replacing the belter (Fortunate Son) with The Cranberries would be the way to go, and picking a suitably sing-y Cranberries song.

Picking a single song to keep me company until I’m rescued isn’t easy, but because this is the game, I will choose Wandering Star.

I’d love to hear what 8 songs you would choose to bring along – comment below. 🙂


Pre-Spotify Travel

Pre-Spotify Travel

When I was last in Europe music wasn’t everywhere – especially not “my” music. We didn’t have a stereo in the Volvo 940 we were driving around Europe. I didn’t have an iPod. Spotify didn’t exist, nor did the ubiquitous internet that’s required for a streaming service. I have an incredibly vivid memory of being in Spain, and finding a bar one afternoon that was playing Smashing Pumpkins. I’d not heard “my” music for many weeks and it struck incredibly deeply.

I wonder if there will be things that lodge themselves in my brain the same way as that afternoon did on this trip. And I wonder if my kids will have the same experience of unearthing something they’ve been missing by absolute chance.

Reading Log – Universal Harvester

Reading Log – Universal Harvester

I enjoy playing songs by The Mountain Goats. I enjoy listening to songs by The Mountain Goats. The songs are often deep, and dark, and touch on subjects that most of us have faced, but don’t talk about. Universal Harvester is by John Darnielle. The same John Darnielle who is the persistent (and often only) member, and primary songsmith, of The Mountain Goats. I didn’t realise that Darnielle was an author, but when my neighbour and fellow fan told me about it I really wasn’t surprised.

I’m half a dozen chapters in, and so far it’s dark. Bleak, even. I don’t often read scary books, but this is triggering some very deep fear responses from me, in a similar way to the animal masks in on of the seasons of the Danish/Swedish TV series Broen/Bron/The Bridge. Creepy AF.

Let’s see how it goes!

Five great songs by artists I don’t really like

Five great songs by artists I don’t really like

I found this draft sitting around several days ago, and I thought “that’s a good idea!”. Just like I did when I first started the draft, which I have no recollection of. It’d be fun to write something snarky about lucky hits amongst rubbish song-writing.

I had This Love by Maroon 5 in the list. Building Steam with a Grain of Salt by DJ Shadow. This Train Will Be Taking No More Passengers by Augie March. Some track by Phoenix.

So there were only four tracks in my Top 5. It was a draft. I’ll forgive myself.

But then I thought I should listen to the other songs by those bands. Properly listen to them.

So now I’m stuck.

Really stuck.

Those bands all have some other great songs.

Journey have good songs other than Don’t Stop Believin’.

A-ha have many songs better than Take on Me.

Chumbawamba, it turns out, is some anarchist group of…well…anarchists who have a bunch of punk songs. (Their first album was released on Crass Records!)

So, I guess, what I hadn’t done before, was give those bands enough time to appreciate the time, effort, and dedication that they had put in to every song. Which is probably a good lesson for everything in life. Don’t dismiss too quickly. Don’t assume something is bad. Pay attention. Listen. Look.