Monday, February 09, 2015

Desert Island Discs

This post has been sitting on the mental back burner for ages, and it's been impossible to make up my mind on the final lineup. To be honest, I still can't, so here is this weeks top 8. It'll probably change by next week, but for the moment...

Shriekback - Hand on My Heart
My brother 'built' a radio as a teenager, a real mongrel of a thing but it worked, and picked up Radio Luxembourg, Radio Hallam and the late night John Peel show, which I listened to when I was supposed to be sleeping. Peel was where I first heard Shriekbacks 'Lined Up', and when 'Hand on My Heart' just sneaked into the charts and was played in the top 40 rundown, I was straight out to Roulette Records in Sheffield to buy the LP, Jam Science. I ended up with a collection of just about everything Shriekback had ever released, including some (so I thought) extremely cool 12" singles. It felt even cooler that hardly anyone else had ever heard of them.

New Order - Crystal
Looking back, it was an awful gig, Sheffield Uni students union, New Order didn't even come on stage until about 10, by which time the hall was filled with drunken Mancunians. The band weren't in a great mood, but Peter Hook never is. But it wasn't enough to put me off. It's hard to pick a top tune, but this will do.

Newsboys - Breakfast
I'm not a Greenbelt groupie but hearing the Newsboys live there was a major highlight (along with Andy Hawthorne getting everyone doing 'Jumping in the House of God'). 'Christian' music has, by and large, been flaccid and uninspiring, you can't say that about this lot. The lyrics are great too "That day he bought those pine pyjamas/his cheque was good with God"

The Choir - Fine Fun Time
Another Greenbelt revelation, my first ever CD purchase (remember cassettes anyone?) and probably my favourite band. Consistently brilliant over 25 years, atmospheric, mysterious, and if I can't think what else to put on in the car, it's this lot. If you want a flavour, try Circle Slide, probably their best album (20 years old this month). Again, hard to pick a favourite, but this one always puts a spring in my step. Not an official video, just a random set of home movies, but it gets the spirit of the thing:

U2 - Gone
Like most people who converted to U2, I did so round about the Joshua Tree. They probably peaked with the next one, Achtung Baby, and every CD since has been a real mixed bag - but each with 2 or 3 classic tracks. My longlist of U2 songs for the desert island reaches about 20 (Zooropa, Acrobat, Magnificent, Every Breaking Wave, Invisible, Zoo Station, Red Hill Mining Town...), but Gone, from the Pop CD, clinches it. Couldn't find an official video, so here's a live version.

Thomas Tallis - Spem in Alium
Best to close your eyes for this, gorgeous, and the only 'classical' piece in here. Run close by the Jan Garbarek/Hilliard Ensemble 'Officium' CD for atmospheric choral music.

Moby - Lift Me Up
I got into Moby about 2 weeks before the rest of the world after hearing Natural Blues. His James Bond theme tune is superb, and so is this.

Jean Michel Jarre - Ethnicolor 1 (especially from 7:45, where it really takes off)
Alongside my more 'normal' early 80s stuff (Madness, The Smiths, Depeche Mode), I had a wad of Jarre and Tangerine Dream, and still put it on in the background if I need some 'wallpaper music' to help me concentrate. Jarre's stuff seemed to get more and more peculiar, this is a long way from the simplicity of Oxygene, and you'll probably hate it....

Honourable mentions:
The Smiths - How Soon is Now?
Kate Bush - Cloudbursting
Depeche Mode - Stripped
Saint Etienne - Like a Motorway
Deacon Blue - Will We Be Lovers
Black - Wonderful Life
Brian Doerkson - Creation Calls
The Teardrop Explodes - Reward
Dire Straits - Industrial Disease

Book: either Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places by Eugene Peterson, or The Solitaire Mystery by Jostein Gaarder.

Luxury item: a cricket bowling machine (and a set of balls and a bat)

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