Thursday, March 02, 2006

From George: You have two days to choose your desert island discs

Hi folks - I'll be emailing a number of you to think about this but this is something worth considering. A variation on the usual "choose songs" post, partly due to the time limit and partly the restricted number of songs/tunes.

Otherwise, everyone's invited to take this up!

So, this morning in my inbox I received this...

"Ouch. A friend of mine asked me to do a desert island disks, with just an 8 song capacity and MAX 2 days to think about it. [...] The rules are 2 days thinking, songs to mean stuff to you (not to make you look critically sound) and reasons to be frankly stated.
What have I begun??

George made the offer for me to pick it up as a blog post and it certainly seems like a good idea, so I've took him at his offer and here are his selections as a starter.

But to the point, songs for their actual meaning to me. Well, here goes (in no order):

1.Belle & Sebastian - The Boy With The Arab Strap (from the album of the same name)
This was a favourite of a friend of mine merely because he was into the TV show Teachers. Although we were good friends we had had no musical overlap before. I'm really into what he would regard as pretentious stuff! Anyway, he actually requested this tune from me. We both love it for the lines 'We both know you're soft 'cos we've both seen you dancing/We both know you're hard 'cos we've both seen you drinking/From noon until noon again'. It just resonates well with remembered good times and not being typical types. We also danced like loons to it one weekend when he and others first visited me in Aberdeen at approximately 2am... Marvellous.

2. ballboy (with Laura Cantrell) - I Lost You But I Found Country Music (to listen on download here)
A fantastic song made better by the inclusion of Laura; the result of a John
Peel Christmas special featuring both bands. Everyone I have passed this to has loved it. This includes many non-music fans who haven't cared to even consider anything in my catalogue. This song affirms that the effort required to seek out the more obscure side of the muscial spectrum can be worth it in every detail. That is wonderful to me on two main counts; that quality can transcend expectation and media presentation, and that that very notion was the essence of John Peel, whose (coming full circle) Christmas special is the very reason the song exists with the song being one of the last things I got from him.

3. Melys - Eyeliner (on the album Life's Too Short)
It's just an indie song from a charming but usually average indie band, but oh-my it is such a good one. It just thunders out with keyboards blazing! A John Peel favourite band on their best form and it was the pick-me-up song of my write-up period. I remember bouncing up and down to it at the end of a long day in the kitchen of my friends' house (Lisa & Neil, I was their lodger) waiting for them to come home knowing that as music fans I could wax lyrical to them about it! The power of music!

4. Nina Simone - Just In Time (from Before Sunset film soundtrack)
Although I was well aware of NS, getting into her was on my to-do list until Before Sunset and the final scene. Well, that was me hooked. Lisa & Neil were up for a weekend and we saw it on a whim - we now each have the DVD and lots of NS to match! It reminds me of the film, my friends, romance and optimism. Brilliant.

5. McLusky - To Hell With Good Intentions (single)
In the last summer of the research period of my PhD I threw what was generally regarded as a damn fine house-party (I resisted using 'legendary'). A good time was had by all but beyond 3am just my close friends who were staying over were left. My two best music friends had become familiar with this song through compilations I had sent them. It's a very simple song by a band unheard (deservedly) by many, but it's quick, short, energetic and to the point. Chris set the tape up in the kitchen and insisted we all danced topless (relax, all blokes), and we did so with enthusiasm turned up to 11. A perfect closing to very successful event. The song just means happiness with good people.

6. REM - Country Feedback (from Out of Time album)
REM is the soundtrack to my adolescence and this was a very difficult choice. They were my first access to music that meant something to me and I owe them a lot (apparently including forgiveness for their mid-tempo recent output!). I have fond memories of finding solace in the beauty of this tune in my school years. The line 'It's crazy what you could have had' officially has 3451 connotations at last count...

7. Saloon - Have You Seen The Light? (single: now available on the rarities collection Lo Fi Sounds, Hi Fi Heart)
It just damn well gets me moving. A perfect example of how much enjoyment music can give you especially if you don't care about conventional artistic standing! These guys & girls were barely sixth-formers but they produced beautiful minimalistic electronica refrains accompanied by the voice of an angel (and not in a Charlotte Church way). The song takes most of its duration to build to the vocals which match perfectly, do their brief bit before they get out of town. I love it because it was the first introduction of this band that means a lot to me by, you've guessed it, John Peel. Also, because it says to me that if all you ever achieve as a band (they split after 2 albums) is to touch one person with something you created then it was all worth it. It says that success does not mean a Brit or a No.1.

8. Low - That's How You Sing Amazing Grace (from the album Trust)
It's just beautiful and it helped a friend of mine get over the death of a friend of his.

Well, that was exhausting and I'm leaving it there for now! This information is subject to extreme changes as I remember every other song that means the world to me! As for taking only one, I'll mail you back next year! Can I take two if I ditch my bible??

Now that is one impressive list, and I'm not sure if I will be able to get over just how many of these tracks would overlap with ones I would have chosen - will that stop me?? - but still, an excellent selection... (and the bible remark just cracks me up completely!)

So what's on your desert island? I'm aiming to post mine Saturday so look out folks!

If I haven't contacted you direct, don't be offended: just go with it!


bot37363838 said...

Aha... when I read this I realised I'd already come up with my list... thinking about it again might produce a different set, but would that be cheating?

Anyway, I did it in October last year:

If you're interested...

Paul 'Fuzz' Lowman said...

Ain't this a head scratcher? I've taken a shot at this over at my place, still ain't 100% happy with it but I guess that's par for the. Take an eyeball if you're interested.
The nice thing about this idea is that in our 'oh, yeah, I just downloaded the entire Rolling Stones back catologue' i-pod world it's rare that we are required to whittle down our personal OST to only a handful of songs, and even rarer that those songs have to MEAN SOMETHING, rather than having them appear meaninglessly out of the electronic ether on 'random shuffle.'

Admin said...

Well I gave it a go

roy said...

me too.