Recently, I discovered something laying dormant inside my mobile blower… Podcasts. More precisely, Desert Island Discs. There are hundreds of ’em – and many are my cultural counterparts; from Gallagher and Brand, to Weller, Winstone and whispering Bob.
If you’re unfamiliar with the format. Guests (or “castaways”) get to choose 8 songs (or “discs”) to take with them to an imaginary desert island. And while they’re at it, discuss their life and the reasons for their choices.
So as I sit here on an island that’s mostly desert. I’m thinking about what my choices would be. Self-indulgent I know. But so’s this blog.
#1. Telegraph Road – Dire Straits (1982)
Back in the 80s the word epic described songs like this – 14 minute long – it starts slow, with a story line that weaves through guitar and drum solos, and builds up to a ball tightening crescendo. Its the song that got me into music. To use the modern vernacular its F-ing epic!
#2. Fools Gold – The Stone Roses (1989)
A tune from my teens. That put an adolescent swagger in my step. “I ain’t no clown. I won’t back down. I don’t need you to tell me what’s going down”. As fresh now as the day I first heard it.
#3. Cigarettes & Alcohol – Oasis (1994)
Released just before I turned 20. This song set the tone for my next decade. “Is it my imagination. Or have I finally found something worth living for?” Still makes me wanna hit the sauce now.
#4. Smithers-Jones – The Jam (1979)
If the last one sums up my 20s. This one nails the 30s. As I sleepwalked into middle-aged predictability. Listening to this on my daily commute gave me a wake up call. “The only one smiling is the suntanned boss”, we all know it.
#5. Beast of Burden – Rolling Stones (1978)
Beatles or Stones? Is not a difficult question for me. Those scousers could never have written a song like this. Nor did they have a guitarist like Keef… And if you’re a bird that found yourself back at mine during my heyday. This one’s for you.
#6. You Really Got Me – The Kinks (1964)
One to remind me of the missus. Not the right vibe our wedding (apparently). But sentimentally spot-on for the newly spliced (if you ask me). True too – I don’t sleep well when she’s not around… Only trouble is, it also reminds me of a naked Phil Daniels singing in the bath.
#7. Albion – Libertines / Babyshambles (2005)
Wherever I am in the world this song always takes me home. Written by one of our finest poets (and QPR fan). They should make it the national anthem. It’s better than that crock of shit we’ve got at the moment.
#8. Fire – Kasabian (2009)
If you’re wondering what to play at my funeral. This wouldn’t be a bad choice. Guaranteed to lift the mood too… As the curtain goes down and the flames start to lick round my April. The words couldn’t be more apt, “Take me into the night… I’M ON FIRE”.
It’s only when you travel (and chat to a few foreigners), that you realise – where you’re from is a big part of who you are. Looking back at this all English list, I can see that’s come through to my musical DNA. Either that or I’ve got a subconscious yearning for the motherland. Time I went back for a visit.