Desert Island Discs - Minnie - October 30th

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Minnie the Minx
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Desert Island Discs - Minnie - October 30th

Postby Minnie the Minx » 30 Oct 2011, 18:33

I was born on one of the coldest days registered in Yorkshire in 1970, a fact that must have delighted my mother as she lay in stirrups during my very prolonged labour. I was to be her last child of four, and there was considerable debate as to whether I was going to be continued to gestate at all as after all, she was 45 and I was unplanned. Nonetheless, my parents who were in the process of going pear shaped before I was conceived elected to carry on regardless, which naturally I am very pleased about.

It was not a happy childhood, and this is said not to attract sympathy but to put some context into why I dived so headlong into music - it was a salvation and an escape and my brother and I both found solace when the needle touched vinyl.

In deciding on which tracks to take to my desert island I concentrated more on tracks that moved me emotionally or resonated particularly with a time, an event or with people. There are artists I adore who have not made it onto this list, but the tracks I have chosen will make those events and people tangible again in a way that just listing my favourite songs wouldn't.

One of the first songs I remember hearing was this




Paul Anka - A Steel Guitar and a Glass of Wine. Even now when I hear it I can absolutely see Mum in a two tone 1960s style dress, dancing round the hideous swirly carpet in our terraced house in front of the gas fire, in one hand a fag and in the other, a glass of something potent and alcoholic. She loved any song that was melancholy. An example; she adored Seasons in the Sun and would sit me on her lap to listen to it with her and I would watch her cry and start my own howling at the ceiling. Dad, a man who takes no prisoners on the demonstrative front, would roll his eyes as the female members of the family wailed over the fate of someone about to go to death row and would say, 'there's people fucking starving in Africa you know, get your priorities right' . This did not stop us. I think when I listen to this song now that she probably really liked the ballalaika sound that reminded her of her Eastern European heritage.

Bang crash, 1977 and my Dad has left to be with my stepmum and punk rock hits us. My brother, six years older, wears jackets too big and trousers too small and starts coming home with records made of yellow vinyl. I fall in love with the aesthetics, sound, smell and feel of punk.I love the crinkly clothes, I love the random saxaphone burst sounds in X Ray Spex, I love the drums, I love everything about what is surging through the air like a blast of air. There is no way to describe it - punk was just all around and I loved getting tangled up in it, a guitar fuelled hurricane that swept us all off our feet. In the midst of all this though, one of my most loved tracks of the time and one that my mother used to also listen to approvingly, presumably because it was of the right level of melancholy, was Hiroshima Mon Amour by Ultravox



I remember my brother putting this on and it was as though we had been transported back or forward to another age, I couldn't decide.It was the first time I had really heard any electronica, and mixed up with saxaphone, well good God, I was hooked. We all sat in the lounge with my Mum puffing away at a cigarette, a tear sliding down her cheek, and when it finished we all sat in silence and she said, 'put zis on again, pliss' and we had another listen as the Yorkshire sun set.

I was a bit of a tinker, and used the lyrics and passed them off as my own in a poetry class at school. I was 9 then and a hideously precocious child, and the teachers did not disbelieve for a minute that I was not capable of writing such a song. I came a little unstuck when Mrs Laycock asked me what I thought about Hiroshima, and wideyed and alarmed I said, 'oh, I think it's allright' much to her astonishment.

Whilst my brother and I shared a love for punk, and spent hours listening in the lounge, the record player in the sunniest part of the room by the window so we would get suntanned listening, I had become fascinated by a record that was on the radio all the time that I begged my brother to get me for my birthday. And armed with his pound, he went out and did that very thing, making some barbed comment about the 'prick on the cover' as he handed it to me before disappearing off upstairs with a bottle of Dandelion and Burdock. And lo, in my hands, here it was, the thing I had desired.

Cars -Gary Numan -



Man, I loved that song. I had my own 'Cars' dance which involved dancing round the sofa from cushion to cushion like an animated robot, wearing my leotard. I would borrow my mothers foundation and eyeliner for the full Numan look, and as a portly nine year old I must have cut a fascinating sight for anyone looking through the window. Is Anna coming out to play, friends would ask. No, mum would answer, she appears to be miming being trapped in a box. Try again tomorrow. And so began the habit of taking off to my room to listen to music for hours and dance in unabashed robotic glory.

Anyway, punk. I mean, my punk love is a thread all of its own but I can't let it take over this thread as it easily could do and I need to crack on. Of all the punk songs that I adore (and there are very many of them) I think this one sums up the way I feel about punk the most. It is of course without doubt my favourite song of all time and I can not fail to be moved by it, from start to finish, and I find myself struggling to comprehend why other people cannot bve swept away with the same enthusiasm. It makes me want to spin round the room like a Catherine Wheel and makes me grin from ear to ear whenever I hear it. It is life affirming stuff, joyous and carefree, and everything about it makes me feel good about being alive.

Oh, you want to know what it is don't you. It's this.



If that song doesn't move you, I consider you dead from the ears down. Really.

So, what was happening life wise at the time - a lot of boozing, partying, dating, shuttling to and forth from London and Brighton and being a professional punk on the dole. I worked behind bars, at radio stations, music collectives, all sorts of stuff voluntarily, did a drama course (like I needed to get any more dramatic) and did political theatre, rowed with my parents and generally became an insufferable twat.

One of the bands I fell deeply in love with and with whom I love unconditionally is the Cocteau Twins, and for years they signalled the end of the day as I would listen to them in josstick and incense filled rooms crying over some bloke or another. One such crying event happened as I laid alone in a bed in a squat in Stoke Newington listening to the sounds of various squat parties going on all around me. It was a Summer evening and the sirens were blaring and I was listening to my 'on/off' boyfriends tapes (clearly more off than on, as he was out with his bird :x ) and I heard this




Even now when I hear it I can remember every smell, every sound and even what the linen smelt like that night, the smell of a duvet damp with tears and the dry rot that permeated everything and made my hair stink. But this song lifted me above everything, and after hearing it I was determined that I would explore everything they ever did which I did, and by Jove, how pleased I am.

So, life - early twenties, moved to Lancashire with my then partner, and spent fourteen years together, separating five years ago. Started posting on BCB initially about a year before we separated and took a brief time out to get my life back in order to move to my new house on my own. Having some money from the separation I began to travel extensively - Europe, Japan, Australia. Then in 2008 I was invited to San Francisco, a move which was to be change my life in very many different ways, which I'll talk about in a bit.

I do prattle on about it, but make no apology - I love California with a passion, and San Francisco is without doubt the greatest place I have ever had the joy to set foot in. I think of the city every day without fail and of all the adventures I have had on my very many visits there, and how joyous I am that the city I love more than any other has had such a huge part in shaping my life. It just had to, didn't it? For that reason, this is one of the songs I am taking to my Desert Island



So yes, love, and finding it. I have to crack a smile every time Tony sings 'My love waits there, in San Francisco' - because, my love was waiting there, wasn't he?

I don't need to go into massive detail about what happened to myself and Baron last year and our subsequent wedding and so forth because I do that enough as it is and you can only take so much gloop. What I will say though, is that it makes me so happy that so many of you were party to that and have been able to share in our happiness and joy. This is where BCB shines.

I'm generally a glass half full person but the thought of finding someone whom I love more than I can even begin to express at the age of 40 - in another country- was pretty far from my mind. And I knew, I knew after a few hours of meeting him that this was probably going to be the man I spent the rest of my natural life with, and that we would overcome every hurdle imaginable to be together,because that is absolutely where we were meant to be. He has brought more to my life than I ever imagined could be possible simply by being alive. He is the greatest human being I ever met. And he's mine! :D How could I get so lucky?

We must have a dozen songs in our collective romantic life that we could call 'ours', and those of you at our wedding will know them certainly. Of all of them though, this is the one that I would gladly hear over and over again for eternity - it gets at least three plays a day as it is. It is full of joy, happiness, love and is utterly romantic and optimistic -which is the key for me.



Well, those of you that can count will realise that I have named seven songs, which means there is one to go. And you'll have to wait a couple of seconds, because I am going to briefly talk about my book and luxury item.

For my book, I think I would probably end up going with the collected novels of George Orwell. He is a writer who can make me close my eyes and smell the autumn leaves and fog of the day he is describing, and his acute observations about the tiny degrees of sadness and desperation of life can move me enormously. I thought long and hard about this choice as I love John Irving and something as simple as the humour of Bill Bryson would get me through some dark hours on the island, but George it is I'm afraid, as I like to feel moved by the characters that I am reading about, and to feel almost as if I want to reach out and give them a cuddle.

My luxury item is unquestionable - I did think about a lot of black eyeliner at one point, as one needs to look the part when the lifeboat comes, but I'm afraid my luxury isn't really a luxury - I just want a kettle and some teabags and milk. It is simply unthinkable that my day would start without my husband, my cats, my house and my heels, so to add having no tea, well bollocks to that. So tea please,and in a nice china cup if you don't mind.

And so we come to the end of this little journey through my life. Thanks for coming with me. For my last track I was a little torn between my final choice and Rufus Wainwright 'Poses' but in the end, this won, as it is a song that I took to Australia ,Japan, and then to San Francisco, where the ocean was the place that kept bringing me back time and time again, to watch the waves lash against the Golden Gate.

The ocean was also the place where the love of my life asked me to be his forever. And the rest, of course, is history.

Thank you and goodnight.


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Re: Desert Island Discs - Minnie - October 30th

Postby Muskrat » 30 Oct 2011, 18:38

Nice job. Great non-obvious choice for Paul Anka, too.
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Re: Desert Island Discs - Minnie - October 30th

Postby Jeff K » 30 Oct 2011, 18:40

Damn, I got all teary-eyed just reading that.

Wonderful.
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Re: Desert Island Discs - Minnie - October 30th

Postby Moleskin » 30 Oct 2011, 18:41

That's bloody lovely!
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Re: Desert Island Discs - Minnie - October 30th

Postby C » 30 Oct 2011, 18:44

A great read - sans prog!



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Re: Desert Island Discs - Minnie - October 30th

Postby BlueMeanie » 30 Oct 2011, 18:48

What an excellent read, but then I expected nothing less. Well done Min.
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Re: Desert Island Discs - Minnie - October 30th

Postby whodathunkit » 30 Oct 2011, 18:51

Great stuff Min. And you picked my favourite Cocteaus track.From now on, I will always think of fungicidal wood decay whenever I hear it.
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Re: Desert Island Discs - Minnie - October 30th

Postby Corporate whore » 30 Oct 2011, 18:52

Soppy cow.
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Re: Desert Island Discs - Minnie - October 30th

Postby Wally Bingbang » 30 Oct 2011, 19:29

Nice stuff, Min.
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Re: Desert Island Discs - Minnie - October 30th

Postby Pigpen » 30 Oct 2011, 19:37

A great read!
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Re: Desert Island Discs - Minnie - October 30th

Postby ConnyOlivetti » 30 Oct 2011, 20:16

fab read! lovely! thanx!
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Re: Desert Island Discs - Minnie - October 30th

Postby Arthur Crud » 30 Oct 2011, 20:37

Amongst your many talents is a wonderful way with words Min. Great reading.

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Re: Desert Island Discs - Minnie - October 30th

Postby Deebank » 30 Oct 2011, 20:50

Ah Lazy Calm... Good call :)

My calling card in student halls. I would take off the Witney or Debbie Gibson or whatever shite was on the stereo and demand he/she/they pay rapt homage to the gorgeousness of Victorialand...

it is perhaps a miracle that I'm still friends with some of those thus afflicted.

I also remember Peel playing Feet Like Fins (at the wrong speed of course - Victorialand was a 12in long player cut to play at 45rpm on orders of audiophile Robin Guthrie) as we travelled into town for a night out.

For many of my Cocteaus-loving friends Victorialand was the beginning of the end - for me it was the end of the beginning.
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Re: Desert Island Discs - Minnie - October 30th

Postby Minnie the Minx » 30 Oct 2011, 21:53

whodathunkit wrote:Great stuff Min. And you picked my favourite Cocteaus track.From now on, I will always think of fungicidal wood decay whenever I hear it.


:lol:
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Re: Desert Island Discs - Minnie - October 30th

Postby Belle Lettre » 30 Oct 2011, 22:15

Beautiful,Anna love.

That listening to songs while crying over some arse bit takes me right back :lol:
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Re: Desert Island Discs - Minnie - October 30th

Postby never/ever » 30 Oct 2011, 22:18

The Dean & Britta is lovely....and douze points for the Cocteaux-pick!

Plenty of love for punk I hear- surely shum mishtake? ;)
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Re: Desert Island Discs - Minnie - October 30th

Postby Magilla » 30 Oct 2011, 22:33

Lots of fantastic details here which once again really illuminate the significant times and places for those of us who haven't been there.

Really enjoyed that, Min.
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Re: Desert Island Discs - Minnie - October 30th

Postby Jeemo » 30 Oct 2011, 22:54

Nice stuff and no Rufus double bonus points
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Re: Desert Island Discs - Minnie - October 30th

Postby 12stringbassist » 30 Oct 2011, 23:42

A great read. Ta.
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Re: Desert Island Discs - Minnie - October 30th

Postby fange » 31 Oct 2011, 01:30

A great read and loved the song choices, Minnie. Cheers.
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