Desert Island Discs - Siren

Conrad Knight Socks
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Desert Island Discs - Siren

Postby Conrad Knight Socks » 25 Apr 2012, 11:55

Like most people, I expect, I could have picked dozens of different songs, all meaning different things to me. I have tried to choose ones that mean a bit, but which I could listen to over and over again. No doubt my selection will seem pretty mainstream compared to some of the other entries in this excellent project, but someone has to buy the popular records.

I was born in Australia in the mid-sixties, the last of four children. I have Australian parents and grandparents, and even some Australian great-grandparents (as well as some Poles, Germans and Irish). When I was two years old, my parents emigrated to the UK, so I remember nothing about Australia from those days. However my Australian heritage is very important to me, and it was only in 2005 that I became naturalised, partly because a change in Australian law in 2002 allowed me to have two passports, and partly to protect my future position as a result of marrying an American.

I could have picked 50 Australian songs, but this one also deals with cricket, that brilliant and barmy game. I was a poor player, but love the game, particularly test cricket. Also this song was introduced to me by my uncle, a great man, now deceased. I was lucky enough to have a pie and pint with him at the Sydney Cricket Ground two months before he died.

Record 1 - I made a hundred in the backyard at Mum's, by Greg Champion.

Unfortunately I can't find this on youtube, so if anyone knows some other link, please post it up. Meanwhile here's another Aussie classic from my first return trip in 1988.



We settled in Woodford, on the north-eastern edge of Greater London, and I grew up among the great trees of Epping Forest. I would play football and cricket with the other kids of the area on the fields in front of our houses, and at other times listen to my brother's and sisters' records. None of them has the same appetite for records that I have, but I first heard a few mid-seventies classics from them.

Record 2 - Drive-in Saturday, by David Bowie.



I have never really been a "music geek", but have generally had more records than my friends, even those who are musicians. I have never taken to playing an instrument, so for me it is about listening and (particularly later on) going to gigs. Around the time I was 15 or 16 I started buying a lot of second hand records, all relatively mainstream, some contemporary, but also going back the seventies and sixties. Then in 1984, just before to university, I heard William, It Was Really Nothing on the radio, and acquired Hatful of Hollow.

Record 3 - Reel Around The Fountain, by the Smiths.



At university in Liverpool there were lots of opportunities to go to gigs, at the Students' Union, or the Royal Court, or bigger gigs at the Liverpool Empire. I found that I loved going to gigs, and was happy to go on my own. Watching Gerry Marsden doing three encores of You'll Never Walk Alone at the Empire was incredible - he was dragged from his dressing room half undressed for the third one. At some stage I persuaded my family to give me the Atlantic Rhythm and Blues box, a brilliant compilation, for Christmas, and then Prince released Sign of the Times. This sparked my interest (in my "barely scratch the varnish" way) in black American music.

Record 4 - I could never take the place of your man, by Prince.

I can't find this on youtube either, so here's another track from that brilliant album.



After university I spent nine or ten months travelling in Australia, Thailand and India, came to London to do law exams, then went to Australia and New Zealand for another nine or ten months. Back in London I qualified as a lawyer, and entered a five-year relationship which I don't regret, but look upon as a fallow period. I still bought some records, and still went to some gigs, and in 1994 bought a CD player. One of the first albums on there was Parklife.

Record 5 - This is a low, by Blur.



Then that relationship ended, I moved into my thirties, had a succession of girlfriends, and started going to lots of gigs. The Camden Pub Crawl started around this time (late nineties) and that epitomised all that is great about going to see bands you haven't heard of in dives. In 2000, on the Camden Crawl with a mate of mine, we saw Jacknife Lee play a blistering set. Suddenly a group of seven or eight of my friends, 35 years old, affluent lawyers, started going to gigs all the time. Well not quite, but it felt like it. For the next eight years we went to around 30 gigs a year, not including festivals and not including Friday night at the Monarch (£5 to get in, three bands upstairs, DJ downstairs - great stuff). We went to big gigs and small gigs, any genre (well not death metal). Most of them were worth the money; some were brilliant, and some were shite. We even started our own awards named after the catalyst Jacknife Lee. Often we picked a gig merely out of curiosity - the first time I saw Britney Spears I went as a bit of a joke, but it was a very good gig (the second time I saw her she was rubbish). I went to see Destiny's Child in 2002 at the now defunct London Arena just for the hell of it, only knowing one of their songs - Jumpin' Jumpin'. As my friend remarked as we sat among the overexcited audience before the start, we were treating it very nonchalantly, but they were one of the biggest bands in the world at the time.

They were utterly sensational - one of the best gigs I have ever seen. They opened with this:

Record 6 - Independent Women Part I, by Destiny's Child.



By now I had met Stephanie,and we had fallen in love at first sight. She lived in Washington DC, and we eventually started dating across the Atlantic. We called each other twice a day, and visited once a month. One day walking through Eastern Market, a busker was playing his sax. "I love that," I said. "I once saw Sonny Rollins play it live". "I love it too" she said.

Record 7 - Someone to watch over me, by Sonny Rollins.

I can't find this either, so here is Elton's great version.



Steph moved to London in 2004, and joined in the gig going. There were many highlights - Kraftwerk at Brixton, Primal Scream at Shepherd's Bush, Scissor Sisters at the Forum, Kylie one New Year's Eve at Wembley Arena - and some trash (Dido at Brixton). If went on holiday we tried to take in a band - ska in Riga, forties jazz in Budapest. It was the arrival of little dude in 2008 which curtailed the regular gig going, and curiously out of the group of gigging mates mentioned earlier, four others separately had children between 2007 and 2009. So once more our lives change, and may it ever be so.

Record 8 - You can't always get what you want, by the Rolling Stones.

[youtube]OagFIQMs1tw&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PLAF2BE100CB946DDA[/youtube]

Luxury - I find this a bit tricky, but perhaps a football which never gets punctured.

Book - I would choose a book I love dipping into, finding more each time - I never tire of it. Gone With The Wind, by Margaret Mitchell.
Last edited by Conrad Knight Socks on 01 May 2012, 15:45, edited 6 times in total.
I kept thinking "swim as far as you can, swim as far as you can".

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der nister
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Re: Desert Island Discs - Siren

Postby der nister » 25 Apr 2012, 14:22

very nice, and well written, thank you
It's kinda depressing for a music forum to be proud of not knowing musicians.

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Re: Desert Island Discs - Siren

Postby Moleskin » 25 Apr 2012, 14:38

Thanks for that. An interesting selection and good write-up.
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Re: Desert Island Discs - Siren

Postby Thesiger » 25 Apr 2012, 16:35

I enjoyed this one. A fine and interesting read. And the Australian (or Australnia or Australina ;) ) angle gave it extra local colour. That Blur song is possibly my favourite from their catalogue.

Can't share your enthusiasm for Destiny's Child, however.
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Conrad Knight Socks
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Re: Desert Island Discs - Siren

Postby Conrad Knight Socks » 25 Apr 2012, 16:56

Thesiger wrote:And the Australian (or Australnia or Australina


All different countries.
I kept thinking "swim as far as you can, swim as far as you can".

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Re: Desert Island Discs - Siren

Postby C » 25 Apr 2012, 21:15

Good lad- an enjoyable read.

Somewhat prog-light though...







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Re: Desert Island Discs - Siren

Postby kath » 28 Apr 2012, 16:02

**~~bump~~**

(for later consumption. i just keep losing everything.)

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Re: Desert Island Discs - Siren

Postby Beebsy » 29 Apr 2012, 00:39

I think this one is lovely, Siren. I get a real sense of you in it and the music marks points in your life rather than being the dominating factor. Lovely. Thank you.

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Re: Desert Island Discs - Siren

Postby Copehead » 29 Apr 2012, 10:59

I am jealous of all that gig going, but I am just to lazy to get out like that
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Re: Desert Island Discs - Siren

Postby Polishgirl » 29 Apr 2012, 16:28

Loved this one. Think we're of a similar vintage, as I really "got" your song choices and I love the idea of the hobbyist gig going...

Thank you. :D
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Re: Desert Island Discs - Siren

Postby kath » 01 May 2012, 03:49

a wonderful entry. i lovelovelove reading about yer gig crawlin/music scene. fantastic tracks by bowie, blur, prince, the stones. i am not much of a smiths fan~~i honestly haven't heard but a handful of tracks by em~~but i really dig the one you put up. and that gershwin song... siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh. absolutely wonderful. (i'm asking for rotten vegetobble pelting here, but the first time i ever heard that track was when sting sang it for the movie someone to watch over me. i still love his version. in my lame defense, my ma loved his version, too, and my ma grew up with all that music and those incredible early versions by all the jazz greats. yeah. um. the defense didn't work, did it? bastardry.)

cheers to yer uncle. my aunt coleen was a ... colorful local figure in my hometown. she did many, many things, including writing some groovy kiddie books. but to me, she was a very important person. one of the strongest women i've ever known. brilliant, a great story-teller, a raucous sense of humor, a booming voice. a few months before she died, i got to see her again after years, and my beezle got to meet her. we had a blast for an afternoon, sitting in her patio in the quarter, drinkin wine, swapping stories and laughter. i'm so grateful for that wonderful timing, ya know? yeah, you know.

salut.

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Re: Desert Island Discs - Siren

Postby Corporate whore » 01 May 2012, 09:38

'someone has to buy the popular records'

Quote of the week.
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Conrad Knight Socks
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Re: Desert Island Discs - Siren

Postby Conrad Knight Socks » 01 May 2012, 09:54

kath wrote: and that gershwin song... siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh. absolutely wonderful. (i'm asking for rotten vegetobble pelting here, but the first time i ever heard that track was when sting sang it for the movie someone to watch over me. i still love his version. in my lame defense, my ma loved his version, too, and my ma grew up with all that music and those incredible early versions by all the jazz greats. yeah. um. the defense didn't work, did it? bastardry.)



Thanks for your kind comments.

The Stiong version is actually a tad better than the Elton version because Sting maintains the "man some / handsome) internal rhyme (the song is supposed to be sung by a girl) whereas Elton cravenly changes it to "girl some/handsome", and George Martin cravenly let him get away with it.


cheers to yer uncle. my aunt coleen was a ... colorful local figure in my hometown. she did many, many things, including writing some groovy kiddie books. but to me, she was a very important person. one of the strongest women i've ever known. brilliant, a great story-teller, a raucous sense of humor, a booming voice. a few months before she died, i got to see her again after years, and my beezle got to meet her. we had a blast for an afternoon, sitting in her patio in the quarter, drinkin wine, swapping stories and laughter. i'm so grateful for that wonderful timing, ya know? yeah, you know.


I saw my uncle not long before he died, but I couldn't wait to tell him about my little dude being born. He died on 9 Jan, little dude - due 6 Jan - turned up on 21 Jan.
I kept thinking "swim as far as you can, swim as far as you can".

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Re: Desert Island Discs - Siren

Postby fange » 07 May 2012, 12:10

I enjoyed that a heap, both the story and the songs. Cheers Siren!
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Re: Desert Island Discs - Siren

Postby Moleskin » 22 Jun 2012, 15:57

Could this be moved to the DID archive please?
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-the unforgettable waldo jeffers-

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