The BCB Desert Island Discs of an Idiot - 4 Dec 2011

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The BCB Desert Island Discs of an Idiot - 4 Dec 2011

Postby Insouciant Western People » 04 Dec 2011, 13:52

1. Benny Goodman - Sing Sing Sing! (1938 Carnegie Hall version)



Some of my very earliest memories of music are of my dad's record collection. He was born in 1939 and as a teenager got into Lonnie Donegan, which inspired him to form a skiffle band, and also led him to trad jazz. Circa 1977 we had this massive wooden hi-fi system in the corner of the living room, with dad's lps stacked neatly next to it. As a toddler I used to like flicking through and looking at the brightly coloured covers, especially one which had a cartoon of some firemen on the front. The one lp he seemed to play more than anything else was Benny Goodman's 1938 Carnegie Hall Concert, from where my first choice is taken. Dad loves Gene Krupa, and any time I hear this song I get an indelible image in my mind of dad standing with eyes closed, fingers snapping and foot tapping to Krupa's solo, completely lost in the music. It's one of my favourite memories of early childhood.



2 & 3. Aztec Camera - Somewhere In My Heart & Prefab Sprout - Goodbye Lucille #1





When I started thinking about what records I'd choose for this, the artists that there was never any doubt about were Roddy Frame and Paddy McAloon. I'm citing them together because I heard these songs around the same time, and they both had the same effect upon me. As far back as I can remember I've loved music, and like most people my age I always watched Top of the Pops, and spent Sunday evenings crouching by my clock radio with mum's ancient cassette recorder, taping my favourite songs off the charts. But as a kid I had a lot of other interests, and music was just one of them. It wasn't until I was 14 that music became the overriding obsession that it's been pretty much ever since. And the catalyst for it was hearing these two records and the albums that they came from. These were the first bands that I properly 'got into'. This is where it started properly with me and music.



4. The Dead Kennedys - Holiday In Cambodia



Loud guitar music is such an important part of my life. In my later teenage years I listened almost exclusively to punk, metal, Sub-Pop, and industrial noise. I could have cited any one of a couple of dozen songs to represent it but I chose this because I think (unlike a lot of punk records) it still sounds as great today as it ever did. And hearing those ominous bass notes at the start still sends a thrill trhough me now that's every bit as electrifying as when I first heard it aged 15 or whatever. I got in some great dancefloor slams to this song, back circa 1991 on Friday nights at the Riverside in Newcastle. Hearing this takes me back to all those great nights, the drinking, dancing, chasing girls and finally standing shivering in the cold before catching the night bus home to Whitley Bay.



5. Steve Earle - Billy Austin



Although I love all of the songs I've picked, some of them are here because they illustrate something from my life, others because they're artists who are very important to me. Steve is both. The older I get the more and more I love country music, and Steve is where it started for me and country. I saw the video for Copperhead Road on the ITV Chart Show, probably in the summer of 1988, and the song instantly floored me. I managed to find the album in Jesmond library's music cassette section, took it home and copied it, and found that the rest of it was almost all as great as the monumental title song. I saw Steve play live in Newcastle a couple of years later when he was touring The Hard Way and it's still one of the best gigs I've ever seen. For much of the show he and The Dukes had the volume way up, but he did this song solo very much as in the clip, and I swear all the way through you could have heard a pin drop. It's one of the great murder ballads and prison songs. I love the way his songs tell stories, the same way I love Johnny Cash and Springsteen's songs do. He's a great writer, and also someone who inspires me greatly with his political activism.



6. Leonard Cohen - Take This Waltz



By nature I've always been hopelessly (and often haplessly) romantic, so I guess this one is an obvious choice. Len does Lorca, to great effect. This song is packed full of killer lines, lyrically it's a joy. Who could resist the image of a lover climbing a balcony to present his girl with a garland of freshly-cut tears? It's perfect, isn't it? I saw him at Edinburgh Castle in 2008, and his performance of this song was for me the highlight of the night.



7. Scott Walker - Farmer in the City



From lush romanticism to a piece that's very strange, yet strangely beautiful too. What a remarkable record this is. It's austere, bleak and forbidding, but the strings and Scott's delivery have an icy beauty that takes my breath away. I've never quite 'got' opera, but I have a feeling that people who love it get the same thing out of it that I get from this - if that makes sense. I wanted to put in something classical or ambient, and it was a toss-up between this, something by Eno, and Gorecki's 3rd Symphony. This won, mainly because Scott's such an important artist to me. I love music from all his years of work, but if I was pushed this would just edge it as my favourite of his.



8. ABBA - The Day Before You Came



This song brings me full circle and back to dad. Because although my dad was always suspicious of most music that came after the late 50s (he hated the Beatles and Stones, and lord knows what he made of punk) he did love ABBA. When I was around five years old, there was a time when I had trouble dropping off to sleep at night. And because he knew I liked music, my dad made me a compilation tape of pop music from the era to fall asleep to - from the Grease OST to Baccarat and Wings, and loads of ABBA. I must have played that old C90 every night for a couple of years.

And also when I was a kid Thursday nights were my time with my dad. Mum taught night classes on a Thursday, so she'd go out around 6pm, and dad and I would settle down with our supper and watch Top of the Pops and Tomorrow's World. And dad would always commentate on TOTP, mostly negatively, but if ABBA were on he'd suspend the acerbic remarks - partly due I guess to the fact that he fancied Agnetha, but hey, I can't fault that... So anyway, I have a lot of memories tied up with ABBA. But also, I just think this is a remarkable song, and The Visitors is one of my very favourite records by anyone.


PS: If I could have had another choice... it would definitely have been something Scottish and jangly. Maybe the obvious B&S, perhaps Malcolm Middleton or Frightened Rabbit. On another day I might have cited all three :D



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To be honest there's a hundred books I could have chosen, all for very good reasons. But this is one that I keep coming back to - I must have read it a dozen times at least since I first came across it around 1995. I think it is pretty much a perfect novel.



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Re: The BCB Desert Island Discs of an Idiot - 4 Dec 2011

Postby Thesiger » 04 Dec 2011, 14:06

Great stuff, Nick. The Roddy Frame and Leonard are personal favourites. And the Donna Tart is indeed a great debut which she never was able to match.
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Re: The BCB Desert Island Discs of an Idiot - 4 Dec 2011

Postby Insouciant Western People » 04 Dec 2011, 15:13

Thesiger wrote:Great stuff, Nick. The Roddy Frame and Leonard are personal favourites. And the Donna Tart is indeed a great debut which she never was able to match.


Cheers Joe. You were at the Cohen London gig weren't you?
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Re: The BCB Desert Island Discs of an Idiot - 4 Dec 2011

Postby ConnyOlivetti » 04 Dec 2011, 17:46

fab read, just love the childhood memories part of it
ah, sigh!
thanks!
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Re: The BCB Desert Island Discs of an Idiot - 4 Dec 2011

Postby BlueMeanie » 04 Dec 2011, 17:51

That's a great read Nick. The Earle and Scott songs nearly made it on to my list. I remember playing that Scott song few years ago to someone who'd just recently got into his 60's stuff. She floored me when she said that she thought it wasn't that far removed from some of his earlier work. And actually, if you listen, it's not. Of course, if you'd chosen The Cockfighter...
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Re: The BCB Desert Island Discs of an Idiot - 4 Dec 2011

Postby Molony » 04 Dec 2011, 18:03

Good write up Nick. I enjoyed the tunes I didn't know too.

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Re: The BCB Desert Island Discs of an Idiot - 4 Dec 2011

Postby sloopjohnc » 04 Dec 2011, 19:08

Great read from here too. I was half expecting some iconoclastic metal and Public Enemy but I see you are succumbing to the stereotype.
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Re: The BCB Desert Island Discs of an Idiot - 4 Dec 2011

Postby Thesiger » 04 Dec 2011, 19:45

The Idiot wrote:
Thesiger wrote:Great stuff, Nick. The Roddy Frame and Leonard are personal favourites. And the Donna Tart is indeed a great debut which she never was able to match.


Cheers Joe. You were at the Cohen London gig weren't you?


I was indeed. FIve miles back, but it was still a great night!
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Re: The BCB Desert Island Discs of an Idiot - 4 Dec 2011

Postby oliltownofkathlehem » 05 Dec 2011, 16:44

that was great. the grooviest thing of all: what a weird collection of tracks on yer island. the dead kennedys along with leonard cohen plus abba and benny goodman and steve earle?? mwhaha. i love it.

although you forgot one. you know you did. you wouldn't want me to inform his toddness that you forgot, now, would ya? he might get sooo angry, he'd invite ya to a luau or something.


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Re: The BCB Desert Island Discs of an Idiot - 4 Dec 2011

Postby Copehead » 05 Dec 2011, 17:56

Lack of fey indie a let down, other than that - top notch.
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Re: The BCB Desert Island Discs of an Idiot - 4 Dec 2011

Postby Corporate whore » 07 Dec 2011, 18:08

Great stuff - didnt know that Benny Goodman was prog until today though, and isn't that The Slider in the background of the Aztec Camera film (poster) ?

And did you actually watch that ABBA clip? Most of it is covered by some German wobbling on about Benny and Meryl Streep!
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Re: The BCB Desert Island Discs of an Idiot - 4 Dec 2011

Postby WG Kaspar » 07 Dec 2011, 19:43

That was great Nick. My dad too loves ABBA despite having no time at all for all usual pop/rock stuff. And a great track too.
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Re: The BCB Desert Island Discs of an Idiot - 4 Dec 2011

Postby the masked man » 07 Dec 2011, 20:02

That's really lovely stuff, Nick, with plenty of choices I find very pleasurable indeed. However, I found this sentence puzzling:

Loud guitar music is such an important part of my life. In my later teenage years I listened almost exclusively to punk, metal, Sub-Pop, and industrial noise.


Erm, Nick, you do know that this supposed to be a personal memoir; you're not supposed to employ Jumper K to write parts of it! Get back to your butterfly nets

Seriously, though, that's a great Scott Walker choice, one of the most sinister and mysterious records I've ever heard. It marries the sense of dread found in later, scary Scott with the rich melodic touch of classic, orchestral Scott. Someday, I hope to meet the man from Ostia...

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Re: The BCB Desert Island Discs of an Idiot - 4 Dec 2011

Postby Leg of lamb » 28 Dec 2011, 09:17

Just catching up with this and wanted to chime in and say bravo.
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Re: The BCB Desert Island Discs of an Idiot - 4 Dec 2011

Postby fange » 23 Jan 2012, 02:46

Cheers Nick, i really enjoyed reading that!
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Re: The BCB Desert Island Discs of an Idiot - 4 Dec 2011

Postby Stille Baron » 01 Feb 2012, 01:39

This was a particularly interesting one for me. We are about the same age and like a fair amount of the same stuff, but the bulk of the music is almost completely foreign to me, or at least to my life. Well done, Nick! I should've thought of a typewriter!
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Re: The BCB Desert Island Discs of an Idiot - 4 Dec 2011

Postby Fireplug » 01 Feb 2012, 11:59

Good stuff. Miles away from what I'd pick but I enjoyed nearly all of it.