Blog: playlist

This is how it feels. A playlist about me.

Who doesn’t like compiling a playlist, right? It’s like a mixtape, only digital. This one has a few rules. Chiefly, each song has to evoke a memory; it had to be meaningful. So you know, when you hear a song and it takes you to a place or places and you instantly want to share that memory with someone.

The other main rule is that I could only pick one song from each artist, so, let’s say I have loads of memories attached to Carter USM songs (I do), I had to pick the one that was strongest, or came first when someone said “Carter”.

Why am I sharing this? For the hell of it, to inspire you perhaps, but mainly because amongst this playlist are some real gems (some dubious additions too, but dems da feels innit)

Carter USM– Shopper’s Paradise

Probably my favourite song of Carter’s. Lyrically and musically excellent. A perfect pop song, and not even a single. Reminds me of listening to an old C90 cassette that my mate Mark made me. It accompanied a hot summer in 1992.

Suede – Animal Nitrate

I recall hearing this on the Radio One Chart Show and not having a clue what animal nitrate meant or indeed that it was a play on words for a gay sex drug. But I liked the cheese-wire guitars and his even sharper voice.

James – Out To Get You

I could have chosen so many James songs, but this, which opened the Laid album, always strikes a chord with me. It heralds the start of one of my all-time favourite records. It’s both beautiful and heartbreaking simultaneously. I used to come home from school, turn off the lights and put this CD on. Bliss.

Shaman – Boss Drum

Like James’s Laid album, this album would be played a hell of a lot after school. My friend Lee used to sing “Toss cum” instead of Boss Drum. It stuck (no pun intended) and so I cannot hear it now without singing its alternative juvenile lyrics.

The Wonder Stuff – (Full of Life) Happy Now

Another post-school album (Construction For the Modern Idiot) that had a lot of exposure back in 93, and, in fact, like Laid from the same period, became one of my all-time favourite records. The song also reminds me of Peterborough v Forest, a game in which my beloved Forest won promotion to the Premier League. Not sure why it takes me to London Road, Peterborough, but it does.

REM – Shiny Happy People

I remember it being on the radio in the B&B I was staying in with my parents in Brighton. Mum had been queueing to get tickets to Cliff Richard’s Christmas Tennis Spectacular, an annual Chrimbo shindig which you had to get tickets for in person, from the box office in Brighton. My dad, meanwhile, had taken me into London on the trains.

Tasmin Archer – Sleeping Satellite

Quite simply the first CD I ever bought. My parents had just splashed out on a hi-fi (a lot of money for our modest income) and I wanted a CD to play it on and just really liked this song. I think I got it from Woolworths.

Jason Donovan – Joseph Mega Remix

Cheesy as hell, but this was the first single cassette I owned. My mum bought it for me. Played it to death on my Walkman.

Cliff Richard – Devil Woman

More cheese I know, but Cliff wrote some impeccable pop tunes. This, however, was pop-noir, Cliff at his most foreboding. I’ve never heard a rock or indie cover of this but it’s crying out for one. It just reminds me of afternoons listening to my mum’s records.

Chairlift – Bruises

I think this may have been on advert but I instantly loved it. It’s twee as hell, but it’s a lovely little ditty. Reminds me of summer and a careless existence. #Deep

Super Furry Animals – Nythod Cacwn

Not an obvious choice, certainly not when I could literally choose pretty much all of their songs as they all seem to have memories attached to them, many of which involve my mate Kaj. And that’s certainly the case with this Welsh language slumber-pop album track. It’s from Mwng, and translates as ‘Bumblebee Nests’. It reminds me of playing Championship Manager in my room. Kaj and I don’t know Welsh, so made up our own words. See if you can spot a lyric that sounds like “My favourite player is Carl Cort”. Cort being the ex-Wimbledon, Newcastle and Wolves striker, natch.

The Beta Band – Dr Baker

Another favourite from the Champ Man sessions, Dr Baker also features another one of mine and Kaj’s made up lyrics, again involving a footballer. This time it’s ex-Southampton forward Egil Ostenstad lost in translation. “See Egil Ostenstad, you will see Egil Ost hi hi!!!”, we’d sing to much hilarity. Again, see if you can spot where we’d insert it.

British Sea Power – Carrion

Narrowing down this band to just one solitary song was incredibly hard. Like James, Carter and SFA before them, BSP evoke so many memories. Arguably, Remember Me is their best track and the song I want playing at my funeral. But I’ve chosen Carrion because I remember hearing it in my favourite record shop in Derby and thinking to myself “Who is this band and where can I buy it?”, in a proper High Fidelity moment. I found the 7” vinyl and bought a copy, limited edition too by the way. I haven’t looked back since. At this point I also had no idea how amazing they were live.

Brakes – Hi How Are You

Brakes lead singer Eamonn was once the bloke who used to wander through BSP audiences bashing a huge drum, like a noisy Bez, but he became bored of being an outsider so started his own band. This is from their debut record of quickfire, scathing hacks at the music industry. This one centres around that annoying twat you often get at gigs who wants to chat when all you want to do is watch the band. I had a T-shirt with the lyrics of this succinct song emblazoned on it.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Maps

The buzz around this band from the NME was almost deafening. More cooler than the Strokes in permafrost, Karen O and her art-punk cohorts had me hooked, and I recall hearing this when I was doing a work-out. It made me stop what I was doing and just listen to its elegiac brilliance.

Puddle of Mudd – Blurry

Moving away from NYC cool and into plod-rock territory – a genre which I usually avoid like the plague – this MTV favourite is actually a pretty good tune. It was always on MTV, but I never tired of it.

Foo Fighters – Walking After You

Another MTV staple in the early noughties was this low-slung Foos record. A major departure from their usual output, this soothing little number could be sung without hurting your throat. Rare for a Grohl-penned track.

U2 – Stay (Faraway, So Close!)

Like the above, U2 pulled out this lullaby from their oeuvre to surprise and delight everyone. I recall singing this in my parents’ bedroom for some reason. Bono’s voice has never sounded so pure.

Blur – To The End (French Version)

I have so many fond memories of Blur songs, most of which have been sung on karaoke to rapturous applause. It’s true, when I sing Blur, people applaud. It’s often my 5 minutes of fame. But this B-Side to Country House interested me. Damon sings the entire song in French…and it sounds delicious. I tried to memorise the chorus despite not able to speak an ounce of French. I even wrote the “lyrics” phonetically as I heard them.

Coldplay – Yellow

An obvious choice maybe, but I recall lay on my bed, still at my folks’, and thinking just what an album this was. The bed was in front of the window and the sun was beating down and this record provided an unlikely soundtrack to a sunny afternoon, despite its downbeat vibe. Yellow stuck out, as it still does today.

Madonna – La Isla Bonita

I’ve nothing against Madge, she’s made some corkers. It was a toss-up between this and Like a Prayer, in which I replace “let the choir sing” with “level crossing”. But this actually reminds me of being in Spain with my parents. Whether or not I actually was in Spain when this song was played is not the point, it takes me there anyway, and that’s what counts.

Kings of Leon – The Bucket

A kind of break-up song. In 2004, I fled to Scotland to sort my head out after a break-up. This was the last song I heard in the car before I got out at the airport (yes, I flew from East Midlands to Glasgow!). It was in my head the whole trip.

The Beatles – She’s Leaving Home

I could have picked all of their songs, but I always recall playing this on my iPod (remember those?) on the bus on my way to work on a miserable morning. The sadness of the girl’s parents when they find out their “baby’s gone” is heart shatteringly palpable.

Doves – The Cedar Room

What a song! A former colleague and friend of mine from Northcliffe Media would bang on about this song all the time. I can see him now wittering on about its majesty and such.

Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip – Thou Shalt Always Kill

First heard this on The Evening Session whilst driving through Riddings, Derbyshire. It’s rammed with genius rhyming couplets and one-liners backed by beats that seem to grow and grow. I still quote ‘Thou shalt not watch Hollyoaks’ to this day.

The Rapture – House of Jealous Lovers

A friend of mine introduced me to The Rapture, and how grateful I was. They’ve done some good stuff but nothing beats this scratchy, whining slice of NYC ubercool. I remember thinking ‘How have they managed to merge dance and punk to sound so good?’. Reminds me of a gig at the Rescue Rooms , Nottingham, which was so sweaty that my parking ticket got saturated. Like a twat, I tried to insert the damp ticket into the parking machine. It broke the machine as its innards tore it apart. A huge angry queue had formed behind me, and the car park manager was not amused either. I swear from that day on, a decision was made to introduce plastic buttons to replace tickets because of idiots like me!

The Cranberries – Linger

At first I had two memories attached to this song, but I now have a third thanks to a recent girlfriend for whom this song means a lot. Hope you’re well, Emma. The first memory is hearing this and thinking how refreshing it was to hear a song sang in such a strong Irish accent. Ok, so we had the Proclaimers singing in their jaunty Scotch brogue, but this achingly beautiful song, sang in Dolorus’s amazing voice, is stunning. The second memory evokes a time when I used to lift my young son out of the bath, wrap him in a towel and sing this to him as I rocked him. He’d hum it back to me. He still remembers aged 8. I’m not crying, you’re crying!

Cherry Ghost – People Help The People

Talking of my son, I also used to sing this to him as I rocked him to sleep. It was something of a sleeper hit, this. Then Broadchurch came along and it was covered by Birdy and all of a sudden, this song resurfaced. I have a video of him being rocked. He gradually closes his eyes as the song plays in the background. I cry at this song. I can’t help it, just accept it.

The Lovely Eggs – Have You Ever Heard a Digital Accordion?

There are a few quirky songs from this band which I have introduced my son to, and it’s down to that fact that he knows exactly what a sausage roll thumb is, and that the band like to use watermelons to make people smile. I digress. But I chose this because during bath time, I’d change the lyrics to “Have you ever met a girl called Amelia?” (there was a girl called Amelia at his childminder’s), and when I got to the part where the chugging guitar comes in, his head would nod maniacally in time with mine! He still remembers it. Such fun!

Mammoth Penguins – Closure

Wow. Floods of memories here. The album from which this is taken, ‘There’s No Fight We Both Can’t Win’, soundtracked both my depression and my route out of it a couple of years ago. I recall getting back home from seeing my GP, putting this on and just weeping in front of the fire. I had never cried so much in my life. When I got through the depression, I messaged the band to thank them for making such a quality record that stuck with me from a very dark place to a much lighter one.

Flaming Lips – It Overtakes me

Used on a beer ad in 2006 I believe, but this reminds me of a sun-drenched trip to see my mate Kaj in Bath, where he resided at that time. We’re both fans of the band and when I hear this I think of that weekend which included watching the World Cup, getting drunk and pretending to be Geordies whilst chatting to two girls in Bath’s famous Moles Club. We nailed it, they were totally convinced by our impeccable accents.

Erasure – Always

Perhaps not their most well-known song, but this brings back memories of the time when I was 16 and my then girlfriend’s dad used to buy me beers down the local pub every Friday night. We’d sit outside in the summer of 94, and I just remember this song being on. Why do nineties summers seem so much more sunnier than the ones now?

The Beautiful South – Old Red Eyes Is Back

Always an old favourite of mine for its story of a much-loved local drunk, we all know one, but now it’s also the song that, when I sang it on karaoke in a bar in Bulgaria, my mum thought it was the actual record playing! That’s how good my Paul Heaton is.

Simply Red – Wonderland

Talking of my mother, she’s a huge fan of Simply Red, and their Stars album was constantly on in the car. This piano-led lullaby, which I believe is the closing track on the album, is my favourite from those car journeys.

Keane – This Is The Last Time

It may not be cool to like Keane (says the man who has added Simply Red and Jason Donovan to his playlist!), but this takes me back to some really good times had at Northcliffe Media. It reminds of a lad called Rob Green who, when you look back, could have had us all done for bullying. It was in jest, of course, but we wouldn’t get away with it now!

Nirvana – Scentless Apprentice

Taken from the quite brilliant In Utero album. This album sound tracked a large part of the teenage me. Myself and my mates Chris, Browny and Lee were all influenced by Kurt Cobain in the way we grew our hair, basically floppy and greasy. Browny didn’t wash his, allegedly, for four months! We had tickets to see Nirvana and then Kurt went and shot himself. We were in Browny’s garage when his sister ran in to tell us the news. “Fuck off!”, we said, thinking it was a wind up. But alas, there it was, all over teletext!

Pulp – P.T.A.

Jarvis at his most perverse. It’s a criminally underrated B-side whose central character is a teacher who is trying it on with one of his pupils. You have to gloss over the cringe of it to appreciate its brilliance but once you do you’ll love it for its genius. I remember thinking that some of the teachers in our school could have easily been the character Jarvis is so salaciously portraying. The best line is when you think he’s going to rhyme ‘book’ with ‘fuck’, but inserts a cheeky blink-and-you-miss-it pause before singing ‘look’ instead. You’ll see.

Utah Saints – Something Good

Little did we know as teenagers that this song heavily sampled Kate Bush. I bought this on cassette single from Woolworths in Derby. I remember playing it on my Walkman on the bus on the way back from a shopping trip with two mates: Wiggy and Kris Thompson. Wiggy hated this song, the heathen!

Ash – Orpheus

I had a small Star Wars figurine of Boba Fett, still have it now in fact. I made a brief video to this song featuring Boba Fett doing nothing else but standing still as I panned around him. For some reason, and I don’t think it was done intentionally, the video came out with a red hue on it, making it look sort of Martian. Not sure what I used to film it with either, as this was years before mobile phones with cameras arrived. Anyway, the whole thing was sound tracked by this goliath of a song from Northern Ireland’s finest.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – The Skin of my Yellow Country Teeth

Instantly likeable intro, but what followed surprised me. It sounds like one of the Knights Who Say Ni singing! I wondered if this was a parody of some kind but as the song continued, I realised I really liked it. Such an odd voice though. I just remember it stopping me in my tracks. Good songs do that.

The Spinto Band – Oh Mandy

Takes me back to a summer evening sat on my folks’ back garden drinking beer. I can smell the freshly mowed grass of the field next to the house. A gloriously simple song.

Supergrass – Alright

Obvious choice I know, but this takes me back to when I spent the best part of 7 hours bailing hay in a field. My mate’s sister owned the field, and me and him worked so hard to get the field looking tidy. It were roasting, too. Again, summers were hotter in the nineties, I swear. I was so hot and knackered. Our reward? A four pack of Castlemaine XXXX. I drank all four that night just to quench my thirst and felt so pissed, even though gnat’s piss is stronger.

Low – Just Like Christmas

From their Christmas EP, it’s kind of a Christmas song, kind of isn’t. But for me, it’s not Christmas until I have heard this song. More sleighbells!

Oasis – Half The World Away

Another tough one, choosing a Gallagher brothers song. But I have to go with this. I remember when me and my mate Lee Turner first performed it, totally unrehearsed, off the cuff, at a house party. He grabbed his guitar, I sang. The fact we were both pissed but got it so right was both a miracle and a piece of brilliance. It was performed in his kitchen, and everyone had swarmed in from other rooms to hear us. The rapturous applause at the end brought a tear to my eye. Sadly, because this was performed in the era prior to smart phones, there is no footage.

Teenage Fanclub – Neil Jung

I was doing a job I hated. But there was a record store nearby, so I went and bought this on CD single. It reminds me of that job but because it’s such a good song, I didn’t care about my shitty job no more. Jangle-pop at its finest.

The Divine Comedy – The Frog Princess

Another work song. During my time at Bradfield Storage Handling in my home town of Codnor, Derbyshire, I was doing a job which involved a lot of manual handballing work. This song came on the radio in the van just as we were clearing out the back of the Thornton’s chocolate factory in Belper. There were crates of chocolates all over the place. The foreman came out and said “Take as many of these as you want lads, they’re seconds, can’t be sold. Taste ok, but they’re imperfect”. We took the whole lot, about 300 boxes! Shame to waste them.

Black Kids – I’m Not Going To Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You

I recall picking my bezzie Kaj up as we embarked on a trip to Wembley to see his beloved Grimsby Town take on MK Dons in the 2008 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Final, and this song came on the radio as we started our journey. There would have been countless songs heard that day as I drove to and from London, but this one takes me right back on the road to Wembley.

Scissor Sisters  – Take Your Mama

It’s as camp as Christmas, but Kaj and I belted this out – inclusive of some ridiculously high-pitched falsettos – in the car as we were just entering Huddersfield. As we stopped at traffic lights the occupants of the car next to us were pissing themselves laughing at us. We did not care.

New Kids on The Block – Tonight

This sounds so incongruous here, but it’s here for a reason. Kaj and I used to patrol the playground singing this, in a comedic, mocking fashion, even though we both secretly loved it! It has a kind of circus/carnival feel to it, like it should be in The Greatest Showman.

Was (Not Was) – Shake Your Head (Let’s Go To Bed)

Another one from the Phil and Kaj setlist. We’d walk from lesson to lesson singing bits of this song. We did manage to impress a few girls with our comedy takes of songs.

Urban Hype – A Trip to Trumpton

On a trip to Minehead Butlins with two other families (friends of my parents), this and the following track were on a cassette which I think was called Maximum Rave. Whilst our parents were no doubt in the bar getting hammered, we, and that was five of us, would be in the chalet listening to this shite!

Smart E’s – Seseme’s Treet

Titular casual drug reference there! As above, this was blasted out in the chalet at Minehead Butlins. It was shit, but we had nabbed some wine and thought we were cool. Clue: we were not.

Energy 52 – Cafe Del Mar

My mate Chris and I tried to get into the dance vibe on our holidays to Ibiza and Kavos. Although this is a classic, we just weren’t made for that scene. We were overweight indie kids so we just drank booze and pissed around.

Red Light District – Do You Hear Me?

I had a trance CD with some absolute bangers on it. But this one stuck out. The version here isn’t the one on the CD, but it still takes me back to Chris and I trying desperately to fit into the dance scene like Kevin and fucking Perry!

Libertines – What a Waster

I’d just done a workout on my ab-roller (remember those?) and I was listening to the late, great John Peel. He played this racket not once, but twice, with all the swearing kept in (including “two-bob cunt, which is an amazing insult!) because Peel was badass, as cool as fuck, and did not care one iota. Ramshackle as hell, but somehow gloriously unconstructed.

Right Said Fred – Deeply Dippy

Embarrassingly, my mate Chris and I joined his mum, her friend and the disabled boy she cared for on a trip to Chapel St Leonards on the Lincolnshire coast. Chris’s mum was a big fan of crooners and he wanted to listen to something less cringe but she hadn’t got a CD player in the car. We hadn’t got any cassettes so we stopped at the services to see what there was. This album was in the bargain bucket. I think the cassette cost 99p but do you know what? We played it so much! We even went out into the car to listen to it while the others were in the caravan! We knew were weren’t cool.

Karel Fialka – Hey Mathew

Who exactly! I had to Google who sang this as I could only remember the song title. It’s such a bizarre song. I must have only been about 8, but I was obsessed with this song and its video. It didn’t sound like anything I’d heard before. It was confusing – spooky almost – but also strangely compelling. It’s like fairground ska!

Take That – Back for Good

My first ever girlfriend had ditched me after three years together. Heartbroken, I made her a mixtape (an actual physical mix. Imagine that!). This was on it and basically said everything I wanted to say. I don’t recall what other tracks were on the tape but I know I posted it through her letterbox. I received no response. I’m over it now.

Underworld – Born Slippy

Two memories for this. 1) It blew me away when I first heard it on Trainspotting and so I went to Jam Records in Heanor and bought the CD single. Jam Records should have been the greatest music shop in Derbyshire but no one believed in it apart from me and a select few. I digress. Memory number two is from when they used to play this as the players came out at the City Ground, home to my beloved Nottingham Forest. It used to give me goosebumps!

Radiohead – Lucky

I could have chosen so many Radiohead songs and very nearly went for their version of Carly Simon’s Nobody Does It Better, which is awesome by the way, but they played this song at T In The Park and at the point when Thom launches into the chorus a gust of wind hit the crowd. It was like a Wayne’s World moment; like Thom had commanded God to deliver the gust at that precise moment. Wondrous stuff.

Travis – Side

Reminds of looking out of the window of a train, travelling to Bedford to see a girl I wasn’t sure I wanted to see anymore. Bit of a sad memory this. I think it might have been my last journey to Bedford actually.

Foals – My Number

This track led me to email Nick Grimshaw’s Radio One Breakfast show. Grimmy had just played it and mumbled something about a play on words on the band’s name but wasn’t sure what he was talking about, so he put it to his listeners for ideas. It was a throwaway idea really, but I wrote in. My idea was a quiz entitled True or Foals. The format would be ‘Are the words I’m about to read out lyrics from Foals songs, or facts?’. Hence, true or Foals. Geddit? One of his researchers rang me about this and, no word of a lie, when I told her my age, her tone of voice changed instantly and she said “Ok thanks for your time, we’ll be in touch if we use it”. Seemingly, I was too old. They couldn’t have a 34-year-old on the show!

Electric Six – Danger, High Voltage!

A debate rumbled on between myself and my mates Bunner and Kaj as to whether the guest vocalist on this track was Jack White or not. Bunner was steadfast in his belief it wasn’t, Kaj, probably just to wind Bunner up, which he revelled in, was adamant that it was Jack White. I remember leaving Kaj’s house in Derby talking about this and continuing the argument until we got into town for a pint.

Los Campesinos! – You! Me! Dancing!

One of my favourite songs back in 2007, I remember being so excited that I had to tell my friend Bec, who I knew would love it. So, I illegally downloaded the EP from Pirate Bay, most likely, and took the CD into work. We became fans of the band from that day onwards.

The Cribs – Mirror Kisses

I’d just got into this band and was playing their debut record whilst getting ready for a Halloween Party. That’s all really.

Snow Patrol – Spitting Games

Before they made it big and wrote huge weepy anthems, there was this belting indie tune. I’d got it on 7” vinyl, and was playing it before I drove over to my mate Chris’s house. I got lost on the way, took a wrong turn down a dodgy street and a youth carrying a breeze block threatened to launch it through my windscreen!

Kate Nash – Foundations

This takes me back to my short stint working at the Notts Post. I’d got the tram into the city and I remember reading about Kate in the NME and then listening to it on my iPod. Contains, as you know, one of the best rhyming couplet put-downs of all time. Two words: bitter and fitter.

Kristin Hersh – Teeth

On a 1994 issue of the NME, there was a five-track cassette containing this track. It was a demo version so was even more sparse than this version. I remember being obsessed with this song and played it to death. Her voice is incredible and her lyrics enchanting. I’d not heard this song since 1994 until I compiled this playlist.

Jesus Lizard – Boilermaker

This thrashy chunk of punk also featured on the cassette described above. Again, I haven’t heard this since 94.

The Just Joans – If You Don’t Pull

The Just Joans are one of Indietracks’ staple bands (Indietracks is a small festival in Derbyshire). The rule of Indietracks is that the same band can’t play two years running, but these guys turn up regardless and will often be found doing an impromptu acoustic set in the merch tent. On the recording, it somehow loses some of its appeal. Sung live, the crowd get involved and it becomes an anthem. They sing in such thick Scottish brogues, too. When I think of Indietracks, I invariably think of this song.

Jake Bugg – Two Fingers

Written about his early life in Clifton, Notts, this, and the album it’s from, became the soundtrack to many a visits to police stations when I’d go and train officers on Twitter working for Derbyshire Constabulary. I remember singing this loud and proud going over Swarkestone Bridge in south Derbyshire especially.

Sleaford Mods – Tiswas

It was East Midlands Derby day, Derby versus my beloved Forest at Pride Park. I’d gone into Derby to do some clothes shopping. To distract me from the lunchtime kick off, I thought “I’ll put Sleaford Mods on, a Notts band, might bring me luck”. As I pulled up at the Intu shopping centre, I was aware the game would soon be over. So I did something I seldom do – switched on the radio commentary. And as I sat there listening to the last few minutes, Ben Osborn scored for Forest in stoppage time. I must have looked like a mad man to any observers as I shouted and rocked the car. I was celebrating a Forest win, in Derby, having listened to a Notts band. Amazing scenes.

My Morning Jacket – One Big Holiday

This blew me away. I can’t recall how I’d come to have this song but I remember being in my room and this coming on the stereo. Jim James’s velveteen voice along with the chugging Americana had me playing air guitar and totally rocking out in my room at my folks’ house.

Arctic Monkeys – Four Out Of Five

I remember first playing this on the way to Nottingham to take my son, Joseph, to adventure golf. I thought it was shit! But whilst having a pint after the golf, I chatted with my mate Chris about how ‘lounge’ it sounded and his advice was to give it repeated listens and it would become my favourite AM album. It hasn’t quite reached that accolade, but on the way home I did play it again, and things began to slot into place. It took a few listens beyond this golf trip, but when I hear the song I’m transported back to that sunny day in 2018.

Cathy Dennis – Too Many Walls

Cathy may not be cool, but this lovely little ditty reminds me of a trip with my Dad and his mate Thurman to Newcastle and beyond in Thurman’s bright orange Triumph. They were both rail enthusiasts. Having gone all that way, it conked out just a few hundred yards from home!

The Maccabees – Latchmere

A song about a leisure centre focusing specifically on its wave machine. This was the first track I heard from this band and it reminds me of a very sweaty gig in a Nottingham venue that no longer exists. I remember Orlando Weeks’s vacant stares and jerky on-stage movements combined with the tautness of their music. I followed them closely until their demise.

Soundgarden – Black Hole Sun

Oddly enough, this reminds me of my cousin’s wedding. I remember watching the bizarre video on MTV dressed in my wedding suit. It’s the one in which people’s faces melt and weird shit happens. Cool vid.

Saint Etienne – Hobart Paving

I first heard this as the B-side to Who Do You Think You Are? and was instantly captivated by it. It’s a sad song about departure, longing and love. Just who or what is/was Hobart Paving? A guy? A Tasmanian paving company? It’s a glorious song but I had so many questions back then.

Madder Rose – Ultra Anxiety (Teenage Style)

I’d never heard of this band until they appeared on Channel 4’s Glastonbury coverage in 1994. Mark Radcliffe and Katy Puckrik introduced them and this song went straight into my head and stayed there for weeks. So good hearing it again now after all these years.

Embrace – Free Ride

A B-side, this plaintive track takes me back to laying on my bed and belting out the words. It’s so simple yet so affirming. Love it!

Jimmy Eat World – The Middle

Quite simply, this will always remind me of Guitar Hero. Played it to death.

Venice Sunlight – Flagpole Sitta

Slightly cheating with this, but the original by Harvey Danger isn’t on Spotify. These guys do a good job of it though. It’s the theme tune to one of my favourite shows, Peep Show. It’s also a mint song. Fans of American Pie will also recognise it.

Anna Calvi – Suzanne and I

I can’t remember exactly how I heard of Calvi but I knew enough to go and review her at Nottingham’s Rescue Rooms and wow, what a woman, absolutely mesmerising in how she looks, how she sounds and how she dominates her guitar. It was an outstanding performance and sadly, it’s one of my lost reviews. I have no record of it. Take it from me though that it was stunning.

The Black Keys – Have Love Will Travel

This sounded immense when I first heard it. Another one of those songs that simply stops you in your tracks and demands attention. It got mine. I didn’t realise back then it’s actually an old blues cover (Richard Berry, 1959 fact fans). The Black Keys’ version is just so incredibly raw.

CeeLo Green – Fuck You

This just brings me absolute joy. On first hearing this I recall just laughing wildly: how has this guy made a profane middle finger track sound like so much fine, I wondered. This was sang very loudly in my car in numerous occasions. The Forget You radio edit is sacrilegious though. Fuck you, FM radio!

The whole shebang! The playlist in it’s entirety for your enjoyment.