15 December 2003
I think we sometimes need more shape to our lives. Like Andrew's emotional anchors, you really should hook yourself to a moment, a mood, a period in time when you were something definable. A quick straw poll of people in the office of which songs had shaped their lives produced limited results: a grunt here and there, Lisa saying something about 'some serious shit going down to Peace Frog by The Doors'. I find it a lot easier. This is only five minutes work...
Chesney Hawkes - The One and Only
I'm almost proud to admit this was the first single I bought for myself. [Only because the first single I bought, full stop, was Big Fun's Can't Shake The Feeling, for my sister's birthday. She was four years older and had requested it, so the blame is firmly at her doorstep] A defining moment, very early on in my learning curve of popular music appreciation, and a relic from a bygone age of the charts. I remember seeing it on Top of the Pops, buying it when it charted at 14, learning all the lyrics (even then I had that sort of mind), and seeing it edge up the charts to number five, before celebrating wildly as it hit number one. Kids these days miss out on all the excitement. And there's never a tune you can whistle to.
Gina G - (Ooh Aah) Just a Little Bit
Or, the moment I lost faith in Eurovision but learnt I was 'the greatest dancer'. From the moment when the lovely GG first auditioned on 'A Song for Europe', we were hooked - sixteen-year-olds attracted by a catchy hook, winning choreography and short skirts. But it was the repeated live performances on TOTP - every week for about four weeks - that really started the craze, and I memorised the whole set of dance moves for the chorus. Then again, doing the dance moves around our SCR wasn't going to do anything to dispel outsiders' 'all public schoolboys are gay' stereotypes. Criminally, Gina fell at the final hurdle, those dirty continental buggers tactically voting her down to seventh place. Despite her wearing little more than a marginally oversized belt.
Smokey Robinson - The Tracks of My Tears
OK, I was going through a melodramatic adolescent phase and far too much exposure to soul music (and too little exposure to girls), but it shames me to think I used to think this song was me. A bizarre mix of self-aggrandisement (People say I'm the life of the party 'cos I tell a joke or two) and wallowing in self-degradation. It might even have been forgivable if I had been dumped and could claim some sort of justification; but I think I was just in love with the romantic ideal of the tragic clown. I now am far less so. Let's put this sorry shame behind us and move on.
McAlmont & Butler - Yes
So you want to know me now: how I've been. You can't help someone recover after all you did. So tell me: Am I looking better? Have you forgot whatever it was that you couldn't stand about me? Yes I do feel better(yes I do); I feel alright; I feel well enough to tell you what you can do with what you've got...
Some real ambivalence on this one, mainly to do with the hearts that I think I've broken over the years (the main reason I don't know is that I lost touch with all of them through a combination of pride and cowardice. Not a Jane Austen novel, but I think it should be). Part of me wants them to be there, singing it in front of me like everything's OK (though saying similar words might be more realistic); part of me dreads the idea.
Oh, and it follows on beautifully from Creep on one of my magic mixes.
The Charlatans - Just When You're Thinking Things Over
At last - something more cheerful. Plonky pianos, buzzing guitars: this is the sound of the nineties, the sound of 12:6, the sound of the good times. This is standing in front of the crowd like a DJ god, back after a year away, singing 'I'm coming home', claiming more than 50% of the credit for someone else's impeccable musical taste. Cheers mate. I'll pay you back one day, I promise.
Smile by the Supernaturals fits into the same category - nice and bouncy, happy, shouty stuff that reminds you of warm fuzzy feelings with a bit of a cool edge.
Robbie Williams - Rock DJ
The most recent song of real relevance. Me and my latest personality: bit of a show-off from time to time, but also a bit funny, harmless and slightly different from the rest of the dross out there. Plus you can sing it at karaoke, put your heart and soul into it and pretend you're being ever-so-slightly ironic - just like the man himself.
Blimey. 24 more of those and I can have my own bestseller. You can have your ball back, Hornby. Just promise not to write another pile of crap like How To Be Good, OK?