I had ‘Send in the Clowns’ for a few minutes. No idea why, but it brought a brief gust of Friday ennui.
Then came one of those lovely moments of connection between people and eras that music can conjure in a flash. Walking down the corridor I passed our Press Office where I heard a very old favourite song being played, presumably via YouTube. Dan, Press Officer, was clearly struggling to convince his colleagues that this was a song they certainly must be familiar with. They were laughing at him and he was having difficulty defending his position. I took this in as I walked by, but after going past it struck me that I really ought to step in and help out. I took a couple of backwards strides, popped my head around the door and asked “‘Camouflage’? by Stan Ridgway?” I think I made Dan’s day, to the hysterical dismay of the others. We were able to exchange quips about him being an “awfully big marine” before he revealed that the reason this has come up in the first place was that he had snuck some of the lyrics, a brief snatch of the tale of that heroic soldier, into a newly published press release. Excellent work.
Yuck – ‘Holing Out’
I read a tweet from Pete Paphides a couple of weeks ago raving about Yuck, then a less than convincing review from Pitchfork. Spotted a link on that site today which led me to this song via Soundcloud. Thought it sounded okay, and pretty much as all the references to early 90s Pavement etc had given me to expect.
I try to join the Friday Mix whenever I can, even if I can’t listen in. Every Friday at 12.30pm, the Friday Mix overlord creates a new Spotify playlist based on a theme which has been voted for by the waiting participants, who then get to add two songs of their choosing to the playlist. The tracks are sorted and ordered by whoever wants to drag them around then at 2pm the playlist is locked, everyone presses ‘Play’ at the same time, and several dozen people, dotted who knows where, all listen along to the same songs, alone but together.
It’s an interesting way to collaborate, challenge and mingle with other music listeners, and one which just wouldn’t have been possible even two years ago. Today’s theme was ‘sunshine’ and I added ‘Sunrise’ by Lambchop and ‘I Am The Sun’ by Swans. Most weeks most participants seem to want to add in happy songs, so I do take a certain childish pleasure in choosing something more bruising whenever I can. It’s often Swans, to be honest.
I thought ‘Sunrise’ would be a good opener and tried to boost it to the top, but Eric and Ernie kept being bumped even higher until the last moment when, inexplicably, Finley Quaye appeared in the number 1 spot.
As the playlist ticks through there’s a parallel discussion on twitter, using the #fridaymix hashtag. Unfortunately this is usually pretty perfunctory and polite. It’s rare to see frank opinions exchanged, even though part of the pleasure is both cooing and sniffing and other people’s choices.
You can see today’s playlist above. After the Bob Marley track, my office-mate came back from a meeting, so I muted my PC. According to the Twitter feed, Swans drifted by without a mention once more.
PJ Harvey – ‘Let England Shake’
Whilst writing this, I sat upstairs and listened to the second side of ‘Let England Shake’. Not really concentrating.
Pavement – ‘Perfect Sound Forever’
Haven’t listened to this for 15 years or so. Sounded great. 10″ vinyl is still weirdly cool.
Swell – ‘Swell’
Picked off the shelf after 5 minutes of aimless gawping. I don’t know anything about them. My friend Ben and I used to like them in the days before you could find out everything about a band in 10 seconds. I remember it was their second album we really liked. One of the first I remember having that slightly broken down country sound that would come to inflect so much of the alternative music I liked from the US. It has something intruguing and seductive about the sound of it, rather than the songs of it. This is their first album. I think Ben had the second. I might go and google them now…