Here's the first post. Hopefully I'll maintain some form of momentum.
1. Playlist: Choose songs that mean something to you and tell us why.
Paul Simon, Boy in the Bubble (1986)
Paul Simon’s Graceland provided the soundtrack to one of those endless summers we all had as kids, the summer I got my first surfboard, and cruised the beaches of Mahia in my fluoro board shorts. Fun fact: Paul Simon would later marry Edie Brickell, who was a serious contender for this list in her own right, for similar reasons.
Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Organic Anti Beat Box Band
What is it about teenagers and movies? In my case it was Thrashin, a story of a country boy who moves to the city, wins the girl and the big skateboarding contest. It was a story of hope, dreams and beating the odds to achieve them. It was also a story that had a very young Red Hot Chilli Peppers playing live at a skate club. I dutifully mail ordered their latest tape – 1987’s Uplift Mofo Party Plan – from the back pages of a Thrasher magazine. It was a gateway drug, first into skatepunk, then to the broader alternative music genre.
Blur She’s So High
Later in my high school years, my art teacher/creative mentor/barometer of cool went to the UK for the summer holidays and came back buzzing over a new band he’d heard called Blur. He made me a mix tape (!) that featured their first single which had just hit the market – around 1990 I think. I traded this for the aforementioned Red Hot Chili Peppers tape. And that, kids, is how I got into indie.
The Stone Roses, Fools Gold
A couple of years ago I rode a mountain bike 4 hours up a gold mining trail up a very large hill in the South Island. Fittingly, this was my earworm.
The Smiths, How soon is now?
I was a latecomer to the Smiths, who were pretty much a rite of passage for anyone with an older brother or sister when I was growing up. But from the moment I first heard the searing soaring guitar intro I was in catch-up mode. It’s the song that reminds me what technology has done for (or to) music: my kids can sit at a computer and discover entire movements in music with a few mouse clicks – something that once took dozens of swapped mix tapes, glimpsed moments of student radio on visits to cities with students, and months of trawling NME.
Fly My Pretties, Nato’s Theme (2005)
2005 was a pretty big year, peaking on 17 September when Helen Clark, for whom I then worked, was re-elected Prime Minister. It was a closer result than many had predicted, with a strong showing from Don Brash on the back of his polarising Orewa Speech. Two nights earlier I was sitting in Wellington’s Paramount Theatre – one of my favourite places in the world – when Fly My Pretties mastermind Barnaby Weir instructed anyone brave enough to admit they were voting for Brash to leave the premises. It was a rare moment when work and life melted together.