I’ve always wondered why D.I.D. play lists are always a bit musically dull, well apart from those that are wonderfully predictable done by PR agents or spin doctors: “no you gotta have some reggae in there, remember the black vote”. So lo it was done and oh my! From the perspective of someone who has worked in music retail and spent a huge part of my life talking to fellow musos, I looked at my list and could only think: it. is. fucking. dull.
Not only is it dull, it is very white boy rock and roll, where the fuck is the reggae? The funk? The Soul? The Jazz? My last shop was called “Whats Going On”, not as to be indicative of some drug induced fog I inhabited in perpetuity, but as a mark of respect for that wonderful musician Marvin Gaye, and the great album of that name. Didn’t make the cut. Disc number 9 would probably have been Dr Alimantado – Born For A Purpose/Reason For Living, immaterial really, didn’t make the cut.
You have to do it to understand, because when you start thinking what 8 discs would I want to be stuck with for the rest of my life, you start to make some strange choices, so I do not think these are the greatest records ever made, that is a list that is in a constant state of flux, and changes the more you hear new things.
So why did I choose them, apart from the musical reasons I have already given? Well the Van Morrison and the Bob Dylan was because they held memories of different relationships, good and bad, names have been withheld to protect the guilty. The Creedence and the Hendrix are purely nostalgia for when I first found the astonishing power and emotional engagement I found when communing with great music. The Waits because I hate war and oppression and violence more than anything else, and it lays bare the paradoxical bullshit of liberating a nation by invading them, that people still swallow and believe. The Clash, well they’re the Clash for fucks sake, naïve, hypocritical, posturing, but I love them like some one loves their brother who is a total fuck up, flawed but strangely magnificent and always championing the underdog, the oppressed and the bullied, like many, of my favorite human beings, so the Clash are there as a metaphor for all I love about both people and rock and roll. The Mcmurtry is for cart man, who lives far far away, but is to me the apotheosis of friendship. The Jon Dee Graham, well I couldn’t imagine life with out being able to hear it, I have no idea why it affects me the way it does, but it makes me go all warm and weird when I hear it, it makes my soul swoon with joy and bliss.
I used to always say the greatest commodity ever invented was salvation, people will do anything for it, and by the time it is delivered it is too late to take it back because it doesn’t fit. Well the further explanation above serves to explain why nostalgia seems to run it a close second these days. We buy back the past that we have paid for once already, reliving what we think made us happy previously, live in warehouses we work hard to keep so we have some where to keep our nostalgia, shelves full of the past, dvd box sets, cd box sets, home videos, book collections, collections of stuff we just look at. We sit and watch TV from the past, Oh great Minders on! We just make it easy for the people that make and sell us these commodities that make us feel complete, why give us something new and challenging if they put some old rubbish that has already been paid for, out in a shiny new box set, write remastered, or redux on it, and of we go to buy it again. Some times I think we are so busy re-living the past we forget to do new stuff. The public get what the public wants: I don’t know how many roads must a man walk down, but I do know the number of times a man will buy The Beatles White album in his lifetime is proving to be infinite.
Fuck it here’s the Doctor, what he says suddenly seems important: