heard on the wire

And relax

And we did, with a a spot of retail therapy at Habitat for The Becster, followed by Belgian beer in a bar that doubles as a record shop — Carlsberg doesn’t do record shops but if they did, etc. — then dinner in Cook & Book, an old haunt that is much improved since we last ate there.

The big move was pretty much trauma free, unless you happen to be one of Sven, Tommy and Kristof, the awesome removal men. They put in a 16-hour shift on Tuesday to ensure they and our belongings left Switzerland on time, only to have to spend five ours on Wednesday waiting by the road side after their second tyre blowout of the day.

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Day 30 — a song from a year ago

And so the saga ends, and what fun it’s been. Thirty days of top tunes, bar one or two, revealing insights into my deep and complex personality and the phenomenal breadth of my impeccable music taste. Something like that, anyway.

It seems a strange place to stop, choosing a favourite from a year ago. Had I been the author of this list, I think I would have ended with the first day’s pick, my favourite song, having started with my favourite song at the moment (I See a Cloud by Misty’s Big Adventure).

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Day 29 — a song from my childhood

My earliest musical memories are watching glam rockers on Top of the Pops and listening to Ed “Stewpot” Stewart’s Junior Choice on 275–285 national Radio One.

How I marvelled at Gary Glitter in his bacofoil suits (the folly of youth, redux); how I laughed at the hilarity of Camp Granada.

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Day 28 — a song that makes me feel guilty

At some stage I will return the dozen or so records that I’ve borrowed from friends over the years. Honestly. It’s not that I never meant to give them back, just that time and distance have never made it convenient to do so.

Several of those records are Cocteau Twins EPs, 12-inch releases of Aikea-Guinea, Love’s Easy Tears and Echoes in a Shallow Bay. But perversely it’s a track from none of these that jolts my guilty feelings.

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Day 27 — a song I wish I could play

I was a late comer to The Wedding Present, despite the fact that together with The Smiths they were the indie darlings of the mid-to-late 80s.

I can’t account for the oversight. Perhaps it was David Gedge’s rough-edged voice, or maybe it was the appearance of the eponymous George Best in Manchester Utd garb on the cover of the first LP.

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Day 26 — a song that I can play on an instrument

This one. And we will have salad.

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Day 25 — a song that makes me laugh


Never has a choice been so easy and yet so difficult.

Easy, because day 25 was always going to be owned by Half Man Half Biscuit and the genius of songwriter Nigel Blackwell.

Difficult, because listening to any HMHB LP will result in several laugh-out-loud moments, knowing chuckles and admiring smiles.

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Day 24 — a song I’d like played at my funeral

If only to see the look on the faces of the mourners.

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Day 23 — a song that I wanted at my wedding

Blue Monday sleeve

The Becster and I compiled our own playlist for our wedding, largely a mixture of disco floor-fillers and cheesy pop. There was only one song I absolutely insisted upon.

The best-selling 12-inch single of all time, a sleeve that initially cost more to make than the price of the record, a groundbreaking live Top of the Pops appearance — landmarks a-plenty but none do justice to the sheer wonder of this record.

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Day 22 — a song I listen to when sad

Twenty-two days in and we still haven’t had any southern soul. It’s time to put that to rights.

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