Friday, September 28, 2007


Regular readers of this blog will know that I'm a fan of lists and am mad for constructing them. Not having done so in a while (I've resisted temptation so many times to avoid being predictable and boring) and being inspired to do so by this article, here is my current top ten most fabulous albums:

10 Cindy Lauper - The Body Acoustic
9 Bent - The Everlasting Blink
8 Amy Winehouse -
7 Sarah Brightman - Dive
6 Kate Bush - Aerial
5 Saint Etienne - So Tough
4 Sandra - My Favourites
3 Madonna - Confessions On A Dancefloor
2 Liza Minnelli - Results
1 Pet Shop Boys - Behaviour

I am a fickle person, though, dear reader. If asked to compile this lis
t yesterday or tomorrow, ten different entries might appear.

Radio 1 is soon to be forty years old. That's only a few years older than me! Scarey! Of course, with that in mind, it's no surprise to learn that the station has long since ceased to be my favourite. When tuning in now, usually by chance, I quickly spin the dial again on hearing nothing but a horrible racket. Queer. That's how my Mother used to describe it when it was the only station to which I'd listen back in the 1980s.

Actually, that's not quite true. I'd sit at the old hi-fi with my finger poised over the play and record buttons on the cassette deck with the tape wound to just the right place, where clear ended and brown began. Sing Something Simple would end and the Radio 2 continuity announcer would hand over to Radio 1 in FM. And the top 40 countdown would begin!

Once a good song began, I'd start recording and pause on a beat just before I thought Bruno Brookes was going to start speaking (talking over the music really cheesed me off). If something came on that I didn't know, I'd record it anyway. If, halfway into the song, I realised I didn't like it, I'd rewind the cassette and cue it up, again, right on a beat so that seamless playback was guaranteed. Usually, pause on, pause off, just to lose Bruno. How, now, I wish I'd kept him. And all those C90 cassettes.

Once the Network Chart programme began on 2CR, I'd sometimes flip between stations, just to see which station said my favourite son
g of the day was doing best. Pet Shop Boys often did better on the BBC resulting in me berating the Kid Jensen fans at school for their poor taste.

I wonder if anyone listens to any singles rundown programmes anymore. For me and other people of my age, such shows were the only place we could hear our favourite music in good quality sound. These days (There I go again, sounding like an old fart) the youngsters can find their favourite music at the drop of a hat on interactive television, You Tube, the internet in general, virtual jukeboxes and a myriad of different radio stations.

And I suppose, my glee in hearing the UK's forty top selling singles in crystal clear FM is comparable, now, with, well, nothing, only perhaps the omnipresence of music to any listener's ear where ten years ago we had to go into a shop, hand over money and take a CD home with us.

In the 1980s, I'd have to wait all week to hear the music I loved. In the 1990s, I had to wait as long as it took me to go into town and then back home again on the bus or on my motorbike. Now, gratification is instant. If I want something, I can click and have it.

No wonder, then, that we've all run out of patience and the world is an uglier, grumpier and less desirable place to live in.

How strange that a trip down memory lane over the way I listened to the radio could produce something vaguely philosophical.


Brian said...

Only one Madonna album? Are you feeling OK, Mingey?

Anonymous said...

A big Mwah-Mwah from Mitzi

Enda P said...

God, I remember crouching over the tape recorder doing exactly the same thing. I have zillions of those C90s filled up somewhere. Ah, simpler times.

But now I kinda do the same thing in terms of crouching over the laptop constructing mixes and compilations and playlists.

Same thing, different technology.

Old Cheeser said...

Great and evocative post Minge. I can relate to a lot of what you say. Just like you I used to record my fave toons off the Top 40. Mine were usually interrupted by the horribly smarmy tones of Tony Blackburn - "What a sensational sound that is!" Yeeeuch! Bruno Brookes didn't really do it for me either. But yes, those were the days...And Annie Nightingale's request show afterwards too...I loved her! (Imagine my dismay years later when I saw her in a Brighton restaurant constantly sniffing due to her coke habit).

You're absolutely right about the instant gratification thing - I think that has had a knock-on affect on people's attitudes and tolerance theshholds in general.

And as for your Top 10 list - some great choices, of which I wholeheartedly approve! Don't think that I'd rate "Aerial" as KB's best though....though I'd be interested to hear that Cindy Lauper album...

And how odd, as I've been drafting my own Top 10 fave albums post for some's taken me bloody ages...