Music that means something to me, day 7 – Don’t Look Back Into The Sun by The Libertines

The Libertines’ first album was released as me and my mates were starting sixth form, their second just after we’d finished our A-Levels, and so they basically soundtracked our formative years.  Mixed Bag every Thursday and Le Bateau every Saturday, without fail (we’d moved on from the Walkabout by this point.) We’d spend all our time in the common room discussing the previous weekend’s nights out and planning the next.  Nothing much ever changed from one week to the next, but we didn’t want it to because we were having a ball and The Libertines existed and nothing else mattered.  We devoured the NME for every last scrap of gossip about them and were swept along in the romance of it all (as romantic as a heroine addict robbing his best mate and being sent to prison can be, but it seemed so to us at the time.) They played the Zanzibar when Pete got out and I remember being there with all of my friends and feeling like I was going to burst with happiness because of this brilliant band and I just knew that Pete and Carl were going to be friends forever.

Obviously, the bubble burst soon afterwards.  The Libs split up.  Pete and Carl had fallen out.  Fast forward to Leeds Festival 2010 and they were back together.  However Pete freely admitted it was just for the money, and my word did it show.  I remember watching them just going through the motions, not caring about anything, least of all the music and I was so very disappointed.

But then Glastonbury 2015 comes around.  Grohl’s broken his leg, Florence has taken the Foos’ place – and we wake up on the Friday to rumours that The Libs were taking her slot.  I can’t quite describe the joy we felt when the banner displaying their name was unveiled.  We were seventeen again. The only thing that mattered was passing our A-Levels and having enough money for Pub Thursday and our taxi money home from Le Bateau.  No debts, no job, no worries.  Pete and Carl cared again, they loved each other again, they loved music again. And I looked at our Paul going mad for them too – sixteen years old, too young to remember when they were around the first time – but they will mean the same things to him and that’s a beautiful thing. 

I’ve barely listened to their new stuff; I don’t really want to.  Those two near-perfect albums are enough for me.  This song’s probably my favourite.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reminiscing about music that means something to me, despite the fact that I’ve managed to do it wrong by dragging it out for weeks rather than doing it on seven consecutive days. (I’d like to say that I’ve been too busy to keep on track with it, but if I’m being perfectly honest I’ve only been busy having naps and watching telly.)  I could probably carry it on forever to be honest.  Here are a few notable omissions from my list that could have been included:

LCD Soundsystem – Someone Great
This song reminds me of living in a flat in town and thinking I was having a ball but I wasn’t, far from it.  I was unemployed, slightly unhinged and my bedroom had no windows, for God’s sake.  I would have included this properly but the accompanying spiel would probably have been extremely depressing – I thought I’d spare you.  See also: All My Friends, notable for a smidgen of it being included in the latter stages of Hot Chip’s utterly glorious Glastonbury 2015 set.  I cried, obviously.

The Spice Girls – Say You’ll Be There.  Girl power and all that.  We’ll ignore the absolute travesty that was Viva Forever: The Musical.  Still not over it.

The Lion King soundtrack – Hakuna Matata
It means no worries, after all.  (I once did this on karaoke.  Video footage may still exist.)

Elbow – One Day Like This
I saw this live at Glastonbury on one of the best days of my life to date.  It reminds me of love, loss and someone who changed me for the better, even though it didn’t feel like it at the time.

Joni Mitchell – Little Green
An ex-boyfriend introduced me to this album; my incessant playing of it thereafter probably contributed to the demise of our relationship.  “You’re sad and you’re sorry, but you’re not ashamed.”  Beautiful.

I’ll wrap this up here with another Libs lyric, otherwise I’ll be chatting on all night: if you’ve lost your faith in love and music, oh the end won’t be long.


Music that means something to me, day 6 – Riverdance


For one, because it’s so hilariously dated.  The presenters introducing it in unison!  The hair!  Michael Flatley in general!  Amazing scenes.

But also, I can remember the exact moment that my dad saw it for the first time.  Yes, my dad – not me.  The whole family were away for a weekend and Tam was watching Eurovision in the hotel bar (ūüėā) and when we all met him in the lobby later on he could barely speak, he was that overwhelmed by it.  Being an Irish dancer at the time, it wasn’t long before we all saw it with our own eyes and a obsession that lives on to this day began.

I need to set the scene a little here.  Irish dancing was absolutely not cool at the time.  (Some people may say that this is still the case, but these people would be wrong, especially when comparing it with pre-Riverdance days.  Also, you end up with calves of steel.)  I was an absolutely rubbish Irish dancer – really appalling.  I was good at the heavy shoe dances but only if I remained rooted to the spot, and my attempts at the light shoe dances were frankly comical, but I adored it, adored my friends there and adored it all the more when Riverdance and Lord of the Dance came on the scene.  We went to see the latter at the Empire on its first tour – still, to this day, one of the best things I have ever seen; I was transfixed.  Our Maria had my nan demented making exact replicas of the gypsy’s costume (God bless my nan, what a babe.)  And even now, Reel Around the Sun off the Riverdance soundtrack is one of my yarden dances of choice. (Sorry neighbours.)

I only actually saw Riverdance for the first time (onstage rather than onscreen) a couple of years ago.  I cried within about twenty seconds of it starting; the entire soundtrack is so beautiful and powerful.  But this…this is the original, and the best, and sends shivers down my spine whenever I listen to it.  I love it with my all heart.

Music that means something to me, day 5 – September by Earth, Wind and Fire

Day 5 of 7 (we’ll ignore the fact that it’s three days since my last post) and it’s a song that never fails to put a smile on my face. 

For a person who is not very shy at all – give me someone to talk to and I will chew their ear off for hours – I am absolutely terrified about getting up in front of people and doing presentations or performing in any way shape or form.  This became so bad that I dropped out of university – twice – because I steadfastly refused to participate in any modules that involved doing presentations (that’d be all of them) and also didn’t turn up to a teaching placement once because I was too scared of the seven year olds that I’d be working with.  Daft, I know.  But a GENUINE FEAR. 

I avoided the issue for years until one day my sister Helen, who was at Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts at the time, showed me an advert for a choir group that was beginning in the Black-E in town.  Now, I love singing (as my poor family and neighbours will attest) and had talked about joining or even starting a choir for years, but then did nothing about it because of the  aforementioned crippling fear.  But I really wanted to have a go at this one, so our H said she’d come with me for some moral support.

Oh god, the fear I felt before that first class.  What if I was asked to leave FOR BEING TERRIBLE?  What if I cried in front of everyone due to abject terror? (This has happened in the past.)

Of course, none of these things happened.  I absolutely loved every second.  Our H only went with me to the first couple, admitting that she’d had no intention of sticking around once she knew I was going to be okay. (Awww.)

The choir only ran for about twelve weeks and culminated in a little concert in front of everyone’s family and friends, something I’m sure that my mum had thought she’d done her fair share of attending; obviously I had other ideas.  September was one of the songs we performed.  I sang my little heart out with a massive smile on my face and, although in the grand scheme of things that little fifteen minute concert didn’t mean much at all, to me, at that moment, it meant so, so much.

Music that means something to me, day 4 – Rebel Rebel by David Bowie

He was going to feature in this list anyway.  How could he not?

When I first heard the news that David Bowie had passed away, I hoped – prayed! – that it was a hoax; a cruel, awful hoax.  Then I realised that it wasn’t, and that one of my ultimate heroes was gone.

At first, I was surprised and slightly embarrassed by my reaction – I cried all morning getting ready for work, I shed a few tears on the bus into town, I even (much to the bemusement of my colleagues) welled up in the office.  After all, I didn’t actually know him.  But then I realised that we all did, in a way; he’s always been there.  He’s soundtracked some of the best days and nights of my life.  He reminds me of being in love.  His music has lifted me when at my lowest ebb.  You just don’t expect someone as iconic as him to ever leave.

I’m devastated that I’ll never get to see him play live, but his glorious music will live on forever; a clich√©, yes, but a welcome consolation on a terrible day like today. If nothing else, it’s a reminder that life is short and we should fill the rest of our days on this planet with love and laughter and lots and lots of music.

On that note, Rebel Rebel is the song that made me fall in love with him all those years ago.  Let’s go out and dance to it on Saturday night.  Rest in peace, you beautiful man.

Music that means something to me, day 3 – Set You Free by N Trance

I’ve just got back from a cottage in the middle of nowhere for one of my best friend’s 30ths so it’s only right that my next choice is the song that reminds me of all of my close mates collectively.  From the early days in the Walkabout, to a million brilliant nights in Le Bateau, via house parties and now weddings, Set You Free is the song that’s guaranteed to get us all on the dancefloor dancing like divvies and screaming the words at each other, getting a bit emotional at the same time.  We’re getting on a bit now – gone are the days of THURSDAY: Mixed Bag, FRIDAY: Bumper and SATURDAY: Le Bateau, every week without fail – but no matter where I am, whenever I hear the thunderstorm intro, I think of my beautiful girls and all of the amazing times we’ve shared together.  Here’s to many, many more.

Music that means something to me, day 2 – Wake Up by Arcade Fire

I’ve managed to mess this up already by posting my first song just after midnight today, instead of last night like I was meant to, so it’s turned into “seven songs in six days, because I can’t count or tell the time.”  What a divvy.

I could’ve gone for any one of loads of Arcade Fire songs.  Neighbourhood #2 (Laika) makes me think of our Maria.  Rebellion (Lies) reminds me of an ex (one of the sound ones.)  Reflektor brings to mind its glorious release day, and the realisation that it only bloody featured David friggin’ Bowie.  However,  I’ve chosen Wake Up because it reminds me of epic closing stages to many a brilliant night in Le Bateau (R.I.P); seeing them at, yes, you’ve guessed it, Glasto, which will probably be mentioned in every single one of these posts, and when I went with our Maria to see them at the Carling Academy in town (now the O2) over ten years ago now.  Which makes me feel old.  We thought we were wildly extravagant because we bought tickets off touts for nearly ¬£50 each, when they’d only cost ¬£9 at face value, but it was worth every penny; it remains, to this day, one of the best gigs I have ever been to. 

It also reminds me of my dear friend Erin, one of my fave girls, and screaming the lyrics to each other at most of the aforementioned venues.  “I guess we’ll just have to adjust…” Love you, prin!

I wasn’t at Reading to see this performance, but I love this video – take care of each other indeed.

Music that means something to me, day 1 – Shiver by Coldplay

I’ve been nominated on Facebook to post a piece of music or a song that means something to me for seven consecutive days.¬† I’m also supposed to suggest someone else each day to do the same but hate doing things like that for fear of REJECTION, so if you’re reading this and fancy giving it a whirl, consider yourself nominated.

First up are Coldplay.¬† This will probably be met with much derision, but I really couldn’t care less.¬† I remember watching their Glastonbury set on the telly in 2000; I must have been 14 at the time and was blown away.¬† It was just before Parachutes was released and was the first time I’d properly taken notice of Glasto and I remember thinking to myself “this is something that I must attend one day!”¬† When Parachutes came out, I was obsessed with it and listened to it multiple times a day for months.¬† My best mates, Jenny and Jane, loved them too and Jane used to send me interviews with the band as we didnt have proper Internet that I read via the jarg email scenario that we had on the telly (did anyone else have that?!) Sidenote – I was and still am technologically inept, and thought that Jane spent hours painstakingly typing out each interview word for word for me.¬† I wasn’t aware of the copy and paste function at this stage.¬† Bless.

I finally got to see Coldplay live in the Manchester Apollo in 2001 – to this day, one of my favourite venues, with so many fond memories – after counting down the days for weeks in our homework diaries.¬† The next time I saw them was their Glastonbury warm-up gig in Mountford Hall – utterly glorious – and the time after that was their headline slot at Glastonbury.¬† I’d probably never have gone to Glasto that year if they hadn’t headlined – I was a bit shy and thought I wasn’t cool enough to go to such a place – but I’m so glad I did. I’m still not cool, and my love for the band may have faded slightly over the years but Coldplay, that first trip to Worthy Farm and this song in particular will always have a special place in my heart.