January 2nd, 2006

gamiila sig #2

The accidental pop quiz

The following questions were found in my neighbour’s TV guide, which was delivered to my letterbox by mistake. I dropped it back in hers on my way out this morning, but not before picking and choosing 15 that I felt I could answer with little or no embarrassment:

01) The classic desert island question: supposing you were banished to a desert island, and only allowed to take 1 album with you, which one would it be?

This is a hard question to answer. I will have a favourite album at any given time of the year, that I will play for weeks on end; for instance, at the beginning of last year, it was Keane’s Hopes And Fears, later on it was Feeder’s Pushing The Senses, while at the moment, I’m quite enchanted by Gorillaz’s Demon Days. However, if this banishment is going to last a long, long time, I suppose I’d better pack an album that has proven itself capable of giving me lots of listening pleasure over the years, so I’ll go with David Bowie, Station To Station. Although other albums of his may have received more critical acclaim, as far as I’m concerned this one has stayed both fresh and strong since its release 30 years ago.

02) What song do you associate with your first real love?

I don’t really have any particular romantic associations with any song. I do have what I loosely call break-up songs, i.e. songs that provided the soundtrack to my most memorable break-ups. Phil Collins’s Don't Let Him Steal Your Heart Away is one such; when my then-boyfriend of six years knew of no other way to tell me he didn’t want to lose me to his rival than to sit me down and make me listen to this song; Depeche Mode’s It's No Good is another, when it was me who couldn’t believe it was over, and who played this song over and over again for weeks, drawing strength from it. (Until of course, I had to accept I was deluding myself and fell to pieces completely).

03) Name the song that never fails to cheer you up.

That’s easy: Tears For Fears - Everybody Wants To Rule The World. I only have to hear the first two notes, and I'm smiling!

04) Name the song that never fails to (almost) make you cry.

Off the top of my head, I'd say that'd be Forbidden Colours, by David Sylvian and Ryuichi Sakamoto. I'm not sure why, though the fact that I first heard it in the cinema as the soundtrack to the film Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, which I then thought to be very sad, may have something to do with it.

05) What song will get you up on the dance floor?

There's too many to count. Soul, reggae, disco, dance, any kind of music will do to get me dancing. Dead certs are: Groove Is In The Heart (Deeelite), Boogie Wonderland (Earth, Wind & Fire), Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel (Tavares), In The Mood (Glen Miller Orchestra); none of these and a lot of others beside make it easy for me to sit still.

06) What's your favourite smoocher?

Favourite? In my time, there was only one, and no school dance would be complete without it: 10cc's I'm Not In Love. It was a classic in those days. I wonder if it’s still as popular? I’ll have to remember to ask my nephew next time I see him.

07) What's your favourite album sleeve/artwork/cd stomp/whatever?

I can’t really say...however, I do tend to like simple designs,

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08) Do you remember the first single/album/cd you ever bought?

I never bothered with singles. If I heard a song I liked, I went out to buy the album -- that way, I figured, I got more value for money. Only rarely have I bought an album that I didn't like except for that one song that induced me to buy it in the first place (The Divinyls Temperamental, e.g.), as I’m usually too impatient to bother about listening to a few tracks in the shop.
Anyhow, the first album that I bought with my own money was Beggar's Banquet (The Rolling Stones) in a second-hand record shop. The year was 1975, and I have no idea *why* I chose this particular album for my first purchase. There probably wasn’t anything else half-decent in the shop.

The first cd I ever bought was a Lloyd Cole & The Commotions compilations album, prosaically entitled 1984-1989, in 1989.

09) Is there a lyric that holds special meaning for you?

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My parents, although they called themselves atheists, were really much more agnostic in their outlook, while from a very early age, I myself was curious about and interested in the phenomenon of religion and the concept of God. In the end, this led to my baptism and confirmation as a member of the Catholic Church at the ripe old age of 32, and after a nearly 20 year long search, struggle and study. To me, this song has always been about that search, the uncertainty whether the path chosen will ultimately lead the soul to God, and seeking help and guidance of the divine principle on the way.

10) Out of all the songs you know, which do you most wish you had written?

Well, if not the one I gave in answer to the previous question, then I suppose I'd pick Above The Clouds, which in the real world was written (and performed) by Paul Weller. I just think everything he talks about in this song is so recognisable, going from the observation of seeing an everyday object reflected in a pane of glass to the constant self-doubt and the question whether anything of us will remain once we're gone, if there is such a thing as a soul that lives on after the body has gone to dust. Heavy stuff, but surprisingly perhaps, not a heavy song.

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11) What music did your parents listen to when you were growing up?

Mum listened to country & western mostly, with some jazz and light classical music thrown in, but she also liked The Rolling Stones, and through my sister and me discovered other, more contemporary artists as well (Bowie, Queen, J.J. Cale...and a few years ago, Eva Cassidy). Dad never cared for music much, although he did have a small collection of Japanese records.

12) Who were your favourite band/was your favourite artist when you were in your teens? In your twenties? Thirties?

Teens: Queen, without a doubt
Twenties: The Style Council
Thirties: Paul Weller

13) If you could have played in any band, which band would you choose and what instrument would you play?

Unfortunately, I don't know how to play any instrument, but I've always quite liked the anecdotes that tell of bass players being thrust into a band with no prior musical experience whatsoever, and making a go of it (Sid Vicious, e.g. or the girl who played bass in Talking Heads). The bass guitarists I have asked, have all confirmed to me that their instrument is really easy to learn to play, so...bass guitar it is, then! As to what band...it's very hard to pick just one when there are so many excellent bands out there. If I could really play well, and of course, in this AU, I'm Bernard Edwards, Mark King and Jack Bruce rolled into one, I'd have Paul Weller asking me to collaborate with him...but I'd also like to play in a band like The Stone Roses simply because I like their intricate guitar work creating that wall of sound effect all around you (again, in this AU, The Stone Roses never folded and were a lot more prolific than the real ones. They certainly never wasted 5 years in dispute with their record company, only to break up immediately after their long-awaited second album came out...).

14) Do you remember your first ever concert?

How could I forget? Queen, in 1977 -- I was 15 years old and had no clue as to what one wore to pop concerts, having only attended piano recitals up till then.

15) What would you say is the best guitar solo you've ever heard?

In my time as a Queen-fan, I got to see them live on stage a total of 7 times. I also owned every bootleg ever made of their tours. There are many, many great guitar solos...but to me, Brian May's solo in Brighton Rock is still the best, the one I remember note for tantalising note.
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