Thursday, March 17, 2005

I'd say he looked like John Cusack, if I could remember who the hell John Cusack was 

Six months ago I was tasked to create a mix tape for my girlfriend who was embarking on a three month road trip to Turkey and back through Eastern Europe - well I offered to create one.

I had once sat through about about a third of the film 'High Fidelity' - which I believe to be an adaptation of a book by some English twat who is more in touch with his feminine side than he is with say, the side of him that wishes to cultivate an allotment, beat up gypsies and have a wank every morning before he gets up. The film's main character, played by John Cusack (an American Hugh Grant?), muses, philosophises and generally faffs about creating the perfect mix tape for a girl he wishes to impress. He worries and minces about, worried about the flow, the pace, the vibe; how should it start, climax and end? (I guess this is how a real DJ would plan his set for maximum audiance satisfaction) I think John ends up opening with something like 'Holiday' by Madonna, builds up from that and climaxes with 'I Have Confidence In Me' from the Sound Of Music and winds down to close with 'The Lord's Prayer' performed by Lord Cliff Richard.

Anyway, faced with the true scope of what I'd promised to create; I myself mused, philosophised and generally faffed. Not about the content of the tape - that would be a simple task, and probably any old crap will do - but about the whole idea of creating a mix tape for someone else in the first place. Should I actually be doing this? What would my choice of songs say about me? What am I saying to the person I'm creating this for? Am I displaying too much of my personality, trying to project it upon them? Am I trying to embody my limited understanding of their own personality? This is who I am, or this is who I think you are? Or am I just taking the piss? Or will there be some compultion to 'like' or appreciate the songs? How will it be received, and will there be any repercussions?

That took me about two days to get over. Then I finally got on with it. I worried not about flow or pace, I think the track listing looked something like this:

Bang Bang (My baby shot me down) - Nancy Sinatra (From Kill Bill soundtrack - I knew she liked this one)
Slaughterhouse - not sure of artist (From Wild at Heart soundtrack)
Suicide Journalist - Chris Morris
Kathleen - Tindersticks
Walking Barefoot - Ash (good Cool Britannia tune)
A-team theme (they were traveling in a mini bus)
Sparky's Magic Piano - some children's audio book
Mr. Blue Sky - ELO (I'd heard the two 'songs played back to back on Radio 2 late one night to show the 'electronic synth' link. Also Sparky's Magic Piano includes some of Rachmaninoff's prelude in C# minor - a piece who's spectre had been hanging over me for years (see a future post))
Myfanwy - Bryn Terfel
Chiwawa (Coca Cola Remix) - DJ Bobo
Waltz #2 - Elliott Smith
Are you lonesome tonight (laughing outtake) - Elvis
Apache - Incredible Bongo Band
Love Theme From Spartacus Zero 7 remix - Terry Callier
Moon River (Extended Version) - Morrissey
Christmas Shoes - New Song
Is That All There Is - Peggy Lee (debated with the PJ Harvey version)
Great Gig In The Sky (Trance Remix) - Orb / Pink Floyd
Sheela-Na-Gig - PJ Harvey
Don't Stop Moving - S Club 7
S Club Party - S Club 6
The Moldau - Smetana
Slow Life - Super Furry Animals
Are You My Woman (Tell Me So) - The Chi-Lites
Soldier Girl - The Polyphonic Spree
Tightrope - Stone Roses (Greatest car sing along song IMHO)
Truth and Rights - Zero 7

In the future there will be computer programs that will take this list and spew out the perfect track ordering. Also, it may be a good idea for a quiz - given a list of songs, put them in the best order?

So how did it turn out?
Well months afterwards I had the impression that she had not even listened to it. This annoyed me slightly and added weight to my argument that it would have been better not to embark upon such an exercise in the first place.
Last week I came out and asked her. Yes she had listened to it lots, "some of the songs were great and some were crap".

Perfect, this is just what I had wanted.

more on mix tapes

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