Thursday, 20 March 2014

The Indie Man

One of the things that makes us all uniquely different as human beings is our own individuality. Whilst millions of people could have any one of the same songs that I have on their iPod's, the chances of any single one of them having an identical playlist to the one I'm currently listening to is infinitesimal.

Music is one of those things that defines us as individuals and is very special to us. That is why I never run down any musical artists, even if I don't personally like them. I find it quite shallow and egocentric of people when they make sweeping statements of their own opinions and present them as fact, e.g. "Westlife are crap".

I choose Westlife as an example because I personally can't stand them though clearly lots of people do as they have sold millions of songs. If asked for my opinion I'd just say I didn't like them.

Different people follow different musical genres and have different tastes. The one piece of advice I could offer to any youngster starting out on their own musical journey (that makes me sound so old) is to be yourself and like the music that you like - don't go along with the herd and like what everyone else is into just because you want to fit in. I'm thinking back here maybe 10 or 15 years to when every teenager was walking around in a slipknot hoodie. That was the thing to be into then.

I've always been different and indvidualistic, hence my complete failure to be a team player at Nielsen. I never could see the point of that whole thing to be honest. By being part of a team you are dragging yourself down to the strength of the weakest link and we had plenty of them. There's no team in "I"! So it has been throughout my life and I frequently shun popular trends and fads - don't ever try to talk to me about the X factor by the way because a stony silence and fierce glare often offends. And that's if I'm in a good mood.

This "Indie" nature of mine extends to all areas of my life. It's one of the reasons why I've not at any point attempted to seek out an established publisher for my books (assuming any would be interested of course!). I get more satisfaction out of the fact that I've done it all completely independently. To be fair if Penguin came calling I probably wouldn't turn them away, but at least I'd have the satisfaction of knowing I'd got to this point all by myself (so far).

So it is no surprise at all to discover that the genre of music I have always been drawn to is "Indie". Now I am not one of those people who goes around saying "I'm into Indie" or ever subconsciously planned to be into Indie music, it just sort of happened.

So what exactly is "Indie" music? It's not quite as easy to define as Heavy Metal or Jazz for example as we all have a clear idea what that means. It's not exactly pop, rock or dance, but can contain elements of all of these.

Originally back in the 80s it meant bands who produced their music independently as opposed to being signed to a major label. In the much missed Record Mirror which I bought religiously every week until it folded there was a whole sections dedicated to charts and this included an indie chart. This chart was dominated by the likes of The Smiths, Depeche Mode and New Order and many other obscure names which was exactly what I was into. I wasn't alone either - when I got to college to do my A-levels I found many others with similar musical interests so although retaining my independent outlook I at least had some friends to share it with.

Other the years the term "Indie" evolved to mean more of a style of music - so something that sounded "Indie" could well be produced by a major label. Everyone probably has their own interpretation but to mean it meant broadly the 80s indie scene as touched on above, the whole late 80s, early 90s "Madchester" scene and various other music of that time e.g Happy Mondays, Shamen, "Brit Pop" - Blur, Pulp etc and then the mid-noughties emergence of the likes of the Kooks, Kaiser Chiefs and Keane.

Depeche Mode - Kings of the 80s Indie charts.

Such music comes and goes and there are periods such the early noughties and now where there is very little seemingly happening on that front,  but just as I am about to despair, a new wave comes along.

How did all this fit in with me as a DJ? Very badly as it happened. Now I enjoyed my years working as a DJ but one of the things that was frustrating about it was that I very rarely if ever had the freedom to play the music I wanted to. That was purely down to the kind of DJ I was. People hired me for their parties and had various ideas of what they wanted - sometimes quite detailed and others not. But the key component most times was that it had to be played safe. So wedding after wedding, 40th party after 50th I found myself playing the same old "classics" - Abba, Wham, Bon Jovi, Rihanna, etc etc. I just simply couldn't go to a wedding reception and play something like "Eberneezer Goode" even if it was a big hit and reached number one two decades ago - that was not what people wanted. Then there were the requests - which you feel duty bound to play but which often go down like a lead balloon. I'm sure Fatboy Slim never has to fend off annoying drunken people asking him to play The Birdie Song.

I liked to plan playlists but that frequently went out of the window once I got to a place and assessed the audience. Sometimes it was better e.g. Halloween I really could put together a playlist sneaking in a few songs to my personal taste and get away with it because it was a Halloween theme. But I never truly got the chance in all those years to put on a gig anywhere purely with my own set, saying "this is what I like - and it's for all indie fans of my generation", with no requests, no hassle, just me doing what I really wanted to do with an amazing four hour set of true indie classics.

So I have put together this, my dream indie list. OK, so not all of it you might consider to be Indie, and I haven't put all my favourites in - after all there is no point putting in a load of songs from artists no-one has ever heard of so I've kept it relatively mainstream. I'm sure there are some glaring omissions you would have expected to see as well.

NB: I haven't organised it into any proper playlist order - in fact it is roughly chronological.

I probably never will get the chance to perform my dream set now, though if offered the chance I might even consider coming out of retirement to do it. But just in case I don't, I've put it all together for you right here, so stick this lot into your iPod, close your eyes, think of me with my little DJ booth and think about what might have been!

Love Will Tear Us Apart Joy Division
Reward The Teardrop Explodes
Just Can't Get Enough Depeche Mode
Boys Don't Cry The Cure
Blue Monday New Order
What Difference Does It Make The Smiths
She Sells Sanctuary The Cult
Crash Primitives
Fools Gold The Stone Roses
Getting Away With It Electronic
All Together Now The Farm
Dub Be Good To Me Beats Internationl ft Lindy
Step On Happy Mondays
Real Real Real Jesus Jones
This Is How It Feels Inspiral Carpets
Shine On House Of Love
The Only One I Know Charlatans
Birdhouse In Your Soul They Might Be Giants
There's No Other Way Blur
The Size of a Cow The Wonder Stuff
7 Ways To Love Cola Boy
Move Any Mountain Shamen
3AM Eternal The KLF Feat. The Children Of The Revolution
Out Of Space Prodigy
You're in a Bad Way Saint Etienne
Animal Nitrate Suede
Rocks Primal Scream
Girls & Boys Blur
Basket Case (1994) Green Day
Inbetweener Sleeper
Alright Supergrass
Disco 2000 Pulp
Roll With It Oasis
Ladykillers Lush
Place Your Hands Reef
Monkey Wrench Foo Fighters
Nancy Boy Placebo
Your Woman White Town
Lovefool The Cardigans
Ready To Go Republica
Avenging Angels Space
Push It Garbage
You Get What You Give New Radicals
Sunburn Muse
Mr E's Beautiful Blues Eels
Buck Rogers Feeder
Danger! High Voltage Electric Six
Take Me Out Franz Ferdinand
Left Outside Alone Anastacia
Golden Touch Razorlight
In the Shadows The Rasmus
Mr. Brightside Killers
This Is The Last Time Keane
Dakota Stereophonics
Feel Good Inc Gorillaz
Jerk It Out Caesars
I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor Arctic Monkeys
Love Me Like You Magic Numbers
You're All I Have (radio edit) Snow Patrol
She Moves In Her Own Way (radio version) Kooks
Monster Automatic
Chelsea Dagger Fratellis
Love It When You Call Feeling
Grace Kelly Mika
Starz In Their Eyes Just Jack
Same Jeans The View
She's So Lovely Scouting For Girls
Goodbye Mr. A Hoosiers

Jason's third book all about his adventures in the world of sausages, is now available. Click here for more details:

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