Bloggers love a series of articles don’t they? Well I’ve decided it’s time to go through my music collection. It is the one constant amongst the myriad of obsessions I have had running throughout my life. There’s a song for every moment of the day, every emotion, every thought. But where to begin? A, obviously. And by artist. Good. Plan made.
And Also The Trees would be a sensible band to begin with however I think they might deserve a series of their own so we’re off up to Dundee for The Associates. Billy MacKenzie’s suicide came into my life via BBC teletext. I was struck with sadness that this incredible voice was one I would never get to hear live. I loved the strength of his voice, the unexpected patterns, the Scottishness of it. It was only in the aftermath of his death that I learned about his life, his perfectionist nature, his early marriage in America, and his ongoing battles with depression.
Strangely, I do struggle with some of the albums, some of the songs. They can be a little difficult in that I find I need to be in a certain state of receptiveness for them. That there are countless others I adore and can listen to at any given moment is a rare treat. There was a huge amount of material released following his death showing how much that perfectionism had prevented so many songs becoming public. I weighed up whether he’d want it all out in the public but was grateful that it was. Some artists ‘worst’ songs are far superior in my eyes than the majority of mainstream releases. Commercialism is music is horrendous, possibly the heaviest for any art form. Don’t get me started!
Final thoughts on Billy. I have a beautiful full page black and white photo of him, his whippets and Alan Rankine from the 24 April 1984 edition of NME. It is framed and hangs proudly in my world. I have missed him growing older, performing live, working with other interesting artists. His voice is unique, beautiful, obstreperous and hugely alluring to me. He is one of my all time heroes.
My favourite albums (in order): The Radio 1 Sessions; Outernational (Billy MacKenzie); Fourth Drawer Down
Favourite songs (not in order!): Breakfast; It’s Better This Way; A Severe Bout of Career Insecurity; Kitchen Person; Q Quarters; Tell Me Easter’s on a Friday; Outernational; What Made Me Turn On The Lights; Love Hangover; The Girl That Took Me; Perhaps
Best line: ‘I cook offal for two, it lies there getting cold, then I cook your shoes, then I cook your shoes, you have so many shoes.’