Today I Listened To ….

Not sure if you are interested in what I am listening to, but I thought it might be fun to keep a sort of musical diary. It won’t be exhaustive, as I sometimes listen to just one or two tracks, and I cannot be bothered to list all of those. So, I’ll just pick two or three of the albums, CDs, records or radio programmes that have have been listening to. So far today the two favourites have been:

The The
Soul Mining

I first listened to The The when I was working for Ikea. They opened up a new store in Amsterdam and I was part of the warehouse team, receiving the thousands of flatpacks and storing them in preparation for the opening. Some of my colleagues were English speaking and they were into The The, Prefab Sprout, The Smiths, etc. In fact, this was about the time when I bought my first CD player: a Philips CD100 which had a top loading mechanism. The very first CD I bought was Steve McQueen by Prefab Sprouts.

I remember one of my Ikea colleagues was AWOL from the army after having fought in the Falklands. He had some problems with anger management. Another guy had an ambition to become a film director. Most of them smoked dope and used other recreational drugs. I remember several good parties, well, I remember parts of it… It was hard work, physically, but there was good camaraderie and I remember some good times. I still have the two Billy book cases that I ‘rescued’ from the compactor. It was company policy that all goods that were damaged during transport were to be destroyed. Some of those items were quite valuable and only had a little nick, or just the packaging was damaged. I thought it was ludicrous to destroy perfectly good bookcases and putting them in the compactor was one of the less enjoyable parts of the job. So, I rescued two Billies. It was not easy, carrying them home bit by bit on the metro and the bus back to Amsterdam Noord!


Charles Mingus
The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady

Mingus said in the liner notes: I wrote the music for dancing and listening…. I feel no need to explain any further the music herewith other than to say throw all other records of mine away except maybe one other. I intend to record it all over again on this label the way it was intended to sound. This is the first time the company I have recorded with set out to help me give you, my audience, a clear picture of my musical ideas without that studio rush feeling. Impulse went to great expense and patience to give me complete freedom, along with engineer Bob Simpson, for balance and editing.  This music is certainly worth listening to! I think it is discernible that he enjoyed the making of this album. It was a joy to make and is a joy to listen to!

Only after putting these two covers on the same page I notice what they have in common. Not something you see very often nowadays in ads, or any other kind of printed publicity: smoking.

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