Another year has passed and, as tradition would have it, I’ve collected some tracks for my annual Mixtape.
Significant music from the course of the year is curated into a playlist and shared with friends. Some of it may be new, some old, I might have been to a gig, missed a gig, seen a film, heard something on the radio, or I have a special memory associated with a song. The Mix is almost always eclectic and although not all of it will be to your taste, you might just find something you like.
I design a cover and annotate each choice of track. As with any form of diary, sometimes it only makes sense to me.
The year had barely begun when I was off on the first adventure - to run the elusive Tokyo Marathon. Japan was everything and more; I experienced some momentous art and culture.
Running injury woes continued, but it was an honour to have Roland next to me in Tokyo for a wild Minnie blast. Soon after, I completed the 6 Star World Majors in London with Brother Lenny.
This was all in the build-up to multiple celebrations of a landmark birthday with loved ones culminating with the spectacular event at Chateau Lalande in France, expertly organised by Sophie.
Some of 2018's highlights include:
The Breeders, Thom Yorke, my first big cycle rides (jumping in the deep end with 300km in 2 days followed by the RideLondon 100miler), Rostam, a wonderful trip to Rome, seeing far-flung mates (Dave, Marie, Smithers, Ali, The Kidster, The Haupt-Bentley’s, Brendy Boy), watching classic films on archival reel, (mini) FyshFest, Somerset House Summer Screen, running alongside Captain Rolux for the last 40km of his South Downs 100 miler, NOS Alive in Lisbon (Pearl Jam, CYHSY, NIN, Arctic Monkeys, Future Islands, Bryan Ferry, Eels, Perfume Genius), Pearl Jam AGAIN, and The Room with... my best friend.
Life was a pleasant whirlwind and I eventually threw an “up yours” to social expectations: I declared a rat race time-out and booked a 6-month adventure of travel through South America.
The journey has been filled with music, some featured on this mixtape.
But here I am, in a world of new experience, publishing my mixtape on-the-go. Some people say I’m lucky to be doing this. It’s not true.
Just choose your boxes.
The mixtape exists as a Spotify playlist , CD, or digital download (only friends with my contact details can request the last two formats).
You can listen to the Mixtape from the button below:
Rolling Stone said of Cale's 1973 recording: "one of the most ambitious albums ever released under the name of 'pop'". This orchestral masterpiece references the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, an event that established a new partitioning of Europe and arguably led to the emergence of the 2nd World War.
Growing up in South Africa, The Fall is a legendary post-punk band that didn't reach my ears. This changed since living in London, learning they were one of John Peel's favourites. Lead singer, Mark E Smith, died at the start of the year, so here is one of the greatest songs ever.
I've discovered the music of Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers in the last couple of years. You can hear how much of this Velvet-Underground-influenced 70's sound was the precursor to so much later indie and alternative music. Members of the band went on to The Cars and Talking Heads. Enjoy the idiosyncrasy and go explore more, Hippy Johnny...
Lin-Manuel Miranda originally wrote the song for his hit musical, "Hamilton" but discarded it after he couldn’t figure out how to implement the scene. He then reached out to Colin Meloy in 2016, asking if the Decemberists (one of my faves) could record their own version of the track. A triumphant, expletive-laced folk-rock historic chronicle!
The long-awaited return of Twin Peaks finally arrived and Lynch's twisted tales have captivated me once again. As much as any part, the musically indulgent end-scenes featuring some of his favourite artists have been wonderful. Au Revoir Simone appear more than once, so you know how Lynchian they must be.
I managed to see my heroes twice this year - first at NOS Alive in Lisbon and secondly at the O2 Arena. When an ageing rock band are able to light up a youthful music festival with no more frills than warm chat and good music, you know you're dealing with greats. Eddie Vedder continues to amaze me with his humility and human connection. Thank you Tor, for the extra London ticket.
Swet Shop Boys is an Indian-American/British-Pakistani hip hop group, consisting rappers Heems and Riz MC - Riz Ahmed being the actor who starred in some big films, including Star Wars Rogue One. When I first heard this track I had no idea of the context and thought it was a total piss-take. The lyrics contrast the traditional approach of hip hop one-upmanship bravado against the uncool intellectualism of birdwatching. Their comedy and lyrical genius that somehow manages to maintain credible hip hop status. Just wow.
Being a South African with a Scottish Dad, the England football team has alway been too hard to support. However, going into the World Cup with a young and (for once!) an un-hyped team there was a completely different attitude in the country. Three Lions got a new lease of life in a giddy tongue-in-cheek meme fest. It was lovely to be part of.
Having studied The Mission at school, this soundtrack is part of my foundation. With the anticipation of bus journeys through the Andes and boat rides in the Amazon, I put this on my playlist on my South America trip. Whenever it has played, my world has transformed into a cinematic masterpiece and the goosebumps, uncontrollable.