The CD of my Life – “Various Artists” – “Various Songs”

19 Feb

In one of the previous articles of this series, in which I set down memories of past events which are brought back to me by particular pieces of music, I actually gave you not one but THREE tracks which all took me back to Sunday teatimes in 1968. Exciting stuff I’m sure you’ll agree!

Well, I’m going to surpass myself again – this time I’m giving you an entire CD’s worth under one heading on the entirely reasonable excuse that ALL of the 19 songs evoke the same memories.

Now, if you are a dedicated reader of my works you will already know about my employment at a Food Factory in Corby – that being the job where I “blagged” my way into the I.T. business. If, however, you haven’t got back that far through my archive pages you can quickly update yourself here: and here: and I suggest that you do because if I summarise them even briefly this item will become even more unwieldy than it is going to be and I will wind up including an awful lot that is “off topic”.

Suffice it to say that towards the end of 1999 I started working four 12 hour night shifts a week and, as I stated in the “Caffeine “ article it was coffee that kept me AWAKE during those long lonely shifts.

The thing that kept me SANE though was, of course, music.

Before I speak of any of the list of tracks directly I should explain the set up that enabled me to be even thinking about musical entertainment at work.  The IT office (which during the day was home to six people) was on the ground floor of one of the office blocks and shared the corridor with the HR and Payroll departments – neither of which had any staff present overnight. And nobody else on the nightshift had, unless they were coming to see me about an IT matter, any reason to be in that corridor so I could not be said to be disturbing anyone.

Besides that I had been told by my manager that I was in sole and complete charge of the department and could do whatever was needed to keep the computer systems going. I reasoned that having the IT representative falling asleep or going bonkers could leave me in breach of that instruction and so first attempted to listen to theraputic music on a normal battery powered radio.The reception was, however,  terrible.

It seems that Corby not only IS a hole but it is also IN one and attempting to tune in weak stations used up batteries at an expensive rate. So, armed with my authority I set about finding an alternative way of keeping myself amused during those long hours with nothing much else to do but back up one server, write emails and attempt to repair broken computers.

Fortunately, my “on the job” studies soon provided me with the way to bypass the company’s Proxy Server which blocked most of the Internet from most of the computer users. And once I had THAT sorted out the entire world of Internet Radio was opened to me!

At first I decided to try for stations in places where the time zone was ten to twelve hours ahead or behind the UK, giving me (as long as I kept the blinds closed) the semblance of a normal working day. That idea failed to work very well because not only was there a shortage of English speaking radio stations in those zones but the tasks I had to do every night had to be done at specific times so I wasn’t fooling myself in any way as to the “real” time.

I did, however, learn quite a lot of interesting stuff concerning Washington state in the north west USA, particularly the traffic problems of something called “the tri-city area”  comprising the conurbations of Richland, Kennewick and Pascoe as well as their neighbours in quaintly named Walla Walla.

Eventually though I gave up on these single genre stations (even I can only put up with so much 60s nostalgia!) and settled on the Internet version of Virgin Radio – the AM signal of which could not be received in Corby. One of my friends suggested that this was because virgins were unknown in that town but whether that was the case or not it was from that radio station that I first heard and came to love the 19 items listed below.

As I have said before in this series I do not have to like a song for it to appear in these articles but there are none here that I was not able to find on my mp3 player – and I don’t waste space on THAT for songs I don’t like.

Well, that is to say, with the exception of the strange inclusion of the entire “Sweet’s Greatest Hits” – the later ones are OK but “Little Willy”, “Coco”, “Papa Joe”and “Wigwam Bam” have really got to go! And if I ever find out who sneaked them on there………!

Obviously the list contains some that I like more than others but I could not even begin to arrange them into any sort of “Top 19”.

After listening to them all again prior to writing this I noticed that many of them seem to have a common “sound” – particularly “Pure Shores” and “Glorious” but it is also evident on some of the others. I don’t know what it is – whether studio technicians had found a new effect and were milking it for all it was worth I cannot know – but it seems to give those pieces a kind of etherial quality that is entirely in keeping with the fuzzy out-of-phaseness that working long nightshifts can give you.

Please give them a listen and if you can identify what that quality is that they share, please let me know.

As time went by my “constant music” policy in the IT room brought me some company in the form of visits from my friends the security guards and some of the engineers who would drop by on their breaks to sit and “chill out “ while they drank their coffee.

And as I said at the end of the “Working on the nightshift”  one song summed up the whole disorienting feeling of being “out of synch” with your friends and family – so I have listed that one first.

Here’s the list and the traditional youtube links – enjoy.

Daysleeper – REM

Rise – Gabrielle

Pure Shores – All Saints

Go let it out – Oasis

The time is now – Moloko

Glorious – Andreas Johnson

Smooth – Santana (& Rob Thomas)

Never be the same again – Mel C

The Great Beyond – REM

I try – Macy Gray

Life is a rollercoaster – Ronan Keating

Song for the lovers – Richard Ashcroft

Don’t steal my sunshine – Len

All the small things – Blink 182

The bad touch – Bloodhound Gang

Breathless – The Corrs

Porcelain – Moby

Yellow – Coldplay


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Posted by on February 19, 2013 in CD of my Life


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