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What I'm listening to on my iPod

Trying to choose my favourite ten pieces of music is, like choosing favourite books, deliciously impossible. In order to save myself many, many hours of deliberation I decided to look at the 10 most played tracks on my new-ish iPod. Here they are:

Restless – Danny & the Champions of the World

“All we wanted was everything. We wanted to see the world in widescreen. We were the Kerouacs on the road…” Enough said!

Sometime Around Midnight – The Airborne Toxic Event

I love the tortured anguish of this song. I spend too much of my time metaphorically prowling late night streets, frustrated at time and life passing me by. It’s good to wallow in it occasionally though!

My Lucky Day – Bruce Springsteen

The song I couldn’t stop whistling to myself as I walked across India. I discovered Bruce when on a long, long ride through America and have been a big fan ever since. Life is hard, grab your girl, hit the road in search of glory…

The ’59 Sound – The Gaslight Anthem

My training songs come and go. This is the latest one to inspire me to sprint uphills till I puke at the top, then go down to the bottom and do it all again.

Mr. Brightside – The Killers

Every time I hear the opening bars of this song my mind leaps back to some extraordinary experiences and memories. This song will always remind me of my Glory Days.

Gabriel’s Oboe – Ennio Morricone

The highlight of running the Marathon des Sables (a 150 mile footrace through the Sahara desert) was the unforgettable last night. 700 sweat-crusted and near broken bodies lying under a canopy of stars, stuffing our faces on boil-in-the-bag food and listening to a string orchestra who had flown in from France to play for us. Beautiful music to soothe my broken body, impossibly clean and wonderful-looking female musicians in elegant black dresses, and a universe of stars overhead…

Thunder on the Mountain – Bob Dylan

You can’t sit down to write a book without a bellyful of strong coffee and Bob Dylan’s punchy poetry playing in the background. This song is my favourite of his new stuff.

The Road – Frank Turner

My time is running out. Ever since my childhood I’ve been scared of being trapped by circumstance and staying in one place. I’ve driven across deserts driven by the irony that only being shackled to the the road could ever I be free.

Rise – Eddie Vedder

I found the film Into the Wild uncomfortable viewing. Partly inspirational idealism and wanderlust, partly immature self-indulgence. I saw so much (too much?) of myself in Alexander Supertramp. This is my favourite track from a really good soundtrack.

Abet Wubet – Gigi

Ethiopian music is fantastic, even if I have no idea what they are singing about. It is good too to remind myself that there is so much world out there, out beyond the narrowness of England or even English-language music.

So – what’s on your iPod right now? Let us know in the comments…

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  1. A few favourites:

    Also from Into the Wild: “Society” Eddie Vedder

    “Glory and consequence” Ben Harper

    “Lady Melody” Tom Frager

    “Indestructible” Disturbed

    Tough to choose, it really does depend on the mood doesn’t it?

  2. christopher gregory Posted

    To go along with the ethiopian music, I recommend to anyone a cd called Mali Music, on Honest Jons Records. It was a project Damon Albarn (of Blur and Gorillz fame) did involving him and many different Malian musicians. Tis a cracker.

  3. My list would have to have these two on:

    1. Boulevard of Broken Dreams – Green Day
    2. Born to be wild – Steppenwolf

    I find myself humming both tunes at the moment as I´m walking 🙂 Both have strong associations with former adventures too. It always amazes me how much music can take us to a particular place/experience/memory becuase we were listening to it at that time…

  4. I date myself but “Wooden Ships” CSNY.
    Having crossed the Atlantic 5 times in small vessels, and done numerous other sailing trips, been ship wrecked and rescued by the French Navy.
    I love it.

  5. Hi Al –

    Seeing as I’m currently doing mortal combat with the final draft of my book (soundtrack by Dylan), I can’t resist throwing in my two pennoth Re: Thunder on the Mountain – have you heard ‘Tell ol’ Bill’ from the Bootleg Sessions Vol 7? You won’t go back to Modern Times I swear.

    Love the new look website by the way

    all the best

    David Charles

  6. Al,

    Liking this post. I am a huge music fan and there’s nothing like a song to trigger a memory or bring an amazing occasion back into the forefront of your mind or get you pumped when you need to be. The whole ‘Into The Wild’ sound track is awesome and like yourself I found the film to pretty uncomfortable to watch. I also felt I had an affinity to Alex. A beautiful but harrowing story of an amazing character.

    ‘Fall In A River’ by Badly Drawn Boy always fills my mind with the need for adventure and excitement.



  7. Some songs that have seen me through some races in less than comfortable places…

    “Rockstar” Nickelback – sang this at the top of my voice to stay awake during night three of the Iditarod Trail Invitational in Alaska. Much to the bemusement of some Italian racers.

    “Under the bridge” Red Hot Chilli Peppers – theme tune of my mate Codge’s and my attempt to do the DW. Great tune. We also capsized under a couple of bridges. Maybe should have chosen a different song…

    “Streets of Philadelphia” The Boss – theme to the Southern Traverse in NZ on 2003. Brillant ‘suffering’ song! Another option being the “Do – Ray – Me” song from the Sound of Music that Carrie and I sang to (again) try and stay awake during the kayaking sections of this truly awesome (and sadly no longer run in the same format) race..



  8. Another from the same album as one of yours:

    Frank Turner – Journey of the Magi

    A very well written song.

  9. Devavrat Mujumdar Posted

    Get up and Go- Shantanu pandit. Get some taste of the indian Bob Dylan!



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