Playlist of the week

“Playlist of the week: Tell us how your week went by putting together a playlist of five songs that represent it.”

An interesting challenge on a number of levels, this. Finding five matters worthy of note, in what was a – comparatively – uneventful week, was the first thing. Then trying to marry these up with a song choice of any kind required some leaps of the imagination and lateral thinking. Which is no bad thing, of course.

Maybe the hardest part, though, was pitching the song choice just right. You will be relieved to know that I resisted the temptation to throw in a full set of Grateful Dead. I think I also managed not too err too far on the side of wilful obscurantism, while at the same time demonstrating – by omission – a healthy lack of awareness of any popular music post about 1976. Rest assured kids: I have no desire whatsoever to be down with you.

And I will definitely not be dad dancing.

1)   ‘Green is the colour’ – Pink Floyd

Spring is sprung here at Tranquility Base. At the beginning of the week, the weather took a decided turn for the better as the rain stopped, the clouds dispersed and the sun shone, as it promises to do for at least the next seven days too. We had rather forgotten about seasons during our ten years in the Gulf, but at around this time last year we woke up one morning to see that, overnight, all (and I mean all) the trees, hitherto bare, had begun to sprout green. The same thing happened last Tuesday, so our little world here has suddenly turned decidedly greener.

Which is a great excuse to offer up this lovely little gem from Pink Floyd: a perfect accompaniment for a peaceful sunny afternoon. (Note: may also be paired with ‘Fat Old Sun’ for the full-on chillout experience.)

2)  ‘We all stand together (The frog song) – Paul McCartney

Admit it; you never saw this one coming. Let me explain.

Staying with the ‘spring is in the air’ theme, we have discovered two very large balls of frogspawn in our little pond and it’s very clear that matters are developing in accordance with the laws of nature. Just across the road in the hameau is an étang – essentially a pond with delusions of grandeur – that last year was full of frogs, whose noise was sometimes deafening. So, now that the local amphibian population has apparently adopted our own little water feature as the rustic French equivalent of behind the bins at Morrisons, we know what to expect.

The big question, I suppose, is whether the goldfish will eat the tadpoles or whether they will find themselves further down the food chain.

As for the song – well, I suppose the six-year olds might like it. Bah, humbug.

3)   ‘Hots on (for nowhere/Tea) for one’ – Led Zeppelin

Poor Madame has been a bit poorly this week, digestive-system wise (although now much improved, thanks for asking).

One spin-off effect of this has been that I have been self-catering for a couple of evenings. Inevitably, this has resulted in the ingestion not merely of spicy food, but spicier than normal food. This can be viewed as simply the application to the sense of taste of my basic mantra of ‘too much of anything is just enough’ (Grateful Dead: ‘I Need A Miracle’). As such, it is entirely consistent with my Spinal Tap preference for music listening volume (‘it goes to eleven’). When it comes to chilli, if it’s not in the red zone on the Scoville scale then forget it.

Anyway, I was mulling these thoughts over in the context of this blog post when, from the very depths of the mental sound archive came a tune, that I thought was called ‘Hots on for one’, which seemed entirely appropriate, not to say almost a little clever. I was nearly right: there is a song called ‘Hots on for nowhere’ on one of Led Zeppelin’s later albums and the following track is called ‘Tea for one’. I’ve gone with the latter, for no other reason than the fact it’s much better. And since I was dining alone, it’s also appropriate.

4)   “Ball and Chain’ – Janis Joplin

The uninitiated may need to be told that the past weekend’s television schedules have been chock-a-block with what used to be described by my son’s old school as ‘important sport’, to whit FA Cup quarter-finals and the latest round of the Six Nations Rugby. In such circumstances, it is a matter of life and death that I be watching a ball while chained to my armchair.

Not that you should need any such laboured excuse to watch and listen to the immortal Janis Joplin slaying this song, back in 1967.

By the way, if anyone ever tells you that some singer sounds like Janis Joplin I am here to tell you that they don’t: they just wish they did.

5)   ‘China Cat Sunflower>I Know You Rider’ – Grateful Dead

Oh, come on. Did you seriously believe that I could get through as many as five songs on a playlist without them? No, of course not.

As it happens, this is relevant as part of a playlist for the past week, because one evening I watched my DVD of the ‘Sunshine Daydream’ movie for the first time.This is a quasi-documentary record of a legendary open-air performance from 1972. This is part of it, which I have included not only because the music is marvellous, but because the accompanying footage gives a good idea of the ‘vibe’, for want of a better word, surrounding the Grateful Dead. Welcome to my head.

(Warning: does contain some scenes of dad dancing – but not by me).

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