Life Is Like a Box of Records: Helen Marnie
Helen Marnie selected 10 of her favourite songs. I made a Spotify playlist with all these tunes.
There are so many songs that take me back to childhood, some good, some bad (think Star Trekking, by The Firm), but Madonna back then could do no wrong. Before I got my first yellow Walkman which would constantly play the Like a Prayer album, my dad used to take me to the local video shop in Milngavie where I'd buy my 7″ records. It was a ritual that I loved. La Isla Bonita cost about 50p of my pocket money, but it was more than worth it.
Michael Jackson - Dirty Diana
I couldn't compile a top 10 without including Michael Jackson. I was completely in love with him for quite some time. I was a fan club member and used to write him letters and draw pictures for him. Obviously, I was not the coolest of kids, but it made me pretty happy. In 1992 my Dad got tickets for me and a friend to see his Dangerous Tour at Glasgow Green, my first proper gig. It was a breathtaking experience and I feel pretty lucky having seen him. I remember I was sitting outside The Pierhouse at Port Appin when I heard the news of his death.
I don't come from a particularly musical family, but some influences did creep through. My dad had The War of the Worlds on vinyl and the standout track "Forever Autumn" featured heavily in our house, sometimes even being played whilst I warmed my tights up on the radiator getting ready for primary school. I always loved this song, in particular the narrated part by Richard Burton. In 2006 I was more than happy when we (Ladytron) used it as our entrance music on tour. Loved the vibe it created.
Tori Amos - The Waitress
When was a young 17 when I first attempted to go to University. Being a bit of a dreamer, I was never really sure what it was I should commit to. Glasgow Uni gave me a place, but my choices were all wrong and after about 6 months I knew I had to make the decision to leave. It was so hard, but my family were behind me and I quit. While I was there I was staying in a private flat on Woodlands Drive. Nothing was right about it. I wanted to just have fun, but that was near impossible when the owner was knocking at my door at 11pm asking me to be quiet – I was just getting ready to go out. My friend had made me a tape of Tori Amos' Under the Pink. Having studied the piano for many years I was really drawn to her music. She was weird and wonderful and angsty, and I think of this song when I look back to that time.
1995 brought my first indie boy band crush. The Bluetones, in particular lead singer Mark Morriss, they were my idea of perfection. I think I loved them all the more because I found them myself, no one directed me to them. I saw them shuffling in duffle coats on Top of the Pops and I was hooked. In the Spring of 1996 I took myself from Aberfoyle to Paris on a bus just to see them support Radiohead at La Cigale in Paris. It should be noted that I appreciated Radiohead too, but The Bluetones were most definitely the main attraction for me.
Lamb - Gorecki
It was in Liverpool that I became more interested in more varied types of music. I bought Gorecki on CD from Penny Lane Records and played it over and over in my room in Derby & Rathbone halls of residence. A year older, I was much happier with my choices, having taken time out. Never one to plan too much though, I was offered a last minute place at Liverpool University one day and being driven there a few days later. It didn't worry me that I was leaving home. It didn't worry me that there were no rooms left in halls so had to be put in a guest room initially. I just went with it. Sometimes things just happen for a reason. I firmly believe that.
I had a partner in crime whilst I was at Liverpool University. Cat. She was my everything, and we were rarely seen without each other. I think people thought we were crazy. All baby doll dresses, flares, and bright purple and blue glitter eyeshadow pasted to our lids. But we were having the best time. Our work suffered, of course, but I wouldn't change a thing. We were young and silly, shy, naive, but ultimately out for fun, and we found it in droves in Liverpool. We would pull some dramatic moves to Sexy Boy, both in private and in public. Air were our new electro love.
Joni Mitchell - River
My 2nd year at University makes me think of Joni Mitchell. Blue as an album is pretty much close to perfection. I love the "Jingle Bells" intro of "River", which immediately makes you think of cold nights and the coming of winter. I was sharing a house with 2 friends, one of them Cat. We managed to pick up an old piano super cheap for the house and River was one of our faves to play. Me on vocals, Cat on keys and harmonies, washed down with some Lambrini.
I'm calling this my make out song. Not much explanation required. You get the picture.
Frederic Chopin - Nocturne No. 2 in E-Flat Major, Op. 9
My Grandma (who I was very close to) died in Spring last year. She had been struggling for many years, but somehow I never thought she would leave us. From around the age of 8 I started to learn piano and in later years I used to have to practice for 1-2 hours every day. Nocturne was a piece I always enjoyed playing, and my Grandma (one of my biggest fans) would always listen and champion me, shouting from the other room for more! When she died I was in charge of making sure the funeral directors were given the correct music. I wrote everything down and handed it over. At the funeral I remember waiting with anticipation for Nocturne, but they played the wrong song. I was absolutely gutted. Was it my fault? I'll never know.