the other gifts that keep on giving

A gift that arrived this week reminded me of that best of all gifts – friendship. And music.

For over 30 years friend Tim has been supplying me with tapes and CDs.

The tape here was one of the all-time favourites – a bunch of reggae songs not generally heard mainstream and something that endeared me (I think) to the students I was teaching at the time. Long since lost its custom designed cover.


And yes I do know about Spotify, itunes and being able to listen to music online, but my main listening time is in the morning on the way to work, and my car still has a CD player. Besides I like the feel of CDs and like real books they can be stored, the contents can easily be deduced and they form a kinesthetic memory.

I am never quite sure what will be in the playlist but it’s always something or someone I  have never heard. The covers are customised works of art in their own right. The second to last featured Benjamin Clementine who took me a while to get used to but I now enjoy, and James Blake singing Joni Mitchell (sublime).

Over the years I have been introduced to Anthony Hegarty, Nick Cave (a reintroduction), Mary Gauthier, Janiva Magness, Greg Johnson, Rhombus, Wayne Toups, Bonnie Prince Billie, Sir Charles Jones, Imelda May, Baxter Dury, Holly Cole, Gregory Isaacs, Devendra Banhart. Some, like Lucinda and Rufus I could do without but overall it’s been a fabulous list. I go searching for more of the ones I really love and the search is always rewarding.

Some CDs have a holiday flavour, some welcome me home. My all-time favourite was one sent when I was at the unpleasant end of an unpleasant affair. It was difficult to feel sad driving to work

when the view is like this and I was listening to: Little baby blue, Lean on me, Scat cat, From the back, Whose da boss, Big bad handsome man, Good days, bad days, Fool me again…….

Cheers my friend.


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