Posted in SHOFT on Tuesday 7th September 2010 at 7:03am

Since my efforts to regularly blog about the music which is capturing my imagination has run into real life - and found work, and unusually a number of other creative exploits blocking the way - I've decided to try to capture more sporadic thoughts. One that has cropped up recently is the thorny issue of learning about other's musical tastes - especially at the beginning of a relationship, when I often find music takes on a disproportionate importance. The extreme lack of commonality described in Kid Canaveral's "Smash Hits" is of course fairly unlikely - you wouldn't generally find yourself having much in common with someone with wildly opposing tastes, but there is always that risk - to the ego if nothing else - that your dearly held gems are not appreciated by your significant other. That the time and attention you've lavished on collecting, understanding and appreciating these significant pieces of music is seen as time wasted on a harmless, if geeky, hobby. The word itself conjures images of garden sheds with suburban housewives reassuring each other that "it's fine, he's out there playing his music".

Like all of the cultural preening and positioning which goes on in these formative early days of a relationship, there was, at least when I was younger, an etiquette of sorts - and the mix tape was the ultimate expression of your musical feelings. This carefully filled C90 cassette was sweated over, the selection designed to express everything which your inarticulate teenage tongue just couldn't seem to speak aloud and to do so in ways which just wouldn't have worked well in your clumsy inexperienced voice. Perhaps now, seeking the same effect I'd be moved to think about B.S Johnson's words on originality: Certainly I feel it has all been said The short fear is that even saying it in my own way is equally pointless

I confess to spending serious amounts of spare time on sequencing these tapes - carefully ensuring they mixed the key point of my musical interest with sufficient hooks to ensure that the intended recipient couldn't help but be ensnared by my remarkable and eclectic taste. And the odd thing is, sometimes it worked! Naturally there were failures - there was a period during which I was roundly accused of "musical fascism" and I'd be lying if I denied the existence of a counter-compilation of 1990s 'baggy' music entitled "Fuck Off Mike Newman". Even then, back in far less certain times, I thought that one was a compliment. The mix tape doesn't always - indeed very rarely gets the girl.

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I've had a home on the web for more years than I care to remember, and a few kind souls persuade me it's worth persisting with keeping it updated. This current incarnation of the site is centred around the blog posts which began back in 1999 as 'the daylog' and continued through my travels and tribulations during the following years.

I don't get out and about nearly as much these days, but I do try to record significant events and trips for posterity. You may also have arrived here by following the trail to my former music blog Songs Heard On Fast Trains. That content is preserved here too.

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