It’s time for another Standard Issue mixtape. This week Claire Jones casts a wistful glance at the songs that helped her through a lonely childhood, and beyond.
As a challenging child, music was the only way that either of my parents could reach me. Dad’s impressive pop star-saturated tales of nightclub debauchery were complemented by Mum’s encouragement to learn double bass, saxophone and glockenspiel to orchestra level. Great-Grandma would put show tunes on the little kitchen radio on summer holiday mornings and make me laugh singing along to Cole Porter.
TV was out in the Rusholme terrace I grew up in, but music was in. In my lonely only-child world, I was a radio DJ leading interviews with my bears and Girl’s World dolls, and planning the perfect playlists from my collection of hand-me-down records and tapes.
When I sought out friends beyond church and school, I found them among the children of the English Elvis Presley fan club’s musicians and roadies. Every weekend brought a concert, which is what gigs were called in the 1980s. If we didn’t have tickets we would hang around The Apollo or The International to soak up the atmosphere and maybe catch a glimpse of the band.
I was a sound engineer at church from the age of 15 and that fed my spirit through some dark times until I got work experience at Strawberry Recording Studios. I gave up on a music career when, incredibly, I found something I loved more and then suddenly I was an adult with a husband and babies.
These are my 7 Wonders.
I am a child and in wonder at the mist-soaked fairytale world evoked by swirling guitars, snare and sax. It is the start of a lifelong adoration of Bryan Ferry, atmospheric electronic music and folklore.
10cc – I’m Not in Love
A haunting hook and forlorn chorus are telling me everything I will ever need to know – but don’t want to believe – about the wrong kind of love. Nothing to me is as authentically 1970s than this. It is also what heartbreak sounds like.
OMD – Souvenir
I am a teenager, with a permanent grump and my Walkman headphones’ wire snaked through my school cardigan sleeves so I can listen without detection. The rhythmic piano and layered voices comfort and inspire me.
The Smiths – Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want
First found as a teen, this remains my 4am anthem when I didn’t get the boy/job/joke. Maudlin loveliness. I indulge. Then delete temporarily from my playlist and resolve to place less importance on silly things next time.
Mötley Crüe – You’re All I Need
I am in ‘our’ first proper flat. It’s the 90s and we’re broke but gorgeous and staying up all night listening to hair metal while fantasising about our future. This song is humour and pathos and faint embarrassment. It’s my first love’s face and tight jeans.
We are putting on makeup, ready to go out. Or to work. We are on buses, hearing the familiar thuds and sparkles in each other’s headphones. We wake up in kitchens thinking, “How the hell did this shit happen?” But whatever the occasion, we were experiencing it to this song in the summer of 2014. Perfect pop.
Haim – Falling
As an adventurous spirit given to falling in love with ridiculous men and anyone from cities I’ve spent an hour in, I recognise the quickening of excitement and surrender of will this song celebrates. The retro vocal pattern and steady, stirring pace is welcoming and energising. To love is to fall, and hope against experience that the landing will be soft, and leave you in a better place than you came from.
Illustrator and writer from Manchester. Arts student and proud sister, aunty and mum. Owned by a collie. Multi-tasker.