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Let The Good Times Roll With Our Nihilism Banishing Playlist
John Doran , July 31st, 2009 13:45

Stop running away from stuff you fuckwit! It's The Doobie Brothers you're really after . . .

Ah to be young.

For me, being young meant the inability to tell the difference between going out for a quiet drink and running headlong into a series of situations that would end up with me becoming beaten to within an inch of my life, homeless, covered in piss (my own or a farm animal’s) and being questioned by thick tongued members of the local constabulary. (Although these fat-handed chaps often belonged to a different constabulary to the borough that the regrettable drinking session had begun in.) If this sounds familiar, there is a reason for this.

There is only one state of mind that encourages one to travel swiftly to a different city without a moment’s thought, halfway through an evening with nothing for company bar a bottle of Cellar Five sherry; and that state of mind is arrived at only by the rapid uptake of eight pints of Stella, two large vodkas and large amounts of anal relaxant inhaled nasally. But once in this state of mind, the suggestion to go to any other city than the one you happen to be in, seems like the only acceptable course of action. To not go would be madness! Finish your drinks, we’re leaving! This is also why most drinking tales of note end with the grave coda: “. . . woke up with an erection three days later in a skip in Digbeth”.

The problem is not that these reasons for hitting the road evaporate into the ether the second you disembark from that state of care in the community on wheels known as the National Express coach, but that after a few more hours drinking in a pub near the coach station you won’t even remember that you’ve even left the pub, let alone the city where you live. It goes without saying that anyone who is familiar with the pleasures of Thunderbird fortified wine as an adult or is remotely acquainted with Gold Label Barley Wine knows exactly what I am talking about.

Once after drinking a lot of wine in my flat in Burnage, Manchester (Monsieur Bertierre - £1 a bottle with a label that declared: “A red wine perfect for those who know little or nothing about wine drinking”) I became sentimental in my cups and decided to go to Hull. When in Hull I got properly cunted, drinking sherry and vodka in some horrible Old Town high impact inebriation shack. Normally I would have gone to go to sleep at this point but someone gave me some speed and we went to a nightclub. I’m not sure what happened next but I’m guessing I was sent out to buy pizzas for the people in the house where I was staying and then on my way back got lost trying to take a short cut through some sheltered old peoples’ accommodation.

I woke up the next morning on a bench covered in 15” pizzas that were acting as a particularly ineffective and cheese enhanced dough sleeping bag. I was being watched by a confused looking old boy in a dressing gown. After leaving I stumbled down a street which I simultaneously both did and didn’t recognize. I walked into a paper shop that was opening up.

“How do I get to Piccadilly?” I said to the man brushing up.

“Eh?” he snapped angrily.

“How do I get to Manchester Piccadilly, the train station?” I said slowly as if explaining something to a simpleton.

“Are you on drugs lad?” he shouted.

“Yes” I said.

“You’re in fucking Hull” he retorted and hit me in the face with the brush, chasing me out into the street.

But isn’t this the trouble with workmanlike drinking? It’s pretty rubbish really. After a while, your already hyper-extended capability of pretending that your life is edgy and glamorous starts to crumble into nothing like a daddy longlegs in a power shower. You lose the ability to pretend that your existence resembles the UK version of Leaving Las Vegas when in fact your day to day is more like that of a character in a provincial soap opera who the writers have long since forgotten about. Today’s cliff hanger: he bursts into tears when an advert featuring a squirrel appears unexpectedly on TV. Tomorrow: he has a bit of a dance in the queue to the cash machine in ASDA on hearing ‘Vienna’ by Ultravox.

After a while you can’t feel anything but the nihilism of the life style. No amount of moonlight flits from pub to pub or city to city can help you. There’s no escape from the bleakness of your internal settings.

If there was one thing that kept me sane when I was hungover during these years (every day before 3pm during some of the 80s and all of the 90s) then it was listening to a special tape I had of the Shipping Forecast on Radio 4. Well two things: that tape and MOR music. Feel the quality. Feel the depth. Don’t worry about it, put on ‘Mr Blue Sky’. Chill out, listen to some Toto. Put out the chip pan fire and then stick Hot Chocolate’s Greatest Hits on.

I guess what I'm saying is this: if you go out and drink too much this weekend – don’t worry about it. Play this in the office on Monday morning. I know you’ll probably have a head like a concentration camp but everything's going to be fine. Even if you’ve lost your flat or been pissed on by a horse – listen to ‘Baker Street’. That makes just about anything alright.

Click here to listen to our nihilism busting playlist. Preferably in the bath with a nice brew.

Gerry Rafferty ‘Baker Street’

Richard Marx ‘Hazard’

Duran Duran ‘Save A Prayer’

Toto ‘Africa’

ELO ‘Mr Blue Sky’

Supertramp ‘The Logical Song’

Rick Springfield ‘Jessie’s Girl’

Nilsson ‘Jump Into The Fire’

Hot Chocolate ‘Could Have Been A Lady’

ABBA ‘The Day Before You Came’

Daryl Hall and John Oates ‘Out Of Touch’

Steely Dan ‘Peg’

Level 42 ‘Leaving Me Now’

Boy Meets Girl ‘Waiting For A Star To Fall’

Steve Winwood ‘Valerie’

Talk Talk ‘It’s My Life’

Warren G and Nate Dogg ‘Regulate’

The Cars ‘My Best Friend’s Girlfriend’

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers ‘Learning To Fly’

Jan Hammer ‘Crockett’s Theme’

ABC ‘All Of My Heart’

10CC ‘I’m Not In Love’

The Doobie Brothers ‘What A Fool Believes’

The Bellamy Brothers ‘Let Your Love Flow’