The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Natural Rhythm: Chris Packham's Favourite Albums
Luke Turner , July 4th, 2012 05:22

Broadcaster and naturalist Chris Packham talks Luke Turner through his favourite albums... includes punk rock riot, hitchhiking, and singing poodles


The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead
What I liked about The Smiths instantly was their Englishness. I don't mean that in a racist way, I mean in a poetic sense. The lyrics were could only have been written in England at that time. I remember when I first heard them (my sister was a big fan of the Smiths) I remember thinking 'oh this is a bit pretentious', but I soon bought into the poetry of it, and I liked the playful nature of the lyrics. They lacked some of the open vitriol of the punk movement, but they were very, very clever. Johnny Marr's guitar was the perfect foil to Morrissey's lyrics. It's very difficult to have a favourite album, but that time, The Queen Is Dead, was a very rich time for them. You can't argue that some of them were great pop songs as well as being of their time. If I had to pick a favourite Smiths song of all it wouldn't be off that, it'd be 'Reel Around The Fountain'. I just love that, that line "you pin and mount me like a butterfly... I dreamt about you last night and I fell out of bed twice." Just brilliant. The man was, and probably still is, a genius. 85, 86, that's when Psychocandy and The Queen Is Dead came out, and that was when I started working on The Really Wild Show. I'd been hitching from rare birds to Clash concerts for years. I didn't know many people who crossed the genres, so it was just me birding and then going to see punk bands. I used to spend a lot of time hitching around at that time, to go to gigs and also to go and see rare birds.